There is a shift that is happening; it is rooted in the rapid expansion of decentralized cryptographic protocols. Public private key pairs are becoming common use for securing/storing digital assets, providing proof, determining truth. Where our data lives, who owns the data, and who can that change data are all questions that are being asked. Collectively we have a distributed consciousness in the internet; there is a small gap from when we wake up to when we check state. This could be the glance of a cryptocurrency price, notifications, categorizing messages; it is our terminal into a digital world that is layered and distributed. We tap into the information layer, we trade intangible digital value waves that we are collectively starting to operate on constantly. The technology is converging and accelerating; there is an interesting shift happening and decentralized technologies are what is driving it.
This past year I learned:
- How to build Ethereum Blockchain Applications
- How to build Hyperledger Blockchain Applications
- How to develop enterprise managed packages on the Salesforce Platform
This is going into the 6th year I have written on my blog. I am at just over 70,000 views all time.
Hit a little under 28,000 views this year in total; a 250% increase from last year. This was driven mostly by cryptocurrency and ICOs becoming mainstream and Blockchain becoming top of mind in the enterprise throughout the latter half of the year.
Here are the past couple years of this same blog posts.
These were some of my goals from 2017
Focus in 2017
- Build Dapps
- Build with Babel, ReactJS, Redux, GraphQL, and Node
- Keep building Bots and a VR/AR interface library in Unity
- Learn about Containers, Docker, Kubernetes
- Learn how to write python scripts with Tensorflow, Theano and Keras libraries
- Write 21.co computer python scripts
- Write 1000 Ethereum Smart Contract Clauses
- Read Applied Cryptography cover to cover with annotations
- Keep a written Daily Journal and Physical Calendar
- Say my autosuggestion every morning
- Drink more water, run, and read everyday (52 books, 365 miles)
- Get 100K views on the site
- More water every day
- Eat Healthy: Chicken, Vegetables, Almonds, Salmon, Brown Rice, Eggs, Protein Powder, Oatmeal
Some of the highlights from 2017:
- Started a blockchain company
- Moved to Barcelona
- New York for the third time for the Consensus 2017 Hackathon and won the awards from IBM Cloud and Wanxiang
- Went to China for the first time for a Blockchain Conference
- Presented on Blockchain at Dreamforce
- Continued to invest in ICOs and trade cryptocurrencies
build, keep, learn, write, read.
The focus in 2018 will be working on the foundational side of a great organization for many years to come. The focus will be on using technology to build great products with a great team.
Focus in 2018
- Build Dapps
- Build with ReasonML and ReactJS
- Work with 200 Customers to start building Dapps
- Work with people passionate about Crypto/Blockchain + Salesforce
- Build a great team
- Go to China First Program
- Learn Mandarin Every Day on my phone and read the phrase book
- Run 3 Miles and lift every morning
- Build something incredible with IPFS
- Build Dapps NLP Engine from scratch with Prolog
- Build Lisk Apps and deploy from Salesforce
- Keep a daily journal and a physical calendar
- Say my autosuggestion every morning
- Run, and read everyday
- Get 150K views on the site
- Eat Healthy: Chicken, Vegetables, Almonds, Salmon, Brown Rice, Egg Whites, Protein Powder, Tuna, Oatmeal, Almond Milk
- Drink more water
This year I spent a lot of my time traveling and with that I read and reread some great books:
- Advanced Apex Programming
- Building Microservices
- Designing Data-Intensive Applications
- Force.com Enterprise Architecture
- Emotional Agility
- Learning React
- The Hard Thing About Hard things
- Slicing Pie
- The Reputation Economy
- Scar Tissue (on s single flight from London – Seattle)
- Applied Cryptography with Annotations
- The Startup Playbook
- The Social Organism
- Sam Walton’s Made in America
- Think and Grow Rich
- Ponder on This
This year I really got into Numerology. I would start to use numerology for trading cryptocurrencies and a number of other things. I think that it is something that is part of the other side of the coin, the metaphysical stuff we don’t talk about; I find very interesting.
