What Are The Biggest Crypto Scams in History?
Over the weekend, Ethereum whales loaded up on Axie Infinity. It was the most traded token among the 1,000 largest ETH wallets in a 24-hour period. Some of the bigger whales purchased millions of dollars worth of AXS. Maybe we’ve got another rising superstar in the games category.
What were the biggest crypto scams in history? OneCoin tops the list, edging out BitConnect by $2 billion.
At the end of 2021, Tesla held almost $2 billion in bitcoin in its reserves.
According to the UN, North Korea used millions of dollars in stolen crypto to fund its missile programs. Ukraine is also using cryptocurrencies for defense purposes, but also to fund hacktivists. This begs the question: Could cryptocurrencies become a big part of international diplomacy, a way for nations to relate to other nations by other means? Tensions have been heating up between Russia and Ukraine in recent weeks and some U.S. officials fear Russia may be planning an invasion. However, one international analyst says it won’t happen. But again, it is interesting that Ukraine is using crypto to bolster its defenses. I can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of a new trend in cryptocurrencies and international relations.
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Steve Forbes: Will cryptocurrencies end the monopoly that governments have on money?
5 things to consider before regulating cryptocurrencies.
Is the mainstream media missing the point on cryptocurrencies?
How to answer the virtual currency question on your tax return.
How the World Wide Web Came to Be
Having a technical understanding of each of these foundational technologies to the modern internet is not necessary in order to use the World Wide Web or blockchain technology. However, understanding how these technologies developed does give users a better understanding of the evolution of computing in general and computer networking specifically. If you use the internet, you are connected to a massive worldwide computer network. Blockchains are extensions of that network.
Before we get to the big idea—decentralization and why it’s important—let’s first delve into the development of the World Wide Web and how it went from being decentralized to being centralized.
The man responsible for creating the World Wide Web is an English computer scientist named Tim Berners-Lee. He developed what is called hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), the communications protocol World Wide Web resources use to send and receive information over the Web. This information includes email, website content, links between websites, audiovisual content, cookies, and more.
Berners-Lee was a researcher at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland when he published a proposal designed to persuade CERN management to allow him to create a hyperlinked information management resource he called Mesh. That was in March 1989. He created the first web browser, called WorldWideWeb, in 1990. He used his web browser, which was also an HTML editor, to publish the first website in August 1991.
From the beginning, it’s clear that Berners-Lee intended the creation of the WorldWideWeb to be for CERN’s internal use, and he intended it to be decentralized. He wrote, “To be a practical system in the CERN environment, there are a number of clear practical requirements.” They included:
Remote access across networks
Heterogeneity (access from different types of systems)
“Non-centralisation” — In his own words, “Information systems start small and grow. They also start isolated and then merge. A new system must allow new systems to be linked together without requiring any central control or coordination.” (emphasis mine)
Access to existing data
The ability to add private links to and from public information as well as annotate links privately
Addition of graphics at a later date
That list summarizes the concept of the World Wide Web in the mind of its creator, and it’s the vision that Satoshi Nakamoto had when he created bitcoin and the world’s first blockchain. Around that idea of a decentralized digital currency, an entire ecosystem of cryptocurrencies have arisen attempting to achieve the same end goal and blockchain developers all over the world are working toward that end.
In case there is still a bit of skepticism in your mind, Berners-Lee wrote an essay in 2015 describing how he came upon the idea for the World Wide Web, which he initially called Enquire, and the process he went through to create it. He used the word “decentralized” twice in that document. The first instance was on page 1, where he wrote:
What that first bit of Enquire code led me to was something much larger, a vision encompassing the decentralized, organic growth of ideas, technology, and society.
The second time he used the word “decentralized” was on page 16, where he wrote:
The system had to have one other fundamental property: It had to be completely decentralized. That would be the only way a new person somewhere could start to use it without asking for access from anyone else. And that would be the only way the system could scale, so that as more people used it, it wouldn't get bogged down. This was good Internet-style engineering, but most systems still depended on some central node to which everything had to be connected-and whose capacity eventually limited the growth of the system as a whole. I wanted the act of adding a new link to be trivial; if it was, then a web of links could spread evenly across the globe.
Berners-Lee went on to write, “So long as I didn’t introduce some central link database, everything would scale nicely…. Hypertext would be most powerful if it could conceivably point to absolutely anything…. Every node, every document … would be fundamentally equivalent …. Each would have an address …. They would all exist together in the same space—the information space.”
It’s a fact that Berners-Lee’s vision and Nakamoto’s vision were similar in the sense that they both encompassed the quality of decentralization as fundamental to their creations. But if we look at the World Wide Web today, is it decentralized? In many ways, it isn’t. Let’s take a look and see why.
An excerpt from my forthcoming book Cryptosocial: How Cryptocurrencies Are Changing Social Media, to be published by Business Expert Press in March 2022. Help me launch my book and promote crypto to your friends.
Cryptocracy is a decentralized newsletter published 4 times a week. I curate the latest news and crypto analysis from some of the brightest minds in crypto, and sometimes offer a little insightful and snarky commentary. Always fresh, always interesting, and always crypto.
First published at Cryptocracy. Not financial advice.
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