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Weve been brainwashed for 70 years to be "American" now we face the end and it seems like the good majority is only rubbing the sleep from their eyes. The current state of the world is horrible, I don't see this just "passing" over.
Our families and friends have been being brainwashed in America for almost 70 years now. This collapse of this country has been happening for generations. It started with the police force in the sixties, and then the dumbing down of our education, demoralizing our views with the ads on TV to be consumed by sex, drugs, and consumerism. Our Healthcare system is flawed, and our justice system is absolutely flawed. The banks are literally playing The game of monopoly with the government, they can't seem to print money fast enough to buy out corporations. They must make the stock market pretty to obtain the machismo stigma of "great america". The dollar bill is also nearly as useless as the amount of inflation occurring, yet we steadily keep pushing these paper ious around. Wait until staple items like bread and milk are nearly impossible to affordin five years if we are lucky. If you believe this is fake news, then America has successfully brainwashed you into to believing that way of living is correct. America is one of the planets biggest enemies (in my eyes) and I pray that our civilization wakes up soon. To be honest it appears we are far too late. I believe that if the worst case scenario happens, (and at these times it seems there are several realistic downfalls) then almost all Americans will be in shock coming to the realization to late that they too have been a pawn and a slave in a broken system for too long. Statistically, Americans are the least happiest they have ever been in this country. The world is watching our government scam and create fraud. The world is feeling the impact of the inflation of the dollar as their own economic systems cannot handle the current level of inflation. Currently, there is so much USD floating around outside of America that it is even beyond belief it still holds any value at all. We are talking since 1971, when Nixon ended the Bretton Woods agreement to take the USD off of the gold standard which helped the FEDs and banks play monopoly and flood the world. They've backed this fraud with immense amounts of military technology and power to imply the thuggish effect of American government. America is home of a scamming government that loves flaunting its big guns and ego to the world. They do this to hold the value of their monopoly. As the world opens their eyes to the bullshit of America, the USD will undoubtedly collapse. Items such as bitcoin, precious metals, and bartering will become of greater value than the USD. This has got to stop, we the people need to become more aware. It is disgusting the amount of ignorance in this country. 99% have been lied to by the 1% of the wealthy and that is our real enemy here. If we remove the blinders from our eyes, and the bananas from our ears it would become easier to be present in the life around you, because life exists outside of America, and it is greater than America. We are not grandiose, we are not better than or more entitled to anything more than any other living life. I am not proud to be an American today because the government has made it an ignorant country to be easily manipulated for them to destroy the world. We will always be chasing the lifestyle they live because it has been advertised to us as a kid, and the game is rigged in their favor. The government wants you here to collect your tax and use you for your slave labor. If you don't work you lose life, but if you work 60+ hours a week in a sweatshop or crammed in an office cubicle trying to struggle to survive, my question is, is your life of value at this point? We will always be the hamster on a wheel as society if we don't stand up and revolt. Our voice is heavier than any constitutional "right" weve been granted. Im not trying to promote anything more than awareness to fellow peers who feel closely to me with the current state of the world. It is our duty to perform civic duties, and if that includes providing information to those suffering from the propaganda, than we should. There is also the possibility that I am 100% paranoid and a controversial minded person, but truthfully the proof is in the pudding and I really feel several of us are starting to realize...we need to do more for each other. The government is on their own team, we need to be on our team. If the country is divided then we should form our loyalties with whom we love and trust. This life is yours, dont let it go because you were lied to and misinformed. Make your life better, it just takes a little effort and will power. The great American govt cannot take away our soul, or our will, but they can and will keep encouraging us to live lives with little moral value, little real world educational knowledge, and instead continue to be encouraged in consumerism and sheep like living.
I have an interesting job for someone that is interested in Nano and Organic vertical farming.
I have a modern vertical farm in the Southern California desert. It's pretty awesome, in my opinion. I am currently testing 4 of my greenhouses to begin figuring out how to do home deliveries via FedEx. I have decided to also test if the Nano community will actually use their Nano to purchase stuff. Since fruit and vegetables are eaten by most people, I think that this is a good test to see if people will pay with Nano. Ok, the job: I need to hire one amazing person to run this small project. It is a full time job. You will need to live near my farm. I WILL PAY FOR YOUR HOUSING. It's in the middle of the desert in Southern California and surrounded by small towns. It's about 2.5 hours from LA and about 2.5 hours from San Diego. Also sort of close to Palm Springs. Here's what your job will be: (1) You will be managing about 6,000 plants, growing in columns from floor to ceiling, that are growing in glass greenhouses. This includes seeding the plants, tending to the plants, harvesting the plants and packaging the plants for home deliveries. (2) You will be taught how to manage the automated systems and repaireplace pumps, lights water lines, etc. You will also learn how to feed and care for our fish (we are an aquaponic farm). This is a full-time job from now through September of this year. Once we have learned how to streamline our FedEx deliveries, we will begin to transition the rest of the farm over to this model and the position will integrate into our larger farm. Pay: (1) $16 per hour to begin PLUS housing in a nearby town. (2) Weekly bonuses for meeting and exceeding delivery numbers. (3) $20 per hour after one month of just doing the job correctly and being on-time everyday. (4) I'll pay you in Nano if you want. (5) If we LOVE how you work and everyone on the farm really likes you and you are constantly exceeding our metrics, then I'll take your pay to $25 per hour and I will consider you for a small management position. (6) Profit sharing, which can be as much as $1,000 per month. I hope someone out there sees the opportunity in this position. Personally, for many people, I think it would be a dream job. I'm not just saying that. We're super nice people. Our farm is ultra modern. We're WAY into crypto (I actually mine bitcoin on this farm from my solar array). Our farm is 100% solar. We're 100% Organic. We are a 100% aquaponic farm. Look up "aquaponics" if you're bored. Our fruits and vegetables are SUPER high quality. Our greenhouses are unlike anything most people would have ever seen. We use all kinds of modern tech. Our greenhouses can be 65F (18C) in the middle of Summer when it is 122F (55C) outside. You will work in the desert during the Summer but it will be very comfortable inside the greenhouses. And we also filter out the UV light. Anyhow, I'm gonna test my home delivery to the Nano community initially (unless there are not enough Nano holders willing to part with their Nano). It would be awesome to hire someone from this community to run this small project. Maybe this community can help me find someone who is actually interested in this job and willing to work to make a decent living. I need someone who can work hard. Someone who is willing to get dirty (literally). Someone who is into this method of farming. And, ideally, someone who is WAY into crypto. If you are extremely interested in this opportunity, let me know. If you know someone who you think would be perfect, let them know. Thank you, Dan.
DDDD - The Rise of “Buy the Dip” Retail Investors and Why Another Crash Is Imminent
In this week's edition of DDDD (Data-driven DD), I'll be going over the real reason why we have been seeing a rally for the past few weeks, defying all logic and fundamentals - retail investors. We'll look into several data sets to see how retail interest in stock markets have reached record levels in the past few weeks, how this affected stock prices, and why we've most likely seen the top at this point, unless we see one of the "positive catalysts" that I mentioned in my previous post, which is unlikely (except for more news about Remdesivir). Disclaimer - This is not financial advice, and a lot of the content below is my personal opinion. In fact, the numbers, facts, or explanations presented below could be wrong and be made up. Don't buy random options because some person on the internet says so; look at what happened to all the SPY 220p 4/17 bag holders. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions on what you should do with your own money, and how levered you want to be based on your personal risk tolerance. Inspiration Most people who know me personally know that I spend an unhealthy amount of my free time in finance and trading as a hobby, even competing in paper options trading competitions when I was in high school. A few weeks ago, I had a friend ask if he could call me because he just installed Robinhood and wanted to buy SPY puts after seeing everyone on wallstreetbets post gains posts from all the tendies they’ve made from their SPY puts. The problem was, he actually didn’t understand how options worked at all, and needed a thorough explanation about how options are priced, what strike prices and expiration dates mean, and what the right strategy to buying options are. That’s how I knew we were at the euphoria stage of buying SPY puts - it’s when dumb money starts to pour in, and people start buying securities because they see everyone else making money and they want in, even if they have no idea what they’re buying, and price becomes dislocated from fundementals. Sure enough, less than a week later, we started the bull rally that we are currently in. Bubbles are formed when people buy something not because of logic or even gut feeling, but when people who previously weren’t involved see their dumb neighbors make tons of money from it, and they don’t want to miss out. A few days ago, I started getting questions from other friends about what stocks they should buy and if I thought something was a good investment. That inspired me to dig a bit deeper to see how many other people are thinking the same thing. Data Ever since March, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of money pour into the stock market from retail investors. Google Search Trends \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"what stock should I buy\" Google Trends 12 months \"stocks\" Google Trends 2004 - 2020 \"stocks\" Google Trends 12 months Brokerage data Robinhood SPY holders \"Robinhood\" Google Trends 12 months wallstreetbets' favorite broker Google Trends 12 months Excerpt from E*Trade earnings statement Excerpt from Schwab earnings statement TD Ameritrade Excerpt Media cnbc.com Alexa rank CNBC viewership & rankings wallstreetbets comments / day investing comments / day Analysis What we can see from Reddit numbers, Google Trends, and CNBC stats is that in between the first week of March and first week of April, we see a massive inflow of retail interest in the stock market. Not only that, but this inflow of interest is coming from all age cohorts, from internet-using Zoomers to TV-watching Boomers. Robinhood SPY holdings and earnings reports from E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, and Schwab have also all confirmed record numbers of new clients, number of trades, and assets. There’s something interesting going on if you look closer at the numbers. The numbers growth in brokers for designed for “less sophisticated” investors (i.e. Robinhood and E*Trade) are much larger than for real brokers (i.e. Schwab and Ameritrade). This implies that the record number of new users and trade volume is coming from dumb money. The numbers shown here only really apply to the US and Canada, but there’s also data to suggest that there’s also record numbers of foreign investors pouring money into the US stock market as well. However, after the third week of March, we see the interest start to slowly decline and plateau, indicating that we probably have seen most of those new investors who wanted to have a long position in the market do so. SPX daily Rationale Pretty much everything past this point is purely speculation, and isn’t really backed up by any solid data so take whatever I say here with a cup of salt. We could see from the graph that new investor interest started with the first bull trap we saw in the initial decline from early March, and peaking right after the end of the crash in March. So it would be fair to guess that we’re seeing a record amount of interest in the stock market from a “buy the dip” mentality, especially from Robinhood-using Millennials. Here’s a few points on my rationalization of this behavior, based on very weak anecdotal evidence
They missed out of their chance of getting in the stock market at the start of the bull market that happened at the end of 2009
They’ve all seen the stock market make record gains throughout their adult lives, but believing that the market might be overheated, they were waiting for a crash
Most of them have gotten towards the stage of their lives where they actually have some savings and can finally put some money aside for investments
This stock market crash seems like their once-in-a-decade opportunity that they’ve been waiting for, so everyone jumped in
Everyone’s stuck at their homes with vast amounts of unexpected free time on their hands
Most of these new investors got their first taste in the market near the bottom, and probably made some nice returns. Of course, since they didn’t know what they were doing, they probably put a very small amount of money at first, but after seeing a 10% return over one week, validating that maybe they do know something, they decide to slowly pour in more and more of their life savings. That’s what’s been fueling this bull market. Sentiment & Magic Crayons As I mentioned previously, this bull rally will keep going until enough bears convert to bulls. Markets go up when the amount of new bullish positions outnumber the amount of new bearish positions, and vice versa. Record amounts of new investors, who previously never held a position in the market before, fueled the bullish side of this equation, despite all the negative data that has come out and dislocating the price from fundamentals. All the smart money that was shorting the markets saw this happening, and flipped to become bulls because you don’t fight the trend, even if the trend doesn’t reflect reality. From the data shown above, we can see new investor interest growth has started declining since mid March and started stagnating in early April. The declining volume in SPY since mid-March confirms this. That means, once the sentiment of the new retail investors starts to turn bearish, and everyone figures out how much the stocks they’re holding are really worth, another sell-off will begin. I’ve seen something very similar to this a few years ago with Bitcoin. Near the end of 2017, Bitcoin started to become mainstream and saw a flood of retail investors suddenly signing up for Coinbase (i.e. Robinhood) accounts and buying Bitcoin without actually understanding what it is and how it works. Suddenly everyone, from co-workers to grandparents, starts talking about Bitcoin and might have thrown a few thousand dollars into it. This appears to be a very similar parallel to what’s going on right now. Of course there’s differences here in that equities have an intrinsic value, although many of them have gone way above what they should be intrinsically worth, and the vast majority of retail investors don’t understand how to value companies. Then, during December, when people started thinking that the market was getting a bit overheated, some started taking their profits, and that’s when the prices crashed violently. This flip in sentiment now look like it has started with equities. SPY daily Technical Analysis, or magic crayons, is a discipline in finance that uses statistical analysis to predict market trends based on market sentiment. Of course, a lot of this is hand-wavy and is very subjective; two people doing TA on the same price history can end up getting opposite results, so TA should always be taken with a grain of salt and ideally be backed with underlying justification and not be blindly followed. In fact, I’ve since corrected the ascending wedge I had on SPY since my last post since this new wedge is a better fit for the new trading data. There’s a few things going on in this chart. The entire bull rally we’ve had since the lows can be modelled using a rising wedge. This is a pattern where there is a convergence of a rising support and resistance trendline, along with falling volume. This indicates a slow decline in net bullish sentiment with investors, with smaller and smaller upside after each bounce off the support until it hits a resistance. The smaller the bounces, the less bullish investors are. When the bearish sentiment takes over across investors, the price breaks below this wedge - a breakdown, and indicates a start of another downtrend. This happened when the wedge hit resistance at around 293, which is around the same price as the 200 day moving average, the 62% retracement (considered to be the upper bound of a bull trap), and a price level that acted as a support and resistance throughout 2019. The fact that it gapped down to break this wedge is also a strong signal, indicating a sudden swing in investor sentiment overnight. The volume of the break down also broke the downwards trend of volume we’ve had since the beginning of the bull rally, indicating a sudden surge of people selling their shares. