Screenshot From the Enumivo Home Page

A new announcement popped up in early February on the BitcoinTalk forum about a new token called Enumivo (ENU) which proclaimed itself as a blockchain + universal basic income. Unlike most announcement of this kind which usually leads to an ICO (initial coin offering) asking for investment from the public, the developer (who remains anonymous) gave away a total of 400 million ENU tokens, via free airdrop to Ethereum holders, out of a total supply of 500 million.

The goal was to distribute the tokens as widely as possible and it seems to have met that objective in a matter of days. In a short while, several volunteers of different nationalities have come together to form a core group. A chat group was created on Telegram Messenger that now has over 600 members and a separate chat group was created for Chinese speakers with over 200 members. The project has a bare-bones website at www.enumivo.org.

Much about the project details still remains a mystery as the white paper is still being written and the core members are just getting to know one another, but here are a few things we do know about the project:

  1. Enumivo will be a clone of the open-source EOS platform (set to officially release in June 2018). EOS is regarded by many as a 3rd-generation blockchain (with Bitcoin being 1st and Ethereum heralding the 2nd) — its key features being the ability to run decentralized applications for free (no transaction fees), and being able to handle millions of transactions per second.
  2. Enumivo is set to release two months after EOS, on August 2018. Future applications running on EOS can be ported over to ENU as far as its licensing allows. Developers can also create independent applications on ENU.
  3. ENU is trading at ForkDelta (forkdelta.github.io), a decentralized exchange. ENU tokens were initially released as ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. According to the roadmap on the website, these can be swapped for ENU tokens one day after the ENU chain is released.
  4. The developer jokingly refers to ENU as a “poor man’s EOS” as EOS tokens are now trading at around USD 9 (after having reached a high of around USD 18 last January) and now has a total market cap of over USD 5 billion. In contrast ENU is now trading at roughly half a cent (0.000005 ETH) giving it a total market cap of USD 2.5 million, but that’s not so bad given that it is not even a month old.Being a cheap alternative should not be a reason for writing off this project. Linux was also once known as the “poor man’s Unix” but it now powers most of the internet. Google’s Android is built on top of Linux, and a lot of machines and appliances with smart capabilities (TV’s, cars, etc.) also use Linux as their base operating system.
  5. The developer’s identity was recently called into question in the chatroom, with a user demanding to know who the developer was, given that he “invested” in the token. The developer replied to the effect that even Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s famed founder, is simply a pseudonym while his real identity remains unknown. He further clarified that tokens were given essentially for free, and if the person did buy his/her tokens, it was not from the developer but from other people who got the tokens. Since there was no call for “investments” by the developer, he sees no need nor pressure to reveal himself, citing that the project itself is more important than his identity.
  6. Speaking of credibility, a blog called SomethingDecent (www.somethingdecent.co.uk) recently documented the 9 ETH Story which highlighted the developer’s honesty and sincerity in his dealings. To summarize, someone mistakenly sent the developer 9 ETH (roughly USD 7,600). The developer could have simply run away with this amount or pointed to his original disclaimer which said “If you send anything greater than zero, I will consider it as a donation,” and the sender would have no way of going after him. Yet, the developer returned the 9 ETH (after making sure of the sender’s identity) and that solidified his reputation in the eyes of many.
  7. To learn more about Enumivo, look for it on Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, and Reddit.

Next week, we’ll talk more about the developer’s vision of a Universal Basic Income and how blockchain technology fits in with that plan.

Disclosure: This writer was recently invited to be part of the Enumivo Core Group as a volunteer.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

Dave and Pete

I’m halfway through the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, by Mark Manson, which I picked up from my nephew’s bookshelf. And no, I didn’t give a f*ck that he wasn’t there. I just texted him and said, “Hey, I’m stealing your book.”

So anyway, I read about two guys named Dave and Pete and they have been bouncing around my head for a week now. I think they want me to write about them so they can get out and leave me in peace.

Dave was a guitarist for a band that had just gotten its first recording contract. Immediately after recording their first album, Dave was fired due to his excessive use of drugs and alcohol. He was literally told to pack up his bags and go home.

On the bus, he did a lot of thinking and soul-searching and vowed to form a new band that would eclipse his former one. He worked hard for the next couple of years and managed to form another band that would become a legend, would tour the world many times over, and would sell over 25 million albums.

Dave is David Scott Mustaine, guitarist, lead singer and primary songwriter of the heavy metal band Megadeth.

One may think that Dave got his revenge and redemption but the twist in this story is that the band he was kicked out of was Metallica, considered by many as one of the greatest rock bands of all time, selling over 180 million records, eclipsing Megadeth’s record many times over.

In a 2003 interview, Mustaine admitted still feeling like a failure, despite all he had achieved, because he chose to see himself in the shadow of Metallica’s success.

