Learning in Public: 6/29/2021

Bits and bytes

Notes on Crypto

  1. You can earn interest on your crypto holdings?! WTF is happening?

    Everyone is encouraged to never sell Bitcoin. But if I never sell my Bitcoin or stock, how do I use it to buy stuff? The answer is: you get loans against your BTC (assets) as collateral.

    For example, BlockFi will loan you $10k at a 9.75% interest rate if you put up 0.43 BTC ($20,321 at time of writing) of collateral. Meaning, if you don’t pay back your loan, they will begin selling parts of your BTC to pay for your loan.

    Short version: You get this loan because you think the value of BTC is going UP UP UP — and you don’t want to miss out on those gains. Read more here with a detailed example: http://huntermonk.com/2021/02/11/why-so-high.html

  2. There are cryptocurrencies that “pay” you to hold the currency. Uniswap and SushiSwap are examples of automated market makers (AMMs), a type of decentralized exchange (DEX). They enable the exchange of tokens on the Ethereum blockchain (e.g. I want to convert token X into token Y. Uniswap and SushiSwap have different governance and forms of incentivizing users to hold the currency. One “burns” a fraction of a token after each exchange — meaning that given a fixed number of tokens — the value of all remaining tokens should increase. The other, takes the fees from doing the exchange and applies a percentage of them to BUY the token on the open market. Read more here.

  3. Lofty.AI - Invest in fractions of A.I. vetted real estate

    Own fractions of tokenized real estate for only $50 and sell any time. Become an investor in less than 5 minutes.

    Is this real life? Yes.

    For me, this is one of the first uses of the blockchain that makes sense, touches the real world, and transforms an already existing market/asset class. I’m impressed by both the drop in fees AND the mechanism for “instant” liquidity. Further, token holders in this house get their fraction of the rental income distributed on a daily basis and it is the blockchain that makes this viable.

Quick Hits

  • Are Offline Policy Evaluations the new A/B tests?

    • Great article: https://edoconti.medium.com/offline-policy-evaluation-run-fewer-better-a-b-tests-60ce8f93fa15 — gets actually good at the 🔎 OPE methods & examples section.

    • Bill summary:

      • When running a service in which you have significant logging of user and application state — instead of running an A/B test, look back through the logs to find users that fit the test condition you would otherwise A/B test and see what happened. Saves time. Reduces risk of A/B testing something “Bad”.

      • Log everything — keep what is logged highly structured and well documented, and now you have incredible potential to ask and answer questions you hadn’t even thought to consider a priori.

    • Paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1811.00260.pdf

  • SaaS Asset Backed Securities

  • Artificial Intelligence is really Artificial Time

    Specifically, modern AI is better understood as AT — “Artificial Time” that can be prosthetically attached to human minds. And highly capable computing systems are best understood as existing in superhistory rather than embodying superintelligence. I think this is genuinely an interesting shift in perspective, not just a fun bit of idle speculation for time nerds like me.

    This is a must-read in understanding AI. Full piece here: https://studio.ribbonfarm.com/p/superhistory-not-superintelligence

  • We Only Ever Talk About the Third Attack on Pearl Harbor

  • Automated container unloading

  • Satellite trails

  • Waymo Self Driving car — truly self-driving. Great look at the state of the tech and what can and did go wrong driving around Phoenix