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will go straight from here, and I personally think that we will see the completion of a heads-and-shoulders pattern complete before SPY goes below 274, which in itself is a strong support level. In other words, SPY might go from 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 before breaking the 274 support level. VIX Daily Doing TA is already sketchy, and doing TA on something like VIX is even more sketchy, but I found this interesting so I’ll mention it. Since the start of the bull rally, we’ve had VIX inside a descending channel. With the breakdown we had in SPY yesterday, VIX has also gapped up to have a breakout from this channel, indicating that we may see future volatility in the next week or so. Putting Everything Together Finally, we get to my thesis. This entire bull rally has been fueled by new retail investors buying the dip, bringing the stock price to euphoric levels. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been seeing the people waiting at the sidelines for years to get into the stock market slowly FOMO into the rally in smaller and smaller volumes, while the smart money have been locking in their profits at an even slower rate - hence an ascending wedge. As the amount of new retail interest in the stock market started slowed down, the amount of new bulls started to decline. It looks like Friday might have been the start of the bearish sentiment taking over, meaning it’s likely that 293 was the top, unless any significant bullish events happen in the next two weeks like a fourth round of stimulus, in which case we might see 300. This doesn’t mean we’ll instantly go back to circuit breakers on Monday, and we might see 282 -> 274 -> 284 -> 274 happen before panic, this time by the first-time investors, eventually bringing us down towards SPY 180. tldr; we've reached the top EDIT - I'll keep a my live thoughts here as we move throughout this week in case anyone's still reading this and interested. 5/4 8PM - /ES was red last night but steadily climbed, which was expected since 1h RSI was borderline oversold, leaving us to a slightly green day. /ES looks like it has momentum going up, but is approaching towards overbought territory now. Expecting it to go towards 284 (possibly where we'll open tomorrow) and bouncing back down from that price level 5/5 Market Open - Well there goes my price target. I guess at this point it might go up to 293 again, but will need a lot of momentum to push back there to 300. Seems like this is being driven by oil prices skyrocketing. 5/5 3:50PM - Volume for the upwards price action had very little volume behind it. Seeing a selloff EOD today, could go either way although I have a bearish bias. Going to hold cash until it goes towards one end of the 274-293 channel (see last week's thesis). Still believe that we will see it drop below 274 next week, but we might be moving sideways in the channel this week and a bit of next week before that happens. Plan for tomorrow is buy short dated puts if open < 285. Otherwise, wait till it goes to 293 before buying those puts 5/5 6PM - What we saw today could be a false breakout above 284. Need tomorrow to open below 285 for that to be confirmed. If so, my original thesis of it going back down to 274 before bouncing back up will still be in play. 5/6 EOD - Wasn't a false breakout. Looks like it's still forming the head-and-shoulders pattern mentioned before, but 288 instead of 284 as the level. Still not sure yet so I'm personally going to be holding cash and waiting this out for the next few days. Will enter into short positions if we either go near 293 again or drop below 270. Might look into VIX calls if VIX goes down near 30. 5/7 Market Open - Still waiting. If we break 289 we're probably heading to 293. I'll make my entry to short positions when we hit that a second time. There's very little bullish momentum left (see MACD 1D), so if we hit 293 and then drop back down, we'll have a MACD crossover event which many traders and algos use as a sell signal. Oil is doing some weird shit. 5/7 Noon - Looks like we're headed to 293. Picked up VIX 32.5c 5/27 since VIX is near 30. 5/7 11PM - /ES is hovering right above 2910, with 4h and 1h charts are bullish from MACD and 1h is almost overbought in RSI. Unless something dramatic happens we'll probably hit near 293 tomorrow, which is where I'll get some SPY puts. We might drop down before ever touching it, or go all the way to 295 (like last time) during the day, but expecting it to close at or below 293. After that I'm expecting a gap down Monday as we start the final leg down next week towards 274. Expecting 1D MACD to crossover in the final leg down, which will be a signal for bears to take over and institutions / day traders will start selling again 5/8 Market Open - Plan is to wait till a good entry today, either when technicals looks good or we hit 293, and then buy some SPY June 285p and July 275p 5/8 Noon - Everything still going according to plan. Most likely going to slowly inch towards 293 by EOD. Will probably pick up SPY puts and more VIX calls at power hour (3 - 4PM). Monday will probably gap down, although there's a small chance of one more green / sideways day before that happens if we have bullish catalysts on the weekend. 5/8 3:55PM - SPY at 292.60. This is probably going to be the closest we get to 293. Bought SPY 290-260 6/19 debit spreads and 292-272 5/15 debit spreads, as well as doubling down on VIX calls from yesterday, decreasing my cost basis. Still looks like there's room for one more green day on Monday, so I left some money on the side to double down if that's the case, although it's more likely than not we won't get there. 5/8 EOD - Looks like we barely touched 293 exactly AH before rebounding down. Too bad you can't buy options AH, but more convinced we'll see a gap down on Monday. Going to work on another post over the weekend and do my updates there. Have a great weekend everyone!
The year was 2012, and we were all supposed to die in December. It was my freshman year of college. I was settling in quite well. I made friends with a bunch of people in our residence hall, we hit it off immediately. We started going out on the weekends, starting with thirsty Thursday, which turns out is actually a thing. I had more than one room mate. We lived in a four person suite with two bedrooms. I had a full ride to my University, so I had a lot of extra money to spend on my living arrangements and meal plan. Oh yeah, I was also a huge pothead. I made friends with the dealer on my floor and started buying him extra meals in exchange for weed. That's when one of my room mates came to me with a proposition. He asked me if I knew what bitcoins were. I did not. He explained the virtual currency and how it worked. Then he really laid it all out. He told me that he had quite a lot of bitcoins and that he wants to get into selling weed. It all sounded great, but I wasn't sure what he needed me for. He then told me that he doesn't really talk to anyone and that he always sees me with people and going to parties every weekend. Okay, this makes sense. He told me how the operation would work, and it sounded swell. For the record, I was eighteen and very stupid. Anyway, he would purchase the drugs from the Silk Road, a dark website where you can buy literally fucking anything. Our friend Noah would then get the goods delivered to his apartment, which had a mailroom with hundreds of mailboxes. This was good because it would be just a little bit less suspicious, also his apartment was not on our campus. Then we'd package everything there and move it to our dorm, which had it's own security. We lived in North Philadelphia, so the security and police were always looking out for the students. After we safely had the products, I would find the buyers. Our first shipment went well. We ordered a half pound of weed, a gram of hash, ten hits of LSD, a small bag of opium (for us), and 1000mg of Alprazolam extract for my room mate's personal anxiety treatment. We got into this business to become weed salesmen. That weed took forever to sell. Everyone who sold weed already had good connections from their hometowns. The LSD though, that sold in five fucking minutes to one buyer who was interested in buying much more than ten hits. He asked us if we could sell him a couple hundred tabs. He said he'd pay $350 for each sheet of 100. We looked at the price per sheet on the Silk Road. It would cost us only $80 each. Yes sir, we can absolutely sell you a couple sheets. We told him we'd call him when it arrived. Later that night we brewed some opium tea and celebrated entering the LSD business. We bought the sheets for him, and we also bought two extras in case anyone else wanted some. The next shipment came with no problems. Our friend came over and bought the sheets we had promised him. We made nearly $800 on that deal. We thought that was a lot, so we celebrated. Later that same day, while smoking a blunt in our courtyard, I made friends with some art students. They invited me to their dorm on the third floor. I agreed, went with them, and we listened to music and painted the walls of the dorm room which was super against the rules. They started talking about how they had taken magic mushrooms two weeks before and how it was life changing. I told them I had two-hundred hits of acid in my room. I've never seen people get so excited in my entire life. They bought all of it. They paid $400 for each sheet. Seemingly out of nowhere we made $600. Again, we thought this was a lot. My room mate was really happy with my networking abilities. Dude, I was just getting high with some hipster art students. I didn't really possess the "networking skills" that everyone thought I had. We went online and purchased another five sheets. We started getting a bit more confident in our ability to sell this magic money making paper. That week I was in one of my classes and had to do a group project with a kid named Eddy. We went to his apartment to work on the project after class. Eddy had an apartment off campus because he was an upperclassman. On the way he asked if I smoked weed. Of course. He said he had something to show me. When we got there he showed me a small weed plant he was growing. It was an adorable little plant in a flower pot by the window. I asked if he needed any weed and he said that he did not. We smoked a bit and then her offered me a Xanax. I had never taken Xanax, so I googled the pill he offered me. Alprazolam. Huh, that's funny. I told him I had 1000mg of alprazolam in my room. This excited him. I asked my room mate if he was willing to sell some of his private stash. Eddy only wanted to buy around 100 milligrams. He agreed and I brought Eddy to my dorm. We gave it to him for the cool price of $150, a slick markdown from what he was paying. After all we hadn't even planned on selling that stuff. He asked how we got it so cheap and if we could get anything else. We told him that we sell LSD. He said he loves hallucinogens and would love to purchase a sheet, so he did. Four sheets left. If we sell them, we can get a new and faster computer. The weekend came and I was hanging out with two of my friends from our residence hall. Joe, who was really chill and loved smoking weed as much as I did. And Bianca, who was so cool that it frightened me. She was really intimidating. I had a huge crush on her, but she was "talking" to a kid that lived in Johnson and Hardwick hall. Bianca was the type of person you see in movies about cool kids doing cool things. A character who has a lot of depth, but it takes nearly the whole movie to slowly peel back the layers, and by that time you're in love. I told her if we sold the rest of our acid I'd buy her a new tattoo. She was covered in them. That night Joe was going to take us to his friend Jamie's house. We were going to try cocaine for the first time. I was terrified. Not only was I terrified about trying cocaine, but I was scared of doing it with Bianca. I just didn't know how I would act, and I didn't want to do something stupid. We arrived at Jamie's house. Jamie was also intimidating. His house was what your typical trap house looked like at the time, with a bunch of really expensive music equipment. Everybody wanted to be a rapper or a D.J. that year. He introduced all his friends and offered us lines of coke. Here we go. Joe went first, he'd already done some before. Bianca went next without hesitation. Now it was my turn. I remember my hand shaking with the rolled up bill between my fingers. I chose the smallest line and sniffed. It did not taste anything like I expected. Five minutes went by. Oh, this is what cocaine is like. It was so underwhelming. It was also some thoroughly stepped on shit. I know that now because since then I've done some foreign blow that literally almost made my heart stop. Anyway, Jamie and I got to talking, mostly about his "music career". Jamie told me if I ever wanted to buy cocaine in bulk to hit him up. I laughed and told him if he ever wanted to buy LSD in bulk to hit me up. I was half joking. He looked at me with the straightest face and asked if I was serious. Honestly, this Jamie guy really scared the shit out of me. He was a good ten inches taller than me and the whole scene was really starting to freak me out. I told him I was serious though. He told me to come with him. He brought me into his room and closed the door. In the room it was quiet. The walls were sound proofed. I looked around and the room was full of money, cocaine, and guns. Okay, he's probably not going to kill me. I hope. He then asked about my LSD connection. I told him I could get sheets for $350. He said he wanted books. Books? This guy wants books? I didn't know this at the time, but a book is a thousand hits of LSD. I told him I had to talk to some people and I would let him know the price, but that I could definitely make it happen. We went back into the party and he gave me line after line of cocaine. Joe offered him money for the lines, but Jamie told him not to pay. He said your friend here bought you guys as much coke as you want for the night. Honestly, that made me feel really cool. After the party I talked to my room mate and told him what happened. We looked up the price of a book on the Silk Road. $300. Not only could we have saved a lot of money if we had just bought a book from the start, but we were going to make a lot more money selling by the book. The days of getting excited over $800 were about to come to an abrupt end. I talked to Jamie and asked how much he would be willing to pay for each book. He said he would pay no more than $3000 for each book. We decided we would sell him the books for $2,800 each. He agreed and asked how many we had. I said we can start with five books. He agreed. This was perfect. Not only were we about to make more money than we had ever expected, but acid was incredibly easy to ship. They were basically sheets of paper. Our supplier used to send it to us in between the pages of large children's coloring books. The books, or prints, as our supplier called them, blended with the kid's books very well. Our prints consisted of a large picture of Bart Simpson, The Grateful Dead bears, and a double rainbow portrait. If you didn't know what acid was, you wouldn't know these were drugs. We made nearly $14,000 from that first deal. Over the course of a few months we would sell close to thirty-thousand hits of LSD. We had $75,000 in cash sitting in an empty bedroom at Noah's apartment. I stopped going to class. My room mate had filled his entire room with computer parts and instruments. Noah, well we didn't really see him much, but he was always present when we needed a shipment. We broke