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Superplastic Builds "Disney of NFTs" Metaverse

Superplastic plots “Disney of NFTs” strategy

Superplastic Builds "Disney of NFTs" Metaverse
Disney of NFTs // Courtesy of Superplastic

Superplastic plots “Disney of NFTs” strategy

Media company Superplastic is building a world of anarchic animated characters that are populating stories on social platforms, the blockchain, toy shelves, and eventually the big screen. In the coming interconnected digital world of the metaverse, Superplastic could have a ready-made IP that sits at the intersection of modern entertainment and commerce.

JankyVerse
Superplastic wants to be the “weird Disney” of the 21st century… and it just might pull it off.

Here’s how:

  • Put characters first. Superplastic started its journey by making its flagship characters, Janky and Guggimon, famous through social media. They now have 8 million followers across Instagram, TikTok, and Discord by building anarchic stories around them.
  • Make media of the moment. Janky and Guggimon (and other characters like Dayzee and Staxx) have a licensing agreement with Fortnite. The company is also self-financing an animated horror-comedy feature film starring them that will be released in theaters.
  • Turn to reality. Character toys sell out in minutes during limited-edition drops, and the company plans to open retail stores in NYC and Miami.
  • Own everything, then share it. Superplastic is moving quickly into the NFT space, not just with digital artwork, but with social tokens that can unlock exclusive community features, such as a “special room” in the company’s online store… and, soon, the brick-and-mortar stores.

Founder Paul Budnitz says that the key to the company’s success is to “control everything.” At a time when studios, streaming services, and even investment groups are paying a premium to own brands, Superplastic is setting itself apart. And with $38 million in funding, it may pull it off.

Apple's privacy rules prompt brands to cut back ad spend on Facebook & Google

The software that is always watching

Apple's privacy rules prompt brands to cut back ad spend on Facebook & Google
Brands cut ad spend on Facebook// Illustration by Kate Walker

The software that is always watching

With Apple clamping down on user privacy, brands cut back their ad spend, finding that their marketing dollars aren’t having the same impact on Google and Facebook as they did before… So they’re switching to software firms that focus on collecting actual customer data. The move could be a paradigm shift for the ad industry and force customers to rely on brand loyalty to expand.

Boutique tracking
Facebook and Google’s loss is smaller startups’ gain.

  • Apple’s new iOS 15 software features an opt-in prompt that allows users to disallow companies from tracking them across the internet.
  • This makes third-party data (overall browsing activity) harder to collect, and since that’s what Facebook and Google specialize in, it’s affecting ad impact.
  • So brands are pulling back their ad spend on these bigger platforms and turning to startups like KlaviyoYotpo, and Rokt.

Money moves
These software firms specialize in first-party data — collecting phone numbers and emails that are volunteered on e-commerce sites and which track how those users interact with sites. Brands can then use that data to track customer interests and send them direct marketing like texts and emails to re-engage them.

So next time you get a text from that DTC reading, “Are you sure you didn’t want to buy that shirt?” you’ll know who to blame.

Jack Dorsey Square Inc. co-founder says company may open bitcoin mining

Square may open bitcoin mining

Jack Dorsey Square Inc. co-founder says company may open bitcoin mining
Square considers bitcoin mining// Illustration by Kate Walker

Square may open bitcoin mining

Square and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that Square is toying with creating a “Bitcoin mining system,” giving more people access to try computing for a cryptocurrency. While the project may never come to fruition, user-friendly tools such as this could make crypto-mining commonplace and introduce a future-forward avenue for passive income.

Dorsey stresses that the system may never actually be completed, but the tweet thread was a first in testing the waters.

Pickaxe platform
The Jack Dorsey/Bitcoin love affair continues.

  • Square is considering building a “Bitcoin mining system” — the process in which computers solve complex math problems to “uncover” new Bitcoins.
  • The system or rig (Bitcoin mining takes major CPU power) would be made using “custom silicon” in order to avoid current supply chain issues.
  • Additionally, like Square’s upcoming Bitcoin hard wallet, the rig would be built open source so that other developers can provide input.

Dorsey stresses that the system may never actually be completed, but the tweet thread was a first in testing the waters.

Moonshot
For the past several years, Bitcoin has become of key interest for Dorsey. Square is one of the most mainstream fintech companies providing infrastructure for mainstream Bitcoin adoption, while Twitter’s tipping feature even accepts Bitcoin payments. Recently, Dorsey even partnered with Jay-Z on a Bitcoin fund to spur the crypto markets in India and Africa. He’s a true evangelist, even claiming that Bitcoin will bring about “world peace.”

In the case of Square’s Bitcoin mining system, Dorsey hopes that it can help lead the conversation in making Bitcoin “more distributed” and “more decentralized,” giving the average person a better chance to participate in unearthing a life-changing coin from the sands of ones and zeroes.

