AMA about technical writing, web publishing, and cryptocurrency or how JavaScript made me hate web development and drove me into blockchain technology.

Bruno Skvorc
Nov 16, 2017

I'll be answering questions about my hatred for JavaScript, my newfound interest in blockchain development, and about the web publishing process - feel free to ask anything about publishing, authoring technical content, open access publishing (it's where I come from) and more.

I also work as a developer evangelist and support specialist for Diffbot.com, so you can ask about that as well if you're interested - it's an ML/AI company dealing with semantic processing of web content.

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Conversation (43)

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Do you read alot in your spare time?

Nov 22, 10:37AM EST0

Books, not really. But 95% of my career is reading - blogs, articles, whitepapers, studies, tutorials.

Nov 22, 11:12AM EST0

Do you plan to write an article or book on this?

Nov 20, 4:19AM EST0

What does it take for a newbie to understand what you are doing with blockchain development and web publishing?

Nov 14, 3:17PM EST0

To be clear, I don't combine the two. Those are two areas I deal with separately, only I sometimes also web publish stuff about the blockchain. I'm not building a CMS on the blockchain or anything silly like that.

Last edited @ Nov 15, 8:11AM EST.
Nov 14, 4:13PM EST0

Where do you see yourself 5 Years from now? 

Nov 14, 12:09PM EST0


Nov 14, 4:12PM EST0

Can you recommend me a good book about this topic?

Nov 12, 11:09AM EST0

Sure. Start with Mastering Bitcoin.

Nov 12, 3:40PM EST0

How is the value of a cryptocurrency determined and where can I see it?

Nov 11, 8:18PM EST0

You can see the average value of a currency or token at sites like coincap.io or coinmarketcap.com. The value is market driven - the more demand on exchanges like Bittrex there is for a given token or currency, the more they're worth and vice versa. Those markets can move organically (based on purchases and real world interest) or by the markets themselves pumping the coin by "buying and selling" from themselves. Because there's no regulation in crypto trading, there are no laws against wash trading and similar tactics the stock market eliminated back in the last millenium, so the markets can be easily moved by a single rich person or organization. Right now, the fluctuations you're seeing are the result of the entire ecosystem being too small. We're in a small boat, affected by waves. Once we're a cruiser - i.e. when more people have cryptocurrencies and participate in the network - the waves will become meaningless.

Nov 12, 6:19AM EST0

Cryptography is disgusted that cryptocurrency's fake ass is wearing its face undeservingly

Nov 15, 6:45AM EST0

How has the process of using crypto currencies changed since you first started?

Nov 11, 12:14PM EST0

Using in which way? Commerce? Well, Bitcoin is now accepted in lots of places, and services like Bitpay and Gourl have showed up to help with that. Alternative currencies are also more widely accepted. Ether itself is becoming more prominent as more and more dapps are built on it, and its ability to support custom crypto tokens is making loyalty programs and decentralized organizations, voting systems, and more much more accessible. But it made possible many scams because anyone can set up a custom token and ICO in minutes, for almost no money. It's a wild wild west still.In terms of tech, many new usable wallets appeared - the Ledger Nano S is a prime example. Many more people can now feel safe and secure using and storing their crypto. Wallet generators are a dime a dozen and it's fairly easy to even roll your own. I'm sure within 5 years the tech will either be 100% dead or 100% mainstream.

Nov 11, 1:01PM EST0

How much of the interest in cryptocurrency is from genuine commerce, and not speculation?

Nov 10, 11:30AM EST0

I'd estimate around 5% is genuine. There's about 15% actual speculation / user driven prices, and 80% of the remainder is actually price pumping by whales (big players).

Nov 10, 11:35AM EST0

How can I understand the tech behind blockchain better?

Nov 10, 11:11AM EST0

Read, read, and read. I think this post is a good start.

Nov 10, 11:33AM EST0

What changes or improvements should be made in the industry in general?

Nov 10, 11:05AM EST0

Which industry?

Nov 10, 11:07AM EST0

What misconceptions do people have about blockchain that you want to quell?

Nov 10, 8:20AM EST0
  1. Coins are not stored on wallets, hardware, paper, or software. They are stored on the blockchain. The wallet - regardless of type - only stores the private key which is needed to *move* those coins.
  2. The team behind Bitcoin is no longer interested in decentralization, and the long wait times and high transactions fees will never be resolved - it will only get worse. To find out why, see this thread.
  3. The blockchain cannot be hacked. Wallets and accounts can.
  4. Cryptocurrencies CAN be stopped. See here.
  5. Bitcoin is not technically finite. See here.
  6. Bitcoin is not anonymous. See here.
Nov 10, 10:33AM EST0

What are your reasons for using blockchain?

Nov 10, 5:44AM EST0

I like the idea of deploying code and data that stays alive forever. This is why Ethereum is so appealing to me - I want eternal apps to exist and I want their data to be available forever. I also like the monetary aspect of some cryptocurrencies in that they let us EXIT the current currency market, which is by far the biggest blow we can deal to the corrupt top of most nations who steal from us.

Nov 10, 5:54AM EST0

What hurdles does cryptocurrency face in becoming widely used?

