🤷 Opinions Cyril Gilson

NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

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“We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain”:Pedro Gutierrez
NEM, Dash and Petro in Venezuela: Head of NEM Latam Explains

Is the Venezuelan government using the NEM platform for its oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency? Head of NEM Latin America Pedro Gutierrez answers the question in a first-hand exclusive interview.

It’s been reported that the controversial Venezuelan cryptocurrency Petro was officially released as an asset on NEM’s Blockchain rather than on Ethereum’s Blockchain, with the total supply capped at 100 mln Petro.

Pedro Gutierrez answers and explains why the NEM platform, its competition with Ethereum and specifics of doing business in one of the most promising regions on Earth.

We asked Pedro Gutierrez about NEM’s involvement with the Venezuelan government and the platform’s perspectives in Latin America and globally. As the Latam leader of NEM.IO foundation, Gutierrez sees his major task in s publicizing Blockchain technology and NEM in industry, commerce, education institutions and government in Latin America and Spain.

Cyril Gilson: Is the NEM platform used for the oil-pegged Petro cryptocurrency?

Pedro Gutierrez: We can confirm that the Venezuelan government is intending to use the NEM Blockchain. We can’t comment on how it works as it’s not a project we’re actively involved with. The NEM technology is freely open to any individual or organization that wants to use it. The NEM Foundation abstains from political endorsements.

CG: Have the NEM developers been involved in developing the Petro?

PG: No, our developers are not involved with this project. NEM’s technology is easy to use and to build applications upon while having a near perfect record for being secure. A person reasonably skilled can work on the NEM platform within a day.

It does not take much to learn how to use NEM’s technology. So it is therefore easy to imagine why the Venezuelan government wants to implement using NEM technology.

NEM in Venezuela

CG:  How big is the NEM community in Venezuela?

PG: The NEM community in Venezuela is growing steadily. We have raised significant interest in the academic and business sector. NEM is the best technology to make this happen because our platform is plug n play for business- making it the easiest and safest Blockchain network for enterprises and developers.

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CG:  When the story of NEM started in Venezuela and what are the major achievements?

PG:  NEM started in 2014 and its tech is widely adopted by hundreds of companies all over the world because the platform is so easy to use. A huge portion of global industries such as the financial sector, insurance, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, supply chain management and the entertainment industry sectors need a cost-efficient way to manage and authenticate data in an immutable and secure way. There’s no question that these companies will play a vital role in incorporating Blockchain technology in the next few years.

Venezuela is an attractive region for NEM to expand into. NEM has hubs in Malaysia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand. All of the NEM hubs are key to expanding visibility and opportunities where the NEM team can engage with the public, do training on our platform, and support startups who are interested in Blockchain.

In May, we opened an embassy in Venezuela and this is critical to providing Venezuelans with quality resources and training for developers getting into blockchain. We are hopeful that adding Blockchain services to the list of Venezuela industries can help the economy and people. In addition to this, we hold meetups to help educate the Blockchain community on the benefits of building on NEM’s ecosystem.

CG:  Are other Latam governments considering something similar?

PG: NEM is an open-source platform so any government, individual or company can build on NEM. At this time, I’m not aware of other LATAM governments building on the NEM Blockchain.

CG: What advantages and disadvantages of the Petro do you see?

PG: I don’t have a comment on this. I’m working on other projects, though, that I’m happy to talk about. We have some projects that at the moment we can not announce since we have signed NDAs, but I can tell you that they are in the financial sector, in Mexico and Colombia. We are also working on projects of agricultural traceability, electricity for rural areas among others that we will announce very soon.

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Dash and NEM

CG: Is there a competition between Dash and NEM in Venezuela?

PG: Dash is one of the most innovative and interesting Bitcoin forks, but NEM does not compete with Dash since Dash is a transactional platform and NEM is a platform of Blockchain Services. So we are not in competition with Dash because the two platforms are designed for different purposes. We have a good relationship with the DASH team and are supporters of their community, in several countries of LATAM, we have participated in events together.

What’s next

CG:  What's next for NEM in LATAM?