Microsoft's New Social Network Falls Under 'Purpose-Built' Mandate

Microsoft silently builds a social empire

Microsoft's New Social Network Falls Under 'Purpose-Built' Mandate
Microsoft's new social network

Microsoft silently builds a social empire

With platforms like LinkedIn and Xbox Live, Microsoft has stealthily become somewhat of a social giant. It’s done so by focusing its efforts on platforms that provide niche usefulness while also supporting Microsoft’s other businesses. But, when given the opportunity to acquire a mainstream social service, Microsoft may still want to grab a piece of the creator pie.

Niche nexus
Under the cover of night, Microsoft has emerged as a social titan.

  • Under CEO Satya Nadella’s watch, the company has acquired or is operating diverse platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Minecraft, and Xbox Live.
  • These platforms fall under Microsoft’s “purpose-built” mandate, meaning that it focuses on platforms that concentrate on something specific like business development or gaming.

Each platform also feeds back into Microsoft’s core ecosystem, such as Azure (cloud computing) or Office (workplace tools).

Profit reinforcements

Most of these platforms are subscription-based (or at least have a premium option), and Microsoft has been able to leverage revenue to support products that… well… weren’t built to make money. For example, Microsoft reportedly sells Xbox consoles at a loss, but it makes up for it with strong sales of games on Xbox Live.

Still, Microsoft does have larger social ambitions. Last year, Microsoft was one of the many suitors to bid for a portion of TikTok while it underwent political chaos. It was beat out by Oracle and Walmart (in a deal that was never finalized), but it showed that Microsoft is willing to write a big check to enter the space if the opportunity presents itself.

Spotter pays YouTube creators like MrBeast for old videos

Spotter is on the lookout for the back catalogs of YouTube creators

Spotter pays YouTube creators like MrBeast for old videos
Spotter pays YouTube creators// Illustration by Kate Walker

Spotter is on the lookout for the back catalogs of YouTube creators

Spotter is dropping major money for the back catalogs of YouTube creators. The checks give creators fresh capital to expand their business or level up their current content. As the creator economy continues to skyrocket, influencer back catalogs could one day command the prices paid for those of musicians and film and TV studios.

Backcheck
YouTube has officially been around long enough that there is value in acquiring an influencer’s back catalog of videos.

  • A startup called Spotter pays a lump sum of money to YouTube creators for the rights to their back catalog of videos… for a limited time.
  • Its licensing back catalogs across every content category — the only criteria is that creators have consistent performance and have proof of monetization for one year.
  • The company uses a “prediction engine” to determine the worth of the catalogs and has already dropped $200 million in deals across 115 channels.
    • Deals have ranged from $50K to $30 million.

Spotter has already inked deals with top influencers such as MrBeast, Dude Perfect, Donut Media, and Smile Squad (paying them $1 million for five years).

Video library
Spotter’s business model is a boon for YouTube creators, most of which are living paycheck to paycheck. Though the creator economy is worth a whopping $104 billion, 78% of full-time creators only make $23,500 per year — not much of a living wage.

But growing a business takes capital, which is what Spotter wants to provide. Honing in on the biggest names on YouTube in order to get traction, CEO Aaron DeBevoise,  a former VP of YouTube multichannel network Machinima,  says the company’s current mission is to just reach as many creators as possible.

Facebook launches Ego4D to teach AI to build smartglasses

Facebook is teaching AI to see the world through human eyes

Facebook launches Ego4D to teach AI to build smartglasses
Facebook smartglasses// Illustration by Kate Walker

Facebook is teaching AI to see the world through human eyes

Facebook announced that it has launched “Ego4D” — a program that surfaces hours of first-person video to teach its AI system to see and hear the world as humans do. Putting aside Facebook’s recent avalanche of criticism, the potential insights this program uncovers may ultimately convince customers to feel comfortable wearing Facebook on their faces all the time.

Always watching

Facebook is taking machine learning to a whole new level.

  • For its smartglasses to “become as useful in everyday life as smartphones,” the company is launching a project called “Ego4D.”
  • The project aims to teach Facebook’s AI to see and hear the world as humans do so that devices can appropriately respond when being worn.
  • Ego4D brings together 13 universities and labs across nine countries, who have collectively collated 2,200 hours of first-person video.
  • The videos, documenting the POV of 700 participants, are of them going about their daily lives.

According to a Facebook blog post, all data will be open to the research community (which may still ring alarms).

Poking the singularity

Over the past year, Facebook has been charting the company’s future, focusing its ambitions on creating a metaverse and VR/AR devices that either bring people into digital worlds or augments the one they’re currently living in.

In the past couple of months, Facebook announced its first smart glasses: the Ray-Ban Stories — which was developed using a similar real-world capture program like Ego4D.

Still, it’s a weird time for Facebook to be announcing an all-learning AI system that tries to see and hear as humans do. With recent scathing reports from WSJ and more whistleblowers waiting in the wings to testify to the company’s alleged abuses, the last thing the public may want to celebrate is Facebook becoming more powerful.

What Is a Workation?

