I often get asked “What can I do to help DigiByte? I’m not a programmer and I’m not overly technical.”
It’s arguably my favorite question people ask (And I get asked a LOT of questions), for a number of reasons:
- First of all, it shows that the person has a desire to contribute. As a permisionless and decentralized project, everybody is encouraged to contribute, without having to ask for permission to do something. This is fantastic!
- It shows the person is open to suggestions and feedback. Having the humility to understand you don’t know the answer to everything is also a commendable quality.
- It shows they believe in DigiByte. This is the kind of person that we want to attract to DigiByte.
- It shows they understand that there is bound to be things that can be done, despite not having an in-depth technical knowledge of how things work.
To anybody who has ever asked that question: Thank you!
But what can you actually do?
Most of the time I’ve responded with another question, and I’ve felt really bad about it but until I really sat down and thought about it, it’s the best I’ve been able to answer with:
What is it that you do best?
You see, I would tell people that if they’re a technical writer, then to do technical writing.
If they’re confident, and good with selling, then why not talk with businesses about accepting DigiByte.
If they’re good with computers, then port-forward on your router to your DigiByte node.
If they’re not technical but have a Desktop PC, then leave it turned on and DigiByte Core running 24/7.
If none of this applies, then they can still talk with family, friends, colleagues, strangers and more, and show people DigiByte by sending them a fraction of one through the DigiByte mobile apps.
However, perhaps it’s time that I refine my answer a little more, so this is what I’ve been thinking:
What is it you do best, that can build value for DigiByte?
You see, we have an amazing project, and a lot of people who are already involved are involved for two reasons:
- Price speculation
- Changing the world with this technology
So I’ll address both of these aspects.
Now I have absolutely no issues whatsoever with people wanting to speculate on the price of DigiByte, or using it as an investment etc.
I do not condone in any way, shape, or form any action taken that would result in a Pump & Dump. They’re of short-term benefit to a relative few, and many more people get “burned” from them.
“We need to do X, or Y for DigiByte” should always be met with a “why?”. Don’t be fooled when you receive the “for awareness” response, as often times it’s merely a guise for somebody wanting a short-term pump in price, so they can sell. This is not something I have any interest in whatsoever.
However, I am also acutely aware that the price of DigiByte impacts the amount of hash-power that secures the network, and as such there is always a part of me that understands a higher price naturally means better security through more hash-power that no doubt “follows the money”.
It is for this reason that we are replacing the Myriad-Groestl hashing algorithm with Odocrypt, for increased security by FPGAs.
Now on to the part that gets me out of bed in the mornings:
Changing the world with this technology
You see blockchain technology as a whole, when expressed in a scalable, permissionless and purely decentralized form such as DigiByte, has the capacity to change the world in so many ways. I’ve said in many of my YouTube talks that I want to tell my grandkids one day “I was there, at the beginning, and I helped, even if just a little”.
So how can you do this?
What is DigiByte actually used for?
What can DigiByte be used for?
What is the DigiByte point-of-difference, and why use DigiByte over Bitcoin?
So I got talking with a friend earlier today about this very thing, about ways you can change the world with DigiByte and why use DigiByte over and above Bitcoin, or anything else for that matter.
So to know what our point of difference is, let’s look at the others and see what their point of difference is:
What does Bitcoin do best?
You see, Bitcoin has the “network effect”, despite being arguably the slowest blockchain. It doesn’t really have all that much else going for it, because on-chain it’s horrible for payments. Sure, it has Lightning Network, but so does a bunch of others like Litecoin and Vertcoin, so it’s not really a good “point of difference”. It also has the single most PoW hash power thrown at it, but you don’t buy Bitcoin or use Bitcoin specifically for that reason.
So then, why would you want to buy / use Bitcoin? Price speculation on the future of reserve-money? That’s got to be it’s main purpose.
Why don’t we keep going down the next few at the top of CoinMarketCap?
Ethereum is next on the list
What does Ethereum do differently?
