When you think about it, OpenSea would actually be much "better" in the immediate sense if all the web3 parts were gone. It would be faster, cheaper for everyone, and easier to use. For example, to accept a bid on my NFT, I would have had to pay over $80-$150+ just in ethereum transaction fees. That puts an artificial floor on all bids, since otherwise you'd lose money by accepting a bid for less than the gas fees. Payment fees by credit card, which typically feel extortionary, look cheap compared to that. OpenSea could even publish a simple transparency log if people wanted a public record of transactions, offers, bids, etc to verify their accounting.
However, if they had built a platform to buy and sell images that wasn't nominally based on crypto, I don't think it would have taken off. Not because it isn't distributed, because as we've seen so much of what's required to make it work is already not distributed. I don't think it would have taken off because this is a gold rush. People have made money through cryptocurrency speculation, those people are interested in spending that cryptocurrency in ways that support their investment while offering additional returns, and so that defines the setting for the market of transfer of wealth.
https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2019/02/blockchain_and_.html, posted 27 Oct by peter in cryptocurrency opinion
What blockchain does is shift some of the trust in people and institutions to trust in technology. You need to trust the cryptography, the protocols, the software, the computers and the network. And you need to trust them absolutely, because they're often single points of failure.
When that trust turns out to be misplaced, there is no recourse. If your bitcoin exchange gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If your bitcoin wallet gets hacked, you lose all of your money. If you forget your login credentials, you lose all of your money. If there's a bug in the code of your smart contract, you lose all of your money. If someone successfully hacks the blockchain security, you lose all of your money. In many ways, trusting technology is harder than trusting people. Would you rather trust a human legal system or the details of some computer code you don't have the expertise to audit?
https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/9/30/this-what-the-death-of-democracy-looks-like, posted 30 Sep by peter in opinion politics transparency usa
America is in a dark place. There are no simple ways forward or easy solutions that could bring people together.
Most countries have land borders and voters. For them isolation was never feasible. Instead, they have adopted a confusing, illogical mess of rules. America bars travellers from Britain and the European Union, its closest allies and trade partners, and also two of the most vaccinated big places in the world, while admitting those from South-East Asia, where the Delta variant is rampant. Thailand bans entry from some countries and requires all other travellers to submit to a two-week quarantine. Yet of 21,038 cases identified on August 10th, only 19 were imported. Once a variant of the virus has started to spread in the local population, infections double every couple of weeks. Entry bans make very little difference to the total caseload.
The government's approach to technological surveillance is leading us down a dark path, experts warn, as it prepares to give law enforcement agencies new hacking powers.
Currently before parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, the Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 is the government's latest attempt to gain a watchful eye over cyber space.
Once the bill passes, it will dish out extra power to the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), giving the agencies access to new warrants that will let them modify and delete data, collect intelligence from online communities, and even take over the online accounts of supposed criminals.
https://rootsofprogress.org/devanney-on-the-nuclear-flop, posted May '21 by peter in energy environment health opinion
The standard story about nuclear costs is that radiation is dangerous, and therefore safety is expensive. The book argues that this is wrong: nuclear can be made safe and cheap. It should be 3 c/kWh — cheaper than coal.
https://drewdevault.com/2021/04/26/Cryptocurrency-is-a-disaster.html, posted Apr '21 by peter in business cryptocurrency finance opinion
No, cryptocurrency is not a currency at all: it's an investment vehicle. A tool for making the rich richer. And that's putting it nicely; in reality it has a lot more in common with a Ponzi scheme than a genuine investment. What "value" does solving fake math problems actually provide to anyone? It's all bullshit.
Maybe your cryptocurrency is different. But look: you're in really poor company. When you're the only honest person in the room, maybe you should be in a different room.
misc-stuff.terraaeon.com/articles/computer-i-own.html, posted Mar '21 by peter in crapification opensource opinion privacy
Instead, I have a computer that is designed largely to maximize the profits of the computer industry. Except for a handful of very over-priced models that I can't afford to buy, our computers are increasingly designed to be little more than advertising platforms and vehicles for maximizing the cloud revenues of their true owners: online data gatherers, advertisers, and cloud companies. Our computers have numerous hardware and software back doors that are designed to allow governments and corporations to spy on and track us around the Internet.
As I said, when I got stuck, the problem was never with coding or other technical issues. Of course, understanding every little detail of Flask was difficult sometimes—I was also hunting bugs for hours, sure. But the things that stopped me were mostly mindset related.
So here are a few practical pieces of advice to get over these issues—for my future self and for you—if you want to get a hobby project done!
https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2019/05/23/understanding-fake-agile/, posted Nov '20 by peter in agile management opinion
A particularly worrying variant is the Scaled Agile Framework or SAFe. Essentially this is codified bureaucracy, in which the customer is almost totally absent. It is now pervasive in large firms because it gives the management a mandate to call themselves agile and keep doing what they have always done. Essentially it subordinates the agile teams to the bureaucracy, rather than doing what is necessary to achieve business agility, namely, namely [sic], transform the big monolithic internally-focused systems into arrangements where the budgets, HR, Finance and so on are flexible and externally focused in support the Agile teams in operations. The insignificant role of the customer in the chart above is indicative of the problem.