our cardinal rule of not getting high on our own supply. We took a lot of acid that semester. It was an extremely enlightening period for us. Things in my world began to take on entirely new meaning. I had a newfound appreciation for things I had never noticed. The connections with my friends became very strong and we talked about a lot of stuff that was just too deep for my other peers to even scratch the surface of. It was nice. By my birthday in February we had over $200,000 in cash. We didn't die in December, not that I thought we would, but some people were legitimately surprised. They were mostly art students. Things started getting a little crazy. My room mate and I were taking a lot of Xanax by this time and a lot of nights celebrating were never logged as memories. We always told ourselves we would only sell LSD. We had sparked a huge psychedelic scene in and around Philadelphia. There were literally parties where everyone was tripping acid. Many groups of people began taking acid and doing really creative stuff that I admired so much. So much good music and art was around during that period. I felt like I was living in San Fransisco in the middle 60's. It felt like we were part of this incredible scene that nobody outside of the city knew about. Of course every wave has to break and roll back. It was getting close to the summer. I hadn't been to class in months. We hadn't seen Noah since the previous shipment about a month prior. It was a regular weekday, but I wasn't going to class, so I took two hits of acid. I spent most of that evening and night writing and yapping into my tape recorder. I was on the subject of togetherness and how there are so many things that are so incredible that we never notice even though they're right in front of us. Acid talk. I was looking at a glass of water, thinking about its importance, and how so many of us take it for granted. That's when my room mate came home. This was my room mate though. Remember, we had a two bedroom, four person suite. My room mate, who was never involved in our operation. He was obliterated, and not from alcohol. This was something else. He limped into the room and collapsed on the bed. I immediately got the rest of my room mates together. That's when Christian told me what transpired earlier while I was locked in the bedroom tripping acid. He told me that my room mate had broken up with his girlfriend, took an entire bottle of lorazepam, and tried to cut his leg open with my biology scalpel. What the fuck. I examined his leg and he did not try to cut it open, he succeeded. He had a gigantic cut all the way down his lower leg that was fixed up by his father who is a surgeon. His father then brought him back to the dorm. The condition he was in was terrifying. He was breathing, but not well. His heart rate was also very low and we had to monitor him for the remainder of the night, taking shifts to make sure he didn't stop breathing. I couldn't believe his father had brought him back in the condition he was in. The next morning I was exhausted. My room mate and I, the one with the bitcoins, left and went to Noah's apartment to relax for an hour. While we were gone Bianca was to watch over him with her room mate. When we got to Noah's we had a new problem. Noah hadn't gotten out of bed for what looked like weeks. He had ran out of his antidepressants and was in bad shape. At this point I checked out. I walked into the living room and opened a bottle of champagne. I poured a glass, popped a Xanax, and sat on the sofa. I was still a little foggy from my acid trip and I hadn't slept all night. That's when my phone rang. It was Bianca. I answered the phone and her first words were: "Your room is full of police.". Well, it's been a good run. On my desk were a couple thousand hits of LSD and a handgun. In the other bedroom were numerous unopened box's of expensive computer parts, scales and drug paraphernalia galore, and a large pile of white powdered alprazolam. That room also smelled heavily of weed because there was a half pound out in the open. We had gotten very sloppy. I asked her if my room mate was okay. She said that's why the police are there. She said his mom was trying to reach him and he wasn't answering her, so she called the police for a wellness check. Bianca then started talking to someone and hung up the phone. We pondered whether or not to flee the country and become outlaws. We did after all have all the cash here at Noah's. Close to a million dollars. Maybe more. Because we were getting sloppy, we had also started selling hash, Xanax, LSD, 25i-NBOMe, 2c-b, 2c-i, 2c-E, Mescaline, cocaine, MDMA, MDA, LSA, clonazepam, ativan, and other various designer drugs. We were going down for a long time. I started thinking about my life. It literally was flashing before my eyes. I thought about my high school crush, and how I should have been more upfront with her about how much I liked her. I loved her. I thought about the time we slept in the same bed and I couldn't fall asleep because I couldn't believe she was really laying next to me. I remembered how I never wanted to wake up next to anyone else. I thought about my trivial crush on Bianca and how shallow it really was. I thought about my parents and how they'd raised me better. How they did so much for me so that I could go away to college and have a better life than they had. I thought about sitting on the beach last summer without a care in the world. The "problems" in my life that seemed hilarious now. Will I go to prom? Is my car cool enough? My k/d ratio in Call of Duty. How could so much happen in less than a year? That's when Bianca called me again. I was terrified to pick up that phone. We looked outside to see if police were surrounding the apartment complex. They were not. I answered the phone. She said the police were gone. She had put my gun and LSD in my desk drawer. The police never entered the other bedroom. It was just a wellness check. An ambulance came and took my room mate. He was going to be okay. I hugged my partner in crime and we cried. I wish I could tell you we cleaned up our lives after that. My room mate with the bitcoins developed a really dangerous drug habit after that. He spent most of his money on drugs over the next few years. I went back to class after that summer, but stopped going again because I wanted to party instead and start a career as a writer. I failed out of college. Throughout the years I went on numerous adventures all around the world. I have hundreds of stories, I just have to write them. Oh and I have to learn how to write properly. I don't use a lot of drugs today, and I don't encourage people to use drugs. I have unfortunately lost many friends during the opiate epidemic. Weed is cool though, I like weed. I wouldn't tell people to smoke it, but I'll never shame someone for enjoying some cannabis. Actually, I don't really shame people for anything, it's just not my place to judge anyone. Feel free to judge me though, about how my dorm became a drug superhighway. \*Thanks for reading, more stories available on my blog. There's a link on my profile.* Edit: This story is based around actual events that I have experienced.
Why I Bought Nexo Over Celsius (CEL) & Crypto.com (MCO)
Personally until last week, I haven't touched this space since the the end of 2017 when bitcoin hit 20k. But now everything has changed. I'm back in it now because I started hearing about DeFi and how you can earn massive interest rates on your crypto. I was shocked when I saw you could earn 10% interest from Nexo, and on fiat! That's 10x more than what my bank offers me. It's an incredible deal and Celsius, Crypto Com (CDC), BlockFi also offer similar things. When I saw that these were all legitimate companies with solid product I knew I had to get into this now before it was too late. https://preview.redd.it/wxzc8a0ziea51.png?width=1184&format=png&auto=webp&s=2c717f10b911c1264ef36a08870401d30372dea7 DeFi is growing like crazy, and when everyone was offering massive interest rates on their deposits I know CeFi (centralized finance) will follow because the user experience is 10x easier for most people like me. So I had to pick. It was Nexo vs. Celsius vs. CDC vs. Blockfi And I think there's never been a better time than right now. So after doing research, I chose Nexo for these 5 reasons.
No Lock-in Terms
Fast Growing Company
Profitability Back in 2017 I invested in a ton of "shitcoins" with no product and no customers and lost a lot... What I like about Nexo is that not only did have an awesome product, it has massive growth of its core crypto credit line product. They have massive double digit growth month on month. Nexo, on average, much lends at 12% and borrows at 8%. So they make 4% APR on their loans. So from their $217 M in loans this year they would earn somewhere around $8M in profit (if each loan took a year to repay). But that's a decent ballpark figure. You can see these figures at https://nexostatistics.com/ for more information. https://preview.redd.it/wadznkpwhea51.png?width=2036&format=png&auto=webp&s=ce7b2ec7d39eb00f6dc5f8840bbcc6843b0dd047 So that's an incredible feat for a new company, and the ability to take a loan against your crypto saves you in several ways For taxes you only pay after you've sold your crypto or shares, but by taking a loan against them you can delay that period so it's very tax efficient. There's no credit check so if you have credit cards loans at 20% APR then this will help you tremendously because you can borrow at 6%. With all this profit, Nexo is creating a massive war chest to take over the CeFi space. But what about the competition? 2. No lock-in terms Now lets have a look at the competition. There are 3 other big players in this space. Crypto com (CDC) is the biggest as their CRO token took off and broke into the top 10. But if you want to get their best interest rates you need lock-in your investment for a minimum period of 3 months. In this economy where it feels like we can have a second crash. I'm a lot happier knowing I can withdraw it whenever I want. On flexible terms, for in-kind currency, Nexo wins letting you earn up to 10% over 8% the other big 3. 3. Massive Roadmap I've watched and transcribed nearly every video Antoni Trenchev has done. And he gives a few hints of the roadmap for Nexo. Here's a short summary:
Nexo is trying to either acquire a company or get their own banking license (like Revolut and Monzo) so they have more flexibility in their operations. It would be a huge step for a crypto company to get this and shows their ambition
This will be similar to CDC and they'll offer generous cash back incentives of 2% when you get your credit card.
Currently Nexo has done this massive growth without incentivised referrals, and when they turn this tap the company can likely see a lot of users pouring in for their great savings rates and crypto credit lines.
Exchanges and more Coins
Again, the ability to crypto within the eco system will go a long way to keeping users within the system. The plan is to let users buy and stake virtually any legitimate crypto coin. And with this massive roadmap, the core principle they started with by sharing back with the community, they keep everyone's incentives aligned. 4. Dividends Nexo currently offers 30% of their profits to all their users on a once a year basis. This is great because it gives the Nexo token some actual utility and incentives long-term holding. It also makes Nexo more transparent because they're sharing their profits from all their crypto credit loans. This year they'll announce on August 5th so there's still some time to get yours. Current estimates are around 5% ROI from current token price. 5. Fast Growing Company When I first started researching each of these CeFi companies I looked at their linked to see who was hiring the most. I like to look at what companies do as well as what they say they're doing. I noticed that celsius had very low growth, whereas BlockFi and Nexo were growing like crazy. Anyone who's not feeling confident about a business will immediately slow down hiring. But if you're more ambitious then you'll start hiring in order to increase your companies' growth. Nexo has 15-42% growth rate in terms of employees. (It's hard to say because apparently there's another company on Linkedin called Nexo that messes up the numbers). But it should be in this ballpark. https://preview.redd.it/b57lymjxhea51.png?width=648&format=png&auto=webp&s=e8eee982b610886d3cb8fda8d083345ce7c1ed2d Summary So when you have this killer combination of future update on the way, of dividens coming out in August, and company that's investing in its future. You know that Nexo could follow what happened with Crypto.com and have this massive influx of investment into the Nexo token. CDC CRO token broke into the top 10, and with Nexo boasting profitability, user growth, employee growth, and some stunning updates that are about to being launched I can see several reasons why price keeps trending upwards. We could also see Nexo climb up the rankings as people start investing Nexo more and more.
Attention incoming interns! Here's a list of TIPS I WISH I KNEW starting my intern year, some things you can start working on now and some less commonly discussed but very important parts of your job
It’s that time of year and yet again I’ve seen plenty of incoming interns asking what they can do to prepare. I wrote this post to share some tips for all of the not-exactly-medical stuff I wish I knew before I started intern year and to share a few things that interns can do before they start to feel like they’re well prepared for the long white coat. As a quick background, I was a surgery intern in the first half of the 2010s and much of this is informed by my notes and memories from that time in addition to everything I’ve learned since, particularly about professionalism both in medicine and in the business world with work I’ve done in the healthcare startup arena. I’m also not perfect and very much a work in progress myself and, outside the intern-specific items here, I try to do most of these things myself—sometimes more successfully than others. So take what you think are good ideas here, leave what you don’t think would be useful, and if anyone else has anything to add, please feel free to chime in. TL;DR: Intern year is hard. Here are some not-so-commonly-disucussed tips that may help.
1. Being an effective intern is, at its core, about being responsible, effective and reliable.
Your day to day responsibilities are nearly always dominated by the need to get things done and to do so in a manner that lets your other team members focus on their own roles and responsibilities. What about learning clinical medicine? You'll learn plenty and fast. Don't worry. When reading through these tips below, view them from an angle of “would this help me develop an effective system for making sure everything gets done and nothing falls through the cracks?”
2. For your in-the-hospital life as well as your outside-the-hospital life, remember this one thing: you will forget.
You will be busy and have responsibilities in a way you likely have never experienced before. This will naturally make the day-to-day things in life more difficult than you’re used to so developing ways to outsmart your forgetful brain will pay off.
3. You are a professional now. This is your career. You’re in it.
It’s easy to view your life as a trainee as a sort of advanced student or something in between a student and a “real doctor”. But that’s not true. View yourself as a professional building your career. Your intern year is just the first step of that career. You’re a real doctor as much as any other now.
4. One of the hardest things about being an intern or resident is dealing with feelings of isolation. It will take work to actively manage and overcome those feelings.
Imposter syndrome, feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing or that you don’t belong, feeling like you’re not the person you used to be, that you don’t have time to do all the “normal” things that other people do, thinking your co-residents or attendings think you’re dumb, feeling that you don’t have time for friends/family/hobbies, ruminating on “what if I screw this up and hurt a patient?”, or “this doesn’t matter -- the patient is going to XX or YY anyway” etc are all common feelings and they all share the same undercurrent of feeling isolated in one way or another. You need to actively work to find ways to confront and overcome these feelings or else they will control you. When they control you, you’re burned out. It may not seem like it at first, but nearly every single tip below is geared towards avoiding feelings of isolation. Feeling like you’re not in control of your finances will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re losing a handle on your relationships will make you feel isolated. Feeling like you’re behind on your email and haven’t done all the little things in life you need to do will make you feel isolated. Read these tips through that lens.
What you can do before you start
1. Organize and update your contacts. Seriously.
Here are some ways it can help you maintain and grow your relationships.
