We were recently assigned a new homeschool summer project and, so far, it has been a very eye opening experience! Our assignment; explore the world of blockchain technology and find a way to get involved.
Our parents are big supporters of crypto blockchain tech and crypto-currencies and they wanted us to learn about this innovative (and disruptive) technology. From a homeschool point of view, the subject of crypto-currencies and crypto-technology covers the realms of computer science, economics, investments, history, human rights, social science, and many others. As part of this homeschool assignment, we are to provide weekly learning progress reports to our parents AND post them here on the Saturn Blog, and on a blockchain social media called Steemit.
For those who don’t know about Bitcoin and/ or blockchain tech, here is a fairly short video that explains it. Out of all the videos we’ve seen, this group did one of the best jobs of explaining this seemingly ‘alien’ technology.
We also found this video helpful and very easy to follow. We appreciated the host’s visual examples. Here, the host talks about Etheruem; another crypto-currency that is known for its smart contract technology. This is another topic we hope to bring up in a future blog.
This past week, Hayden and I have been studying various crypto currencies/tech/tokens, set up wallets for a few, connected to an exchange and just received our first Trezor. A Trezor is a secure way to store your crypto. That way, if someone stole your computer with all of your crypto-currencies, your wallet would be secured by the Trezor. We are still learning about the Trezor and will most likely be coming out with a blog post explaining the works.
Since our parents have been involved in crypto since 2012, we thought we had a pretty good idea about crypto-tech already. They seem to talk about it every day. “What more was there to know?”, we thought. But then we hit the internet only to find out that we have so much to learn!
Part of what is overwhelming about the subject of crypto tech and crypto currencies is the wide gap of opinion about it. Since white paper tech is over our heads at the moment we rely on YouTube videos to help us break down the concepts and ideas behind the technology.
We like to follow Andreas M. Antonopolos, Ivan on Tech, Dash – Digital Cash, jsnip4, and a few other crypto-currency related bloggers.
There are many more channels, but these are the ones we watch the most.
We have researched various currencies and blockchain projects. For the purpose of this post we are going to mention the 4 we are most familiar with at the moment; Basic Attention Token,OpenBazaar, VPN/Vash Coin, and, Steemit. Here is a quick overview on why we are interested in these specific currencies and projects.
Basic Attention Token
We have learned that nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult for businesses/projects that are not associated with mega-corps to get noticed. The big corps have more funds to spend on advertising so it seems that their ads are more noticeable than ones created by smaller businesses. It seems nearly impossible to become a popular independent creator in the current system. Plus, we have heard a lot of recent complaints that people are paying for advertisements but are not seeing their results.
With BAT, our understanding is that both parties (ad viewer and publisher) are rewarded with tokens based on how much attention an ad generates. BAT uses the Brave Browser, which blocks invasive ads, and only targets ads based on the users browsing habits. It appears that this is all done in the front end of the browser, so anyone can view the code. One of our favorite aspects of BAT is that it uses the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts. Because BAT uses Ethereum, they have the time to focus on their specialty – changing the world of advertising.
We also have been looking into the decentralized marketplace called OpenBazaar. Think of it like Ebay or Etsy, except with OpenBazaar you accept crypto-currencies as your payment. So far, this is the most developed blockchain marketplace we have found. Since we started our Saturn Music & Entertainment project, we have wanted to accept crypto-currencies for our creations, especially our original music. We tried to build this into our website but the platform we built the site on is not blockchain friendly.
With OpenBazaar, we can easily sell our creations and earn crypto. We can have a store that was meant to accept crypto; not just have it as a plug-in. From what we have seen, the stores resemble a siimlar design style to Facebook’s Timeline. At first we were concerned about that fact that in order for people to be able to purchase our products, we’d have to keep our devices running constantly. This can be problematic on travel days where we are without internet connection. Recently we realized that we can operate our OpenBazaar shop just like a local coffee shop. We can be open during certain hours of the day, and provide notices on when we’ll be closed. We haven’t officially downloaded OpenBazaar yet (our current hotel wifi is just too slow), but we are excited to download it and have a chance to play around with it when our internet is good again.
It looks like Basic Attention Token and OpenBazaar will help us with our Saturn Music & Entertainment project. We want to use as much blockchain tech as possible to help launch our project. We also want to understand what tools we are utilizing for our project so it may take some time for us to grasp some tricky concepts.
We found out about VPN/Vash a couple years ago through our Mom. She loved the idea and concept behind it and so it made sense we would start with it. She said, from a beginner’s perspective, VPN has done everything right to foster easy/early adoption – and she likes the idea behind the tech too. We like it because it was a familiar name to us and our Mom explained that we could receive Vash rewards by something called ‘staking’.
Staking is like earning interest on coins you have in your wallet. It’s like a reward you receive for supporting a network. A better description of staking can be found here. For us, it was just a simple download, some VPN coins from our Mom (to improve our staking weight), and we started earning rewards. If more kids our age understood staking (rewards), we think they’d get on board!
Last, but certainly not least, we love Steemit. Steemit is an online social media platform that has built in crypto-currencies. We have heard that Steemit often reminds people of Reddit. On Steemit, users get rewarded for posting quality content/blogs through how many people upvote/like their post. We love Steemit for many reasons. First off, Steemit is surrounded by a community of people that have a wide range of interests. Through Steemit tags like Photography and Homeschool, users can have meaningful conversations and support each other’s posts by upvoting and resteeming (sharing).
Over the past few months, we have found some pretty sweet people on Steemit. We were pleasantly surprised to find some fellow homeschoolers (and homeschool parents) on here too! We also like Steemit because we can earn free Steem by creating our own quality content (blogs). It kind of reminds us of staking, except it’s a bit more work. The best part is that after we have made a certain amount of Steem, we can convert it to Steem power, or we can put a fraction of our Steem profits into exploring a new crypto-currency or blockchain project.
We know that there are a lot of people that don’t yet understand what a Bitcoin is, or how blockchain technology works, and that’s okay! Hopefully we can help simplify it in these homeschool reports. I’m sure our Mom (“The Boss”) will have us write an article to help explain the blockchain. Our parents say that this upcoming technology reminds them of when the internet was first coming out. Our parents and many other bloggers/YouTubers believe that blockchain technology will be the next big thing. As we continue to conduct research on this emerging technology, we are just beginning to see how this tech is reshaping the future.
Is there a blockchain technology you think we should explore? If so, please let us know. This is a homeschool report, so all feedback helps us learn and improve for future blogs/reports.
Bitcoin: How Cryptocurrencies Work By: SciShow
What is Ethereum? [For Beginners] By: Kevin Healy
Forbes – A New Way To Raise Money: The Initial Coin Offering