The Unknown Path to a Decentralized Future

Today’s post is over at USV.com on “The Unknown Path to a Decentralized Future.” Here is the opening:

Some companies with currently centralized services have been criticized for issuing tokens and raising money in ICOs. There are even allegations that venture investors are pushing companies to do so as a ploy for liquidity. I suspect that some situations like that do actually exist, but I know from first hand conversations that many of the entrepreneurs pursuing this route are doing so out of a genuine conviction that it is the right path to a decentralized future.

Uncertainty Wednesday: Weather – Climate

Last Uncertainty Wednesday I introduced how think about weather using the concepts we have developed in this series. We saw that our improved data collection and ability to process more complicated weather models has given us significantly improved predictions. We also learned that because of the chaotic nature of weather, despite our massive progress on short term forecasts we still do quite poorly for forecasts that go out further than a week.

Now a key question that we asked throughout this series is what we can learn about the reality of weather from the signals that we observe. Of particular interest here is the question whether the observations should us make more less inclined to believe in climate change, a topic that I have also covered extensively here on Continuations.

To get started on that we need to draw a distinction between weather and climate. The first sentence of the Continue reading "Uncertainty Wednesday: Weather – Climate"

World After Capital: Progress Report

My book World After Capital has been an ongoing project for a couple of years now. I am excited that as of this weekend I feel it includes all the ideas I want in there. Some of them, such as strategies for overcoming the dominance of nation states, are so far in a protozoic stage, but at least they are there. Others, such as the chapter on the sufficiency of “Capital“, are in need of a substantial rewrite because they have fallen out of sync with other parts (see the rewritten chapter on “Needs”).

What is next? Rewriting the Capital chapter is high on my priority list. I am also now in need of a copy editor to go over the whole book from beginning to end. There are lots of inconsistencies in voice stemming from the iterative writing process. There are also ideas that could Continue reading "World After Capital: Progress Report"

Uncertainty Wednesday: Weather (Intro)

So far in Uncertainty Wednesday we have mostly built up concepts and ideas, with only one extended example.  Given the two massive hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the weather received a lot of attention, including the question to what extent the occurrence and/or severity of these storms lets us draw any conclusions about climate change. For that reason we will spend the next few Uncertainty Wednesdays looking at the weather using the ideas and concepts from the series. 

First, let’s put weather in the context of our framework, which consists of reality, explanations and observations. The reality in question is the complete state of the Earth’s atmosphere. The first thing to note here is that the atmosphere is not a closed system. It receives energy from outside (as a first approximation entirely from the sun, albeit much of that via heat radiated back by the Earth’s surface) and its

Continue reading "Uncertainty Wednesday: Weather (Intro)"

9/11

Going to work today will feel odd because the weather reminds me so much of 2001. Gorgeous blue skies. Not quite summer anymore, but also not yet fall. The weather is one of my strong memories from 2001.

The other memory concerns later in the day. We knew a horrific act of terrorism had been carried out that killed thousands of people. And yet on the Upper West Side where we were living a the time it didn’t feel entirely real as we saw much of it on television. 

I am experiencing that sensation too this morning as I am looking at pictures of destruction brought about by hurricane Irma (following on the heels of images of biblical flooding from Houston and the leveling of Mexican towns by an earthquake). It all feels so extreme and surreal and yet it is the grim reality for millions of people.

So Continue reading "9/11"

ICOs and the Promise and Perils of a Global Capital Market for Everyone

I have already written a bunch about ICOs here on Continuations, including earlier this week about the Chinese ban. Regulators are approaching this, not surprisingly, by focusing on their own country. While that’s understandable, it undermines one of the most promising aspects of using tokens as equity: a global capital market that’s readily accessible to everyone. 

If you are a wealthy investor or if you are a large corporation you already have access to a global capital market today. For example, a few years back I called my broker at Morgan Stanley and asked them to buy some Japanese robotics stocks for me that are only listed in Japan. Morgan Stanley took care of everything for me including figuring out how to buy Yen, place the trade, custody the securities and make the holdings show up in my account.  Or take Apple, a company that already sits on a Continue reading "ICOs and the Promise and Perils of a Global Capital Market for Everyone"

DACA and the Immigration Policy Mess: Pass the DREAM Act

Since I am an immigrant to the United States I want to comment on the Trump administration’s announcement yesterday to end DACA  (Uncertainty Wednesday will resume next week). I first came to the States as an exchange student in 1983 to 1984, when I lived with a wonderful family in Rochester Minnesota. One of my lasting memories is how quickly one can fall in love with a country as a child or young adult. For the DREAMERs, who all came to the United States as children and have grown up here, the United States is their home. Threatening to take that away from them is cruel. Doubly so after giving them hope first.

The blame for this situation though rests with Congress and past Presidents who have failed to make any meaningful progress on immigration reform. Right now, it is worth remembering now that the DREAM act has Continue reading "DACA and the Immigration Policy Mess: Pass the DREAM Act"