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Thumbs' Update: Revisionist History

Changing things up

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Hey friends 👋

I know the month is three-quarters of the way through, but I really wanted to write another newsletter and share some updates.

One thing that you may have noticed happened since the release of the last issue was that I remade the graphic. I wasn't completely sold on the artwork I'd come up with and wanted to rework it, based on the same concept.

Beh-AI-nd the Scenes

Since people seem interested in learning about AI workflows lately, here’s my current approach to creating AI artworks for the blog and newsletter.

After coming up with a concept, I start feeding prompts into the Midjourney bot in the hopes that it will spit out something I like. I typically use language that outputs similar styles each time so that the blog feels cohesive.

Once it starts spitting out decent looking images, I blend together the ones I like to find my ideal direction and remix those further until they look just right. It can take a few prompts or a few dozen depending on how cooperative the AI is feeling.

Finally, I edit the images myself where necessary. For the newsletters, I’ve come up with the concept of overlaying the images with my brand colour and then cutting out certain elements to make them stand out. I think this helps differentiate things on Mirror, where I share both newsletters and articles.

By the way, I wanted to say thanks to the three people who collected my post Hyped for the Hyperstructure on Mirror. I was really proud of that piece and of its accompanying artwork, but nothing makes me feel more creatively fulfilled than my readers valuing my work.

If you missed that post, definitely go back and read it! It’s about the next version of PoolTogether, aka v5, aka the hyperstructure. It explains where that moniker comes from and why its such an important concept in protocol development.

Vote with your dollars

Speaking of PoolTogether, I’ve just released a new blog post on Publish0x about Delegation Week, an initiative by Tally, together with over 20 DAOs to encourage participation in protocol governance.

You can learn all about it in the post below 👇

And I’ve also released a massive update to my post on Stablecoins which now covers multiple depegging events, includes several new stablecoins and flatcoins, and even discusses the risks of CBDCs—more on that later.


As always, nothing in this newsletter, nor my blog posts is financial advice. No matter how flat or stable something claims to be, it’s up to you to do your own research and invest within the bounds of your risk tolerance


I particularly like the artwork for that post but it took…

…a lot…

…of prompts…

…to get it right.

So, if you enjoyed that content and would like to see more like it, consider minting the post as a collectible NFT on Optimism. This way, you can showcase your support in your wallet and let me know which posts you prefer. For those who would like to support my work more broadly, you can mint my patronage NFT Hey Friends! on Zora by going to mint.thumbsup.finance

This unique NFT features an animated GIF created with real stop-motion claymation by the talented Joshua Franco. Minting Hey Friends! is your gateway to various perks that I can come up with. Thus far, these have included a random airdrop and, more recently, I’ve added…

Q&A

That’s right, my patrons get to ask questions which I answer here in the newsletter! This issue, we’ve got a question from one of my favourite people in the PoolTogether community, and dare I say web3 as a whole 💜

Tjark asks:

Am I lazy for using standard RPCs and sending my transaction at market rate?

Great question! The answer is yes, you are lazy for doing those things. Next question!

…just kidding! 😝

While this approach may be perceived as lazy because it involves using default settings, I believe the real question you're trying to ask here is whether or not you are being disadvantaged, wasteful, or even putting yourself at risk. In order to answer that, we need to examine each of these factors individually.

Using a Custom RPC

When we add networks to our wallet, we often do so via some kind of automation. It might be that you click "switch network" in Uniswap and it prompts you to add it to your wallet first, or it might be that you've gone to Chainlist.org and added a network that way. The latter is a better way to add RPCs because it can show you exactly why you might want to choose one over another. Take, for example, this screenshot of the various Polygon mainnet RPCs.

Look at how varied they are in terms of latency. Additionally, and this is something that I really want to emphasize: look at how different they are in terms of privacy.

When we talk about RPCs, we're not referring to remote procedural calls, but rather the URLs to the nodes that will respond to these calls.

These endpoints can, and often do, log all kinds of information, including IP address, MAC address, location data, cookies, and whatever else they can get their hands on. Chainlist does a great job of providing details on whether they are collecting and storing this data, as long as they publicly share their policy. Unfortunately, many RPCs do not have any information available.

There are a few options. You can use Llamanodes RPCs, which you can set up via Chainlist. These are open-source and have a policy of not collecting or storing any data. Alternatively, you can set up your own Ethereum, Optimism, Polygon etc. nodes either on your own hardware or in the cloud. The latter will certainly help with network congestion and, thus, speed, but it will depend on the particular provider whether or not it will be more private.

By the way, here's a decent article on RPCs if you'd like to learn a bit more.

Now, let’s move on to the second part of your question.