PG:  Education and training are critical to helping ensure the future of Venezuela to remain competitive and thrive. NEM is supporting LATAM by building Blockchain hubs, offering training to developers at all levels, partnering with companies in all industries, and building a strong community to help keep the NEM ecosystem healthy.

One way that we do this is through the $70 mln NEM Community Fund. The NEM Community Fund promotes the development of the NEM ecosystem by having the NEM community vote on funding NEM startup companies.

It’s an alternative to doing an ICO and something that could be beneficial to many people in LATAM.

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A Year on From Bitcoin’s All Time High: What Has Gone On?

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A year to the day, the cryptocurrency market hit its all time high as Bitcoin topped $20,000, but today, things are in a very different place
A Year on From Bitcoin’s All Time High: What Has Gone On?

 

On December 17, 2017, the price of the major cryptocurrency had rocketed to close on $20,000 after a stellar month which saw the price of Bitcoin break through the $1,000 barrier with consummate ease. The hype and excitement around Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies was at its peak, but it peaked out at that mythical mark.

A lot has happened in the year since then: Bitcoin currently sits closer to $3,000, a price last seen in August of 2017. There have been many factors that have shaped this wild, year-long ride, and these factors have also set up the cryptocurrency market for an uncertain future.

From a speculative bubble to regulatory pressure, the manner in which Bitcoin entered the mainstream has led to it having a volatile ride through the markets. Its own makeup has also seen it expand and encompass many different facets of life, with blockchain technology a potential global disruptor.

Despite being over 10 years old, blockchain and Bitcoin have only really started making an impact in the grander scheme of global life in the past 18 months or so, and because of this, its future path has a long way to be written and shaped.

The speculative bubble

A general look over Bitcoin, year to date, paints an obviously negative picture, as the all time high of $20,000 was reached exactly a year ago today. It has been all downhill from there, with Bitcoin shedding over $7,000 in value from December 17 to the end of the year as it settled on $13,000 as its ending figure.

It has continued to slide downward as a bigger and more ferocious bear market took over. In February, the price dropped to $7,000 quite dramatically before there was a short rebound that took Bitcoin up to $11,500 again. But this was short lived as the decline continued.

What followed was some gentle undulations between $7,000 and $9,000 from April until July before a period of uncommon stabilisation in the $6,000 range took hold from September to November.

The movement of Bitcoin to it's all time high was always because of speculative investors who were trying to get on the bandwagon, and because of this, it is unsurprising that the Bitcoin price ended in a clear bubble.

Putting it in line

Part of the reason that the speculators’ bubble grew so much is because Bitcoin was a new, inclusive, and totally unregulated form of investment. Anyone with a smartphone could get in on it, and there was nothing to stop it or slow it — as a decentralised form of currency.

This drew in the investors, which drew in mainstream interest and more and more money, and eventually, it drew in the regulators who were forced to act to put Bitcoin in line. Businesses operating around the cryptocurrency were totally unregulated, and it was leading to damaging occurrences and hacks.

Because of this, places like China, and even Korea and Japan, took heavy steps in controlling cryptocurrency exchanges. More so, the likes of the SEC also stepped in and dealt heavy blows to fundraising vehicles like ICOs.

This regulator pressure stalled the growth of these blockchain businesses and ICOs and caused the speculators to start checking their actions and getting a bit fearful with their money. Any bad news that came from regulators scared off a lot of investors, and there were numerous sell-offs in this past year that spiraled into a bear market.

What does the future hold?

Based on the speculative investment of the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, many are proclaiming that Bitcoin and the like are dying and will soon be dead. However, its future is far more complex than that.

It has often been equated with the Dot Com bubble, and this is probably apt as like the Dot Com, it had a valuable underlying technology that operated almost separate from the hype.

The same can be said of Bitcoin with its blockchain technology, which is garnering more and more support and investment — steady investment — despite the cryptocurrency downturn. It is likely that the cryptocurrency market can rebound, but it will be predicated on blockchain gaining more adoption, and solid investments advancing the technology without the greed or speculative interest.

