David Gerard covers the origins and history of Bitcoin to the present day, the other cryptocurrencies it spawned including Ethereum, the ICO craze and the 2017 crypto bubble, and the attempts to apply blockchains and smart contracts to business. Plus a case study on blockchains in the music industry.
Bitcoin and blockchains are not a technology story, but a psychology story.
Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
“A sober riposte to all the upbeat forecasts about cryptocurrency” — New York Review of Books
“A very convincing takedown of the whole phenomenon” — BBC News
David Gerard is a Unix system administrator by day. His job includes keeping track of exciting new technologies and advising against the bad ones. He was previously an award-winning music journalist, and has blogged about music at Rocknerd.co.uk since 2001. He is a volunteer spokesman for Wikipedia, and is on the board of the RationalMedia Foundation, host of skeptical wiki RationalWiki.org. His website is davidgerard.co.uk. He lives in east London with his spouse Arkady and their daughter. Until he reinstalled the laptop they were on, he was the proud owner of six Dogecoins.
Rifkin uncovers a paradox at the heart of capitalism that has propelled it to greatness but is now taking it to its death—the inherent entrepreneurial dynamism of competitive markets that drives productivity up and marginal costs down, enabling businesses to reduce the price of their goods and services in order to win over consumers and market share. (Marginal cost is the cost of producing additional units of a good or service, if fixed costs are not counted.) While economists have always welcomed a reduction in marginal cost, they never anticipated the possibility of a technological revolution that might bring marginal costs to near zero, making goods and services priceless, nearly free, and abundant, and no longer subject to market forces.
Now, a formidable new technology infrastructure—the Internet of things (IoT)—is emerging with the potential of pushing large segments of economic life to near zero marginal cost in the years ahead. Rifkin describes how the Communication Internet is converging with a nascent Energy Internet and Logistics Internet to create a new technology platform that connects everything and everyone. Billions of sensors are being attached to natural resources, production lines, the electricity grid, logistics networks, recycling flows, and implanted in homes, offices, stores, vehicles, and even human beings, feeding Big Data into an IoT global neural network. Prosumers can connect to the network and use Big Data, analytics, and algorithms to accelerate efficiency, dramatically increase productivity, and lower the marginal cost of producing and sharing a wide range of products and services to near zero, just like they now do with information goods.
The plummeting of marginal costs is spawning a hybrid economy—part capitalist market and part Collaborative Commons—with far reaching implications for society, according to Rifkin. Hundreds of millions of people are already transferring parts of their economic lives to the global Collaborative Commons. Prosumers are plugging into the fledgling IoT and making and sharing their own information, entertainment, green energy, and 3D-printed products at near zero marginal cost. They are also sharing cars, homes, clothes and other items via social media sites, rentals, redistribution clubs, and cooperatives at low or near zero marginal cost. Students are enrolling in free massive open online courses (MOOCs) that operate at near zero marginal cost. Social entrepreneurs are even bypassing the banking establishment and using crowdfunding to finance startup businesses as well as creating alternative currencies in the fledgling sharing economy. In this new world, social capital is as important as financial capital, access trumps ownership, sustainability supersedes consumerism, cooperation ousts competition, and "exchange value" in the capitalist marketplace is increasingly replaced by "sharable value" on the Collaborative Commons.
Rifkin concludes that capitalism will remain with us, albeit in an increasingly streamlined role, primarily as an aggregator of network services and solutions, allowing it to flourish as a powerful niche player in the coming era. We are, however, says Rifkin, entering a world beyond markets where we are learning how to live together in an increasingly interdependent global Collaborative Commons.
Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal is an examination of the process he began of restructuring the Joint Special Operations Command management style, from a rigid command structure to a cooperative team comprised of smaller specialized teams. While fighting Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), General McChrystal noted how the United States and coalition militaries were efficient war-fighting machines, but they were not adaptable or effective against the seemingly disordered AQI. In 2005, after a particularly destructive terrorist attack at the opening of a sewage plant near Baghdad, McChrystal began considering whether the efficient structure was actually hindering the counterinsurgency, preventing them from responding to threats in real time and delaying the capture of AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Modern military management originated at the 1900 World's Fair, when Frederick Winslow Taylor revealed his work in steel production efficiency. Taylor believed that there is a right way to do any given thing…
PLEASE NOTE: This is key takeaways and analysis of the book and NOT the original book.
Inside this Instaread Key Takeaways & Analysis of Team of Teams
• Overview of book
• Introduction to the Important People in the book
• Key Takeaways and Analysis of Key Takeaways