Now let’s go to Pete who shares a similar story. Pete Best was a drummer for another band that had just gotten its first recording contract, and like Dave, Pete also got kicked out. As his replacement, the band brought in a guy named Ringo. And if you hadn’t guessed it yet, that band was the Beatles.

Unlike Dave, however, Pete didn’t go on to form his own record-breaking band or become world famous or superbly wealthy.  In fact, shortly after his firing, his other musical projects were horrible failures and he even once attempted to kill himself.

In a 1994 interview, however, Pete declared that he was a lot happier than he would have been with the Beatles. He met the love of his life, married her, had children, kept a steady job, and led a relatively simple existence. But he realized that was more important to him than having fame, riches or glory.

So here is a snapshot of two people in the later stages of their lives and career, looking back at what they have been through. Though one was wildly successful and achieved what only a few could ever experience, he considered himself a failure. While the other led a life like millions of others on the planet, and yet, was happy and content.

The lesson in stories like these is, as Manson writes, “We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”

And therein lies the secret of being happy.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

Twenty Six

We had a rocky start. You called it off when we’ve barely even begun. I was too stunned to do anything at first, but decided to call you later and ask you to reconsider, which you thankfully did. My folks were doubtful about you and your background. You didn’t want your dad to know about us. Six months later, I would be in the hospital after being stabbed coming from your place. I thought it would be over, but we just held on.

One year passed, then two, then three. We had many good moments — sharing a pizza, seeing a movie, chatting for hours in your house, or in your car in our school parking lot on Sunday afternoons, me getting to know your friends and you getting to know mine, and your dad finally knowing that I was not just another male friend. We had some bad moments too — the silent treatment, the occasional spat and misunderstanding that goes with any relationship.

And then it was graduation time for me, and I left you in Manila to become a teacher back here in Davao. We spent four years in a long distance relationship without cellphones or Facebook. I kept a photo of you on my desk in the faculty room so that you were always smiling at me as I worked. We met only once or twice a year except for that time when you surprised me with an unannounced visit, or when I did the same to you.

Then we tied the knot and settled in Davao (or so we thought). We tried our hand at network marketing which I (the one who hated selling) ironically dragged you into, even though you swore not to touch it after your friend invited you to the same. We relocated to Manila just a few months after “settling” in Davao when our business took off there, and we would stay there for the next 10 years doing this and that, trying to forge our own path. I went back to teaching while you, ever the entrepreneur, was always trying out this or that business idea — ice candies, siomai, theater-show buying, developing and selling a discount card, bus advertising, website development, and even organizing a wedding fair. I also tried my hand at a little quail-egg farming. We made money, we borrowed money, and we also lost money.

Amidst all these, our babies were born — our little bundles of joy, who are not quite bundles right now. Raising them was an experience of going to heaven and descending to hell in the space of a few moments. I cannot forget the screams they made when putting them to sleep, or the struggle of waking up in the middle of the night to change their diapers. It was especially hard when they got feverish and you had to constantly cool them down with sponge baths. The struggle we had loading the stroller, the car seat and all the baby stuff in the car or in the plane whenever we traveled to visit Davao.

But I also cannot forget their first time talking and walking, or how Faith hugged and thanked me after bringing her to see the quails and spending time with her. I remember coming home late and seeing Aidan, our little stressbuster,  in the crib and all worries would just melt away. I remember Drei with her toy guitar and shades singing “I’m a rock star.” Then all three would gang up on us on the bed and jump around and there would be pandemonium, albeit a happy one.

You journeyed with me as I searched for truth, as my concept of church, God and spirituality constantly evolved until I eventually let go of all of them. But you did not let go of me.

When I finally decided to move our family back to Davao, you respected that decision though you had tremendous fears, and they came true but you endured and even thrived. I can only marvel at your strength, I who thought of giving up once before when everything seemed so bleak and hopeless.

Twenty-six years seems like a long time, but they have gone by like episodes of Game of Thrones. We are both a bit fatter than we were before. Your hair has started turning grey while my head has long been deforested. The kids have grown but they still like to gang up on our bed. I am still in love with your voice, except when it is nagging me to go to sleep when I am still playing Watchdogs.

Happy 26th!

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

Avatars and Data

Last January 25, I was at the Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference Philippines at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel and I spent the whole day listening to various speakers talk about blockchain solutions as well as their own projects.

A couple of projects were particularly interesting to me. One was Ubiatar (ubiatar.com) which was basically a video-streaming application that allowed people to either be usars or avatars. A usar is someone who hires an avatar to be his eyes and hands in a remote location. For example, a usar in Davao can hire an avatar in Paris to go to the Eiffel Tower and look around, providing a virtual tour for someone who might not be able to afford, or who might not be physically able (i.e. someone who is paralyzed from the neck down) to make the actual trip.