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CryptoTrader’s Ran NeuNer on Greed, Crypto Market Cap and Getting Off Blockchain

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CNBC host talks about the consequences of increased adoption and why a faster Blockchain is not the solution
CryptoTrader’s Ran NeuNer on Greed, Crypto Market Cap and Getting Off Blockchain

Although public interest in cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technologies has been growing steadily in the last few years, relevant coverage is rarely seen in major publications or on national broadcast networks. CryptoTrader, launched on CNBC Africa in 2017, is a vigorous exception, hosted by Ran NeuNer - a serial entrepreneur and marketing expert who is recognized as one of the most influential people in Blockchain today.

The organizers of Crypto Invest Summit, held on the first days of May in Los Angeles, planned a live taping of CryptoTrader as a special agenda highlight for the attendees of the event. Ran NeuNer’s summit guests included well-known industry influencers and experts – Jeremy Gardner, Luke Martin, David Bleznak, Ami Ben David, and Jamie Finn. CryptoComes spoke with Mr. NeuNer before the taping, as he arrived at the event with the CryptoTrader team.

The responsibility of crypto media

Katya Michaels: You have been hosting CryptoTrader on CNBC for about a year now. What do you think is the role of media in cryptocurrency and Blockchain adoption? What kind of coverage is needed in the space?

Ran NeuNer: The way I see it, a lot of the reason why Bitcoin and crypto got off to a bad start was because mainstream media was against it, reporting it as a terrorist funding operation and whatever else. If you imagine, trying to swim upstream as the mainstream media is going downstream, it's quite difficult. So as crypto media, we have to join forces to try and combat the misunderstanding of Bitcoin and crypto, to try and even out the public perception.

KM: Do you think the crypto space is also susceptible to fake news and informational distortion?

RNN: I think there's journalistic integrity that we've got to worry about.

I think before journalists post anything about any ICO or token specifically, there's due diligence that needs to be done.

Due diligence is much harder now because you don't have a company PR office that you can call and say, “hey, is this true?” Now it's a completely decentralized mechanism. So I think it's harder for crypto press people. We have to find good sources and make sure that we verify information before we report it.

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Community changing with increased adoption

KM: How have you seen the community change over time, or even since last year?

RNN: If I look at last year, the conferences were much smaller and when I walked in, I knew everyone. When I walked into this conference, I know a handful of people, which means that the people are all new and therefore, I believe that these are not the people that started off with cryptocurrency. It's becoming much more mainstream. People are buying tickets online and coming to a conference now. With the old conferences you couldn’t do that. You had to know somebody who knew someone to get a ticket.

With more mainstream adoption comes less research on technical parts of projects, and much more people that are interested only in the price. As a result, I think the market is moving accordingly.

As the mainstream gets in, the prices are going up. But the mainstream also panics very quickly – they take profits and they get out.

KM: Do you think there will be a more institutional investments this year or in a few years?

RNN: I'm so scared to say yes, because every year we talk about the institutional investment and every year it doesn't come! So yes, I hope that 2018 is the year of institutional investment. I don't think we'll get real institutional investment until regulation in all territories, all countries is crystal clear.

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Inevitable regulation

KM: In terms of regulation, which side are you on? Compliance or freedom? Do you think regulation has no place in cryptocurrency and Blockchain?

RNN: I think that regulation is inevitable.

I think the sooner we get regulation, the better. It’s like a relationship – you want to know where you stand.

And that’s what we all need – to know where we stand, even if it's not good. We need to know where we stand so we can work with the tools that we have.

Where we are right now, for institutional investors – if you think of a government department or a pension fund – they can't invest in something unless they have absolute clarity that it's legal for them to invest in it. We're trying to get to the point where we're getting absolute clarity.

KM: Do you think there should be self regulation in the space?

RNN:

I don't believe in self regulation. I think unfortunately greed is bigger than self regulation.

The human factor is bigger than self regulation. We've seen it, all these ICO scams. We know that more scams that are going to cause tighter regulations. We know this, but yet the scam continues because people are not thinking as a collective. They are thinking in their individual capacity.

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Crypto predictions

KM: You mentioned in February on CNBC that in terms of cryptocurrency a store of value, the game isn't even started yet – so when is it going to start?