Use the ‘Notes’ feature in your contacts for everyone important in your life and all the new people meet.
You will forget your friends’ kids names and ages. Every time you get a birth announcement or see a post on social media, go to your friend’s contact, edit the notes and put in the info. Then, when you reach out to your friends, ask about their kids...by name.
You will forget your friends’ boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/partner’s name, especially if you’ve never met them or haven’t seen them for a long time. Put their name in your friends’ card with a note like “Started seeing Sam in June 2020, he/she’s a software engineer”. Someone you know gets married? Add their wedding date to their card.
You will forget how you knew people in your contacts. Met at a conference? Was a medical student on your heme onc service? Friend-of-a-friend you met at a wedding? Someone shares an interest you have? Make a note in their contact card. Tip: these notes are for you, not them. So if someone reminds you of an actor, or didn’t stop talking about bitcoin, make a note. It will help because you will forget.
Tag your contacts or add them to lists and use those tags/lists to your advantage.
Make lists or tags for your family, your medical school friends, your undergrad friends, your coresidents, your attendings, your medical students, the hospitals you’ll be working at, etc. Put those lists or tags to use like this:
You will forget to stay in touch with people important to you. Set reminders in your phone for every week / two weeks / month, etc to pull up a list (family, medical school friends, etc), pick someone on that list you haven’t chatted with in a while and text them and ask them how they’re doing. Aim to start a conversation, ask about what’s happening in their life. Texts are more personal and meaningful than liking a post on social media or sharing a meme. Initiating conversations with your friends and family will help you feel connected and will increase the likelihood they reach out to you.
Don’t label your medical students like “MS3 Laura” or “Sub-I Juan”, etc. Label them with their full name and treat them like the colleagues they are. Put them on a list, clear it out next year if you want, but don’t treat them as “MS3 XXX“ or “MS4 YYY”. I’m sure you remember feeling like a nameless/faceless medical student at times in school and I’m sure you didn’t love it. So don’t repeat that behavior. Add a note or two about them while you’re at it. Take enough interest in your medical students to treat them well. You never know when or how you’ll cross paths with them again.
If you rotate through different hospitals, you will forget which “ED” or “PACU” or “nursing station 3rd floor” numbers are which. Tag them or put them on a list. It’ll make finding them when you need them much easier.
2. Use a good note taking app and a good task manager app to help with both your in-hospital life and your outside-of-the-hospital life.
Here are some ways to use a notes app.
Make a note for each rotation you’re on. Add in any unstructured tips as they come up, like “Send all of Dr. X’s patients home with Y”, “Use the call room in the basement outside of the locker room, passcode 1234”, “Park in the X lot on the weekends”, “Dr. A likes to manage Z with Y”, “The case manager, NAME, usually sits at the computer behind the 2nd floor nurses station”, etc. Don't overthink them, just write them down when they come up. Review those notes the next time you rotate through because you will forget all those little things and they will help you in the future.
Create a master grocery list of all things you typically get at the grocery store. Share it with a roommate/partner so they can keep it updated too. That way if you ever stop to pick something up, you can review the list to make sure there’s nothing you’ll forget.
Make master lists for other things in your life too like “packing for a conference”, “packing for a family trip”, “Target/Wal-Mart household master list” so you can quickly review anytime something comes up so you minimize the chance of forgetting something
Make notes for all of the other stuff you have to manage in your life like your car, your apartment/house, your loans, etc and update them every time you work on that thing. Change your loan repayment? Add it to the note. Have to get your brakes fixed? Add to the note where you got it done, how much it cost, etc. Talk to your landlord about fixing the shower? Add it to the note. Have to call the medical board to sort something out with a license? Add it to the note.
I like two note apps on iOS: Bear for personal notes since it’s fast and has great tagging and Apple’s Notes app for shared notes
Pick a good task manager app and use it for all the things in your life that aren’t your day-to-day work
Cousin getting married and you can go to the wedding? Make tasks to ensure your time off, book your travel, buy a gift, rent a hotel room, etc. Then put all the relevant info into your note because...you will forget.
Pandemic is over and you get to present a poster at a conference? Make tasks to review your draft with your coauthors, print your poster, book your travel, submit your reimbursement, etc. Then put all the relevant info into a note. Otherwise, you’ll forget.
I like Things and have also liked OmniFocus. There is a ton of content on how to set one of these things up for productivity so review it and use it YouTube search
3. Take charge of your finances
When I was an intern, I figured all I had to do was pay my loans and not go into more debt. I wish I had done the following instead:
Read these two books: The White Coat Investor and I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Both are very good and have different strengths. The WCI is directly applicable to you and will help educate you in ways medical school didn’t about your financial future. IWTYTBR is much more of a “millennial” book but it’s very good for explaining big concepts and for providing a system to set yourself up for success. They’re both easy and relatively quick reads and don’t require any financial background. WCI is fine as an e-book but IWTY has a bunch of dialog boxes that make the e-book a poor experience, get a physical new or used copy.
Set up a budget. I use and swear by You Need A Budget. It’s the best money I spend every year. Their system is easy and straightforward and it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
4. Update your CV now and keep it updated regularly
You will no doubt have to share your CV with someone at some point whether it’s for fellowship or a research project or any number of things. The time to work on it is not when someone says “can you share your CV?” -- that’s a recipe for omissions, typos and mistakes. The only thing you should be doing every time you share your CV is giving it a quick once-over to make sure you don’t spot any mistakes and to make sure it’s up to date There are plenty of templates online and your training institution may even have a preferred format somewhere on their website. Your ERAS application will give you a good head start but most of your medical school CV lines will either be condensed or removed all together unless something was particularly notable. You can almost always find example CVs online from senior people in your department or institution with a quick web search -- use a few as a guide Set a reminder / task to update your CV at regular intervals. Quarterly is good, yearly at least. Save new versions of it each time so you can refer to the old ones if you need to and name them in a way to let you know you’re always sharing the most recent version, e.g., LASTNAME_FIRST NAME_CV_2020-06. You will forget if the one marked “CV” only is the right one you want to share.
5. Subscribe to a couple of newsletters to stay up to date with the world outside of your hospital
For general news, your preferred newspaper probably has a daily email briefing. Otherwise, Axios AM/PM and Politico’s Playbook are both very good quick reads to stay up to date with current events.
Keep up with healthcare news so you know what’s going on in the healthcare system broadly
Politico’s Pulse and Morning eHealth are both very good and have quick facts at the beginning if you just want to skim
Rock Health’s Rock Weekly is a decent summary of each week in the healthcare startup and technology world
Pick a few of these and aim to get through them each day. If you can’t get through them, unsubscribe to the ones you think are least relevant to you so you never feel “behind” in staying up with the news. You can breeze through the few you pick in a few minutes here and there throughout the day -- don’t make it any harder than that to feel like you’re “up to date” on the news.
General tips for maintaining relationships
For any romantic relationship, do these things if you don’t already:
1. Make a rule: no phones at the table. * Don’t put your phone on the table face-up. Don’t put your phone on the table face-down. Keep your phone off the table and set to silent. * Focus on the person in front of you and show them you care about them by paying attention to them. We all know what it feels like to be with someone more interested in their screen than in interacting with you. If you’re on call, say “sorry, I’m on call, I may have to check something here and there”, apologize if you do check it and then put your phone away. 2. Make another rule: no phones in bed * Same principle as at the table. Want to feel like two strangers just passing through life who just so happen to share the same bed? Wake up, reach for your phone and scroll through your feeds like a zombie before getting out of bed. Same idea before bed. Your phone can wait. 3. If you’re at the point where you share finances, set a regular meeting to review how you’re doing. * Ideally, this is a “red, yellow or green” meeting and should only take a few minutes. Money can be a big conflict issue for relationships and avoiding talking about money is a surefire way to eventually turn to conflict. If you have a budget and shared goals, this should be quick. * A monthly check-in is good. Create a recurring calendar event, attach the shared notes or spreadsheet document you use, add your goals for the meeting and honor the meeting when it comes around.
Eat with people who are important to you, if you can.
There’s something about sharing a meal that’s special in human nature. Friends who are important to you? Partners? Mentors you’re looking to get to know better after you’ve had a few chats? Try to eat with them when you can. And keep your phone off the table.
The same idea works with your coresidents and teams in the hospital. Eat with them if you can. Eating with others builds, strengthens and maintains relationships. Keep your phone off the table if you can.
Think about it this way: who would you consider a better mentor, the person you’ve met with a few times in their office where they sit behind their desk and you in front of them while they glance at their computer screen every time it pings or the person who’s invited you to get coffee or food and they kept their phone away the whole time? Now turn that around and realize the power of the message you can send to people you care about by trying to eat with them and show them they have your full attention.
1. Learn to think about tasks as a continuum from start to finish instead of as a binary 'done/not done'.
Let’s say you have to order a CT for a patient of yours.
Instead of marking the task as complete the second you place the order for the CT, recognize that the whole task is not just placing the order, but also knowing when your patient is going down to the scanner, when they’re back, when the CT is up in the system, when the report is up and also that you’ve looked at the CT yourself and have read the report.
When your senior or attending asks you, “Did patient X get their CT?”, a not-so-great answer is “Yes” or “No”. A better answer is “they’re down at the scanner now” or “the scan’s done but it hasn’t been read yet. Want to look at it?” or “Yes, it’s negative for XXX but did show YYY”.
Whatever system you eventually adopt for your day-to-day task management in the hospital, whether it’s a list or index cards or a printed signout sheet, make sure you’re tracking both when orders go in, when they’re complete, when they’re cancelled, etc. Just marking things as complete once you place the order isn’t enough.
2. Signout is taken, not given.
What I mean by this is that when you take signout, that means you’re accepting responsibility for those patients. They might be your patients, you might be cross-covering, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when those patients are your responsibility, it’s your responsibility to get what you need to know to take care of them. Is someone signing out to you in a hurry and not giving you what you need? Ask them for that relevant past medical history, those exam findings, and so on. It’s not enough for the person handing off to say “we’re worried about x or y”, you’ve got to follow that up with “in case of x or y, is there a plan for what the team wants me to do?”. Get the answers you need. A lot of covering patients on call is playing defense whereas the primary team generally plays offense. But that doesn’t mean you can play defense in isolation. The last thing you want is for the primary team to feel surprised by your choices.
* Here’s two ways for the above example to go when turning the patients you were covering back over the next day or whatever: 1. You: “For patient so-and-so, you said you were worried about x or y. Y happened.” Them: “What did you do?”. You: “Z”. Them: “Shit, my attending’s not gonna like that”. 2. You “Y happened so I did A like you said, it went fine and here’s the current status”. Them: “Great, thanks” * See the difference?
Along the lines of taking responsibility for those patients, that means that if you couldn’t get the information you needed at signout then you have to go and see those patients and get the information you need yourself.
You’ll hear this idea said a bunch of different ways like “trust but verify”, “trust no one” and your comfort level will change over the year as you become more confident and comfortable. But always error on the side of going to see the patient and getting your own information at the start.
3. If you will be miserable without something when you’re in the hospital, bring it with you. You won’t reliably be able to find it at the hospital every time you need it.
Need coffee otherwise you turn into a demon? Bring it with you. You never know when you’ll get caught doing something and won’t be able to run to the cafeteria for your fix.
On call overnight and know you need food so you don’t go insane? Bring it with you. Here’s a hospital food rule: never rely on the hospital's ability to feed you. The hospital will let you down sooner or later, I guarantee it.
Know you always get cold on call? The day you forget your jacket/sweatshirt is the day you won’t be able to find a spare blanket in the hospital to save your life. Put a backup in your locker (if your hospital respects you enough to give you one).
Miscellaneous productivity, professionalism and lifestyle tips
1. Aim to “touch” everything only once
Example: your physical mail. You know, the stuff made of dead trees that accumulates in that box you check every once in a while. For every piece of mail you get, you should either trash it, file it, or act on it. Don’t touch it until you’re ready to do one of those things.
Example: your email. Either delete it, archive it, reply to it or do the thing it’s telling you to do right away. Don’t fall into the trap of using your inbox as a to-do list -- that’s a recipe to get burned. Use a task manager for your to-do list and aim to keep your inbox at zero. Realize that email’s true power is communication and use it as a communication tool and nothing else.
I’ll use the example of going to a wedding again as something to “touch once”. Aim to accomplish all the tasks at once or at least create tasks and reminders to complete those tasks all in one go. Respond to the RSVP, create the calendar invite with all the information from the invitation, share the calendar event with your date, book your travel, book your hotel, book your rental car, buy your gift from the registry and set a reminder to get your suit/dress cleaned a few weeks ahead, etc.
2. Lean to use your calendar as a tool
Professionals in the “real world” tend to live and die by their calendars. Some people, especially many senior people in medicine, don’t manage their own calendars. But you manage yours. With it you can:
Make sure all events—even small ones like dates or errands you want to run—have locations so all you have to do is click the location for directions
Send invites to friends / family / coworkers for anything you talk about doing that has the relevant info
Make reminders for yourself to prepare for upcoming events, i.e.., don’t count on seeing your parents’/spouses’/whomever’s birthday “coming up” to remind you to get a gift or send a card. Create an event two weeks before their birthday that says “Buy Mom a birthday card”, set it to repeat yearly and buy a card when it comes up, send it a few days later and don’t worry that it won’t get there in time.