Workation simply means working and vacationing at the same time. It can also be interpreted as adding leisurely elements to your work. This idea is usually with either people who work remotely or managers and senior staff that have the privilege of being able to take work on the go.  

Top Five Places to Visit for a Workation

Wouldn’t you rather be writing reports on a warm, sandy beach than your office or room? Work doesn’t always have to be underneath fluorescent lights and a cubicle. With the rise in popularity of remote work, traveling while still fulfilling your job’s duties has never been easier.  

Cabin in the Woods

The idea of sipping on a fresh cup of coffee while overlooking a lush forest is no longer reserved exclusively for writers. As long as you check to make sure the place you rent has a secure internet connection ahead of time, you’re golden. 

Cabins in relatively remote places with trees and rivers promote tranquility and focus. There won’t be any cars or people to distract you from your work. All you’ll hear is the rushing of the river and birds chirping. 

Imagine tending to a fire and roasting marshmallows while checking your email. Fresh air will do you good and allow you to concentrate more easily. It’s in our nature to feel good and have better blood flow when we hear the sound of water. Being near a river will help with that immensely. 

While working remotely in a cabin, it’s important to have a designated space for working. Having a separate room or patio altogether would be ideal. However, don’t be afraid to migrate around the property if you’re feeling stuck. 

Being in a cabin has an unexpected benefit; exercise. You’re probably going to be in for a workout in more ways than one. Keeping active is a great way to keep your energy up. Every hour or so, go out for a quick walk. Maybe chop up some firewood for later that night.

Tropical Resorts

Perhaps it’s time to get away from the cities and suburbs. Reading reports while sending emails at a resort in Mexico or Hawaii might be just the thing you need. Getting sun isn’t just fun and relaxing. We need natural sunlight on a regular basis to stay healthy physically and mentally. 

Getting into a bathing suit and taking the laptop to the beach or pool will help you feel less lethargic or isolated. Just because you’re working doesn’t mean you can’t have a little bit of fun at the bar. Order yourself a virgin drink, like a margarita or pina colada. 

If you stay at a hotel, try to get a room that’s high and has a great view. You might as well enjoy the view of a beach and boats passing by if you’re going to work in the room. If you don’t already live in a tropical climate, these areas of the world will be a good change of pace. 

Bed and Breakfasts

There are small towns with so much to offer sprinkled throughout the country. If you’re looking to escape the bustling of big city life but don’t want to travel very far, a bed and breakfast is right up your alley. 

Bed and breakfasts are great for stimulating local economies and historic preservation. Most B&Bs are older buildings that are typically decorated and preserved in older styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

They are focused on coziness and comfort first and foremost. In contrast to normal hotels, bed and breakfasts pay special attention to your experience and accommodations. Usually, each room in a B&B is unique. Part of the fun is choosing your room beforehand. 

Most hotels have typical meals available, but some don’t serve food at all. B&Bs take pride in their homestyle food, especially the breakfast. And it better be good, considering it’s in the name of the business. 

Lots of these B&Bs are located in towns with great boutique shops and mom-and-pop restaurants. Some of these towns are better at keeping big food chains out with local regulations than others. 

Big Cities

You may already live and work in a small town or more isolated areas of the country, so a workation in a busy city could be fun. New York City is a real treat in so many ways. The city is known for some of the most amazing food, sights, and sheer density. 

Currently, there are over 26,000 sit-down restaurants in the city and even more street food vendors. A fun idea, if the weather permits, is to work outside in Central Park. Grabbing a New York hotdog from a street cart or a classic slice of pizza is the perfect complement to your workflow. 

Another great place that can be fun to work in is one of the thousands of independent cafes. Be prepared for high prices, though. New York City has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. 

Try to find cafes that have rooftop views of the city. Imagine how jealous your coworkers will be at video conferences when they see the Empire State building behind you. Other cities, like San Francisco, can definitely offer views and amazing restaurants. 

However, San Francisco has other benefits that New York City can’t claim to have. Take your laptop to the Redwoods just outside the city. Cell phone and internet services may be spotty or even not available at all here, though. 

It can get a little overwhelming being in a big, loud city like San Francisco. Taking a walk in a beautiful forest and finding a spot to sit down and get some work done can help you refocus. You might end up finding out the city’s too distracting. 

Home, Sweet Home

Sometimes all you need for a workation is to simply add elements of a vacation while at home. There’s no packing involved, no traveling, and a lot fewer expenses. There are some things that sound like a good idea, but you should probably avoid them. 

Do not work in bed. While working from home, it’s incredibly tempting to wake up, roll over, grab the laptop off the nightstand, and start working. This practice can turn into a bad habit with potentially serious consequences. 

When you work in bed, it’s extremely comfortable, but you may end up messing with your sleep quality and patterns. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary that protects you from stimuli and stress to promote good sleep. 

Adding something potentially stressful, like your work, to that environment will start to make you associate where you sleep with stress and activity. This can have effects like not being able to get to sleep and staying asleep. 