RNN: We are so early in the game, we don't even understand how these assets work yet. We don't understand token economics very well yet. I always use the same analogy, and I'll use the analogy again: It's like we have to run a marathon and we running from the car to the start line. We're somewhere in between the car and the start line, not even at the start line yet.

KM: Do you have any predictions for Bitcoin? Is it going to stay the main attraction in crypto?

RNN: I think for 2018 yes, but in 2019, definitely not. I do have a prediction for the market cap. I think we'll be at $450 bln market cap by middle of May, and I think by middle of June we'll be at about $500 bln market cap.

KM: Will there be another dip?

RNN: I think we've seen the big dip.

I think we will have dips along the way, but certainly the big pain is gone.

KM: What was the cause of that, what happened?

RNN: Too much mainstream, too much money coming in too quickly, too much capital flowing in too quickly. The market got overbought. What happens in an overbought cycle, it’s like a pendulum, you go back to oversold. So you catch the pendulum going the one way, it’s going to go back as fast the other way. I think now the movements are much smaller.

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Interview insights and dream guests

KM: What was the biggest insight that you got from an interview?

RNN: That aha moment… I think the biggest insight was when I discovered the Lightning Network and I was interviewing Elizabeth Stark, the founder of Lighting Labs. This was long before the Lightning Network was implemented, it was still talk. The thing that got me was that we're trying to do too much on Blockchain and we shouldn't – we should do a lot more off the chain and as little as possible on the chain.

You know, I once had an epiphany when Samsung bought a company which built battery chargers that could charge a battery within 30 seconds. While everybody else was trying to make a longer lasting battery, what Samsung said was – let's just make a battery that charges much quicker. So it's almost the same kind of epiphany when you think about the Lightning Network.

Instead of trying to make the Blockchain faster, just try to do as much off Blockchain as you possibly can and use the Blockchain only what the Blockchain really needs to be used for, which is consensus. Stop trying to make a bigger, faster Blockchain. Try to work out the protocols which take as much pressure off the Blockchain as possible.

KM: Do you have any dream guests for your show that you haven't featured yet?

RNN: I haven't had Satoshi, but I don’t know who he is. I haven't had Vitalik. I think he is just inundated with too many requests. And there’s this guy Tuur Demeester. I've been trying to get him on the show, but I've actually decided that I don't want him on the show.

KM: Oh, really? Why?

RNN: Because we've given him many chances to be on the show. He's declined them every time. I think now the show is bigger than him.

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Playing Nice With Government: Expert on Google’s Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

🎤 Interviews
Google’s cryptocurrency ad ban draws criticism from the crypto community, but what are the mechanics behind this decision?
Playing Nice With Government: Expert on Google’s Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

 

Google’s announcement of its decision to ban advertisements related to cryptocurrencies comes just a couple of months after Facebook announced a similar ban. While there is disagreement to the extent these steps will affect the cryptocurrency market, it is impossible to deny the Duopoly’s influence on millions of consumers. CryptoComes asked Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of the BigEyedWish creative agency specializing in branding and digital development, to comment on the causes and implications of Google’s policy change.

Ian Wishingrad, founder and creative director of the BigEyedWish creative agency

Smart move

CryptoComes: Google’s decision to ban cryptocurrency-related advertisements comes on the heels of Facebook’s similar announcement. What is your take on this?

Ian Wishingrad: I think it’s a smart move, and it makes perfect sense because their biggest issues right now are brand safety and reputation. It would reflect very poorly on them if people get scammed or do fraudulent things via crypto on their platforms.

Until there’s a little more clarity and it’s less dark, mysterious and potentially treacherous, the risk does not outweigh the reward considering their total advertising revenue.

Competing against the government

CC: Given the publicity issues that Facebook and Google have faced with fake news and questionable ad placement, one might ask: with seeming laxity of regulation in such aspects, why are these platforms picking on cryptocurrency?

IW: Well, it’s just bad luck for crypto. What’s happening now is precipitated by those concerns. These companies got their hand slapped and have seen the backlash, so now it’s not worth the risk. That’s the biggest issue when you are an open platform- when your business is built on advertising revenue, you need to consider the ramifications for brand safety.