3. Learn to use email well
Ever get an email from someone and feel their tone was terse, condescending or rude? Don’t be that person. Error on the side being polite and professional and writing in complete sentences without textspeak. It’s not hard — you type fast, even with your thumbs, I’m sure of it.
Learn to communicate effectively. Keep it short but not terse. State why you’re writing to someone, be clear if you’re asking a question, and think about it this way: “How am I making it as easy as possible for this person to understand why I’m emailing them and do what I’m asking them to do?
Don’t use a canned salutation like “Best, NAME” or even worse: “Best, INITIALS”. Use your salutation to continue to communicate your message and remember that politeness and professionalism extend through your signature.
I don’t know why “Best,” is so common in medicine but it’s meaningless, unthoughtful, inherently passive aggressive and I seriously read it as if the person writing it were signing off by saying “Go f*ck yourself,”. Same thing for “Regards,” and its ilk, any abbreviation like “vr,” or any form of cutesy quote.
Write your salutation fresh each time. Did you ask someone for something? Say “Thank you for your help”. Are you writing someone senior to you and want to sound somewhat formal? “Sincerely,” never goes out of style. Are you sharing information and essentially writing a memo? Use “Please let me know if you have any questions”. Your salutation is communication, treat it that way.
Sign with your name, not your initials. Signing with initials is a common way senior people will try to remind you they’re senior to you. If you do it, it’s like you’re trying to prove you’re a Cool Guy Big Shot too. It never comes across well -- even for those senior people. Initials are terse. Lowercase initials are even terser. Although they may look different at first glance, all initial signatures functionally come across as ‘FU’. Write your name.
If it’s a few rounds back and forth of email, it’s normal drop salutations and signatures and treat email more like texting. Keep using complete sentences without textspeak, though. I promise you’ll come across better that way.
Use the ‘signature’ feature of your email client to share your professional details and contact information
Your institution (not department) will hopefully have a format for this that’s standardized and includes minimal or no graphics. If it doesn't, then I feel sorry for all the inevitable IT headaches you will eventually endure at your institution since they clearly underfund and undervalue contemporary IT and professional services. It’s the wild west out there so find some good examples of clean, professional signature formats and make one for yourself.
Note: this signature lives below your salutation and sign off. It’s essentially the letterhead for your email that lets your recipient fill in the details you may not otherwise provide like your department, mailing address or fax number. It’s not a replacement for signing off of your communication professionally.
Never use bold, italics, underlines or different font sizes in your emails. They only make emails harder to read and jumble your message.
If you want to highlight something, put it in a numbered or bulleted list.
If you can’t communicate what you want with 2-3 bulleted points, then email is not the right medium to use. Do you like reading long emails? Of course you don’t. Write a memo, attach it as a PDF or shared doc and use the email to tell your recipients to review the attachment.
You will eventually, in some way or another, ask someone to introduce you to one of their contacts and or refer you for something. Learn how to write a good forwardable email that utilizes the double opt-in concept and how to make it easy on the person doing you the favor. Read more here, here and here.
While you’re at it, understand the power of using CC and BCC to communicate effectively.
Aim to answer all emails written directly to you within 24 hours.
If you can’t respond fully right away, respond briefly saying you got the note and that you’ll work on it and get back to them. Set a reminder or create a task to do or review the thing and get back to them once you’ve done it.
Do you hate being left on read in text? You do it in email every time you don’t respond to someone in a timely fashion. It’s better to share a quick, “I got it and I’m working on it message” then not replying until days or weeks later.
4. Don’t let someone else’s negative energy and/or anxiety transfer to you
You will frequently experience things like this in the hospital:
A co-resident disagrees with a management decision made at rounds and mentions that so-and-so is an idiot. So-and-so probably isn’t an idiot. Your co-resident probably isn’t an idiot either. Form your own opinions from your own experiences.
A nurse pages you with a tone that says “THIS IS REALLY BAD”. It might be, go and see. And on your way, stay calm and go over the steps in your head of what you’d do if it is, in fact, REALLY BAD. But don’t freak yourself out before you even get to the room. You won’t be able to make decisions with a clear head if you’re already worked up.
You’re a surgery intern and all your patients are normally on the med-surg floor. Every once in a while, one goes somewhere like heme-onc if the med-surg floor is full. Someone on your team says something like “great, now they’re going to screw up our patient”. Recognize that that floor isn’t full of terrible nurses and may just have less experiences with lines and drains and that the best thing you can do is go down there, talk to the nurse and say “here’s what we want to be called about” and “this thing may look bad but it usually isn’t and we don’t need to be called, here’s why”, and so on. Doing things like this will mean you get fewer calls. Fewer calls are good.
Your attending is having a bad day and you’re not enjoying your interactions with them. Don’t let that make you have a bad day too. Medicine is hard enough as it is, stick to your own bad days instead adopting other people’s. Then pull up your friend list, text a buddy and feel better.
5. Don’t neglect your physical health. Trying to eat well and stay active are even more important when you’re insanely busy.
The #1 thing you can do to help your waistline is cook your own food and pack your own meals. It doesn’t matter what you cook or how good of a cook you are, as long as you’re aiming to pack meals that an adult would eat, it will be healthier than takeout and cafeteria food. It’s better for portion control, you control all the ingredients and you get a sense of satisfaction for being on the ball. It’s better in every way. I know it’s not realistic to always prep and pack your own food on the busiest of services but you should try to hit at least a percentage like 25% or 50% of your meals. There are no lost causes in your own health. It will be hard to exercise and work out. You should still try to do it anyway. You will go long stretches without exercising at times. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Every day is a chance to do the thing you want to do so get back out there.
6. If your social profiles are private, consider doing some housekeeping and making them public.
Instead of thinking about them as a liability to be that needs to be hidden, think about them as a narrative you can control. Nothing is private on the internet. Even your private profile. You never know who knows someone you know or what may get screenshotted and shared down the line. It’s natural to run a web search on anyone you’re meeting for a date, interviewing with for a job, or researching in general. When you search your own name, what comes up? What do you think when you’re searching for someone and they have a private page? Do you ever click on a few links to see professional stuff from LinkedIn, and then some social pages to see what else you learn? So does everyone else. Use your social pages to put forward a version of you that shows who you are, shows some interests true to yourself, makes you seem like a totally normal and reliable person (which is exactly what any potential date, partner, fellowship director or hiring manager is asking themselves about you) and doesn’t share enough information to let a patient show up at your door. Medicine lags behind other industries with people still commonly hiding behind private pages. In the tech world, it’s more strange to not have a public page. A private page says more about you that you might want to hide red flags whereas a public page says “go ahead and look, you won’t find any red flags”. One is much more powerful than the other.
Closing and something to read
When you view your professional life, it’s natural to view your professional relationships as being a binary one between patient and physician. That’s certainly essential and certainly important, but as a professional you now have relationships to consider with so many more types of people: co-residents, faculty in your department, faculty in other departments, administrators, support staff, medical students, and so on. Just as you had to learn how to work with patients, you will have to learn to work with all of the other people in your professional life. Truly effective professionals will treat all interactions importantly and give thought and consideration to each one. All these interactions and relationships will all affect your day-to-day experience, your well-being and, ultimately, your professional experience. You will find yourself being not just responsible for your patients, but also for yourself, your career and your relationships. It takes effort to succeed in all of those areas. And even with effort, sometimes you’ll be winning in an area and losing in others. And in a few months it will be different -- that’s just life. I want you to consider looking outside of books and resources written specifically for physicians when you’re trying to tackle these issues inside the hospital and out. Medicine is a much-smaller-than-you-realize bubble with a long history of personality-driven examples of “that’s just the way we do it” or “that’s how we’ve always done it”. There are good books about medicine out there, to be sure, but you’ll benefit more professionally by learning from the wide world outside of hospitals since there are quite simply many more successful and accomplished people who’ve written great resources for all aspects of professional life that medicine tends to ignore. I’d recommend you start with this book: Andy Grove’s High Output Management (a review by another Valley titan here). Andy escaped communist Hungary, taught himself English and rose to be CEO of Intel and went on to be a sage of Silicon Valley before he passed. This book is a how-to guide for how to be an effective professional in an organization (hint: you're now a professional in an organization) and if you’ve enjoyed this post at all, you’ll love this book. You may think that this book applies to ‘managers’ and ‘business’ and not medicine but you couldn’t be more wrong. Although it was probably written around the time you were born, nearly everything in this book is a lesson that directly applies to your professional life in medicine and when you start seeing it, you’ll feel like you’re in The Matrix. Congratulations! You've worked hard to get here. Be proud of yourself, your degree, your long white coat and be the best doctor you can be.
I've just confirmed. We can fight against cheat makers - go after their money.
TL;DR - Paypal does not tolerate cheat sellers operating on Paypal and will quickly move to shut down their payment. In line with the thread I made (linked below), making it harder or more expensive for people to buy cheats will reduce the number of people willing to jump through hoops to cheat. This is the only way we can fight back. Instructions how to do this are below. Last week I was looking at the inundated front-page of Warzone with nearly 100 posts per day about hackers. We as a community are fucked off with the amount of cheaters in Warzone. My post >>here<< ended up with multiple reddit awards and I had just come off chat with Paypal support after notifying them of the Paypal account for a popular cheating website. As of today, you can no longer buy cheats on that website using Paypal, and the moderator is now taking one-on-one requests for payment. I contacted Paypal with the following:
A website link
The paypal account name (you can find this by doing a spoof checkout, it's usually at the top of the page before you commit to a purchase)
A short explanation that online game cheats are against the EULA policy because they reverse-engineer game code and as such are breaking copyright law.
Paypal has responded every time by thanking me for the notification and agreeing to take action against the account. And today after checking - they are putting their money where their mouth is. To buy cheats on this website you can only use Cryptocurrency - let me tell you, even in 2020 the act of buying Crypto is not easy. A Warzone cheat on this site costs something like $120, let's say the cheater transfers $120 to Coinbase, oops, now that is actually $115 because of Coinbase's fee. So he puts another $5 on, well actually $6 because there will be a fee. Now he goes to buy $120 worth of Bitcoin, but the price has changed overnight so he needs to load more Bitcoin on - this is on top of registering an account and performing user verification and waiting for bank details to be confirmed. This is a very real and effective way to fight cheaters. We can whinge to Activision all we want, but if they are taking steps they aren't going to announce it publicly, but we can fight back ourselves by preventing easy access to cheats. Google Warzone cheats and find discords that send links around. Become a little detective. Pose as a piece of shit gentleman looking to get a competitive edge. Sign up with a fake name, fake account name, etc. Talk to moderators. Get Paypal payment links and then go straight to Paypal customer chat and just state "This [website] with this [paypal account name] is selling cheats which break the EULA and breach Copyright law, please can you take action against this account as it is in violation of Paypal's Terms of Service, thank you." We can all post videos of hackers that take 10-20 minutes to edit, compress and upload, or we can find a cheat website, get the account information and report them. I can guarantee that some little twat who buys cheats via Paypal is not going to go through the trouble of buying Cryptocurrency and all the legally-required KYC (Know Your Customer) that Coinbase is compelled to collect. This is the most valuable tool we have to fight cheaters. The power of snitching, lol. EDIT: Just as a side note, I'm awaiting Coinbase's response as to whether this constitutes a break of Terms of Service on their website to sell copyrighted material. Their Terms of Services states they do, but they are famously bad at responding to customer service within 2 weeks so I need to wait. If we can cut off Paypal, Coinbase & Credit Card then short of sending cash through the post I have no idea how they would get payment. Maybe Venmo or something? EDIT 2: This is a big one. Mastercard (one this website is trying to get back online) actively PROHIBIT and PURSUE the sale of copyrighted goods using their card services. Whenever this dipshit cheat seller gets his Mastercard payment service running again then Mastercard will be notified and it says on their site that they can and will pass on details to law enforcement. PAYPAL REPORTING LINK HERE
Hey all, I've been researching coins since 2017 and have gone through 100s of them in the last 3 years. I got introduced to blockchain via Bitcoin of course, analyzed Ethereum thereafter and from that moment I have a keen interest in smart contact platforms. I’m passionate about Ethereum but I find Zilliqa to have a better risk-reward ratio. Especially because Zilliqa has found an elegant balance between being secure, decentralized and scalable in my opinion.
Below I post my analysis of why from all the coins I went through I’m most bullish on Zilliqa (yes I went through Tezos, EOS, NEO, VeChain, Harmony, Algorand, Cardano etc.). Note that this is not investment advice and although it's a thorough analysis there is obviously some bias involved. Looking forward to what you all think!
Fun fact: the name Zilliqa is a play on ‘silica’ silicon dioxide which means “Silicon for the high-throughput consensus computer.”
This post is divided into (i) Technology, (ii) Business & Partnerships, and (iii) Marketing & Community. I’ve tried to make the technology part readable for a broad audience. If you’ve ever tried understanding the inner workings of Bitcoin and Ethereum you should be able to grasp most parts. Otherwise, just skim through and once you are zoning out head to the next part.
Technology and some more:
The technology is one of the main reasons why I’m so bullish on Zilliqa. First thing you see on their website is: “Zilliqa is a high-performance, high-security blockchain platform for enterprises and next-generation applications.” These are some bold statements.
Before we deep dive into the technology let’s take a step back in time first as they have quite the history. The initial research paper from which Zilliqa originated dates back to August 2016: Elastico: A Secure Sharding Protocol For Open Blockchains where Loi Luu (Kyber Network) is one of the co-authors. Other ideas that led to the development of what Zilliqa has become today are: Bitcoin-NG, collective signing CoSi, ByzCoin and Omniledger.
