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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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Introduction to Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

December 12, 2016
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Presented at the Singularity University’s Innovation Partnership Program, this talk by Andreas is an entry level talk about bitcoin. It’s 24 minutes long and is a great watch. Lots of analogies and parallels drawn. Worth a watch.    
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Another fantastic and passionate talk by Andreas Antonopoulos

December 7, 2016
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  Andreas Antonopoulos – Currency Wars and Bitcoin Neutrality. This is worth an hour of your time. Some highlights: 4:30: India withdraw 500 and 1000 rupee notes. 28:00: End of talk. Q&A 34:25: Memorise 12 word seeds and just walk across the border + setting up a bitcoin wallet is not that hard compared to what people in Venezuela have to go through. 54:00: How much should you invest in bitcoins? 57:30: Will bitcoin be banned in China?    
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Sydney Bitcoin ATM Machine

October 21, 2016
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On my recent trip to Sydney, I went back to visit the only bitcoin ATM machine that allows you to withdraw cash. Unfortunately it has been removed. I was there in August 2015 and documented the interesting process. Bitcoin ATM machines are not that scary I’ve contacted Patrick from Abatech but with no success. They have recently updated their website (http://abatech.com.au) promoting their mobile wallet instead of their ATM machines. They did have 1 in Melbourne and Brisbane but who knows if they are operational as well. It was the right step in the right direction but maybe it wasn’t making as much money for the owners. It is probably ahead of its time as well.
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How to build bfgminer for the Alchemy miner from scratch

September 30, 2016
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Sometimes when everything has gone wrong and nothing is working, the last resort is to build the software from scratch. It actually isn’t as hard as it sounds. Here are the steps for a raspberry pi: Grab the latest raspberry pi image by downloading the image and placing it on an 8Gb usb card. Connect the raspberry pi to your computer via USB to TTL Serial Cable or with an ethernet cable. Run these commands >> sudo apt-get install >> sudo apt-get install build-essential autoconf automake libtool pkg-config libcurl4-gnutls-dev libjansson-dev uthash-dev libncurses5-dev libudev-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libevent-dev >> mkdir bfgminer >> sudo git clone --branch alcheminer_USB-Dongle_Support https://github.com/jstefanop/bfgminer.git >> cd bfgminer >> ./autogen.sh >> sudo chmod +x ./configure >> ./configure CFLAGS=-O3 --enable-scrypt --enable-alchemist --disable-other-drivers --enable-broad-udevrules >> sudo make >> sudo make install It should take about 30-60 minutes depending on if you have a fresh pi image already at hand or you need to create it and the speed of your internet. Reference: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1468120.0
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Visiting Coinbase in San Francisco

August 16, 2016
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    I had the privilege visiting the Coinbase Headquarters in San Francisco as I was interested in a position there. Coinbase is one of the largest digital currency exchanges in the world and certainly well funded. I had an initial phone screening conversation with Brittany, the HR person there. Then I talked to another HR person, Alvin. I then had a phone interview with John. I was then invited to come onsite for 2 face to face technical interviews. Gotta say, the process was thorough! Their office was nice with amazing views in downtown San Francisco. The first technical interview was with Brad who was a nice and knowledgable guy. I was given a problem of trying to balance the spend of a group of people where one person paid for the rest of the group or sub group. After an hour I then moved to another room and talked with Craig, a software engineer where I had a warm up question. It was to find the angle between the long hand and the short hand of an analogue clock at the time of 3:15. Next, I had to code up a function to perform the Fibonacci sequence using https://codepair.hackerrank.com It […]
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Nakamoto: San Francisco’s First Bitcoin Store

August 11, 2016
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My curiosity for knowledge led me to visit a store in San Francisco called Nakamotos. It wasn’t hard to find but I walked right past it the first time. I was expecting but the actual shop front was like:       It was pretty quite on the day I was there. Inside were 2 ATMs, some books and lots of other souvenirs. Managed to leave with a souvenir for myself. I walked from San Francisco CalTrain station partly to explore the city. It took ages. I would highly recommend Ubering it.  
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Who’s Securing the Blockchain?

June 30, 2016
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Back in the days when blockchain mining started, anyone could mine with their regular home computer. Unfortunately this was as decentralised as it got. Mining remember, is the process of confirming transactions and creating a block on the blockchain. It is a fundamental component of the blockchain technology. No mining, no blockchain. As the story goes, mining technology has evolved at an incredible speeds. From using home computers, known as CPU mining, to using dedicated gaming graphics card,  (GPU mining), to using programming chips (FPGA’s) and now Application Specific Integrated Chips, ASIC’s. ASIC’s have evolved from 55 nanometer silicon wafers to 28 nm and now, to the release of 14nm chips. The lower the number, the more chips on the silicon, the more processing power to be had. To understand who is mining to secure the blockchain, let’s go to the top of the food chain. The chip foundries. These are the guys that actually make the chips and there are only a handful of foundries around the world such as Global Foundries (GF), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC). An enormous amount of investment is required to fabricate mining chips To get in the […]
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