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Hardware, Software, Trustware by Andreas Antonopoulos

March 29, 2017
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Another talk comparing the process of developing hardware v software. Hardware you have to get right because the iteration cycle is long. 4-5 years. Software, could be hours. Get something wrong, change it, compile it and release it. For this reason, the culture is not East v West, it’s hardware v software. Andreas talks about a new category called Trustware that happens when “consensus rules are running in software, with the backing of hardware, deployed on a global network, with a diverse set of participants”. Great talk, interesting take.
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Blockchain Association of New Zealand

March 25, 2017
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I had the pleasure of meeting with Paul Sailsbury (founder and current secretary) and Stephen Macaskill (president) from the Blockchain Association of New Zealand (BANZ). It was a great opportunity to get further insight into the work BANZ is doing and the progress they are making. Getting up and running and building momentum always requires a lot of hard work and these guys are doing a great job. A lot of ground work has been done in the past few years so look out for some key announcements in the near future. There are lot of exciting projects in the pipeline requiring contributions from everyone in the blockchain community to help put New Zealand on the world stage. Looking forward to working with BANZ and getting the blockchain community growing not just in one or two major centers in NZ but everywhere.
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What are smart contracts?

March 18, 2017
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Simply stated, A smart contract is some software code that transfers assets between parties when certain conditions occur. That is a very simple explanation but let’s dive deeper into what it really means, what it looks like and how it works. What it means? Smart contracts were brought to light in the mid 90’s and cryptographer Nick Szabo is generally credited with “inventing” smart contracts. The reason it has gained significant momentum now is because of the invention of bitcoins, the most successful digital currency to date and the underlying framework it provides. In a sentence, contracts are agreements between parties. Smart contracts are agreements between parties in the digital realm. A more formal definition of a smart contract is: a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies or assets between parties under certain conditions. It not only defines the rules and penalties around an agreement in the same way that a traditional contract does, but it can also automatically enforce those obligations. It does this by taking in information as input, assigning value to that input through the rules set out in the contract, and executing the actions required by those contractual clauses. These contracts are […]
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Ian Grigg: Ricardian Contracts And Digital Assets Prehistory

March 8, 2017
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Ian Grigg: Ricardian Contracts And Digital Assets Prehistory A neat and very informative podcast on the history of digi cash, financial cryptography and Ricardian contracts. The history was fascinating because it provides a lot of context to how we got to where we are today. It’s a little lengthy but definitely worth a watch.
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Wellington Blockchain March 2017

March 6, 2017
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We kicked off the first Wellington Blockchain event for 2017 last night with great speakers and a great turn out. It has changed a lot from a bunch of guys around a table in September 2016… to this in March 2017. Last night we had 4 speakers. Mark gave a great update on the up and coming Blockchain NZ conference. There are some world class speakers coming down under. Check out the website site for more details. It will be in Auckland and there is work underway to try and bring the speakers to Wellington as well. Sean talked about blockchain basics and how it will change the future and Felix (pictured above) talked about decentralization and smart contracts.   Our final speaker was Sulu who shared his personal story about how sending money back to Samoa was still a challenge and how his Kiwi Fintech start up Liberac is going to disrupt that. We had people from lots of different backgrounds. Coders and programmers, lawyers interested in smart contracts, people from Deloitte and lots of new faces wanting to understand what blockchain really is. Thanks to Bizdojo for hosting and to all that came. Look out for the next meetup in […]
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Does Blockchain = Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and the Corda debacle

March 1, 2017
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There has been a recent activity around an article published with the title of “R3 Appears to Admit Defeat, Stops Blockchain Development“. The argument goes like this. On one hand, R3 claim they never were in the blockchain space. They claim they were in the distributed ledger space. On the other hand, others claim that R3 were in the blockchain space in order to get the investment required and then pivoted. Saifedean Ammous (@saifedean) has been the most vocal … Blockchain is what you say when you want funding. DLT & Corda is for when you've not delivered shit but want to pretend you're working hard. https://t.co/2x7UrDlrmw — Saifedean Ammous (@saifedean) February 27, 2017 But it got me thinking. What is the difference between a distributed ledger technology and blockchain technology? Roger Willis (from R3) pointed me to the technical whitepaper. 56 pages written by Mike Hearn on 29th November 2016 called “Corda: A distributed ledger”. For those of you who don’t know, Mike left the bitcoin community and joined R3 and there’s a whole back story to that as well that I’m sure readers can Google themselves. Back to the technology. The whitepaper is very well written, very readable (I’ve […]
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Where does IPFS store it’s files?