The technical white paper was made public in August 2017 and since then they have achieved everything stated in the white paper and also created their own open source intermediate level smart contract language called Scilla (functional programming language similar to OCaml) too.
Mainnet is live since the end of January 2019 with daily transaction rates growing continuously. About a week ago mainnet reached 5 million transactions, 500.000+ addresses in total along with 2400 nodes keeping the network decentralized and secure. Circulating supply is nearing 11 billion and currently only mining rewards are left. The maximum supply is 21 billion with annual inflation being 7.13% currently and will only decrease with time.
Zilliqa realized early on that the usage of public cryptocurrencies and smart contracts were increasing but decentralized, secure, and scalable alternatives were lacking in the crypto space. They proposed to apply sharding onto a public smart contract blockchain where the transaction rate increases almost linear with the increase in the amount of nodes. More nodes = higher transaction throughput and increased decentralization. Sharding comes in many forms and Zilliqa uses network-, transaction- and computational sharding. Network sharding opens up the possibility of using transaction- and computational sharding on top. Zilliqa does not use state sharding for now. We’ll come back to this later.
Before we continue dissecting how Zilliqa achieves such from a technological standpoint it’s good to keep in mind that a blockchain being decentralised and secure and scalable is still one of the main hurdles in allowing widespread usage of decentralised networks. In my opinion this needs to be solved first before blockchains can get to the point where they can create and add large scale value. So I invite you to read the next section to grasp the underlying fundamentals. Because after all these premises need to be true otherwise there isn’t a fundamental case to be bullish on Zilliqa, right?
Down the rabbit hole
How have they achieved this? Let’s define the basics first: key players on Zilliqa are the users and the miners. A user is anybody who uses the blockchain to transfer funds or run smart contracts. Miners are the (shard) nodes in the network who run the consensus protocol and get rewarded for their service in Zillings (ZIL). The mining network is divided into several smaller networks called shards, which is also referred to as ‘network sharding’. Miners subsequently are randomly assigned to a shard by another set of miners called DS (Directory Service) nodes. The regular shards process transactions and the outputs of these shards are eventually combined by the DS shard as they reach consensus on the final state. More on how these DS shards reach consensus (via pBFT) will be explained later on.
The Zilliqa network produces two types of blocks: DS blocks and Tx blocks. One DS Block consists of 100 Tx Blocks. And as previously mentioned there are two types of nodes concerned with reaching consensus: shard nodes and DS nodes. Becoming a shard node or DS node is being defined by the result of a PoW cycle (Ethash) at the beginning of the DS Block. All candidate mining nodes compete with each other and run the PoW (Proof-of-Work) cycle for 60 seconds and the submissions achieving the highest difficulty will be allowed on the network. And to put it in perspective: the average difficulty for one DS node is ~ 2 Th/s equaling 2.000.000 Mh/s or 55 thousand+ GeForce GTX 1070 / 8 GB GPUs at 35.4 Mh/s. Each DS Block 10 new DS nodes are allowed. And a shard node needs to provide around 8.53 GH/s currently (around 240 GTX 1070s). Dual mining ETH/ETC and ZIL is possible and can be done via mining software such as Phoenix and Claymore. There are pools and if you have large amounts of hashing power (Ethash) available you could mine solo.
The PoW cycle of 60 seconds is a peak performance and acts as an entry ticket to the network. The entry ticket is called a sybil resistance mechanism and makes it incredibly hard for adversaries to spawn lots of identities and manipulate the network with these identities. And after every 100 Tx Blocks which corresponds to roughly 1,5 hour this PoW process repeats. In between these 1,5 hour, no PoW needs to be done meaning Zilliqa’s energy consumption to keep the network secure is low. For more detailed information on how mining works click here. Okay, hats off to you. You have made it this far. Before we go any deeper down the rabbit hole we first must understand why Zilliqa goes through all of the above technicalities and understand a bit more what a blockchain on a more fundamental level is. Because the core of Zilliqa’s consensus protocol relies on the usage of pBFT (practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance) we need to know more about state machines and their function. Navigate to Viewblock, a Zilliqa block explorer, and just come back to this article. We will use this site to navigate through a few concepts.
We have established that Zilliqa is a public and distributed blockchain. Meaning that everyone with an internet connection can send ZILs, trigger smart contracts, etc. and there is no central authority who fully controls the network. Zilliqa and other public and distributed blockchains (like Bitcoin and Ethereum) can also be defined as state machines.
Taking the liberty of paraphrasing examples and definitions given by Samuel Brooks’ medium article, he describes the definition of a blockchain (like Zilliqa) as: “A peer-to-peer, append-only datastore that uses consensus to synchronize cryptographically-secure data”.
Next, he states that: "blockchains are fundamentally systems for managing valid state transitions”. For some more context, I recommend reading the whole medium article to get a better grasp of the definitions and understanding of state machines. Nevertheless, let’s try to simplify and compile it into a single paragraph. Take traffic lights as an example: all its states (red, amber, and green) are predefined, all possible outcomes are known and it doesn’t matter if you encounter the traffic light today or tomorrow. It will still behave the same. Managing the states of a traffic light can be done by triggering a sensor on the road or pushing a button resulting in one traffic lights’ state going from green to red (via amber) and another light from red to green.
With public blockchains like Zilliqa, this isn’t so straightforward and simple. It started with block #1 almost 1,5 years ago and every 45 seconds or so a new block linked to the previous block is being added. Resulting in a chain of blocks with transactions in it that everyone can verify from block #1 to the current #647.000+ block. The state is ever changing and the states it can find itself in are infinite. And while the traffic light might work together in tandem with various other traffic lights, it’s rather insignificant comparing it to a public blockchain. Because Zilliqa consists of 2400 nodes who need to work together to achieve consensus on what the latest valid state is while some of these nodes may have latency or broadcast issues, drop offline or are deliberately trying to attack the network, etc.
Now go back to the Viewblock page take a look at the amount of transaction, addresses, block and DS height and then hit refresh. Obviously as expected you see new incremented values on one or all parameters. And how did the Zilliqa blockchain manage to transition from a previous valid state to the latest valid state? By using pBFT to reach consensus on the latest valid state.
After having obtained the entry ticket, miners execute pBFT to reach consensus on the ever-changing state of the blockchain. pBFT requires a series of network communication between nodes, and as such there is no GPU involved (but CPU). Resulting in the total energy consumed to keep the blockchain secure, decentralized and scalable being low.
pBFT stands for practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance and is an optimization on the Byzantine Fault Tolerant algorithm. To quote Blockonomi: “In the context of distributed systems, Byzantine Fault Tolerance is the ability of a distributed computer network to function as desired and correctly reach a sufficient consensus despite malicious components (nodes) of the system failing or propagating incorrect information to other peers.” Zilliqa is such a distributed computer network and depends on the honesty of the nodes (shard and DS) to reach consensus and to continuously update the state with the latest block. If pBFT is a new term for you I can highly recommend the Blockonomi article.
The idea of pBFT was introduced in 1999 - one of the authors even won a Turing award for it - and it is well researched and applied in various blockchains and distributed systems nowadays. If you want more advanced information than the Blockonomi link provides click here. And if you’re in between Blockonomi and the University of Singapore read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 2 dating from October 2017. Quoting from the Zilliqa tech whitepaper: “pBFT relies upon a correct leader (which is randomly selected) to begin each phase and proceed when the sufficient majority exists. In case the leader is byzantine it can stall the entire consensus protocol. To address this challenge, pBFT offers a view change protocol to replace the byzantine leader with another one.”
pBFT can tolerate ⅓ of the nodes being dishonest (offline counts as Byzantine = dishonest) and the consensus protocol will function without stalling or hiccups. Once there are more than ⅓ of dishonest nodes but no more than ⅔ the network will be stalled and a view change will be triggered to elect a new DS leader. Only when more than ⅔ of the nodes are dishonest (66%) double-spend attacks become possible.
If the network stalls no transactions can be processed and one has to wait until a new honest leader has been elected. When the mainnet was just launched and in its early phases, view changes happened regularly. As of today the last stalling of the network - and view change being triggered - was at the end of October 2019.
Another benefit of using pBFT for consensus besides low energy is the immediate finality it provides. Once your transaction is included in a block and the block is added to the chain it’s done. Lastly, take a look at this article where three types of finality are being defined: probabilistic, absolute and economic finality. Zilliqa falls under the absolute finality (just like Tendermint for example). Although lengthy already we skipped through some of the inner workings from Zilliqa’s consensus: read the Zilliqa Design Story Part 3 and you will be close to having a complete picture on it. Enough about PoW, sybil resistance mechanism, pBFT, etc. Another thing we haven’t looked at yet is the amount of decentralization.
Currently, there are four shards, each one of them consisting of 600 nodes. 1 shard with 600 so-called DS nodes (Directory Service - they need to achieve a higher difficulty than shard nodes) and 1800 shard nodes of which 250 are shard guards (centralized nodes controlled by the team). The amount of shard guards has been steadily declining from 1200 in January 2019 to 250 as of May 2020. On the Viewblock statistics, you can see that many of the nodes are being located in the US but those are only the (CPU parts of the) shard nodes who perform pBFT. There is no data from where the PoW sources are coming. And when the Zilliqa blockchain starts reaching its transaction capacity limit, a network upgrade needs to be executed to lift the current cap of maximum 2400 nodes to allow more nodes and formation of more shards which will allow to network to keep on scaling according to demand. Besides shard nodes there are also seed nodes. The main role of seed nodes is to serve as direct access points (for end-users and clients) to the core Zilliqa network that validates transactions. Seed nodes consolidate transaction requests and forward these to the lookup nodes (another type of nodes) for distribution to the shards in the network. Seed nodes also maintain the entire transaction history and the global state of the blockchain which is needed to provide services such as block explorers. Seed nodes in the Zilliqa network are comparable to Infura on Ethereum.
The seed nodes were first only operated by Zilliqa themselves, exchanges and Viewblock. Operators of seed nodes like exchanges had no incentive to open them for the greater public. They were centralised at first. Decentralisation at the seed nodes level has been steadily rolled out since March 2020 ( Zilliqa Improvement Proposal 3 ). Currently the amount of seed nodes is being increased, they are public-facing and at the same time PoS is applied to incentivize seed node operators and make it possible for ZIL holders to stake and earn passive yields. Important distinction: seed nodes are not involved with consensus! That is still PoW as entry ticket and pBFT for the actual consensus.
5% of the block rewards are being assigned to seed nodes (from the beginning in 2019) and those are being used to pay out ZIL stakers. The 5% block rewards with an annual yield of 10.03% translate to roughly 610 MM ZILs in total that can be staked. Exchanges use the custodial variant of staking and wallets like Moonlet will use the non-custodial version (starting in Q3 2020). Staking is being done by sending ZILs to a smart contract created by Zilliqa and audited by Quantstamp.
With a high amount of DS; shard nodes and seed nodes becoming more decentralized too, Zilliqa qualifies for the label of decentralized in my opinion.
Generalized: programming languages can be divided into being ‘object-oriented’ or ‘functional’. Here is an ELI5 given by software development academy: * “all programs have two basic components, data – what the program knows – and behavior – what the program can do with that data. So object-oriented programming states that combining data and related behaviors in one place, is called “object”, which makes it easier to understand how a particular program works. On the other hand, functional programming argues that data and behavior are different things and should be separated to ensure their clarity.” *
Scilla is on the functional side and shares similarities with OCaml: OCaml is a general-purpose programming language with an emphasis on expressiveness and safety. It has an advanced type system that helps catch your mistakes without getting in your way. It's used in environments where a single mistake can cost millions and speed matters, is supported by an active community, and has a rich set of libraries and development tools. For all its power, OCaml is also pretty simple, which is one reason it's often used as a teaching language.
Scilla is blockchain agnostic, can be implemented onto other blockchains as well, is recognized by academics and won a so-called Distinguished Artifact Award award at the end of last year.
One of the reasons why the Zilliqa team decided to create their own programming language focused on preventing smart contract vulnerabilities is that adding logic on a blockchain, programming, means that you cannot afford to make mistakes. Otherwise, it could cost you. It’s all great and fun blockchains being immutable but updating your code because you found a bug isn’t the same as with a regular web application for example. And with smart contracts, it inherently involves cryptocurrencies in some form thus value.
Another difference with programming languages on a blockchain is gas. Every transaction you do on a smart contract platform like Zilliqa or Ethereum costs gas. With gas you basically pay for computational costs. Sending a ZIL from address A to address B costs 0.001 ZIL currently. Smart contracts are more complex, often involve various functions and require more gas (if gas is a new concept click here ).
So with Scilla, similar to Solidity, you need to make sure that “every function in your smart contract will run as expected without hitting gas limits. An improper resource analysis may lead to situations where funds may get stuck simply because a part of the smart contract code cannot be executed due to gas limits. Such constraints are not present in traditional software systems”.Scilla design story part 1
Some examples of smart contract issues you’d want to avoid are: leaking funds, ‘unexpected changes to critical state variables’ (example: someone other than you setting his or her address as the owner of the smart contract after creation) or simply killing a contract.
Scilla also allows for formal verification. Wikipedia to the rescue: In the context of hardware and software systems, formal verification is the act of proving or disproving the correctness of intended algorithms underlying a system with respect to a certain formal specification or property, using formal methods of mathematics.