Well it’s a turing-complete platform allowing for Dapps.
You can build and do some insanely complex stuff with Ethereum.
Why would somebody buy Ethereum?
To use the Dapps that are on top of Ethereum. You want Ethereum so you can use them, so that’s a pretty good reason to buy it. I mean, it’s complex for devs, not the easiest for end-users when explaining how ERC-20 tokens etc work, but it’s still a pretty good point-of-difference.
XRP is on the list next
What does XRP do differently?
Well, XRP is supposed to be a “backhaul” for cross-border payments between financial institutions such as banks or other payment providers:
So why would an end-user want to buy it?
It’s fast, 4-odd seconds to validate a transaction, during which time the payment provider has purchased XRP, sent it to somebody, and subsequently sold it again, minimizing any price arbitrage.
So price speculation is the sole reason any end-user would purchase XRP.
Bitcoin Cash is next
What does Bitcoin Cash do differently?
Well, it’s Bitcoin, but with bigger blocks. I believe as of January they were at 8MB?
The idea is that you can use Bitcoin, but as Cash, for payments. With an 8MB block, pre-SegWit, you still process approx 32TPS (transactions per-second), or 2.7 million transactions a day. That’s enough for < 1% of America to be using once a day.
Even if they had 128MB blocks, that’s still only 44 million transactions a day, or 12% of America using once per-day.
Not the best point-of-difference, but it’s a point of difference nonetheless.
So you might buy Bitcoin Cash to use as Cash, but let’s be honest, most people in the western world have Visa / Mastercard. Credit cards are faster, more convenient, easier… Sure it’s custodial and we trust “the bank” with our money, but the fact of the matter is we earn interest on it in the account, despite inflation hitting us. Inflation of Bitcoin is still at this point on-par with that for most western countries so how much benefit is it really as a payment method compared with the status quo, and how much is simply price speculation?
Still, P2P electronic payments, not better than what we’ve got but it’s their point of difference so we’ll give them that.
Next up is Litecoin
What does Litecoin do differently?
Well, Litecoin has tried two different routes of late: “Sound Money” and “Payments” (Pay with Litecoin).
In terms of “sound money”, Bitcoin wins out with the network effect by an order of magnitude. It’s basically become the defacto “reserve currency” that everything else is measured against. We describe the value of most cryptocurrencies against Bitcoin in the value of Satoshis.
So although that’s a point of difference, it’s never going to beat Bitcoin, and they’re flogging a dead horse there. You should realistically just buy Bitcoin.
Payments however is something Bitcoin doesn’t do very well, so again we’re seeing the same point of difference as Bitcoin Cash.
Litecoin has slightly faster blocks though at 2.5 minutes vs Bitcoin Cash at 10 minutes. They have SegWit too so we can presume approx 28 TPS (transactions per-second). That’s not the greatest seeing as it doesn’t even beat Bitcoin Cash in terms of capacity, but they’re also hedging their bets on the Lightning Network and off-chain transactions.
This still brings up the “Why don’t we just use a credit-card? It’s far easier!” aspect, but, long-term if they think they can make it easy enough then there’s certainly some point-of-differences.
Again though you’re going to be speculating on the price, because right now there’s very few places that accept it, and it’s simply easier to just use your credit card at those that do.
Next up is EOS.
What does EOS do differently?
EOS was framed as the “Ethereum killer”, or “Ethereum 2.0", designed to overcome the scaling issues of approx 17 TPS.
This is obviously key as a broader userbase sets in, as we found even just CryptoKitties in 2017 as enough to bring ETH to it’s knees. EOS sets out to basically accomplish the same thing, but, with a bigger capacity.
The problem is that by trying to do-so they’ve also compromised significantly on decentralization and EOS has been caught up in a myriad of controversy with the Block Producers voting each other in, only 21 servers, non-existent decentralization etc.
Again though there’s not a lot on Ethereum, live, right now, as of 2019. Most of the time people want to also speculate heavily on price.