February 28, 2017
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If you were wondering where IPFS, the Inter Planetary File System, aka global distributed and decentralised database stores its files, read on. The best place to start is to follow the ‘Getting Started’ page at: https://ipfs.io/docs/getting-started. You’ll have to install it first which is very quick. After you run ipfs init you will get a link to a readme file which looks like this: The question I had was where was this file being served from? I finally found out that it was in my local drive at $HOME/.ipfs/blocks/R3/CIQBED3K6YA5I3QQWLJOCHWXDRK5EXZQILBCKAPEDUJENZ5B5HJ5R3A.data To figure this out, all you have to do is run a grep like below: >> grep -rn "interfacing" * It seems obvious but as a complete newbie, even the simplest things can throw you off.
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Blockchain Wellington first 2017 meetup announced

February 26, 2017
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Come and join us at the Wellington Blockchain meet up Monday 6 March at BizDojo in Wellington to talk all things bitcoins, blockchains and smart contracts. In the past we’ve had some fairly technical presentations. To kick of 2017 we’ve decided to start with a broader view talking about the impact blockchain technology is having and decentralisation. We’ll also get insight in the huge blockchain conference that is happening in May and the Kiwi FinTech accelerator. It is also a great chance to meet and learn what others are doing, learn more about smart contracts, how to download a bitcoin wallet and maybe get hold of some bitcoins too. (Or Ethereum if that floats your boat). Schedule: 5:30 pm: Welcome 5:35 pm: “Update on NZ Blockchain Conference in May”. 5:45 pm: “How Blockchain Will Impact Your Life Sooner Than You Think” 5:55 pm: “The Decentralized Economy – What Does This Mean For Modern Business?” 6:05 pm: “Kiwi FinTech Accelerator” 6:15 pm: “Q&A/Networking Chatter” Blockchain Discussion Panel: – All skill levels welcome! Monday, Mar 6, 2017, 5:30 PM The Graffiti Bar @ Bizdojo115 Tory St Wellington, NZ 26 Members Attending Hi all! Its good to be back in the new year. […]
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IPFS basic intro videos

February 22, 2017
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If you are interested in understanding what IPFS is, these 2 videos are the quickest way to get a high level view. At about 20 minutes each the first one shows you how it works with actual examples which is great and the second one is a clip from Devcon2 in Shanghai where it gives a good insight into what it is and what it does from a non technical point of view. By non technical I mean there is no code involved but it’s still technical in terms of the words used.
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Don’t forget what self sovereign identity system uPort doesn’t claim to do

February 19, 2017
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Introduction uPort is a neat concept of self sovereign identity but there is one thing to keep in mind. uPort is a neat concept of self sovereign identity but there is one thing to keep in mind. It doesn’t remove the need for trust in 3rd parties but instead users choose the 3rd parties they want to trust. Firstly, lets do a quick recap on the basic concepts. Firstly, lets do a quick recap on the basic concepts Basic concepts Self sovereignty can be thought of as having self authority or for yourself to be in control of something. Self Sovereign Identity is the ability to own and control your identity. Another neat definition is: “Self-sovereign identity is a concept where the individual has ultimate control over their identity and is the final arbiter of who can access and use their data and personal information” – John Lilic ( ConsenSys). This is an interesting concept because have you ever stopped to think if you actually own your identity? Your name, your date of birth (D.O.B), or your work experience that you display on LinkedIn, who owns that? Your hobbies, the places you have visited, your martial status on Facebook, who owns that? […]
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Microsoft Virtual Academy Blockchain As A Service Course

February 13, 2017
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Microsoft Virtual Academy (MVA) has recently published a Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) training course which is worth a look. It talks about Ethereum, solidity, smart contracts and the devops process for blockchain development. It naturally has a Microsoft Azure bias which is helpful in understanding what Microsoft offers The presentation format and MVA portal is very similar to that of the Princeton University course with transcripts, forums, a progress bar and course information and covers 5 modules. Distributed Ledgers 101 – 48 mins (3 videos) Smart Contracts Explained – 40 mins (3 videos) Decentralized Applications and Architecture – 35 mins (3 videos) DevOps for Blockchains on Azure 5 – 46 mins (3 videos) Development of Decentralized Applications – 44 mins (4 videos) The presenters were Cale Teeter and Derek Martin. Links to the course: https://mva.microsoft.com/en-US/training-courses/microsoft-blockchain-as-a-service-17104 https://mva.microsoft.com/ (keyword search: Blockchain) What was good about the course? The course was well organised and structured. The demo at the end of each course was helpful in terms of seeing what could be done in Microsoft Azure. Module 4 on devops was good providing insight into some of the considerations required. Module 5 showing the development ecosystem was excellent. My new word of the […]
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Neat site for monitoring active crowd sales of coins

January 30, 2017
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An interesting site that lists past, current and upcoming ICO (Initial Coin Offering). https://cyber.fund/radar
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A Hal Finney Must Read

January 27, 2017
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If you are a true cryptocurrency believer you will have read these articles already. If you haven’t, it’s not too late: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=155054.msg1643833#msg1643833   Bitcoin’s Earliest Adopter Is Cryonically Freezing His Body to See the Future
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Does notarization on the blockchain actually work?