Nov 10, 5:36AM EST0

Scaling. It's very slow, so it can't compete with mainstream payment solutions on transaction speed and throughput. There are some solutions underway like the Lightning Network in Bitcoin, but that approach is incredibly flawed and basically opens the cryptocurrency layer to centralization in the same way banks work today. We'll see what happens. Another problem is the fact that a lot of people just aren't capable of securing their wallets - the percentage of people who keep their crypto in exchanges or, even worse, on their mobile devices is astonishing. Until people stop losing money to hacks and misconfiguration, crypto has a long way to go.

Nov 10, 5:51AM EST0

Do you expect Bitcoin to remain the most popular cryptocurrency for a long time?

Nov 10, 5:12AM EST0

Yes, because of brand recognition and a rapidly rising price. Ethereum seems too complicated for most people (even though it isn't - see here), but Bitcoin has celebs endorsing it, investors, VCs, managers, politicans etc talking about it, and at this point for many people Bitcoin is synonymous with cryptocurrency. 

Nov 10, 5:20AM EST0

Why do you hate JavaScript so much?

Nov 10, 2:54AM EST0

I think it's a joke of a language with a joke of an ecosystem. With its framework-per-day and package-manager-per-day attitude as well as "everything is a dependency" pyramid scheme (also see leftpad.js), its 17 flavors of "must have" compilers, transpilers, translators, and builders, five different types of ways to include dependencies in other files, competing school of thought that *just now* discovered things other languages have had for 20 years (OOP, server side rendering, types), and finally, with NPM, the absolute worst package manager you could every come up with, which never, ever runs without a deprecation warning or error on even the simplest of apps, and these errors are written by the core devs for the core devs because no mortal can parse them into something useful, and which installs 17 terrabytes of infinitely nested junk into node_modules on every run, thus breaking Windows and ignoring 33% of the marketplace, JavaScript is, to me, truly a cancer of the web.

I don't know what the solution is. I loved Dart, it showed promise once, but then in typical Google fashion, it got killed off.  JavaScript as both an ecosystem and a language is so horrible that it made me quit the web development field, and pushed me into cryptocurrencies. It completely turned me off of development, and I'm doing much better.

Nov 10, 3:48AM EST0

How many different cryptocurrencies have you used?

Nov 10, 2:41AM EST0

My investment portfolio contains about 30 different ones. In regards to utility, I regularly use Ether and Sia and I started dabbling in iExec.

Nov 10, 3:42AM EST0

Are you learning w3schools.com?

Nov 10, 12:45AM EST0

How about day trading crypto?

Nov 9, 5:25PM EST0

What about it? I don't do that. It's too mentally and psychologically taxing for me. I'd rather just hold and use promising coins than try to skim off the top of waves in a sea of sharks.

Last edited @ Nov 9, 5:37PM EST.
Nov 9, 5:36PM EST0

Do speculators help or harm the popularity and utility of cryptocurrencies?

Nov 9, 3:35PM EST0

They help the popularity but harm the utility, especially with currencies that have no utility to begin with, like Bitcoin.

Nov 9, 3:45PM EST0

Are you aware of any self-dealing that the originators of a currency have committed?

Nov 9, 1:29PM EST0

The most obvious example is USDT (Tether). There's too much evidence to share here - just read the posts here. Most ICOs are also designed with this in mind - scams aimed at keeping as much of the proceeds in the hands of the creators. There's very few tokens that have an actually good idea behind them and a fair distribution scheme.

Nov 9, 2:53PM EST0

Why does the Bitcoin price change so much from month to month?

Nov 9, 1:22PM EST0

There are two main factors influencing Bitcoin's price:

  1. Actual demand driven by FOMO (fear of missing out). As mainstream media writes about Bitcoin and people who got rich from it, naive investors flock to it driving the price upward. This is responsible for around 20% of the price movement.
  2. The remaining 80% is affected by widespread fraud. Bitfinex is a cryptocurrency exchange with the highest volume of BTC trading and the highest volume of USDT (tether) trading. But because Bitfinex owns Tether (not many people know this, they hide this fact), and Tethers can be made out of thin air with no backing whatsoever, Bitfinex is actually buying BTC from itself, which in traditional trading circles is called "wash trading" or trading to create the illusion of demand. This makes Bitfinex appear very popular, AND drives the price upward. For proof, just see posts here: https://medium.com/@bitfinexed
Last edited @ Nov 9, 5:37PM EST.
Nov 9, 2:40PM EST0

Why is Javascript the best language and how can we use it to make an Electron-based crypto mining app?

Nov 9, 6:25AM EST0

Expertly trolly first part of the question aside, it's fairly easy to make an Electron based mining app.

  • Step 1: Grab an Electron app skeleton and slap a website into it, call it an app. I hear "apps" that merge several web based IM apps are all the rage.
  • Step 2: Include the coinhive.js miner into the website you created inside Electron.
  • Step 3: Release it on unsuspecting users on ProductHunt and watch the dough roll in. Everyone is so used to JavaScript desktop apps using 350% of the CPU, they won't even notice it's mining.
Last edited @ Nov 9, 5:36PM EST.
Nov 9, 6:28AM EST0
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