If you have an outdoor patio that you want to work on, add some things to make it more comfortable. Add decorative lighting and footrests to keep your feet up on. Play atmospheric and relaxing music at a low volume. 

Mobile Workstation Essentials

There are a handful of accessories you can add to your workstation that will make you wonder how you were able to work without them. Ergonomics tend to suffer when you travel away from a designated office space with all of your favorite accouterments. Here are some things to help you on your workation.  

Headphones

One of the most important tools in a mobile workstation is something you probably already own; a set of headphones. Wireless buds are crucial to be able to somewhat privately conduct video calls and listen to music while working

If you don’t have a pair of quality, noise-canceling headphones, you’re missing out. Not only are they great for blocking out annoying noises an airplane makes, but they also help your focus when at your workation destination. 

If you can’t escape big city noises, a pair of these kinds of headphones will almost completely block out those distractions. If you’re taking a workation at home and have kids around, throw these headphones on, and you’ll be teleported to another dimension of tranquility. 

You’re probably going to be wearing these headsets for many hours at a time, so the lighter the headphones, the better. Your neck will thank you in the long run. Heavier headphones usually squeeze harder to your head to stay up, and that can cause discomfort and headaches.

Ergonomic Assistance

If you’re taking your laptop on the go, a fantastic addition to it would be an angled laptop stand. These products fold flat and hardly take up any room in a bag. They not only raise your screen higher but also provide a more ergonomic angle for your wrists. 

Having a raised screen will encourage more comfortable sitting positions for long work periods. The last thing you want flaring up on a workation is carpal tunnel syndrome. Angled laptop stands reduce the odds of that happening significantly. 

Casual Work Life

Balancing your work life with pleasure is a difficult task, especially when traveling. Take the time to think about how you work and what kinds of things can distract you too easily. This will inform the type of workation that will be best for you. 

 

 

Sources:

Why Trees Can Make You Happier | Greater Good Magazine

Muir Woods National Monument | US National Park Service

The best laptop stands in 2021 | NBC News

data

The Definitive History of Internet Culture

It’s difficult to explain the cultural history of the internet as it’s like trying to explain how the universe came to be in one sentence. The best we can do is hit the high points and learn about how we got where we are today. 

The Primordial Ooze

The early days of the internet would appear alien to us today. There were forms of the internet before 1989, but it was mostly just computer engineers and enthusiasts sending primordial emails to each other. 

90s Chat Rooms

Internet chat rooms, like AOL, were all the rage in the mid to late ’90s, especially with computer geeks. Computers in the home were either used by your parents for work or to chat with weird strangers. The Internet was a thing, but it was very primitive, and most sites were made up of basic text. 

The internet wasn’t really widespread yet, and people didn’t really know what to make of it. Those who were more technologically inclined believed the internet would change the world and revolutionize communication. 

Internet enthusiasts had pretty interesting ideas as to what the internet would evolve into. Some believed that it would replace cable companies, phone networks, and movie rental services. 

They were very right in some ways and very wrong in others. Chat rooms almost felt like some kind of toy or novelty for the average person. Things like SMS and iMessage are second nature to us today, but back then, it was phone calls and the occasional letter. 

Online chat rooms didn’t dominate the average person’s daily method of communication like how messaging and email do today. It was a very separate and non-integrated sort of thing, almost like a pastime for people. 

Online Gaming in the ‘90s

The video game market of the 1990s was largely dominated by home consoles like the PlayStation and the Nintendo 64. There were also Game Boys. However, online gaming was almost exclusively played on PC. 

PC gaming was not easy like consoles. You had to learn how to enter codes into command lines and install the games properly. This alone functioned as a barrier for entry and was a precursor to the modern attitudes of many PC gamers towards console gamers. 

Online gaming required not just a strong internet connection but a pretty beefed-up computer in order to run the games. That meant that the people who did play online felt like they belonged to an exclusive club.

One computer game released in the early 90s would change the gaming world and online culture forever: Doom. In 1993, id Software released Doom for MS-DOS. It popularized the first-person shooter genre with its over-the-top violence and unique gameplay mechanics. 

Doom gave birth to online multiplayer deathmatch and was known for distracting office workers and university students.  It did this to such a degree that colleges and offices around the country had to put out memos demanding people to stop downloading and playing the game. 

Online Dating Thanks To Tom Hanks

Telling a friend or coworker that you met a romantic partner online would result in some weird looks and a line of questioning in the 90s. Online dating simply wasn’t a normal thing, and if you did try to meet people, it was dangerous because there were no safeguards. 

It’s not like online dating is perfectly safe these days either, but the internet was truly the wild west. There was little oversight and virtually no rules or regulations. Match.com was the first online dating site, and it was launched in 1995. 

The creator of the site had all of his friends and coworkers create profiles to start the site up and make it look populated. Not long after, his wife left him for someone she met on the site—for real.

Online dating didn’t blow up right away. The internet was still a new concept, and most people were still trying to figure out how to hook up a DSL connection. But then, in 1998, Tom Hanks starred in a movie called You’ve Got Mail. 

