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Learning the basics of Stablecoins

September 20, 2019
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There are plenty of articles, blogs and videos explaining what stablecoins are and how they work but they all define stablecoins in their own unique way and most confusing of all, categorise them differently with different terminology. Here, we’ll attempt to bring some clarity. What is the definition of a Stablecoin? There are lots of different ways to define stablecoins and it is often useful to appreciate these different definitions to help in your own understanding. Here are some examples: Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to minimize the volatility of the price of the stablecoin, relative to some “stable” asset or basket of assets Wikipedia A price stable cryptocurrency whose market price is pegged to another stable asset Blockgeeks – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3rVWLhBIPo A dollar denominated cryptocurrency Off Chain with Jimmy Song – https://medium.com/hackernoon/stablecoins-what-you-need-to-know-cb0bbf211864 A stablecoin is a type of cryptocurrency that is designed to maintain a stable market price. Binance Academy These are all valid definitions and what can be seen is that they are commonly referred to as a cryptocurrency and that they are relative, pegged, or fixed to a stable asset of some sort. Why use stablecoins? Currently, the most common use of stablecoins is as a safe haven for crypto traders. […]
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Stablecoin Interesting Facts

September 1, 2019
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Platforms Based on Cryptoslate, 65% of all stable coins run on the Ethereum blockchain. It shouldn’t be surprising because it is far easier to launch a stablecoin on Ethereum than on other blockchains. How stable are stablecoins? According to The Stablecoin Index, most are pretty close to $1 “most” of the time. The screenshot below shows the deviation in the past week which, ignoring the upper and lower extremes, ranges from 1.008 to 0.9971. That is pretty good. Stablecoin Timeline Here is a brief timeline of the birth of various stablecoins. Tether – Launched in July 2014 as Realcoin before changing their name to Tether in Nov 2014. Nu (Nubits.com), September 2014. Currently trading at $0.087. Failed. Corion October 2017 MakerDAO, Dec 2017 TrueUSD, Mar 2018, CarbonUSD, Sep 2018, first on EOS Gemini Dollar, Oct 2018 USD Coin, Oct 2018 , Sep 26 2018, (From CENTER with founding members of Circle and Coinbase) Paxo, Oct 2018 Alchemint, Sep 2018 HonestCoin, USDH, Bitcoin Cash Network , Jun 2019, (https://news.bitcoin.com/honestnode-founder-discusses-the-first-stablecoin-built-on-bitcoin-cash/)
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Blockchains in Papua New Guinea

June 1, 2019
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“Brave Tango 5-8-3, special ops on board, repeat special ops on board” the police officer said on the walkie talkie as I sat at the back of a van with metal grills over all the windows. “What have I gotten myself into?” I said to myself as a million thoughts ran through my head, mostly all Hollywood movie scenarios, as I was driven to meet the Bank of South Pacific board of directors at their head office in Port Moresby. I was invited to share with the directors what blockchain technology was about in a 2 hour interactive presentation session. It was a privilege to be able to share what I had learnt in the last 4 years of eating, sleeping and breathing blockchain technologies but it must have been intense for them. Lots of new words and terminology was introduced, acronyms used and demystified, and even technical concepts explained. I didn’t want to overwhelm the directors so only shared 1 technical concept and that was the idea of hashing. Instead of defining what it was with words, I actually showed them and encouraged them to boast their new found knowledge to their peers next time they go for drinks. […]
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ConsenSys Academy at Ethereal New York

May 23, 2019
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I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak at a blockchain conference called Ethereal Summit in New York recently. It was a two day conference that focused on developments in the blockchain space and was also part of the run up to blockchain week where a three day conference run by Coindesk called “Consensus” and a one day Token Summit conference was held. I shared some of the work we’ve been doing at ConsenSys Academy with a talk called “Reinventing the way we learn blockchains”. Here is the presentation for those interested. I also had the chance to visit ConsenSys HQ in Brooklyn which is fast becoming a must see tourist spot for all those in the blockchain space. 10 points for guessing which graffiti covered door is the entrance into the office! If you can’t figure it out, use the next picture as a clue. I’m sitting outside on the front steps. In New York, I also got to meet the rest of the Academy team for the first time in 3D. ie “IRL” aka In Real Life. I must say that I’m very privileged to work with a bunch of very talented and dedicated people from […]
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All you need to know about 2^256