Facebook, Google and Amazon all carved out their unique spaces in the market, but they are really competing against the government.

Exercising a certain amount of self-regulation and self-policing will bode well for them in the long run because if the government intervenes, that’s going to be much more painful than anything they inflict on themselves.

Cryptocurrency will be back

CC: Google is often seen as being close with the “establishment.” Could this decision be construed as another expression of that?

IW: One hundred percent. I don’t think they even disagree with that. They are operating as a United States company, governed by US law. You can be all cowboy and Wild West when you’re small and under the radar, but once you are a publicly traded company and one of the most powerful companies in the world, you have to start playing nice with the government.

As advertising dollars shift from television to online, it’s really difficult to police user-generated content. For Google and Facebook, the crypto industry it’s too nascent, there are too many bad players.

Once the area matures, I’m positive cryptocurrency will be back on these platforms.

CC: Often when new technology emerges, it is publicly represented as a maverick, a representation of freedom, of independence from regulation. Google was perceived this way in its time, but it seems that now Blockchain represents that maverick freedom, while Google represents the established structure.

IW: That’s exactly what is happening and what will happen. If you become successful, you become the establishment, and by virtue of becoming the establishment, there is a space wide open for the next players.

Self-regulation

CC: How will these bans impact the cryptocurrency market? Will it be destructive, or will it help weed out fraudulent players?

IW: Right now, we are separating the wheat from the chaff very quickly. All the mavericks, the pirates, the innovators- everyone wants to crack this.

Now, it’s going to come down to execution, securitization, government approval and finding the right way to play with the SEC.

I think we won’t be surprised by the people who come out on top- smart, with the right capital, the right public relations and understanding that it’s not just what you do, but how you are perceived.

CC: You mentioned the motivation for Google’s self-regulating approach. Meanwhile, the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini exchange announced the creation of a self-regulatory organization. Is this indicating a general trend? Will there be more self-regulation initiatives?

IW: I think there will be two things: the perception of self-regulation, and the actual self-regulation. The people that are ahead of the race are going to want to behave like the establishment, show that they are mature adults, exercise self-regulation because it’s really the most prudent move. It pays to play nice. You don’t want to make the government your enemy.

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EOS Security Vulnerabilities: David Moss of Block.one Responds to 360 Report

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The claims made by Qihoo 360’s Vulcan team regarding EOS security may be exaggerated and unsupported
EOS Security Vulnerabilities: David Moss of Block.one Responds to 360 Report

The opinions expressed in this article are strictly David Moss’s own and not to be interpreted as speaking on the behalf of Block.one or any other entity.

As the planned June release of EOSIO 1.0 approaches, expectations and tensions are heating up.

Most recently, Monday’s news of possible security vulnerabilities detected by Chinese Internet security giant Qihoo 360 elicited strong responses from EOS supporters and opponents alike.

According to the Weibo post published by Qihoo 360 on Monday, high-risk security vulnerabilities in the EOS platform could enable remote attacks through the deployment of arbitrary code and insertion of malicious smart contracts into new blocks.

Such a security breach may give the attacker full control of the network’s nodes, affecting thousands of computers and accounts.

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The discovery of the security issues was made by Qihoo 360’s Vulcan team, and the wording of the report seems to suggest close collaboration by the Chinese security company with EOS to resolve these issues ahead of the EOSIO launch, but this may not be the case.

David Moss, senior vice president of Tech Operations at Block.one, the open source software publisher responsible for the EOSIO launch, provided comment to CryptoComes on the Vulcan findings

“The allegations were greatly exaggerated by Vulcan 360, as was their involvement with Block.one. They are only to want publicity for themselves and to create the impression they are working with Block.one. They are not. They also have no documentation to back up any claim they made.”

As always, investors and developers are responsible for doing due diligence when it comes to platform security.

The crypto media environment is as susceptible as mainstream media, if not more, to conflicting reports, sensationalism and news cycles used as marketing tools.

The release of EOSIO software has been one of the most eagerly expected events in the crypto community and the next few weeks are certain to put increased pressure on the EOS team to provide commentary on arising questions.