The movie is about two strangers meeting online and communicating through email, and eventually getting romantically involved. This movie popularized the idea of online dating and made the concept a lot more acceptable to ordinary people. 

The Golden Age of the Internet

There was a time when the internet was just powerful enough to facilitate stimulating communities but was still new enough that corporate interests and manipulation didn’t spoil it. The 2000s was a wild and exploratory time for websites and users.   

Early Social Media

Back when the internet was just becoming mainstream, a major aspect of internet culture was anonymity. Everyone knew you were never supposed to use your real name or any other pieces of personal information.

People could express themselves freely on sites that were far more customizable and fun than the sites we use today. MySpace was terrific because you could create custom profiles with personalized homepages and even add features like theme music. 

Being anonymous was the norm in the 2000s, even on social media. People didn’t know you by your real name. They knew you by your screen name and avatar, and that was it. Sharing personal information was almost a taboo online, and it was seen as dangerous and reckless. 

Social media was very much divided into categories and subcultures throughout the internet. Nothing was centralized. There were blogs for movie fans, public forums for video games, and chat boards for things like music and viral videos. 

This was a time when YouTube wasn’t the only website to watch video content, and Twitter wasn’t the only place to get unwarranted opinions. 

Pure Content Creation and Communication

The 2000s were a special time for content creation like videos and music. Content was uploaded and downloaded free with no guard rails. When it came to YouTube, people uploaded content just for the fun of it—not because it was their job as it is today. 

You wouldn’t download a car, would you? Maybe not a car, but people definitely illegally downloaded music. Like, a lot of it. In the mid-2000s, online data services like Napster and Limewire introduced peer-to-peer sharing. These sites allowed people to exchange files with each other directly. 

Media like viral videos, adult stuff, and movies was available to download, but it was mostly music. This was when digital media services like iTunes were still in their infancy, but music was still being downloaded and shared. 

Things were a lot harder to find on the internet too. Google was around, but it wasn’t the end-all-be-all solution to finding information like it is now. If you wanted more info on how to defeat a boss in a particular video game, you had to join message boards and actually ask people. This was the catalyst for many online communities to grow and for relationships to develop online.

Communication happened on a far more organic level, with cooperation between members of communities that sparked new connections. 

The Modern Era

Today, the internet is fairly uniform compared to years past. Most websites look the same and are not nearly as personable as they once were. And there are now only a handful of sites that we visit regularly, like Google and Twitter. 

Social Media

Unfortunately, the days of obscure chat rooms and message boards filled with interesting but anonymous people are kind of over. Anonymity is becoming less and less commonplace by the day. Facebook goes to pretty extreme lengths to verify people’s identities, like asking for copies of driver’s licenses. 

Even if you try to stay unknown, people have methods of finding your personal information. How many sites have you made accounts for that asked for your first and last name? 

Social media was a new and exciting way to communicate with people around the world in the 2000s. In the last ten years, it has become a source of addiction, depression, and misinformation. It’s even often used as a weapon. 

In 2013, Edward Snowden confirmed what everyone in America already suspected; The government is spying on all of us. People acted shocked and then went right back on Facebook and Twitter without a second thought. 

The NSA may not even find social apps like Instagram and Facebook all that useful, though, because the number of fake profiles and posts online has become rampant. Part of modern internet culture is faking your life and making it seem better than it actually is. 

Let There Be Memes

One of the best things to come out of the modern internet era is the meme. It’s used as a conduit to pass down pieces of culture and funny pictures that usually have text. The source of any particular meme can usually be attributed to a popular movie or show and is used as a template for jokes or ideas.

Richard Dawkins coined the word in his book titled “The Selfish Gene” from 1976. The term was largely only used in academic circles until it gained popularity somewhat recently with the public. The word “meme” is more broadly used as a unit of human cultural transmission. 

The whole idea behind the modern meme is to not perfectly copy a previous meme but to tailor it for the particular idea or joke you are aiming to convey. Today, they are commonplace and nearly universally understood thanks to their deceptively simple delivery and execution.  

The Potential Metaverse

What is the metaverse, you ask? The word itself comes from science-fiction, but it is essentially a world that you can inhabit online—buildings, events, the whole works, but it’s all via the internet. People can buy and sell merchandise, buildings, and even names there. 

While this may seem far-fetched, the idea of VR has grown significantly in popularity recently, especially due to the pandemic. That seems to be where the internet is heading, so we’ll just have to wait and see. 

A Brave New World

The internet is far more complex and vast for any singular person to explain but what is universal is its ability to connect people in a unique way. The past 30 or so years have been a wild ride on the information superhighway. 

 

 

Sources:

Doom | Britannica

Online Dating: Safe or Scary? | Medium

Edward Snowden | The Guardian 

What Will Future Houses Look Like?

In the last few years, we’ve seen nearly every technology get a “smart” makeover. Appliances we didn’t even realize could or should get hooked up to the internet are suddenly responsive to an app on your phone.

