In the murky world of ICOs, this young founder aims to lead the way

 When it comes to initial coin offerings, or ICOs, there’s plainly a lot that investors still don’t understand. Though start-ups and founders have raised more than $1 billion so far 2017 by selling custom-made virtual currencies to anyone willing to buy them, it’s been unclear whether and which tokens might eventually be categorized as securities; how ICOs impact… Read More

Naval Ravikant hints at future plans for Product Hunt and adding secondary trading to AngelList

 Earlier this week, at TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in New York, we sat down with AngelList cofounder and CEO Naval Ravikant to talk primarily about the platform’s new Angel Funds product, wherein a select number of proven “angel-operators” is being provided capital from AngelList and outside VCs to invest in a basket of startups. (We wrote about that new program here.)… Read More

AngelList just launched full-fledged venture funds

 According to AngelList, the startup funding and recruiting platform, the number of companies being minted continues to far exceed the numbers of funds that can support them at the Series A and even the seed stage. Meanwhile, angel investors don’t necessarily have enough capital, particularly those who may be respected operators but haven’t yet enjoyed a major liquidity event… Read More

Tech’s top 20 investors turned into emoji

VC Emoji What do Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway and Naval Ravikant look like as emojis? For the launch of MovieLaLa‘s emoji marketplace MojiLaLa, the startup made a set inspired by tech’s best-known venture capitalists. The list could have included more of the great female and minority VCs like Mary Meeker, Charles Hudson and Aileen Lee. But here’s a look at caricatures of the 20 they chose. Read More

Malala Fund co-founder Shiza Shahid, AngelList partner to back “mission-driven” startups

Shiza Shahid, NOW Ventures founder, girls' education advocate. During the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES 2016) at Stanford University today, AngelList, the equity fundraising platform, and activist Shiza Shahid announced a partnership to form a fund called NOW Ventures that will back what they’re calling “mission-driven” startups. That’s the latest label for businesses that want to make a positive social and environmental… Read More

The Fifth Protocol

“Wait a minute… Make up your mind. This Snow Crash thing—is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?”

Juanita shrugs. “What’s the difference?”

- Snow Crash

Cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet.

Humans don’t *need* math-based cryptocurrencies when dealing with other humans. We walk slowly, talk slowly, and buy big things. Credit cards, cash, wires, checks – the world seems fine.

Machines, on the other hand, are far chattier and quicker to exchange information. The Four Layers of the Internet Protocol Suite are constantly communicating. The Link Layer puts packets on a wire. The Internet Layer routes them across networks. The Transport Layer persists communication across a given conversation. And the Application Layer delivers entire documents and applications.

This chatty, anonymous network treats resources as “too cheap to meter.” It’s a giant grid that transfers data but doesn’t transfer value. DDoS attacks, email spam, and flooded VPNs result. Names and identities are controlled by overlords – ICANN, DNS Servers, Facebook, Twitter, and Certificate “Authorities.”

Where’s the protocol layer for exchanging value, not just data? Where’s the distributed, anonymous, permission-less system for chatty machines to allocate their scarce resources? Where is the “virtual money” to create this “virtual economy?”

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are already trustless – any machine can accept it from any other, securely. They are (nearly) free. They are global – no central bank required, and any machine can speak the language. And they’re one to two steps from being quick, anonymous, and capable of authentication.

Suppose we had a QuickCoin, which cleared transactions nearly instantly, anonymously, and for infinitesimal mining fees. It could use the Bitcoin blockchain for security or for easy trading in and out. SMTP would demand QuickCoin to weed out spam. Routers would exchange QuickCoin to shut down DDoS attacks. Tor Gateways would demand Quickcoin to anonymously route traffic. Machines would bypass centralized DNS and OAuth servers, using Coins to establish ownership.

Why stop at one Coin? Let’s posit a dozen new Appcoins. Using application-specific coins rewards the open-source developers with a pre-mined quantity. A TorCoin can be paid to its developers and gateways and by Tor users, achieving consensus via proof-of-bandwidth. We can allocate any scarce network resource this way – i.e., BoxCoin for Storage, CacheCoin for Caching, etc.

Lets move on to other networks. Can a completely distributed grid of small generators trade power with each other, using a decentralized and trustless cryptocurrency? Can a traffic jam of self-driving cars clear itself as the computerized vehicles bid for right of way? Can a mass of people crossing a street take priority over a single car waiting

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