Virtualization and Distributed Microservices
- The Art of Capacity Planning
- Cryptography infosec
- Docker Containers
This year I have definitely become more interested in leveraging virtual machines and building using containers. More and more research on decentralized/distributed systems, cryptography, virtualization, microservices, tokenization; these are the technologies leading the shift. Diving into architecture around technologies like Docker Swarm, Kong API Gateway and NGINX, Kafka, ZooKeeper. Learning to use decentralized technologies like Urbit and IPFS. Running and interacting with Bitcoin core. Using Ubuntu VMs to run an Ethereum Node provider or Hyperledger nodes but over all just testing out different software using containers in a virtual machine instance. I think the combination of using git, node, and docker is very powerful for developing web applications. Also learning to use vim was very valuable as well for the VMs. Teams can ssh in, push to shared repos, sync; it is aligned with the open source and distributed nature. I have worked on defining multiple blockchain protocols and how they differ from each other; which ones to focus my time towards and also which ones have the greatest upside long term. The yes or no on whether or not to dive in is always a questions that takes time; I think that one of the technologies that I really went down a rabbit hole with this year was IPFS.
I think that decentralized filesystem build with the hash links and content addressing is the future of the internet.
I am really excited to build with IPFS and combine it with other p2p protocols. The shift towards decentralized p2p technologies such as bitcoin and ipfs are part of a shift towards individuals have full ownership, responsibility and control of their valuable digital assets. A digital asset can be a coin; but also personal data, or the metadata about what we do. These sorts of networks are shifting the pendulum back towards personal computing that can still be networked and used however not through a custodian service where we are told to fetch that data from.
The concept of What vs Where a piece of data is:
- Tamper proof/evident
- Content Addressed
- Ever Present
- Hash Agnostic
It is at the crux, a powerful concept.
I set my miners back up; the price of BTC made it interesting. It didn’t take too long. Just hard to order a few wires from Amazon and they were printing digital gold again. Though not profitable (in dollars at least, it is still creating bitcoins), there is nostalgia from the sound and checking to see how much was created overnight. Personal capital investment in machinery that you own is that creating something is why I like it.
I learned a lot about starting a business over the past year. Everything from startup financing to product development sprints; to equity, vesting, boards, contracts, negotiations. It is all part of it. A few months in I wrote something along the lines of: Starting a company is a mix of assumptions, strategies, emotions, decisions, expectations, risks, costs, disciplines, interests; but above all belief in a vision and a drive fueled by passion and focused persistence. One of the most important things however I believe is timing. When building Dapps.ai this year I spent a lot of time sitting in my studio in Barcelona, drawing out on the back of a physical calendar what an interface could look like, what problem it solved, what technologies it was built on, and how long it would take. I have months and months of these notes and in review, I think timing was the underlying current in and catalyst for everything. At the beginning of the January of 2017, the hedge was that cryptocurrency and blockchain would eventually “go mainstream” and companies would have to adopt a strategy; just when. The different technologies to choose from in time will become self-evident. I wrote down everything I thought would need be of part of or of focus: Bitcoin, Ethereum, ZCash, Solidity, ethercamp, Blockstack, 21.co, Tierion, Lightning, Chain, Corda, Lisk, Hyperledger, Monax, truffle, metamask, web3, zeppelin, next.js, ipfs, swarm, bigchaindb, infura, raiden, string labs, parity, uPort.
(A lot focused on how can one securely prove/sign/send with a pKey when interacting with Ethereum dapps).
“Knowing enough to think you’re right, but not enough to know you’re wrong. What single bit of evidence, what would it take to show you that you’re wrong.” -NDT
Fast forward a year and the overall awareness of the market and industry is second to none, yet still in its infancy on a global scale. With this comes that the realization that it will have to cycle back down (as it is cyclical) and we will have to continue to build upon our learning’s and decide what is the technology that will shape the future. Knowing what technology to focus on and devote time too is probably one of the tougher parts. The other part of this process was how to bring a product to market in a timely manner. Coming up with an MVP, building a package, learning about execution context and limits, putting the package through security review. In addition, it made me think about things like serialization, encryption and decryption, key management for applications, how to price and application and how to market an application. I want to continue to learn how to build on the Salesforce Platform and incorporate many other blockchain technology protocols. Every programming language, technology, platform, syntax; it all builds on each other. Building upon administrative and developer skills on the Salesforce platform and different computer science disciplines in the blockchain space; that is where the core focus is. Event driven applications that can be used with existing customer data, implemented processes and other apps is what drives a lot of the value of the combination; the polyglot persistence.