Did you know they make smart litter boxes now? They self-clean. Seriously.

Products like these are only becoming more popular and, importantly, more affordable. And as it’s hard to go back once you’ve started relying on smart products, we have to wonder what houses of the future will look like.

Is there a world where everything around us is automated? Can we live in smart houses? At a time where climate change is already delivering its devastating effects, how can we build houses that both help the Earth and withstand disaster?

Well, our team at The Future Party took a spin around the internet to see what’s being developed for homes of the future. Some are more science-fiction than others, but all are pretty eye-opening about where we’re headed. Ready to start decorating for the 2030s and beyond? Keep reading for our predictions.

Everything Will Be Smart: The Internet of Things Will Only Expand

Coined in 1999, the Internet of Things refers to the connectivity between human beings and the objects around them. It’s the technology that empowers us to turn on air conditioners before we get home, set the mood with colored light settings, and see who’s knocking on our doors without getting up from the couch.

Think about the objects around you that are currently hooked up to the internet. Five years ago, that may have just been your phone and your computer. Today, that list may include your doorbell, your refrigerator, or your vacuum cleaner. More and more, manufacturing companies are looking to install ‘smart’ capabilities into their products. These tools allow us to operate the products remotely, get reports on their efficiencies and errors, and save ourselves from some manual labor.

It’s a safe bet that homes of the future will consider this standard practice. So let’s explore what we can expect to start seeing in listings.  

Home Security

This is a trend we’re already seeing everywhere, and it’s only going to become more prevalent. After utilities (water and electricity meters), the security industry is the second biggest use of internet-enabled devices. 

In other words, expect to be monitored every time you step foot onto someone’s property. Facial recognition technology will also enable homeowners to use their faces to unlock doors, rather than using keys.

Cooling and Heating

You’ve probably already seen this technology at work, too. Google’s Nest thermostat allows homeowners to set their home temperature from their phones. It also knows when you’re not home and adjusts the temperature, so the house is more efficient. Expect more technology like this; anything that helps homes save energy will be huge (even more so than it is now).

Food Storage and Cooking

More and more refrigerators and pantries are being installed with screens so homeowners can order groceries and look up recipes without leaving the kitchen. 

Experts see this type of utility expanding even further, with voice activation technology enabling people to essentially tell their kitchen to prepare their food. Long-term, we may even be able to 3D print our meals, though something tells us a home-cooked meal from mom will always taste better than a 3D-printed one.

Waste Disposal

Remember the litter box from before? Imagine that kind of technology but made for, well, humans. Smart toilets exist, but they’re not yet in widespread use. You can use voice commands to heat up the seat, flush the toilet, and even put the seat down. These also include high-tech cleaning abilities to spare you from having to scrub ever again. 

From our coffee makers to the cars in our garages, everything in the future will be wifi-enabled, BlueTooth-operated, and increasingly automated. 

Preparing For A New World: Building Homes in the Age of Climate Change

As you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to in the future. Personally speaking, we’re definitely ready for self-cleaning toilets. 

But one element we are less excited to meet? The realities of climate change. Simply put, starting now (and what should have been yesterday), all housing needs to meet the demands of the new world. There are two important ways that these demands will change what our homes look like.

1. Environmental Efficiency: Homes Have To Become Greener

If we’re going to do anything to stop or slow the effects of climate change, our houses are going to have to work harder to reduce energy expenditure.

Tesla has been hard at work on their solar roofs for a while now, and we’re expecting this technology to become more commonplace soon. More sleekly designed than solar panels of the past, these tiles can power your entire house. And while the technology itself costs a pretty penny, once installed, they’re actually less expensive than most people’s monthly electricity bill. You’re also likely to be eligible for tax incentives.

Beyond electricity, homes of the future will also work harder to conserve heat and reduce energy waste. Within the walls and on the floorboards, you’re more likely to see engineered and 3D-printed materials that need less frequent replacing. Which is a perfect segue to… 

2. Resistance to Extreme Weather: Homes Have to Deal With Unpredictable Storms

Houses of the future are going to need to withstand more weather, no matter where they’re located. While we can’t know what the future will bring, we do know that more moisture in the air will lead to more storms. So we have to raise the standard for what we deem acceptable when we say “up to code.”

Expect to see fire-proof and earthquake-proof bunkers included in home listings. At the very least, you should see flood and storm insurance rates increase. That’s the cost of living in the future. 

Okay, But Where’s The Floating House I Was Promised?

We know you may have been hoping for a more glamorous future, and we can’t blame you. Building homes to resist the impact of climate change is not the happiest topic and so we offer this section as a reprieve.