Formal verification can be helpful in proving the correctness of systems such as: cryptographic protocols, combinational circuits, digital circuits with internal memory, and software expressed as source code.
“Scilla is being developed hand-in-hand with formalization of its semantics and its embedding into the Coq proof assistant — a state-of-the art tool for mechanized proofs about properties of programs.”
Simply put, with Scilla and accompanying tooling developers can be mathematically sure and proof that the smart contract they’ve written does what he or she intends it to do.
Smart contract on a sharded environment and state sharding
There is one more topic I’d like to touch on: smart contract execution in a sharded environment (and what is the effect of state sharding). This is a complex topic. I’m not able to explain it any easier than what is posted here. But I will try to compress the post into something easy to digest.
Earlier on we have established that Zilliqa can process transactions in parallel due to network sharding. This is where the linear scalability comes from. We can define simple transactions: a transaction from address A to B (Category 1), a transaction where a user interacts with one smart contract (Category 2) and the most complex ones where triggering a transaction results in multiple smart contracts being involved (Category 3). The shards are able to process transactions on their own without interference of the other shards. With Category 1 transactions that is doable, with Category 2 transactions sometimes if that address is in the same shard as the smart contract but with Category 3 you definitely need communication between the shards. Solving that requires to make a set of communication rules the protocol needs to follow in order to process all transactions in a generalised fashion.
There is no strict defined roadmap but here are topics being worked on. And via the Zilliqa website there is also more information on the projects they are working on.
Business & Partnerships
It’s not only technology in which Zilliqa seems to be excelling as their ecosystem has been expanding and starting to grow rapidly. The project is on a mission to provide OpenFinance (OpFi) to the world and Singapore is the right place to be due to its progressive regulations and futuristic thinking. Singapore has taken a proactive approach towards cryptocurrencies by introducing the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). Among other things, the PS Act will regulate intermediaries dealing with certain cryptocurrencies, with a particular focus on consumer protection and anti-money laundering. It will also provide a stable regulatory licensing and operating framework for cryptocurrency entities, effectively covering all crypto businesses and exchanges based in Singapore. According to PWC 82% of the surveyed executives in Singapore reported blockchain initiatives underway and 13% of them have already brought the initiatives live to the market. There is also an increasing list of organizations that are starting to provide digital payment services. Moreover, Singaporean blockchain developers Building Cities Beyond has recently created an innovation $15 million grant to encourage development on its ecosystem. This all suggests that Singapore tries to position itself as (one of) the leading blockchain hubs in the world.
Zilliqa seems to already take advantage of this and recently helped launch Hg Exchange on their platform, together with financial institutions PhillipCapital, PrimePartners and Fundnel. Hg Exchange, which is now approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), uses smart contracts to represent digital assets. Through Hg Exchange financial institutions worldwide can use Zilliqa's safe-by-design smart contracts to enable the trading of private equities. For example, think of companies such as Grab, Airbnb, SpaceX that are not available for public trading right now. Hg Exchange will allow investors to buy shares of private companies & unicorns and capture their value before an IPO. Anquan, the main company behind Zilliqa, has also recently announced that they became a partner and shareholder in TEN31 Bank, which is a fully regulated bank allowing for tokenization of assets and is aiming to bridge the gap between conventional banking and the blockchain world. If STOs, the tokenization of assets, and equity trading will continue to increase, then Zilliqa’s public blockchain would be the ideal candidate due to its strategic positioning, partnerships, regulatory compliance and the technology that is being built on top of it.
What is also very encouraging is their focus on banking the un(der)banked. They are launching a stablecoin basket starting with XSGD. As many of you know, stablecoins are currently mostly used for trading. However, Zilliqa is actively trying to broaden the use case of stablecoins. I recommend everybody to read this text that Amrit Kumar wrote (one of the co-founders). These stablecoins will be integrated in the traditional markets and bridge the gap between the crypto world and the traditional world. This could potentially revolutionize and legitimise the crypto space if retailers and companies will for example start to use stablecoins for payments or remittances, instead of it solely being used for trading.
Zilliqa also released their DeFi strategic roadmap (dating November 2019) which seems to be aligning well with their OpFi strategy. A non-custodial DEX is coming to Zilliqa made by Switcheo which allows cross-chain trading (atomic swaps) between ETH, EOS and ZIL based tokens. They also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a (soon to be announced) USD stablecoin. And as Zilliqa is all about regulations and being compliant, I’m speculating on it to be a regulated USD stablecoin. Furthermore, XSGD is already created and visible on block explorer and XIDR (Indonesian Stablecoin) is also coming soon via StraitsX. Here also an overview of the Tech Stack for Financial Applications from September 2019. Further quoting Amrit Kumar on this:
There are two basic building blocks in DeFi/OpFi though: 1) stablecoins as you need a non-volatile currency to get access to this market and 2) a dex to be able to trade all these financial assets. The rest are built on top of these blocks.
So far, together with our partners and community, we have worked on developing these building blocks with XSGD as a stablecoin. We are working on bringing a USD-backed stablecoin as well. We will soon have a decentralised exchange developed by Switcheo. And with HGX going live, we are also venturing into the tokenization space. More to come in the future.”
Additionally, they also have this ZILHive initiative that injects capital into projects. There have been already 6 waves of various teams working on infrastructure, innovation and research, and they are not from ASEAN or Singapore only but global: see Grantees breakdown by country. Over 60 project teams from over 20 countries have contributed to Zilliqa's ecosystem. This includes individuals and teams developing wallets, explorers, developer toolkits, smart contract testing frameworks, dapps, etc. As some of you may know, Unstoppable Domains (UD) blew up when they launched on Zilliqa. UD aims to replace cryptocurrency addresses with a human-readable name and allows for uncensorable websites. Zilliqa will probably be the only one able to handle all these transactions onchain due to ability to scale and its resulting low fees which is why the UD team launched this on Zilliqa in the first place. Furthermore, Zilliqa also has a strong emphasis on security, compliance, and privacy, which is why they partnered with companies like Elliptic, ChainSecurity (part of PwC Switzerland), and Incognito. Their sister company Aqilliz (Zilliqa spelled backwards) focuses on revolutionizing the digital advertising space and is doing interesting things like using Zilliqa to track outdoor digital ads with companies like Foodpanda.
Zilliqa is listed on nearly all major exchanges, having several different fiat-gateways and recently have been added to Binance’s margin trading and futures trading with really good volume. They also have a very impressive team with good credentials and experience. They don't just have “tech people”. They have a mix of tech people, business people, marketeers, scientists, and more. Naturally, it's good to have a mix of people with different skill sets if you work in the crypto space.
Marketing & Community
Zilliqa has a very strong community. If you just follow their Twitter their engagement is much higher for a coin that has approximately 80k followers. They also have been ‘coin of the day’ by LunarCrush many times. LunarCrush tracks real-time cryptocurrency value and social data. According to their data, it seems Zilliqa has a more fundamental and deeper understanding of marketing and community engagement than almost all other coins. While almost all coins have been a bit frozen in the last months, Zilliqa seems to be on its own bull run. It was somewhere in the 100s a few months ago and is currently ranked #46 on CoinGecko. Their official Telegram also has over 20k people and is very active, and their community channel which is over 7k now is more active and larger than many other official channels. Their local communities also seem to be growing.
Moreover, their community started ‘Zillacracy’ together with the Zilliqa core team ( see www.zillacracy.com ). It’s a community-run initiative where people from all over the world are now helping with marketing and development on Zilliqa. Since its launch in February 2020 they have been doing a lot and will also run their own non-custodial seed node for staking. This seed node will also allow them to start generating revenue for them to become a self sustaining entity that could potentially scale up to become a decentralized company working in parallel with the Zilliqa core team. Comparing it to all the other smart contract platforms (e.g. Cardano, EOS, Tezos etc.) they don't seem to have started a similar initiative (correct me if I’m wrong though). This suggests in my opinion that these other smart contract platforms do not fully understand how to utilize the ‘power of the community’. This is something you cannot ‘buy with money’ and gives many projects in the space a disadvantage.
Zilliqa also released two social products called SocialPay and Zeeves. SocialPay allows users to earn ZILs while tweeting with a specific hashtag. They have recently used it in partnership with the Singapore Red Cross for a marketing campaign after their initial pilot program. It seems like a very valuable social product with a good use case. I can see a lot of traditional companies entering the space through this product, which they seem to suggest will happen. Tokenizing hashtags with smart contracts to get network effect is a very smart and innovative idea.
Regarding Zeeves, this is a tipping bot for Telegram. They already have 1000s of signups and they plan to keep upgrading it for more and more people to use it (e.g. they recently have added a quiz features). They also use it during AMAs to reward people in real-time. It’s a very smart approach to grow their communities and get familiar with ZIL. I can see this becoming very big on Telegram. This tool suggests, again, that the Zilliqa team has a deeper understanding of what the crypto space and community needs and is good at finding the right innovative tools to grow and scale.
To be honest, I haven’t covered everything (i’m also reaching the character limited haha). So many updates happening lately that it's hard to keep up, such as the International Monetary Fund mentioning Zilliqa in their report, custodial and non-custodial Staking, Binance Margin, Futures, Widget, entering the Indian market, and more. The Head of Marketing Colin Miles has also released this as an overview of what is coming next. And last but not least, Vitalik Buterin has been mentioning Zilliqa lately acknowledging Zilliqa and mentioning that both projects have a lot of room to grow. There is much more info of course and a good part of it has been served to you on a silver platter. I invite you to continue researching by yourself :-) And if you have any comments or questions please post here!
My story begins a few years ago I decided to use my computer skills to run a small darknet forum mainly just to share information without censorship. At first I was extremely paranoid about my site getting hacked and having my anonymity being compromised so I went online and began to research everything that I would need to ensure my own safety. After countless days of scouring blogs, forums and other material I decided I was ready now I didn't have any money so I couldn't just buy a VPS and host the site off shore or whatever, so I decided to use my old laptop after all I wasn't planning on running a major website. So after setting the server up and what I thought was literally every single thing I could to do harden it against attack I put the site online, everything went great for a couple of months, donations rolled in as the the user base grew larger and larger. After around 5 months the user base had gotten so big I had to upgrade and migrate everything to a new PC which I built just to host the forum and from there everything seemed perfect, the site was running smoothly and there were no issues with the migration until one day when I came home and noticed the PC had frozen I didn't think much to it maybe just a software bug caused it so I rebooted and that's when it was clear to me something was wrong the PC lit up and beeped a few times then shut off so I thought to myself ok so it's a hardware issue, after a few hours trying to diagnose the issue I figured it out and it turned out the ram had been corrupted I took it back to the store since it was still under warranty, the customer rep just told me it might have just been a faulty stick. When I got home I replaced the stick of ram and had the site back up and running within a few hours, everything seemed to be perfect again I apologized to the users for the down time and everyone seemed to be happy enough. Fast forward a few more months, the forums been up and running for a around a year and a half now this is when things started to get really weird. I finished work on a Friday, it was a gorgeous day in the middle of summer I came home had something to eat and sat down in front my PC and noticed I had a message, upon opening the message I realised that somewhere I'd messed up now don't get me wrong I'm not like Assange or anything so I don't really know why anybody would actually target me but the world is a crazy place so whatever. The message had my details from my name, address, bank details, passwords, private emails, private messages everything from nearly every single device I owned I freaked out and immediately took the PC offline, turned my internet off but little did I know that this guy had done his research after a couple of hours pacing my room I received a text message. "I know everything about you" The message was sent via some type of SMS service so there was no way to trace it and then my phone rang. "Don't talk just listen, I know everything there is to know about you all I want is 2 Bitcoin or things get worse, I'll send you a text with the wallet details" The phone call ended just as quickly as it started, I opened my laptop up and checked my Bitcoin wallet there was enough left over from the donations just to pay this guy off and hope that would be the end of it, so I entered the guys details and sent the payment, my phone rang again. "Thank you for complying, unfortunately someone I know really likes you." He hung up, panicking I tried calling the number back an automated message began to play "the number you have dialled has not been recognised" A few hours pass and I began to think to myself well maybe the last call was just him having fun and decided after a long day I'd just go to bed. Sometime around 2am I was woken up by the sound of banging at my front door, I jumped out of bed and turned on all the lights grabbing a knife from the kitchen I walked slowly towards the window and looked out I could see someone standing by a car when they spotted me they got in and drove off I rushed to the door in hopes I might be able to get a license plate but by the time I'd opened it they'd already turned the corner as I turned I noticed an envelope on the floor I picked it up, went back inside and locked the door, closed the curtains and sat in the kitchen I placed the envelope on the counter and stared at it for around half an hour trying to muster up the courage to open it, did these guys really come to my home I thought to myself. After the half hour was up I decided enough was enough I opened the envelope and pictures fell out onto the counter they were of me sleeping, these guys had not only been outside my house they'd been inside whilst I was sleeping the images had been edited and strange love hearts had been added next to me so now I was sufficiently freaked out, I didn't go back to sleep and when the sun broke the darkness I decided to head to the police station and tell them everything I hadn't broken any laws so I hoped they would just help me at least after hours of explaining everything to them they told me there was nothing they could do. At this point I had never felt so alone in the world, I was scared of what this guy was planning for me, I didn't have the foggiest idea what I was supposed to do or expect so I decided to wipe everything my laptop, PC and phone I picked up everything I needed stuffed it all into a bag and decided to leave I had a couple of friends that I knew I could rely on so I called up my old buddy Marcus and we met had a few beers and I explained everything to him, he offered me a place to stay and I hoped that would be the end of it how wrong I was. A few days later it happened again there was a knock at the door first thing in the morning, me and Marcus both went out to find another envelope on the floor, same thing pictures of me sleeping but these were in Marcus's house I started freaking out again and Marcus just said "Ok well we need to do something maybe set a trap or something" So we went over numerous ideas everything you could think of from cameras to baiting him and we settled on the idea of staying up during the night and locking him in the room, we filled the bed up with pillows, setup cameras and even barred the windows in the room we hid in the room next door after a few hours had passed we heard the lock rattling on the front door and we knew it was game time, we'd left the door just slightly ajar so we could see outside as he went past and the moment he went into the room we both sprung to action quickly as we could we closed the door and locked it from outside using a chair and a metal bar there was only one way he was getting out and he'd have to destroy the door we could see the silhouette of him as he paced the room quietly it was creepy as fuck, we called the police as we kept an eye on him. At last I thought I can finish this and move on with my life just as the police arrived we noticed the guy take a gun out and place it to his head, he held a sign up which read "I love you" and he pulled the trigger, the police barged in guns drawn told us both to get the floor, we complied and shouted "he's in there" pointing at the door. The police removed the makeshift lock and entered the room, called for an ambulance and put me and Marcus in the back of a police car. I'd been sat in the interview room for a good couple of hours I guess whilst they carried out the investigation when a detective came in and say down in front of me opening a folder and placing pictures on the table "Do you know her" "Her?" I said looking at the pictures "no" I replied confused , he looked at me and said "this is the person who's been stalking you" and he then began to tell me they had visited her home and found a shrine with photos of me all over the place from restaurants to the gym even shopping. He went onto tell me that she'd been the one that sent the messages, made the phone calls etc and they'd also found a diary which had some kind of future plans for me and her, she wanted me to be her husband and we'd been chatting for around a year and half from the moment I started the forum after I explained everything the detective said I was lucky to be alive, she had actually planned to drug me and kidnap me, she had even made some makeshift lock bed so I wouldn't be able to escape. To this day I feel lucky and I haven't been on the darkweb since.