Sending transactions at market rate

People love talking about EIP-1559's effect on Ethereum's monetary policy, but often overlook its impact on user experience when paying for gas.

Personally, I used to have failed transactions frequently, but since the London hard fork, I've only experienced only a few failures - all due to my own fault of setting the max fee too low; because I'm frugal.

The real answer to your question is simply this: do you feel that you're getting good value from the settings you're using? If you can afford the fees and your transactions go through in a timely manner, you might be able to save more elsewhere.

I personally use custom fees a lot, usually because the max fee is higher than what I have in my wallet. To do so, I look at Etherscan's Gas Tracker and set my base, priority, and max fee at or near the suggested average or high.

Note: I only ever use the low option if I'm trying to trigger something that is not time-sensitive, such as a send transaction, an open NFT mint, or changes to my ENS. Trades will almost always fail if the transaction hangs for too long. 

Hopefully, that answer helps! This question is perfect because it brings together two of my favorite topics: saving money and protecting our right to privacy! 

Speaking of which...

Don’t Miss This Deal!

As mentioned in the previous newsletter, the sponsor for this month, privacy-first productivity suite, Skiff, has provided me with three free one-year subscriptions of Skiff Essential to give to readers. 

To claim one: follow me on Twitter, Lens, or Farcaster, share the newsletter, and comment on why you would like to try Skiff

Please tag me in the post so I can see it:

@thumbsupfinance on Twitter, and 

@thumbsup on Lens or Farcaster.


Note: accounts under 50 followers or under 10 posts will be disqualified. This is to avoid bots and farmers.


That's not all Skiff is offering!

The first 50 people to use the code THUMBSUPFINANCE will get 50% off any first time Skiff membership for 1 year! That’s a savings of up to $72 in value for any individual user.

I've been using Skiff a lot lately, and I'm super impressed. Not only do they have a lot of great features, but they ship updates pretty much daily. They've even just launched a desktop app for Windows that looks great. Make sure to take advantage of these deals – you won't want to miss out!

Twitter Got You Down?

I have tried all the decentralized Twitter alternatives, and while I appreciate what each brings to the table, I find myself using Farcaster the most lately. The native app, Warpcaster, is great on both web and mobile, with a good feature set and positive vibes. Additionally, Farcaster has some cool NFT-related features, like a feed of what your friends are minting. In my previous issue, I mentioned having a lot of invites to give away, and since then, I have unlocked even more!

If you want to try it out, 

1. Either:

2. Let me know the email address you want to use to log in to Farcaster. This is needed to create an account, otherwise I wouldn’t ask.

Ok it’s time to wrap this thing up, so let’s get to my favourite part of every newsletter…

Recommendations

As I was rewriting my piece on stablecoins, one thing was on the forefront of my mind: Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs). Several countries have initiated pilot projects, and even my home country of Canada has begun to request comments from citizens regarding such an offering. This makes me nervous for reasons that are explained in the piece. Check it out

I stumbled upon an interesting discussion forum on CBDCs from Republican think tank, The Federalist Society, which includes several guests with different opinions on CBDCs. Interestingly, the conversation includes some worthwhile discussion on privacy, and even mentions Zcash. It's definitely worth a watch. 

Another noteworthy discussion on privacy comes from an unexpected source – The Financial Times in their article titled "Is Privacy Dead?"

It's quite the ominous piece, especially when you hear how people in and around law enforcement feel entitled to your data, with or without your consent. This line from the conclusion really struck a chord with me:

“For 20 years, tech companies have assumed that they are right to infringe our privacy; we should now ask them to justify themselves first.”

Are conservatives finally starting to understand the importance of consent?

Lastly, you may have heard about the Ledger controversy. Of course all this had to happen right after I bought one 🤦‍♂

Now, in terms of my personal use, I'm not too concerned, but I cannot recommend it to others. I hope this situation causes Ledger to reconsider their actions and become more transparent. We'll just have to wait and see.

Before making a decision to switch to a different option, keep in mind that Trezor has also faced controversy on multiple occasions. In fact, there are very few options available for completely air-gapped private key storage that you can trust won't make changes to the software that cause future problems.

But there is a new and innovative option called GameWallet that is worth checking out. Take a look at their announcement thread 👇

I dunno about you, but I'm in love with this concept and can't wait to see how it's rolled out and what other products it might inspire.

I think that’s as good a place as any to end this.

Until next time,
Thumbs Up


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To become a patron of Thumbs’ Update and unlock special perks, like Q&A, you can mint my non-fungible patronage NFT on Optimism, Zora, Base, or Ethereum.

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zs17a2mhl6xeu56cqqeqync9kddyg8gggcy6253l5evjdyw8l8j8f60eg40exr4wk27hnvfgkkgnju

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