April 8, 2019
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How to pronounce 2^256? 2^256 is pronounced “two to the power of two hundred and fifty six”. What does it represent? Computers represent numbers in binary. Here is an example where we have 2 bits, where each bit can represent a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ allowing us to produce 4 possible combinations:00 = 001 = 110 = 211 = 3 The formula “2^number of bits” gives us the range of numbers that we can represent. So 2^2 = 4, which is true from the table above where we have 4 possible values. (In computers, we start counting from ‘0’) If we have 3 “bits” then we have 9 possible combinations (ie 2^3=9):000 = 0001 = 1010 = 2011 = 3100 = 4101 = 5110 = 6101 = 7111 = 8 If we have 256 ‘bits’, then we have 2^256 possible combinations which is a really large number! What does 2^256 look like in decimal? 115,792,089,237,316,195,423,570,985,008,687,907,853,269,984,665,640,564,039,457,584,007,913,129,639,936 OR1.158 x 10^77 (this is 1.1 with 77 zeros after it). Source: https://defuse.ca/big-number-calculator.htm How do you pronounce 2^256? 115 quattuorvigintillion 792 trevigintillion 89 duovigintillion 237 unvigintillion 316 vigintillion 195 novemdecillion 423 octodecillion 570 septendecillion 985 sexdecillion 8 quindecillion 687 quattuordecillion 907 tredecillion 853 duodecillion 269 […]
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Sydney Hashgraph Meetup

March 28, 2019
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It was great to finally attend the Sydney Hashgraph meetup and meet some of the organisers. We had Jason Loh and Edgar Seah dialled in to provide an update of Hashgraph and how mainnet is going to be launched very soon. This summer in fact. The audience was quite small but that is normal nowadays as the speculative hype has died down and only the true enthusiast remain. It is fascinating to also note that the Hashgraph consensus algorithm is asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerant, ie the gold standard of consensus algorithms. It has also been mathematically proven. The technology is still relatively new and there is still more to understand about it but it is exciting to see the progress.
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Static and Symbolic Analysis

March 15, 2019
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Static Analysis Static analysis can be described as a way to test code without actually executing it. The idea here is to use a computer program to analyse a program’s source code without running it. Static analysis has a few sub components such as Flow Analysis. This tracks how values might flow between the different memory relocations in a program. Tainted Flow Analysis is often referred to where untrusted input is considered tainted, eg input from a user and conversely, hardcoded values or constants are untainted. Flow Analysis can have “sensitivity” added to increase the precision and also to reduce false positives. It basically accounts for variables whose contents change, typically by using extra qualifiers. Context Sensitivity Analysis is another sub component of Static Analysis where calling other functions can cause false positives. “So context sensitive analysis solves this problem by distinguishing call sites in some way, so that we don’t allow a call at one place to return it’s value to another call.” Symbolic Analysis Symbolic execution aims to generalise testing so that instead of testing with actual values, tests are run with variables. The image below explains it best. Concolic testing is another term often thrown in when discussing symbolic execution or symbolic analysis. […]
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Fascinating POA & IBFT blockchain papers to read

