The Future of Money

What will currency look like in 2030?

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What is money? Is it gold? Silver? Paper? Bits and bytes? Well, basically it is a form of trust. I give something or do something, in return, I receive money (i.e. trust), so I can buy something or have something done for me. That’s all it is.

Since countries have a lot of experience in this field, people often trust them to produce money. Well, people trust strong countries. Zimbabwe and Venezuela don’t provide citizens with much faith.

Throughout the centuries, money has succeeded and failed, blossomed and collapsed. Nonetheless, there has always been one common theme: money has been centralized. In other words, a middleman – country, bank, or other type of intermediary – needs to be involved. Well, that has been true until now. Welcome cryptocurrency. A new form of currency has arrived and could potentially change the way the world makes transactions; actually, it could simply change the world.

First of all, in order for the world to dramatically change from this new invention, cryptocurrency needs to succeed, but will it? It not only will, it is. People trust it. More and more businesses are accepting it for transactions. You can buy things online or from brick and mortar stores. Want to go on vacation? Why not book your trip using Bitcoin? Cryptocurrency is here to stay. How far will it go? Nobody knows. Banks will not be dying soon, but things are about to change.

Are you ready for the change? Do you know what a blockchain is? Do you own any cryptocurrency? Do you have a cryptocurrency wallet? I suggest you look into it. It could change your personal finances or your business.

Just think, if you owned 1 Bitcoin in 2010, that one Bitcoin would almost be worth $3,000 today (this blog was written in June, 2017). Better yet, if you owned 100 Bitcoin back then, well, you would have $300,000 right now. If you owned 1,000 Bitcoin, you could retire. Obviously, you can’t go back in time. However, some experts are estimating the price to go up to $10,000 a Bitcoin, while some are estimating $1 million.

Hey, I know what you are thinking. Bitcoin could die. It is true, maybe it will. But, it wouldn’t hurt to get a cryptocurrency wallet, buy $100 of Bitcoin, and let it sit. Maybe make a few purchases to see how it works. What’s the worst that could happen? You lose $100. What’s the best? You understand how the blockchain works and.. well, you do the math. In fact, if anything, you will probably kick yourself for not buying more. As with any risky investment, one should never risk more than they are willing to lose.

So what do the experts say? I don’t know about you, but when people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Richard Branson speak, I listen. Ironically, Warren Buffet is not a fan. He considers it to be more like buying gold. It should be noted, he is not overly technologically savvy. Bill Gates and Richard Branson think it will work.

What do you think? Will cryptocurrency be the future of money?

 

How to Become a VR Developer

Before I begin this blog, I must admit, I’m a newbie. Though I have years of design experience and some knowledge of web development, I’m new to the VR field. However, I want to learn and plan to be able to create VR content by 2017. If you look at the date of this article, that would be about three months. Check back to see if I can do it.

How am I going to do it? I have done some research and have a plan. Here it is.

Start from the beginning. Though I have some knowledge of HTML, I’m going right back to the basics. Through www.codecademy.com, start from lesson one. My objectives will be to fully understand HTML, CSS, and Java. Why? Understanding these languages won’t help me create VR. However, it will get me into the coding mindset before I tackle the coding I will need for VR development.

Java, oh, Java. I don’t know why yet, but understanding Java will help me understand C# (C sharp). And yes, you guessed it, from Java I will move to C#, which begs the question, why C#? I don’t know that answer either, except for the fact that it is used in Unity. When creating programs in Unity, you must (or should?) include C# code. What is Unity? If you are reading this article, you probably don’t need any explanation. It is the program many game developers use to create—get ready—games. Oh yeah, you can use it to create VR as well. You will just need a software development kit (SDK) for Unity and you are good to go (it might not be that easy, but it’s a start).

So, where was I? HTML, CSS, Java, C#, then Unity. Anything else? Yes, Blender. I have no idea how to use this. I have played with Unity a bit, but Blender is a new space for me. It is a 3D creation suite. I forgot to mention, you can get Unity and Blender free; what a deal!

That’s the plan for now. I’m almost through with HTML and CSS and ready to move to Java. I’m sure as I go I will find other skills I need, requiring me to change the steps I plan to use to become a new VR developer. After I create my first VR project, I will have to figure out how to get it to work on my phone and goggles. Should be exciting. It will be easy to give up, but like anything else in life, you must fail and fail before you succeed. Persistence will be the key.

I would love to hear from any VR (or AR) developers and share how they learned the trait.

History of VR

Virtual reality is coming, right? Or has it been here for over a hundred years?

In 1838 Charles Wheatstone’s research created the stereoscope. He found that two flat images looked at through each eye could produce a three dimensional experience. One hundred years later, William Gruber created the View Master, which included disks containing pairs of small photos giving the view a stereoscopic view. Then in 1962, Morton Heilig patented the Sensorama. This was a full VR experience with sound, smells, and a vibrating chair. At about the same time, Heilig created the first head mounted display (HMD) for VR. In 1965, Ivan Sutherland created the Ultimate Display, which he claimed viewers would not know the difference between reality and virtuality. His ideas would have a lasting influence on the VR that is being created today. These were all before the phrase “virtual reality” was even coined.

Jump forward to 1993 (and past many other VR experiements), the Sega Genesis was released. This VR headset look very similar to what we have today, but it did not last. Same with the 1995 Nintendo Virtual Boy. Should have been no surprise, I mean, who would want to wear those headsets?

So, why is everybody talking about VR today? Why would I want to wear those headsets today? Why are you reading this blog?

Will VR last or fade away again? Google, Samsung, Facebook and all the big players are betting big, but the market will decide. I will tell you this, if I’m walking down Fifth Avenue looking for a store, I’m not going to quickly pull out my headset and do a search; I’ll just pull out my mobile phone. But, if I want to learn or buy something from the comfort of my own home, then maybe I’ll go with VR.

What do you think? VR has been around for over a hundred years and hasn’t really hit the mainstream. Will it stick or will something better come around?