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  1. A Short Story: Don't Miss The Boat Jolted awake and suddenly focused by a sudden violent crack, aware but not quite one hundred percent of my surroundings, my mind attempting to assess the situation. It had been a week now, awake by day, cat naps by night…… I must have fallen into a deep sleep…. The sails now flogging violently, whipping the ropes attached to them in a chaotic manner. The salt spray, fresh and made cold by the wind stung. This coupled with the ocean swell of the Atlantic rising up the continental shelf made for a disorientating and initially nauseating wakeup call in the pitch black. “What is this happening?” The weather had checked out and was predicted to be stably blowing me along. Up until now anyway… Finding a bearing while gazing down at the instruments in the cockpit was proving difficult, not much was making sense. The compass mounted high on its binnacle with its garish green glow was turning through 270°, slowly and continually increasing as the boat turned its self through the wind uncontrolled. Suddenly the answer was apparent! “The autopilot, of course…" The familiar whirring of its motor and bearings was silent. Occasionally the force of big waves on the rudder can cause it to go a bit haywire, loose its grip on reality and most importantly the direction the boat should be heading in. Attempts to reset the autopilot prove futile, whilst wrestling the craft back on track. Something is drastically wrong with it and there’s little to do fixing it in the dark of the very early morning. Now fully awake, I am resigned to hand steering until dawn. I follow the compass whilst chastising myself for falling too deeply into sleep, despite there being very little one can do about the sudden failure of systems out of your control. [1] Thoughts creep into the mind as the stimuli of the wave motion, the up and down and side to side tilting of the starry horizon, the sensation of full sails pulling the craft along in an ebb and flow as you ride up and down each swell, all act to hypnotize you.… “Sailing…. Is this really what you wanted? It’s hard work, tiring… exhausting in fact, you just proved that… but… it is the small, fleeting moments that make it all worth it, the sun rising and setting, the dolphins swimming along side, the ever changing colors of the sea” In the darkness thoughts turn to how opportunities of a lifetime were made possible by a chance discovery. “$1000! No way am I paying that much.” But steadily as the months passed the phenomenon known as FOMO (fear of missing out) set in, and in hindsight I really did miss out. By the time I finally pulled the trigger on Bitcoin I had a fraction of what I would have had if I had invested the same amount back when I rejected it. I still wouldn’t have want it any other way however, careful research had got me to this point. “Bitcoin Sherpa’s” prophetic and ethical albeit quasi-anarchical teachings had guided me thus far. His well thought out and logical arguments resonated well with my own convictions. The further I delved into the world of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, the more certain things became apparent: 1. Most coins are as they are described; ****coins 2. ALL coins have an essence of cultism, therefore DYOR (do your own research), before joining 3. Banks are not disappearing in my lifetime [2] In my DYOR stage of finding something undervalued so not to miss the proverbial train again, I stumbled upon XRP, slated by many, held high by few. The potential of the technology seemed incredible as did the potential gains which most of us seeked. The professionalism of the very real company Ripple attempting to utilize the digital token XRP was unlike any other outfit in the cryptosphere, making it quite apparent how far they could go. And so began the rollercoaster ride of an investment I believed in, ups and downs, but more frustratingly the periods of sideways stagnation….. The sun rotated into view, turning the sky flame orange. This takes my full attention and there are no other thoughts other than the appreciation of the moment. The feeling fades as the prospect of manually steering the boat for another few days before pulling into a harbor spurs me into action. Locking the wheel in position gives a bit of time between fine tuning the direction of the boat against wind and swell to scroll through the auto pilot’s user-interface and troubleshoot. Fault code: 5357494654 also known as, the rudder position sender, is showing a fault and a quick clean of the connector contacts fails to bodge the fault. Thankfully the satellite phone on board allows internet connectivity. Due to increasing demand and steadily reduced operating costs, the internet of information is accessible anywhere on the planet at a far better standard than what was on offer just a few years ago; severely limited and expensive data plans with equally expensive set-up costs. The app for the chandlery in the marina I am headed for shows the part required to solve the issue (787270) can be pre-ordered into store. A transparent smart contract in their app, I know runs on a backend application called Codius, allows me to pre-order and secure the part I require just in time for my arrival, in this case, with an unknown and as yet untrusted merchant. Codius gives me confidence. My bank from my home country ensures the payment will be made immediately on my arrival at the chandlery for handover of the component at the going foreign exchange rate with negligible fees, INSTANTLY. No embarrassing waiting at a card machine for your debit card to be accepted or declined, no time wasted contacting your payment provider to query why the transaction has been blocked whist abroad. Again, I know this is thanks to the utilization of Ripple Lab’s xRapid in the backend of the complicated financial machinery that moves money across borders. xRapid grants me accessibility. Accessibility to a worldwide market of vendors with virtually zero wait time. Smiling, I remember thinking about how I could send an email instantly all those years ago, but not money. Content and reassured about an efficient purchase and upcoming repair I continue to helm the craft to harbor, the bow now ploughing through the oncoming waves in the warm morning sunshine, the sea glistening like liquid gold. Despite having liquidated most of my XRP holdings to pursue dreams, I vaguely recall a saying I had seen on forums that seems to ring particularly true in this moment, all without the dollar hyper-inflating and society as we know it collapsing: “Came for the gains, but stayed for the tech” -anon [3] References [1] http://www.oryanmarine.com/images/boatsales/2004sunseeker/compass.jpg [2] https://insdrcdn.com/media/attachments/c/d5/bb4f38d5c.png [3] https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/69594756716478163/
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