"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear"
― George Orwell
Have you ever been shadowbanned on Twitter? I have, on several occasions. As have many well-known public figures including Donald Trump, Malik Obama, and Rose McGowan.
Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are all known to censor content, encourage certain views over others, and promote the platform’s own political or religious agendas. And if you’re overly persistent in posting material that the site owners dislike, they’ll simply delete or shadowban your account.
Shadowbanning is even more insidious than regular banning, because users are given no indication they’ve been shadowbanned. They still see their own posts, but they don’t realize nobody else can see them. They’re just left to wonder why nobody ever responds.
Even Google, which abandoned its “Don’t Be Evil” motto last year, is in the midst of a dangerous drift towards censorship.
And on r/cryptocurrency, Reddit’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency subreddit, the administrators are known to favor certain coins and tokens over others. If you post a thread about a crypto platform they don’t like, the thread will be down-voted to oblivion, or never approved for display in the first place.
Skycoin is one of the projects most hated by r/cryptocurrency. Threads about Skycoin are simply not allowed, unless they’re FUD threads, in which case they’re eagerly encouraged.
But I’m not here to talk about Reddit or Google or Twitter. Today I’d like to focus on Wikipedia, supposedly a bastion of free speech and democracy.
Let’s find out how true that really is.
I recently published an article comparing Skycoin’s Skywire service to 17 potential competitors. The article generated considerable controversy on social media. In particular, members of the Elastos community argued their platform would deliver a superior decentralized internet solution, whereas I had concluded that Elastos is not really a competitor to Skycoin due to its very different objectives and approach.
So lets take a deeper dive into these two projects to learn more.
In the wake of recent tragic events in New Zealand, governments around the world accelerated their censorship of the Internet. Immediately following the Christchurch massacre, ISPs in New Zealand blocked access to sites that persisted in hosting Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto and footage of the attack.
Heavily controlled sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit remain accessible, because administrators on those sites are quick to remove copies of the material and repress discussions deemed objectionable. But alternative forums like 4Chan and Voat are blocked, because users on those sites remain free to post the manifesto and video, and discuss events openly without fear of censorship. This has led to robust debate on those sites, with many members questioning the official record of events relayed by the mainstream media.
This week, Australia’s major ISPs including Telstra, Optus and Vodafone joined NZ in blocking access to a range of websites deemed to be subversive. A list of banned sites is shown below (with a link to each site’s Wikipedia entry).
The first batch of Skycoin Skyminers were sold in 2018 for 1 Bitcoin each, and the purchaser was reimbursed with 1 BTC worth of Skycoin, minus the cost of the components ($600). For example, when Bitcoin was worth $10,000, a Skyminer buyer was reimbursed with $9,400 worth of Skycoin, which they could sell to recover the majority of the initial 1 BTC cost. This approach was designed to help distribute Skycoin to the community.
A new cost model was introduced in 2019. Skyminers sold in 2019 cost $2000, and the purchaser is guaranteed repayment of $2000 worth of Skycoin over 24 months, in addition to the normal Coin Hours earned by the Skyminer. This means official Skyminers are now effectively free, because the cost of the Skyminer is fully reimbursed.
The world’s greatest tech companies started from nothing. Giants like Apple and Microsoft were founded by one or two ambitious individuals, but their drive, vision and superior technology propelled them to market dominance.
Skycoin, founded in 2013 by Brandon Synth and Houwu Chen, is still a relatively unknown player in the blockchain industry. But over the past five years, the organization has grown to over 100 employees across multiple countries. As the crypto market matures, this is an opportune time to evaluate Skycoin’s strengths and weaknesses compared to its competitors.
But Skycoin is more than just a cryptocurrency. It’s a comprehensive blockchain ecosystem that incorporates a broad range of software, services, solutions, and custom hardware products. There’s no single challenger that competes with Skycoin across all facets of the platform, so it makes sense to break down the Skycoin ecosystem into each of its key elements, and conduct a competitive analysis for each.
So you bought some Skycoin. Or maybe you earned Skycoin by running a Skywire node. Or by creating content for the Skycoin Rewards Program. Or perhaps by building a game or app using Skycoin CX.
Anyway, regardless of how the coins ended up in your possession, you’ll need to decide how to store them. There can only ever be a maximum of 100 million Skycoin in existence. That’s less than half a coin for each adult in the USA. So if you’re lucky enough to own a few, you’ll want to keep them safe!
Fortunately, you have a number of options. You can keep your coins on an exchange, a mobile wallet, a desktop wallet, a Skycoin hardware wallet, a Ledger hardware wallet, or a paper wallet.
Before we begin, for the sake of clarity it’s important to understand that your coins are never actually ‘on’ the wallet, despite this being the commonly used expression. In reality, your coins are always stored on the Skycoin blockchain, and the wallet simply provides a mechanism to access those coins while protecting your private key.
OK, so let’s look at the six options for storing your Skycoin.
At one time or another, almost every cryptocurrency project has been called a scam. Even Bitcoin was dismissed as a scam when it first emerged in 2009.
And while it’s true that there are many disreputable crypto projects, the reality is these “scam” accusations typically originate from one of three sources.
If you notice someone loudly denouncing a crypto project as a scam, then ask yourself which of these camps they fall into. Because you can be sure of one thing — they’re probably not saying it to help you or to protect you. Most likely, they’re simply looking out for their own interests.
Skycoin, like many crypto projects, attracts FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) from all three sources. Much of the Skycoin “scam” allegations originate from a series of articles posted on technology blog The Next Web. These articles cite Bradford Stephens, an external freelancer who was briefly hired by Skycoin in 2017 to assist with marketing. Stephens misrepresented himself as “Skycoin COO” through his secretary and through Skycoin’s Twitter account, to which he had temporary access. Stephens had a very limited understanding of the Skycoin project, and was subsequently fired for incompetence. The FUD generated by Stephens has since been thoroughly debunked.