In 2016, Samsung released its SmartThings Future Living Report, outlining the potential for housing in the future based on current trends and demands. There, they sketched out something that feels more science-fiction than dystopian thriller. Here are some of the highlights:

  • High rises that dwarf current skyscrapers and house entire cities. These will need to be resistant to heavier winds.
  • Underwater cities in massive bubbles. Imagine a school of fish swimming by your living room. Kinda cool, right?
  • Groundscrapers (high rises that build down rather than up). With space on the Earth’s crust becoming more limited, it may be time to start digging. This also helps with the shelter issues we talked about earlier.
  • Virtual office and remote meetings. As this report was released in 2016, Samsung could not have predicted the prevalence of remote work today. Now that the world has gone remote, we’re unlikely to ever return to offices in the same numbers.
  • Colonies on the face of the Moon and Mars. This, in addition to commercial space flight, is actually looking more and more like a reality. One benefit? We all weigh less up there.

In the five years since Samsung released this report, some of their predictions have been proven and so it’s not a stretch of the imagination to think ground scrapers and underwater cities could be a real possibility for our lifetimes.

Some Last Thoughts On The Future of Homes

In many ways, it feels like we’re on the precipice of a new era in housing and technology. People living today may be the last to remember what it was like to flip a light switch, clean a toilet by hand, or answer the door without already knowing who is there.

While we’re in this limbo, it’s fun (and at times daunting) to consider the possibilities of where we’re headed. We can never know for certain what will happen, but we’re predicting to see:

  • Internet-enabled everything. From the walls around us to our cookware to our cleaning products, in the future, everything will be automated and controlled via remote devices or by our own voices.
  • Climate change adaptivity. As the world around us evolves, housing will need to meet new demands. Expect stricter regulations on energy efficiency standards and construction designed to resist extreme weather.
  • Science-fiction-inspired design. Cities will soar even higher, and we may even see them move underground or underwater. Astronauts will become colonizers on foreign planets and moons, and we may never go back to the office. 


So, are you prepared for what the future holds? If nothing else, we’re excited to check back in a few years and see what we got right and wrong, and The Future Party will keep you updated all the way there.

 

 

Sources:

What is the IoT? Everything you need to know about the Internet of Things right now | ZDNet

4 Designers Envision the Post-Pandemic Kitchen of the Future | Real Simple

Resilient Homes; Why We Need To Build To Withstand Climate Change Events | EcoHome

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1. Environmental Efficiency: Homes Have To Become Greener

What Will Be the Next Cryptocurrency to Explode?

With cryptocurrency, if you’re not early, you’re late. Or at least that’s how it can feel from the outside.

When Bitcoin was released in 2009, no one could have predicted how the cryptocurrency would skyrocket in value, notoriety, and mainstream understanding. At the time of writing, one Bitcoin is worth just under $40k (This is a live link that updates regularly, so expect at least a slight change when you click through). 

Suffice it to say, the coin has grown astronomically, and early adopters have reaped massive rewards. The Winklevoss twins (who you may remember from The Social Network) are said to be the first billionaires to build their fortunes on Bitcoin investments. Their initial bet on the company has reportedly swelled up to 10,000%. As Bitcoin becomes more widely accepted, the race to discover the next big cryptocurrency is well underway.

Want to know what to look for? Keep reading for The Future Party’s guide on the cryptocurrencies we’re watching closely. Remember that this post is not meant to serve as financial advice, and you should always thoroughly research your investments.  

What’s Working Right Now? Exploring the Cryptomarket Today

Predicting what will happen to a certain cryptocurrency is a fool’s errand, and we’re not even considering NFTs. While it’s becoming a more commonly accepted form of payment and investment, the market remains volatile and unpredictable. That said, here are three key influences we see at play right now:

  • Regulation: The wild west days of cryptocurrency are (largely) behind us. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently shared that the Fed is interested in increasing oversight on stablecoins and potentially introducing a central bank digital currency.
  • Acceptance: From Paypal to Apple, cryptocurrency is rapidly becoming an accepted form of payment in more traditional settings. And with companies like Square introducing their own products based on Bitcoin, we can and should consider decentralized digital transactions as a feature of the future.
  • Memes: Unlike the stock market, cryptocurrency was always made for outsiders. And that makes it particularly affected by internet culture and, for lack of a better term, memes. Investing in a product or stock based on a joke is now commonplace, and we anticipate this trend to grow.

There’s a lot more at play in crypto, but these three trends are what we’re paying the most mind to.

What’s Coming? Cryptocurrencies to Closely Watch

So now that we understand what the market looks like right now, let’s take a look at some of the key players coming down the pipeline. While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are the cryptocurrencies we’re watching the closest.

Depending on your risk tolerance, some of these may be a better match for you to invest in than others, so make sure to do your own research. Be thorough and find reliable sources for information. Everyone’s feeling a little bullish on cryptocurrencies right now, and the variety of opinions and takes can be staggering.

Cryptocurrencies That Could Be The Next to Explode

  • Ethereum (ETH): Launched in 2015, Ethereum is the second biggest cryptocurrency in the world. In many ways, the blockchain software was designed as a response to Bitcoin’s limitations. Bitcoin was designed as a peer-to-peer payment application.