I think looking at the prices of all of these cryptoassets for about 5 years now, you could day trade; but you could also create wallets offline, store the keys in a safe place, send a little of the top 20 coins to each and go and move to some island or forest and don’t touch them.
It is a very incredible time to see all of these networks grow in the way they have. The latter half of this year the market growing from 100 billion to over half a trillion is unbelievable.
The groups being formed together to take part of this movement whether on twitter or a chat group is a driving force. In retrospect years from now it will be obvious that decentralized cryptocurrencies, electronic cash, digital tokens would be what shaped the future. I won’t go into any price predictions. I will say that I believe that network function tokens for things like computation/storage, tokens that will enable private transactions, and token driven platforms for decentralized application development; will all continue to become networks that increase in demand and overall value.
Crypto and Blockchain
There is a polarization distinction between the two sides; crypto and blockchain.
You have crypto drive by token incentivized open projects and you have enterprise blockchain platforms driven by enterprise cash and consortia. I think there is value in both and there will be things that are invented in both that will contribute to the overall development and progression of the technology.
The analogy is like an intranet and the internet. Another good quote was something like you can have an acoustic showing or a rock concert but you can’t have one disguised as the other.
This is a bit the sentiment I feel when hearing questions like what is Blockchain, versus using opensource protocol based digital tokens and their respective blockchains. Similarly developing applications with Ethereum and Hyperledger is too different sides of the brain. One you are thinking in how to sign messages from a browser, gas optimization and price, virtual abstractions that can be tokenized and traded; the other you are thinking in abstractions for business logic, how has access to the distributed infrastructure. One is a singleton that is updated, may become congested, but ultimately is a live and decentralized state machine. Both having a common goal of achieving consensus with the state of a system. Bitcoin on a state of UTXOs, Ethereum on a state of Accounts, Hyperledger on the state of the validity and order of transactions. I think that Proof-of-Work and the largest distribution of public-private key infrastructure to provide a verifiable, censorship resistant informational system; is at its core is the 0 to 1.
Again, from all of the above technologies there will continue to be an ecosystem that is growing and ever changing. I started this year using spending time configuring my testrpc, then becoming familiar with web3 and solc npm packages at the command line, and finally understanding how to create and sign Ethereum messages from the browser to deploy Smart Contracts.
Web3, Solc, IPFS
By the end of the year I was able to create an application on the Salesforce AppExchange to do the same; an Ethereum client for the Salesforce platform. Abstract away metalanguage, concepts and create an interface that was dynamic and give companies a way to manage all of the necessary components of these networks. I didn’t focus on or building the killer app with a focus on the existing frameworks. The killer app of blockchains so far has been using and trading digital tokens. The two main networks that’s function have been used are Bitcoin, and Ethereum for creating more tokens. We are just beginning to see dapps other than for the creation of tokens being create ie non-fungible tokens, rarity. Tokenization of digital assets is undoubtedly going to continue to rise. Though we may not be using (most) of these digital tokens in the physical world, in the digital world where we continue to spend more and more of our time these tokens will be used.
I want this company to grow globally; from different geolocations, computer science disciplines and different technologists; and I want to build a company that is built on products, revenue and customers. I am interested in making decentralized technologies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger and IPFS useful for businesses around the world.
This next year at Dapps Inc. my sole focus is on four main things:
- capital – cryptoasset fund
- chat – build the village
- network – nodes and infrastructure
- solutions – decentralized solutions
I want to continue to learn from a larger community and the great minds in the space.
- Build the best team of people
- Build the best products and services
- Have customers pay us for the products and services.
The ability to use decentralized computing, have processing and decisions made at the edge endpoints of the graph creates the fastest feedback loop. We can now access this edge data and update state to others on a p2p network. With this comes security and network challenges of connecting and processing this next era of computing. The decentralized and distributed era of technology is rapidly becoming reality. I truly enjoy working on this technology. I do believe in the economic incentive mechanisms for peer-to-peer cryptographic protocols and I am all for open source founders that can monetize, and users can become equity owners. That shift is already happening. It is important to keep building, developing and combining the latest technology, learning every day.
Definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it. I will continue to build the mastermind group and devote energy to drive combinatorial creativity through technology and people.
Happy New Year.
Live the Dream.