January 25, 2017
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Introduction At first glance it may seem that blockchain technologies can revamp or disrupt notary services. There certainly has been a lot of hype and articles in this area. To understand whether or not this is true we need to look at what notary services provide, what blockchain technology provides and see if one can replace the other. Notary services Notaries provide a wide range of services. The ones relevant to us are: Witness and certify the validity of signatures on documents. Certify the authenticity of the documents themselves. Documents on the blockchain Storing information on the blockchain provides proof of: Timestamp: A digital fingerprint of the document on the blockchain proves that the document, containing an idea for example, was created at that point in time. Data on the blockchain, in geek speak is immutable. That means it cannot change. It is locked within the blockchain forever. Ownership: With public/private key technology you can prove that you were the person that put the document there. Independently verifiable: Once it is there, any 3rd party can verify that the documents were placed there by the person who holds the private key. The blockchain is also secure, global and decentralised. How does […]
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Colorful analogies of OP_RETURN

January 23, 2017
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Some colorful analogies I came across during my research into OP_RETURN. “OP_RETURN is like giving out clean needles to heroin addicts.  It’s there as harm mitigation, but it isn’t something thats generally good for the system.” https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=471928.0 “@gidgreen OP_RETURN is being added because some people insist on abusing the blockchain. This gives them a less painful way to do it. An analogy would be a rape victim not-resisting to try to minimise the damage.” “Words like “abuse” and “rape” aren’t helpful. If you think the size of the blockchain is a big issue, then please help optimize it. Because even without OP_RETURN, the blockchain will get bigger. Forever.” https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/pull/3737
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Mobile is Eating the World by Benedict Evans

January 22, 2017
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An insightful presentation on the progression of technology highlighting how mobile is becoming nothing special anymore and the rise of machine learning and autonomous systems. Blockchain concepts such as trustlessness and decentralisation were yet to feature but one can imagine it’s not too far away.
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How many unbanked can bitcoin help?

January 20, 2017
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It is interesting to see the numbers bounced around as to how many unbanked people around the world bitcoin can help. It feels like this magic water that can help billions. First there are reports without references. For example: Nov 2014: Bitcoin Could Enable 3.5 Billion Financially Excluded People to Participate in World Trade – https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/cell-phone-connected-unbanked-bitcoin-will-bank/ Mar 2016: Over 4 billion people, living in the bottom of the pyramid, with daily wages as low as $1.56 and a combined purchasing power of over 5 trillion dollars are ignored by financial organizations that cater largely to urban customers with higher income – http://www.scmspune.ac.in/chapter/2016/Chapter%2014.pdf Where do those number came from? Articles that provide sources such as: Aug 2014: A World Bank report in 2012 cited cost, distance to a banking facility and bureaucratic hurdles as reasons that more than 2.5 billion of the world’s poor lack a bank account.- http://www.coindesk.com/can-bitcoin-deliver-promise-worlds-unbanked/ Feb 2015: Roughly 2.5 billion adults in the world don’t have access to banks, which means somewhere in the order of 5 billion people belong to households that are cut off from a financial system that the rest of us take for granted. -https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2015-02-26/bitcoin-unbanked Jul 2015: More than 2 billion adults lack […]
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What is currency devaluation?

January 19, 2017
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As the Yuan weakens there is a capital flow out of China. Bitcoin is seen as another tool for moving money around. To understand what devaluation is and how it works here are a few useful links: https://www.quora.com/How-do-countries-devalue-currency http://samvak.tripod.com/nm025.html
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An epic list of bitcoin research

January 17, 2017
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Here is a link to an epic list of bitcoin research. It makes a great reading list. Here is an exported list in case the Google link above breaks. Bitcoin Academic Research  
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The Death of Money – Andreas Antonopoulos

January 16, 2017
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A great interview with Andreas once again explaining things very clearly. The interview starts at 6:20 and is a recommended watch. Part 1 is on YouTube. You will have to sign up to London Real to watch the entire clip. It is entirely worth it!  
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