Usars give instructions to the avatar by typing commands in a chat box or by simply using standard onscreen icons to command the avatar to go forward, back, left or right, and even to interact with objects. The icons provide a great way to communicate especially if both do not speak the same language.

Usars can find avatars in different locations in the world via UbiatarPlay (ubiatarplay.io) and initiate contracts which avatars can either accept or refuse. Usars and avatars can also rate each other, much like online services like Uber or AirBNB where vendor and vendee rate each other. UbiatarPlay will also act as mediator in case of disputes, e.g. if the usar commands the avatar to do something dangerous, immoral or illegal, which the avatar, of course, has every right to refuse doing.

What attracted me to this project was that a lot of the technology has already been built and can be tested. I visited the Ubiatar booth where Francesco Raco, the company CFO, demonstrated the platform. First, we “hired” an avatar in Italy and I use the word “hired” loosely since all avatars at this point are simply on a volunteer basis and you can only use them to look around wherever they are. Anyway, our avatar showed us the window view from what seemed to be his or her apartment and we could tell the avatar to move right or left and even take a still photo of the view.

Next, I downloaded the Ubiatar app on my phone and became an avatar while Francesco issued commands for me to go around the conference hall. The video streaming quality was surprisingly good and impressive.

Other possible applications for this included business deals where a property buyer might hire an avatar in a remote location to scout a place first before actually traveling there, saving time and money. One can also use the platform to create a business like an online game where the players control real people to interact with a simulated environment (e.g. crime scene) where they have to solve the case by looking at various clues around the place.

The other project that caught my attention was Datum.org, which was presented by its CEO and co-founder, Roger Haenni. This project seeks to provide a marketplace for data, empowering individuals by giving us control over the various types of data collected from us by our smart devices, social networks, phones, websites, and so on, and we can choose with whom to share or even sell this data.

The user submits his/her data by connecting to the platform and paying a small fee (using DAT tokens) to store the data. This information is then encrypted and anonymized and sent to the Datum blockchain. Buyers can then look for the type of data they want and pay for that data which is then paid back to the users.

What interests me with this is the ability to monetize our own data rather than just having other entities use it for their own purposes without giving us anything in return.

All in all, attending the conference and getting to meet other experts and enthusiasts was an enriching experience. I had minor blooper while looking around at the other attendees nametags. I noticed that a lot of people had BBC Philippines printed on the bottom part of the tag, and I thought, “Wow, BBC (the media company) sure sent a lot of people to cover this event.” When I looked at my own tag later in the day, I was surprised to find out that I also had BBC Philippines printed on it. That’s when I realized that BBC was not referring to the media company but to Blockchain and Bitcoin Conference Philippines.

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

The Illusion of Permanence

The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless. — Alan Watts

Despite the many cliches on life being all about change and how the only constant is change, people (including myself) still find themselves very much attached to the idea of permanence. In fact, a huge chunk of our time and effort is devoted to securing a stable job or income, being able to build a home with solid foundations, and securing wealth that will last for generations.

For others, it is not so much about wealth but about preserving one’s honor and reputation, making sure not to tarnish the family name. Or it might be about having a set of friends or a life partner who will be with you through thick or thin.

The desire for permanence is especially evident in our ideas of the afterlife — when we look forward to an eternity of pleasure and bliss in whatever form that may take — mansions, virgins, being reunited with loved ones, being in the presence of the creator, or being one with the universe and everything.

So for many of us, happiness became attached to attaining some measure of stability in life, which has meant to most people, the endless acquisition of wealth, power and stature in order to better deal with life’s challenges. We tend to think, “If only I had this or that, or him or her, I would be happy,” only to find out that once we have attained what we once thought our greatest desire, we become happy only for a short while and then we are once more miserable and unsatisfied.

The key to a happy life is to cultivate detachment, but not indifference. When we are disappointed, we tend to say “I AM disappointed,” and when we are sad we say, “I AM sad.” But are you really your disappointment or your sadness? The reverse is also true, when you say, “I AM happy” or “I AM excited,” you are not your happiness or excitement either.

Recognize the presence of these feelings but be aware that they are not you, nor should they define you.

The student once complained to the master, “You keep questioning and knocking down beliefs that I have held dear since I was a child.”

“And what is the problem with that?” said the master.

“I feel like you are not leaving me with any solid ground to stand firm on,” said the student.

“What is the solid ground of an eagle swooping down the cliffs? Or of a dolphin slicing through the ocean?” replied the master. “When will you realize that life is not about finding solid ground but learning to navigate through the winds and tides of change? Imagine entering a tower and climbing up a spiral staircase. You do not know what is on top and you can only see a few steps ahead. At each step you take, the step behind you falls away into the darkness. That is what life is all about.”

Originally published in Sunstar Davao.

Email me at andy@freethinking.me. View previous articles at www.freethinking.me.

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