The Age of Cryptocurrency Book Review

qThe book is written by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey. I have to be upfront about this book, it’s not a nuts and bolts guide on how to actually use Bitcoin. What it does do is give a detailed history about the digital currency. It explains the reasons why and how the currency was created, and it also gives a number of compelling reasons for everyday people to learn about the currency and to get started using it.

I know from my own experiences in talking to people about Bitcoin that most people out there have no idea what it is or how it works. This book does a good job in helping to educate people about Bitcoin and other digital currencies. The book is 345 pages long with 11 sections plus its conclusion. For me several of the sections really stand out from the rest of the book. Especially section five.

I found section five of the book to be the most interesting part of it. In this section titled, “Building the Blockchain”, the authors go into great detail of what exactly the Blockchain (also known as an electronic ledger) is and how it records debits and credits. The Blockchain is probably the biggest thing that most people have difficulty with when it comes to Bitcoin. If a person can understand how the Blockchain works then they’ll have a much easier time in grasping the other facets of using the digital currency.

Section eight titled, “The Unbanked”, explains how over two billion people around the world don’t have access to banks. The vast majority of these people reside in Africa, Asia and South America. The book points out that because of this lack of access it makes it much harder to build wealth over time. In one part of this section the authors tell a story about how people working in Mali near the border with Guinea have to depend on couriers to take their money to their families which are located 100s of miles into the country’s interior. In some cases the workers’ families get their money and in other cases they don’t. For us in the Western world, this type of lifestyle is unimaginable, but this is one of the few options the workers have in moving their money.

The section explains how Bitcoin can solve at least some of these issues. There are a number of small companies that have been created to try and remedy this problem using Bitcoin solutions. One company called M-Pesa has figured out a way to use text messaging via cheap $5.00 cellphones to send and receive Bitcoin payments through an intermediary website.

Section seven is titled, “Satoshi’s Mill”. In this section I found the most disturbing part of the book. In it the authors explain how American Venture Capitalists are funding a number of new Bitcoin startup companies. Most of these companies are involved in processing payments or creating wallets for digital currencies. The biggest problem I have is that these one percenters are trying to exploit Bitcoin’s success. I also believe that in time they’ll be in a strong position to influence the direction that digital currencies take. One of the main goals of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin was to give financial power back to the masses. I believe in time the Venture Capitalists will try to undo what Nakamoto was trying to accomplish.

Overall I found the book to be very educational and I would recommend it to others. Especially to those individuals and business owners who are interested in exploring new ways to send and receive payments.

Order the book by clicking here

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Unemployed? Try WWOOFing!

Bylinka pod Lipkou Ecocenter

WWOOF Host: Bylinka pod Lipkou Ecocenter in Hrušov, Slovakia

by Grower John

Do you find yourself unemployed? Are you unhappy with the paltry wage that you’re being paid? Do you want a change in your life? WWOOFing may be your answer!

The acronym WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. WWOOF is a collection of organizations which work to connect individual farm volunteers with farms which need workers. Farm volunteers give their time to farms in exchange for food, housing and the opportunities to be trained in organic farming methods.

There are host farms in over 90 different countries around the world. Each farm is different in regards to what is required of the workers. Some require the workers to stay for 1 week while others may require 1 month. Some farms may pay a small cash stipend after working on the farm for a certain period of time, typically these are longer obligations beyond 6 months. A lot of the farms, especially in the U.S. require a set number of hours per week. For example a farm may specify for a worker to give 30 hours a week of their time to work on the farm, in exchange the worker would get all their food and housing taken care of by the farm.

Some host farms are actual farms while others may be permaculture sites, gardens, organic nurseries, wineries or other businesses which are associated with organic agriculture. Some of the potential benefits of WWOOFing are traveling, meeting new people, learning a new language, learning organic farming methods, great exercise, and it can be a great way to explore areas that you may be interested in moving to without incurring lodging expenses.

It’s important to be in relatively good physical shape if you do decide to go WWOOFing. If you feel that you’re not in good shape, then you should condition yourself before you decide to begin doing farming work. It is best to start out WWOOFing on a farm with a short obligation, perhaps volunteering at one for a day or two. After you do that a few times then you can work up to staying for longer periods. Farm work can be physical and at times it can be hard, but if you condition your body it can be easy and very rewarding.

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