So their point of difference is that EOS is a scaling Ethereum, despite their compromises.
Now coming back to DigiByte, why would an end-user want to buy DigiByte?
What does DigiByte do differently? What’s our point-of-difference?
If somebody is going to buy DigiByte right now, they’re likely wanting to speculate on the price, as has been the case with almost everything above.
Despite all the best intentions in the world, the primary reason you would want to own any cryptocurrency right now is price speculation.
We need to change that, and give people a reason to want DigiByte over and above price speculation.
We need to give people a really compelling reason to have some DigiByte on their cellphone that they will use regularly. I’m talking about at least weekly, if not ideally daily.
Don’t get me wrong, P2P electronic cash is an admirable goal, and not one which we should forget. We do it better than any of the aforementioned by a long shot. That said, I believe we need more.
We already have Digi-ID, which is amazing. It’s the perfect carrot to get people interested, and having the likes of AntumID built upon it is a fantastic value proposition, as is it being built in to Coinomi.
However, that doesn’t require any DigiByte to use, by design.
We want to encourage the genuine use of the blockchain, as it is this genuine use that I think is going to kill two birds with one stone for us:
1/ A strengthening of the value of DigiByte, improving the hash-power
2/ Accomplishing the goal of changing the world
To give you an idea of numbers around how much blockchains have been utilized, I grabbed some transaction stats (15th May 2019) for comparison vs their market cap:
Bitcoin: 416,656,843 — $145 billion
Litecoin: 33,607,928 — $6.4 billion
DigiByte: 19,566,593 — $0.16 billion
So despite the small sample size, there’s seemingly no direct correlation between market cap and the number of transactions on a blockchain. Bitcoin has a 5 year head-start, Litecoin with 3 years.
I feel this raises some good food for thought:
There’s been < 20 million transactions on-chain for DigiByte (Not including buy / sell on Exchanges that all happens locally, in their own database). Let’s presume an impossible best-case scenario that each of those is a unique user of DigiByte. Let’s also presume that all users were American.
Presuming there’s around 360 million Americans, that means that only 1 in every 18 has actually used / bought DigiByte, 5%. In reality it’s far, far lower, due to the fact that a lot of “hodling” happens on Exchanges, and that wouldn’t count for miner mining and then sending to an exchange to sell etc
So, we’ve got a lot of work to do to get DigiByte in to the hands of the world, clearly, but we need to give them a reason to want it.
Even if it’s just 10 DigiByte each, if we got half of all America (180 million users), and didn’t account for the rest of the world using it, then that would be 1.8 billion DigiByte that people have, in their wallets, that’s being used, that’s out of circulation for speculative trading, that’s being used as cash, or that’s making an impact on the world.
That would be over 15% of our current circulating supply.
So anyways back to my discussion with my friend, we got brainstorming about the value proposition of DigiByte.
We want something over and above payments, because the simple matter of fact is most people are actually quite OK with their bank and credit-cards (Again though we excel in this area better than any of the other aforementioned above).
Enter the point of difference:
DigiAssets, in my mind, will be one of the catalysts that encourages people to broadly take-up DigiByte, and blockchain as a whole.
It’s not just enough to be able to do this, as you can already on Ethereum. We need to build on existing, or develop new advantages:
- On-chain scaling
- Low cost barrier-to-entry (It’s cheaper to get involved with DGB than ETH)
- True decentalization of the blockchain
- Easy-to-use solution
- Well documented platform
- Simple and sexy mobile offering
So I’m going to look at these and expand on them individually:
1 — On-chain scaling
We already do this. We do it better on-chain than any other looked at previously so this is a huge boon for us.
2 — Low cost barrier-to-entry
Where a DigiByte is currently USD$0.015, even if price goes up 100,000X, the cost of getting 1x DigiByte is not going to be prohibitive, especially given people could still happily have 0.01 DGB in their wallet to use DigiAssets with
3 — True decentalization of the blockchain
Where others such as EOS only run with 21 Block Producing nodes, or there are 4x producers that mine over 50% of the blocks for Bitcoin / Litecoin, DigiByte has something like 5X the number of miners over the last 1,000 blocks compared to Bitcoin.