With Ethereum’s introduction of Smart Contracts, transactions can be made without any human contact. Because humans tend to make mistakes, you can see why this would be a valuable feature. With so much enthusiasm around the blockchain, it’s no wonder its platform has seen nearly 500% gains this year.

  • Compound (COMP): Compound is a token on the Ethereum blockchain that’s most notable because of its commitment to community governance. With the Compound protocol, users don’t have to sell their crypto assets in order to gain liquidity. In essence, Compound allows for productive interest, so cryptocurrency sitting in people’s digital wallets can work harder for them.
  • Polka Dot (DOT): Since 2020, Polka Dot has been working to build a scalable and faster blockchain-powered network. The time it takes to validate a transaction is one of the core challenges facing all blockchain technology. Polka Dot introduced something called parachains to combat this problem, which essentially allows parallel transactions to process at the same time.
  • Internet Computer (ICP): Internet Computer is a fairly new cryptocurrency (it launched in May 2021), but it’s already making a splash. Despite some recent and well-publicized losses, ICP has a vision that we find pretty interesting. It provides a limitless environment where smart contracts and decentralized apps can run at web speed. Their goal is to develop a model for a blockchain computer that disrupts the internet as we know it today. By using ICP, rather than relying on something like Amazon Web Services, website developers could bypass the traditional system.
  • Ripple (XRP): Ripple is accepted more broadly than other cryptocurrencies within banks, which makes it particularly attractive to financial investors. A utility token, XRP is looking to become the universal standard for payments and is already processing cross-border transactions for fiat currencies with more efficiency. That said, Ripple is currently in the midst of a lengthy battle with the SEC over its sale last year, and price pain could be on the way.
  • Chainlink (LINK): Launched in 2017, Chainlink is a decentralized oracle service that allows smart contracts to speak to each other on both on-chain and off-chain networks. This gives the contracts more access to real-time resources, addressing one of the biggest issues with the node network.
  • Cosmos (ATOM): Cosmos has a similar goal to Chainlink. Ultimately, they want to create an “eco-system of blockchains” that will allow different cryptocurrencies to interact with each other.

By building this internet, Cosmos hopes to scale blockchain transactions, making them more efficient and, importantly, faster. It’s an uphill battle technologically speaking, but as the cryptocurrency is only two years old, it could represent an opportunity to get in early. 

  • Dash (DASH): Dash is an altcoin that first launched in 2014. At the time, its goal was focused on privacy, with each masternode required to stake 1,000 DASH to start earning block rewards. Today, they’re more focused on becoming a medium for daily digital transactions. DASH wants its users to swap in its app for something like Paypal or Venmo. More signs that cryptocurrency is being more widely adopted by and marketed to everyday people. 
  • Cardano: This blockchain platform is founded on peer-reviewed research, and makes use of proof of stake. Founded by Carles Hoskinson, co-founder of Ethereum, in 2015, Cardano claims to be more secure than other decentralized application platforms. 

Honorable Mention 

Dogecoin (DOGE): Dogecoin has had one hell of a year, riding the wave of Elon Musk’s support and public comments. It remains a volatile currency and has struggled to hit the $1 mark, but to us, it represents an important turn in the crypto sector. 

Memestocks and Memecoins have soared in popularity in the last year, bolstered by forums like Reddit that encourage mass amounts of ordinary people (that is to say, not the uber-wealthy) to double down on what ultimately amounts to a joke. We’re not sure that the punchline for DOGE is still landing, but we do know that it’s certainly not the last of its kind, and the impact on the market can be huge. 

Just to reiterate, this is not an exhaustive list, and we can’t guarantee the success of any of these cryptocurrencies. This post is not intended to serve as financial advice.

Practice Patience: Deciding To Join The Cryptomarket

With so much volatility, it’s pretty difficult to predict exactly what’s coming in cryptocurrencies.

Our best advice is to get your information and advice from a variety of sources. As tempting as it is to adhere to whatever Reddit is encouraging, remember to apply common sense and avoid getting swept into the rush of the moment. Read sites like Coindesk and MarketWatch for objective updates on cryptocurrency prices and news.

When you’re ready to purchase a cryptocurrency, pay close attention to the address, the name, and your passwords. Just because something has Bitcoin in its name doesn’t mean it’s actually Bitcoin. Because blockchain transactions are decentralized, there’s no undo button for you to press if you make a mistake.

Take your time, stay cool, and remember that chaos is part of the deal. If you want to protect your blood pressure, don’t check the price of your coin too often. Trust us.

Let’s Recap: Cryptocurrencies to Keep Your Eye On

Assuming you’ve kept your cool and applied all that patience we talked about, we’re sure you’re ready to get into the world of cryptocurrency. Take a look at the companies below and see if any of them fit your financial goals or represent strategies you believe in:  

  • Ethereum (ETH)
  • Compound (COMP)
  • Polka Dot (DOT)
  • Internet Computer (ICP)
  • Ripple (XRP)
  • Chainlink (LINK)
  • Cosmos (ATOM)
  • Dash (DASH)
  • Dogecoin (DOGE)