Pillars and Polkadot | Bankless Publishing Recap
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Dear Bankless Readers 🏴
Gold has been around and in use for at least 6,500 years, and its history makes for a fascinating read in the context of the rise in cryptocurrency markets. From golden calves to fiat currency reserves, this history shows us that all that glitters is not gold — and that’s true for crypto too, which is why a tool like Etherscan is a true friend to all blockchain explorers. Whether you are just beginning, or well down the crypto rabbit hole, you will appreciate the straightforward simplicity of the two primers featured in this issue; we cover Etherscan basics and also dig in for the key facts you should know about blockchain technology.
Blockchains come in ‘all shapes and sizes’, and while Ethereum and Bitcoin get a fair bit of press, they’re not the only kids on the block. Read BP’s article about Polkadot to expand your understanding of the cryptoverse beyond the headlines.
Speaking of headlines, stablecoins have been in the news lately, mostly for the wrong reasons. One stable you will want to read all about is DAI, which is associated with a progressive and innovative group of people at MakerDAO and thankfully has so far escaped the tainted love given to Terra by that coin’s erstwhile hero.
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Contributors: kalex1138, Frank America, Trewkat, oxdog.eth, Puretayo, HiroKennelly
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✍️ Article Summaries
Gold, the Standard, and How the Dollar Floated Away
Author: Frank America | Editors: Tomahawk & HiroKennelly
The first chapter, ‘The Evolution of Money’ of Frank’s serialized book, explored the watery nature and current of currency. In this second chapter, Frank America dives into the socio-historical value of gold. The essay answers key questions — how long has gold been around and how has gold been used across various times and cultures? What is gold in its truest sense? —and then moves into the core thesis of the essay: the gold standard and how the dollar floated away.
“Gold is valuable because it’s difficult to extract from the earth, and more so because it is a scarce resource. But gold’s ecumenical affiliation with affluence, with crowns, rings, and scepters, with power, money, purity, hierarchy and heavenly things, begs for more of a metaphysical lens.”
For a large period of American history it was illegal to even hold gold, and that's where the pejorative term “hoarder” comes from. This essay contends a similar denigrative stance may be formed around the word “hodlr”. Read on to learn more!
The Polkadot Primer
Author: Michael Onodu | Editor: Tomahawk
Bankless is notoriously Ethereum-centric, possibly even Ethereum-myopic. Needless to say, Bankless Publishing’s goal is to inform our communities about all types of blockchains so that they can gain a holistic picture of the web3 landscape. In this Polkadot primer, we get an under-the-hood look at one of the coolest blockchains, built by Ethereum cofounder Gavin Wood.
“If you live in one ecosystem, you have neither boat nor bridge to simply access another. Even the most bankless among us have to visit a centralised exchange to move our assets to a different base network.”
Dig in to expand your blockchain knowledge!
14 Blockchain Basics
Author: HiroKennelly | Editors: Trewkat & Tomahawk
In this article, 14 Blockchain Basics, what you see is what you get! The first of the fourteen basics is that blockchains are built upon Decentralized Ledger Technology. Fortunately for you, BP published an entire piece on that topic earlier this year.
“At its simplest, DLT is a connected group of computers in different locations that use various rules to maintain a canonical, synchronous copy of validated transaction data across the network. Through these rules, called a consensus mechanism, data is added to the shared ledger.”
Perhaps the most important thing to note is that there isn’t just one blockchain, there are hundreds (maybe thousands). The article goes on to point out that blockchains are geographically distributed, decentralized, transparent, immutable and secure, trustless, and permissionless. From there it goes on into native tokens, bridges, and forks so grab your readers and get the basics down!
DAI, a Different Stablecoin
Author: Jake and Stake | Editor: Frank America
Maker is a big deal in DeFi. It is the protocol behind one of the largest stablecoins in the world: DAI. In its own words MakerDAO is not a company, it is a tech-stack that offers a variety of lending and borrowing services around its stablecoin DAI. This article gets into the nitty-gritty of MakerDAO vaults, which are the chambers from which DAI emerges. This is a medium-to-advanced article for the more active degen in crypto. Jake and Stake is a brilliant author, founder of the DeFi Download, and frequent contributor to the State of the DAOs, and he applies his prowess to the ins-and-outs of Maker’s stablecoin in this article.
Jake covers technical material like the Peg Stability Mode (PSM), which means users can, “deposit USDC and generate DAI at a 1–1 ratio, no matter the price.”
“The PSM allows users to swap their stablecoins for DAI and vice versa. The DAO can receive a fee on swaps. This allows users to seize arbitrage opportunities in the market, when DAI is trading above its peg users can deposit other stablecoins to receive DAI at a 1–1 ratio (minus the swap fee which is currently 0) and sell it on the open market. Similarly for the inverse.”
The article continues into more in-depth issues like how the Direct-Deposit DAI Module can stabilize variable interest rates. For the economist, and active DeFi degen, this is your bag. Get in there and understand what’s going on at the front edge of decentralized finance.
7 Etherscan Basics
Author: HiroKennelly | Editor: Trewkat
Another beginners’ banger by HiroKennelly. This article is a must-read for anyone that wants to unpack what “transparency” means in a web3 world, covering what Etherscan is and what it can do. Even a medium-level crypto researcher may learn something new about Etherscan’s possibilities. You may not have been aware, for example, that Etherscan lets you interact with smart contracts.
“This final aspect is perhaps the most important. Many users don’t realize that the dApps we interact with, like Uniswap and PoolTogether, are really just front end interfaces that enable you to interact with the blockchain. You can also view and interact with any deployed contract directly through Etherscan, although you will need some level of technical knowledge.”
Etherscan is the web3 multi-swiss-army-knife-type tool. Don’t miss out on learning about the most fundamental reporting system in web3.
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