4 — Easy-to-use solution
The likes of EOS and Ethereum basically throw everything at the developer and the end-user, including the kitchen sink. We need DigiAssets to be a lot simpler, while still retaining a lot of the power of our asset issuance. We do this already because we are not a “Turing complete” solution, but we intentionally do have limitations, despite these limitations not affecting the majority of our intended DigiAsset usage scenarios
5 — Well documented platform
Documentation has been a key aspect of this too, with a recent video from popular crypto YouTuber Hashoshi4 talking about the documentation needed for people to be able to develop and build DigiAssets. This is something that’s being worked but needs to remain a focal point.
6 — Simple and sexy mobile offering
Our mobile app is arguably one of the sexiest in the industry. Damir did an amazing job with the contest-winning design, and Yoshi, Ploenne, GTO90 and Noah have all brought that design to life. The initial MVP (Minimum Viable Product) release including DigiAssets will be out soon, supporting sending and receiving (Issuance later) and there are plans to further streamline the asset experience and bring it front & center within the apps.
So we’ve got a bunch of points of differences.
Now we need Assets!
Now we need awesome ways you can use DigiAssets to encourage people to have a small amount of DigiByte.
DigiByte is going to be the gas that powers DigiAssets, with a small amount used when you send / issue them.
So you’re sent a DigiAsset, that’s fine, it’s free, but to send it on elsewhere, trade it, redeem it etc you’ll need a small amount of your own $DGB in your wallet.
So we need practical ways that we can use DigiAssets on a day-to-day basis.
What is it you can do to help DigiByte?
Let’s maintain our significant lead in the payments arena, but I would recommend that we also think of practical ways DigiAssets can be utilized, and talk with companies about implementing DigiAssets.
The easiest ways to do this are going to be with things like Loyalty Points, Trading Cards. In my mind, these are easy ways to get companies started with DigiAssets. They don’t require a lot of “implementation time”, and in fact the likes of Loyalty Points can even be done 100% on-mobile once issued.
How would they do this? Well, issuing the asset can be done through DigiVault, and send these loyalty point assets to a “Point of sale” tablet or mobile. Most stores like cafes etc have them, especially if they have UberEats etc. From there, they can send an asset to somebody each time they buy a coffee, or easily send them two if they bought two coffees. Once the end-user has accumulated 9, they can send them back to the store and get a free coffee.
Trading Cards are also relatively straight-forward to get the ball rolling with. Everything from sports, virtual pets, traditional game-cards, and more can all be issued as DigiAssets. From Pokemon Cards to MLB to Munchkin to MTG, they could all easily be issued as DigiAssets allowing for transparency of supply, certainty they won’t be re-issued etc
Following this, other things such as cinema tickets, sporting tickets, music event tickets, and even travel (Plane / Bus / Train) tickets are simple to do but would no doubt require a lot of ‘corporate red-tape’ to get cut through to be convinced to issue these things on DigiAssets despite the myriad of solutions they bring.
Issuing a DigiAsset as an in-game currency, in place of game-gold, could also be done as well, but again, the ‘red-tape’ means this is likely something that people will take up once there have been a number of other success stories built upon DigiAssets.
Then there are a bunch of other popular scenarios, such as storing your last Will & Testament on DigiByte. However, they’re not the kids of things that people are likely to use on a regular basis. I don’t update my Will every other day.
What sort of things come to mind when you think of things that could be issued as a DigiAsset?
What companies do you think would like to talk to you about issuing an Asset on the blockchain?
Do you know somebody at a company who would be in a position to make a decision about this sort of thing, that you could put other members of the DigiByte community in touch with to talk with?
Do you know of non-Crypto people who we can talk with about DigiAssets and how it will change the world?
Or do you have other great ideas that we could follow up with to spread the word about DigiByte?