Bitcoin challenged my comprehension of money. and from that, governance too
Social Media hacking jokes aside for today, I thought to share a thought experiment I had on how bitcoin fundamentally challenged the way I view money forever. I was always told throughout life and even in school that money distributed by the government, managed by the government, but used amount the populus. It wasn't until I was 17 in my senior year where I learned about the in-depth concepts of money with topics such as Federal Reserve Banking (How banks make money), taxes, debt, and fiscal and monetary economy. What's funnier is that when I was 14 I heard about bitcoin, but I thought it was just an idea for some far off technology like Nuclear Fusion or Astro mining. So I'm happy to state I learned more about bitcoin before I learned about my own government monetary system. Unfortunately, It would not be for another 2 years before I learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain entirely and another few months before I can actually buy some. It was at the moment when I fully understood the concepts of bitcoin where I fell in love with it, the idea that NO government, company, or bank could just step in and take your money. No overdrafts, chargebacks, or no 3-5 days deposits. It is great. I get excited to the point I share all I can to people around me about the concept and yet they are confused like a child learning a new language because the concept of true financial responsibility and digital sovereignty can be complex to comprehend. Many of them refer to the same statements: "Money should be protected and held by the bank so I trust that it will forever be there". As I think of it more I start to think of ways how blockchain technology as a whole can be implemented into fintech (or even become the new fintech). Henry Ford once said that
" It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
It is merely with the introduction of bitcoin and decentralized finance tools when this quote incubates into fruition. Cryptocurrency as a whole puts the individual in power with the same banking tools as the whole banking collective operates on. I agree that there are many people who are fed up with the banks, and their practices but at the same time those people are even more scared to assume their own financial control due to immense responsibilities the bitcoin introduces (private key, cognitive understanding of the industry and tech). Yes, banks are here to provide a service to the public ease and use, but therein lies the question of how much freedom do people really want when they realize that they are also baring even more responsibilities than they are used to. Great power comes with great responsibility. The more financial freedom (I'm not talking about in dollar amounts, but security and accessibility ) you have over your wealth the more responsibility is needed to maintain it. So then more so this brings furthermore changed my perception that I don't have to be so reliant on centralized parties with my money, but I can own my money on the blockchain and send it anywhere where in the world as I deem fit. So this brings to my thoughts of how would blockchain systems work in government and laws. The laws are barely adapted to handle the internet as is; now they are further behind to handle blockchain. With coronavirus going around this is a testament to show how we are becoming stronger digital society. I have not been out of my home in the past few days, and most of the older ways of doing things are becoming challenged with the introduction of new technologies. The only thing that defines our governments are the lands in which was founded, discovered, or concurred by winning factions and ideals that ultimately curated most of the cultures we see today. We can speak to anyone we can on the internet in a matter of seconds, make a full-time living, we can buy nearly anything and get it delivered on the same day or week, and be associated with communities that align with our interest all online. So when these apps have more data and international relations than the governments we reside, can governments be more than just "land"? Finally, this brings into question Facebook and Libra. Facebook is one of the largest public multi-national countries on this planet, and libra in eyes of many just a software update. However, Libra shined a light on so many things I've always wondered. With as powerful as Facebook is that probably knows more about you than your government, and has more international relationships with more countries than your government, if/whenever libra is released, this now puts a corporate entity in charge of your money. And As they say, libra existing on blockchains, really can't be stopped if ever it's released. Sure governments can be banned and sue Facebook all they want, but if there are people using it, the damage is done, they can't shut down Facebook without causing an economic collapse probably one worse than the great depression. Facebook is just too big to fail. Google, Amazon are other companies seeking to challenge governance by cities for their corporate entities and employees. They most likely won't be here in the USA too much regulation, but someone where like Africa or even cities on water . All in all, as I leave, Everything I knew about finances such as mortgages, paychecks, loans, mediums of exchange, trade, and banking tools are all fundamentally challenged by the introduction of bitcoin. The power lies in those who own the system, and when no one owns the system, but everyone manages it, the real power becomes invested back into the people. With this knowledge, I know that I am truly more powerful than I thought I was, and you should feel empowered as well. Sure the infrastructure may take time before things become convenient enough for wide-scale adoption, but we are the founding fathers and mothers of the first generation in the true power of decentralized tech. We are the ones that decide on how the first implementation of this tech should be used, and that's all by experimentation. I agree that it will be a daunting task and scary for those who are not familiar with this. Like all things that exist it starts with experimentation.
Should there really be a Scav cooldown timer if you aren't even doing a "Run Through"??? That's a super easy fix which would make the life of anyone new, casual, or with a bad PC 100 times better. Plus more constructive thoughts and criticisms from a very passionate life long gamer.
Quick background, I've been a hardcore FPS player most of my life (I'm pretty old now for competitive gamers but...). I've also been a hardcore RTS player, MMO player, played a lot of DOTA 2, I even played some dang card games (Not Hearthstone)... basically I just love good games. But at the end of the day FPS was always my favorite, although I might be better statistically with RTS? I'm brand new to Tarkov, this is my first legit wipe (I played a few hours during the last wipe but I was lagging so much I quit, literally every gun fight I was getting spikes and was just dead with a frame lock stutter... but then I realized I need to try to overclock my CPU from 4.0 to 4.3 GHZ and suddenly the game became "playable"). I think it's note worthy that Tarkov is one of only 2 games in my experience where I just feel my computer isn't good enough to play correctly (the other one is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds which I just didn't like that game too much honestly even compared to the old H1Z1). ANYWAYS... I love this game. I've programmed games in Unity by myself, one of them was really complex but my artist quit and has now worked for big companies like ArenaNet... so when I heard that Tarkov was made in Unity, honestly I was impressed. Personally working solo or damned near it, I didn't think it was possible to make a game like this in Unity... And in some ways I'm right... the game doesn't run very smoothly on my PC even with the lowest graphics settings. Youtube videos of Tarkov look WAYYYYYY better and smoother than my actual game... normally you lose quite a bit of quality with recording but I can tell my PC isn't handling the game correctly... You also need an SSD drive to play with friends which is reasonable but just another example why this game is difficult to excel in not just because of your skill and knowledge/intelligence of the game... but also the computer requirements are VERY steep. I have a few points I want to make that I think could greatly improve the game: 1) Why is there a timer for playing Scav even if you play it like a normal raid and you don't receive the "Run Through" status? I understand they made a timer so you can't just infinitely spawn Scavs and run to extract every time you get something good... but if you are playing legit??? If you are playing Scav as if it was your PMC (especially applies to newer players)? If you are going out of your way to make sure you don't have a run through??? I just think they may want to reconsider this design point for people that aren't abusing Scav, there is currently no way to play the game and financially progress without feeling like you aren't good enough if you aren't a god gamer (dozens of reasons players might think they are trash right now). I've been progressing pretty well for my first wipe, just hit level 30 (haven't played a lot of days including missing around 7-10 days for start of wipe...). I have a bitcoin farm with 10/10 slots filled, I have millions of Roubles... I can make money pretty steadily, I even have a friend who's REALLY good at the game, he got rid of literally 50 Graphics Cards about a week into the wipe because he was bored playing alone and was about to quit... then I'm like "hey lets play? I overclocked my CPU i think it's sorta playable now"... I do play a lot of solo though, but I have a very experienced friend who can help me with all my questions, specific tasks, and just teaching me the game quickly in general. My point is that I think I'm doing pretty good for my first wipe but I still feel the game is too stressful at the moment. It's a little too much stress compared to fun, but it's close. 2) I was gonna log on today because I need to do the 8 kills near the Factory Office Area. I realized that this task unlocks SO MUCH STUFF... and I should of done it long ago. I was about to log on but, I was planning all day on it but... then I was like... hmm I don't want to go through what happened in my last PMC factory quest. I was a brand new player and my PC doesn't run the game that well... killing a bunch of super kitted guys with a pistol like 10 days into wipe??? It's humiliating... No joke my Survival Rate might be about +20% higher if it was not for that ONE Factory PMC quest. I'm not even exaggerating... I blew millions on total trash loadouts like PACA, derpy helm, and a Grach. I must of died at least 20 times just to complete that 1 quest (keep in mind I was a Global Elite in CSGO, and over 200 H1Z1 battle Royale wins which means I was the sole survivor of about 110 people over 200 times. I had really talented friends help me at times but you get the point, I was surprised when I wasn't solo winning Battle Royales...). I'm not trying to brag about my previous FPS experiences. My point is that even if someone like me can have such a bad experience on a Factory PMC quest... a lot of players will just quit the game at that point. I haven't quit the game, I still love it overall... but tonight I guess you could say I have "Ranked Anxiety". It's not even Ranked but I am actually scared to take the humiliation of lets say even 10 deaths for the 8 PMC Kills in the Office Area... For me 10 deaths would be humiliating... I already have 1 death and no kills yet... .8 k/d isn't even that bad for a small sample size, but imagine how casual FPS players must feel trying to go in vs all these fully kitted Chads when their kit is like 1/4th the price for tasks like this? Imagine if their PC is sorta old too... so not only are they maybe new to the game, they have a trash kit compared to enemies, but their PC also doesn't run the game as well as their opponents which in a game like this even missing 1 shot can be the difference between life or death. 3) I know everyone is complaining about Mosin lately... for new players especially but... IMO, the Stash Size is the biggest problem for a new player. I can 100% understand it from a business perspective to make the stash extremely expensive, it truly is a pay to win feature imo. The reason I can say I understand the business perspective is because I bought EoD! It seemed like the only option if you like the game, it was otherwise impossible for someone like me who values efficiency and to be able to speedily do things... I got to the point where I had to make a decision. Do I spend 3.5 million Roubles on a Stash Upgrade knowing that if I EVER buy real life game upgrades... I just wasted 3.5 milllion??? Or do I spend a LOT of REAL MONEY to make the game reasonable... I probably wouldn't even bring up the stash if the game didn't have all these other problems I'm mentioning. The reason I bring it up is to prove to you how much I like the game, I don't even have a good PC atm and I still bought EoD! But if they want the game to be fair and balanced the starting stash size is completely unacceptable. Especially for new players... they are going to value their gear so much because they are so weak financially, they don't even have access to the Flea Market... but still they have to waste so much time trying to Tetris stuff, they can't fully get the gear from Scav runs ETC... I think the starting stash size is 100% the biggest problem in the game for new or casual players, I don't expect it to be fixed because of the real world money but... if they really waned to make the game as good as it can be they'd improve that for sure. Conclusion: I just feel that currently even if you really love the game, if you are a new or casual player it's simply too scary to play comfortably. The anxiety of failure is so extreme that even I (who used to be a top FPS player) might not log on any given day because I just don't wanna feel bad. I think this is especially true if you don't have a top of the line PC. Even just 1 death where you feel maybe if you had a good pc you might of won that fight... that hurts a lot for the fun factor... I sort of want to buy a new graphics card for starters but knowing Unity in a game like this... I might need a new CPU too it's just rough. For all the reasons I described above, and for many more I didn't mention specifically and I'm sure others have... I think they should at least reconsider the Scav cooldown design so that players can at least log on and just play Scav continually without feeling like they aren't good enough to play this game (this is assuming they don't do "Run Throughs" to prevent Scav abuse). If players could at least run Scav 24/7 and just get comfortable with the game, I think this game would be a lot more accessible and enjoyable for the vast majority.
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