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Taking Advantage of Decentralized Social Networks to Make Money as a Writer

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Writing and content is in the midst of a revolution and it is Blockchain which will change the way writers earn and how content is consumed
Taking Advantage of Decentralized Social Networks to Make Money as a Writer

Since the Internet reached critical mass and became an integral part of the local society, the game has changed. Data has become key, and with that, so has content, and at its base level, writing is a hugely powerful tool, but as the Internet has moved towards Web 3.0, so has writing and content.

The world wide web was also seen as a huge expanse of information that anyone could access, but the way in which that information has been consumed has changed over the years. From Web 1.0, through the social stage of the current web 2.0 and now moving towards Web 3.0, the decentralized revolution content is changing.

And, because the content is being consumed differently, it is also essential for writers to move with the times. But, what is positive is that the way in which things are moving is beneficial for writers as they are agents of a decentralized world and because there is a new opportunity to be the first in line.

There are decentralized platforms out there, run on global cryptocurrencies, which allows a writer to know how much they can earn by how much and what quality work they put forward from anywhere in the world.

The evolution of content and writing

One does not need to go back that far to see how far content creation and writing on the Internet has changed. The Internet, very much like Blockchain, took a while to reach critical mass and become something that everything wanted to be a part of.

In the days of Web 1.0, it was a very one-way system. Websites were basically posting boards that were digitally visited by masses of people, these visitors would absorb the information, and that would be the end of the connect.

Writers were expected to dish out information and spew it across the Internet, but anyone could do it with the power to build a blog or website. However, in terms of being lucrative, it was very much like finding a needle in a haystack for these individual writers who would struggle to get their content seen and read.

But, there were then centralized powers that would enlist writers to do their work for them. Major websites and news sites would hire and drain writers for their work and take advantage of the work in a traditional sense. The workers would work and the company would profit.

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Web 2.0 and today’s writing environment

The biggest edge that the Internet has gained in the last few years has been the evolution of social media. No longer is it merely a one-way interaction as users and writers now have a chance to interact and air their views.

Content on the Internet is now under constant scrutiny as any person can either comment directly on articles, or in a bigger way, take the articles to social media sites and share the content, as well as their opinions.

It has allowed writers to build their reputation online as pieces of work can go viral and the writers earn a fan base and a following. Now, writers need not even start their own websites, social media sites are open and available for information to be created, spread, and consumed at a much more rapid rate.

However, this has also allowed almost anyone to become a ‘writer’ there is no barrier to entry so the entire space is congested and convoluted. Being a good writer in today’s environment is not enough, a lot of people are losing out because of the flood in this market.

Additionally, the fact that social media platforms are centralized and monitored, means that the likes of Facebook and Twitter can control the content and install a different barrier on what can and cannot be written about.

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The new wave

Web 3.0, which is being built on the Blockchain, is a new space in which content is being created and slowly being more consumed. It is a decentralized place that allows writers a lot more freedom of content, but also a lot more opportunities to earn for their work.

Decentralized social networks are starting to establish themselves, such as Steemit, and interestingly, the thirst for content on these networks is huge. There is a demand for content that outweighs the supply as writers slowly start to explore this new wave of content and the Internet.

Web 3.0 is all about decentralized collaborative social networks where rewards for content are fairer and do not depend on a central entity running the platform. These platforms also provide stats on how much one can make and it is clear that the earlier adopters regarding this new content writing are far ahead of the rest and earning the most already.

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Being first and making money

To give a little insight into the money-making possibilities of these decentralized platforms, there is a good article about the earning capabilities of writing on the blogging site, Medium.

The writer explains how, just by repurposing his own work on a site like Medium, he has been able to make as much as $100 in 24 hours because of the collaborative and social nature of it. People can donate small amounts of money to articles they think are good, and, because of the way Web 3.0 is going, it is about group collective and crowdfunding.

But, this space is still new, and that is a double-edged sword. There is a huge demand for content and writers, and because of this, it is worth being in early to dominate the space. But, it also takes a bit of experimenting with a bunch of different decentralized social networks to make your content work for you.

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