March 9, 2019
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If you are trying to understand more about Proof of Authority consensus, Instanbul Byzantine Fault Tolerance (IBFT) or just blockchain consensus protocols in general, just jump straight into some research papers. It may seem daunting at first and it actually is but these papers are well written where sufficient background is provided to slowly build up a good understanding of other fundamentals. Here are key excerpts from the three papers I read. IBFT was developed by AMIS technologies in early 2017. [1] IBFT consensus protocol falls in the PoA category because only a set of special nodes, called validators, are authorised to propose new blocks. [1]. For more info on IBFT visit: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/650 (this was inspired by EIP225 (link below)). The set of validators in PBFT is static whereas in IBFT they are dynamic [1] A private blockchain is a special permissioned blockchain operated by one entity. ie within one single trust domain. [3] Aura and Clique are two popular PoA algorithms. [2] Aura and Clique are two popular PoA implementations. [2] For more information on Clique, visit: https://github.com/ethereum/EIPs/issues/225 A blockchain is a linked data structure replicated over a peer-to-peer network, where transactions are issued to form new blocks. Peers […]
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Training trainers at SK in Korea

February 25, 2019
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I had opportunity to provide blockchain train the trainer to SK Global in Korea which is another level up from regular training. SK Global or SK Holding is one of the largest conglomerates in South Korea comprising of around 95 subsidiaries. SK Global has more than 70,000 employees and 113 offices worldwide. My esteemed colleagues Coogan and Luiz, travelled to Korea in December and provided blockchain training to SK. They did an amazing job which pathed the way for part 2 of this training. I arrived on Sunday morning after taking the red eye from Sydney to Tokyo and then connecting to Seoul. I had to be rerouted due to weather conditions at Sydney airport but that is another story in itself. Seoul was cold! It may not feel like it if you’re only outside for a few minutes but very quickly you can feel your ears tingle. On day 1 we went through the plan for the week and reviewed the 1 day non technical edition as well as the first day of smart contracts for developers. The trainees had already gone through the material so this served as a refresher and provided more opportunities for in-depth discussions on […]
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Some Merkle Tree resources

February 1, 2019
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Here is a great infographic from YunYun Chen from ConsenSys originally published at: https://media.consensys.net/ever-wonder-how-merkle-trees-work-c2f8b7100ed3 Here is a link to a 10 page research paper called “A digital signature based on conventional encryption function” by Ralph C. Merkle in 1988. https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~raluca/cs261-f15/readings/merkle.pdf This is a 7 page paper on “Providing Authentication and Integrity in Outsourced Databases using Merkle Hash Tree’s” https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~raluca/cs261-f15/readings/merkleodb.pdf
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IIB Council Certified Blockchain Professional

December 28, 2018
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I finally managed to pass my IIB Council Certified Blockchain Professional exam. I had been putting it off since August as I was flat out with up-skilling and delivering Enterprise Ethereum training. I had been in conversations with IIB Council earlier on in the year and got hold of the study materials in July 2018. The train the trainer process was very professional. I reviewed the initial draft 241 slide deck and then received the study guide. The study guide was protected with a license that was only valid for 30 days and disabled the copy and paste feature along with printing capabilities. Clever! Then came the proctored exam which was well executed as well. It had to be booked 3 days in advance and had to be taken in a room with a clear desk. A chrome extension had to be installed which unfortunately required access to my camera, mic and other functions as well. At the examination time, an examiner (a real person) would log on and control my computer to turn off screen capturing features and recorded my screen. I then had to use my webcam to show the examiner the walls of my room, my desk […]
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Blockchain Training with Union Bank in Manila

December 5, 2018
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I had another opportunity to deliver a 5 day blockchain Ethereum developers course to Union Bank in Manila. Union Bank have been exploring blockchain technologies for a while and have several projects on the go. They created a blockchain institute which is part of their CSR program and invited students to apply. They had hundreds of applicants and filtered them down to 100. ConsenSys Academy was then invited to train the students. The students already had 9 days of training from NEM prior to us and will also have Hyperledger and Corda training in the New Year as well. Day 0 I had the option of arrive at either 5:30pm or 10:30pm and luckily choose the earlier option even though it was more expensive. This was because the flight eventually touched down at 7pm and it took 30 minutes to get my luggage and figure out how to order a Grab taxi. Even getting to the Grab taxi took a while coz when the taxi arrived in the “no pick up zone”, it was shuffled off and I had to figure out where it went to and how to get their. The ride took 90 minutes to cover ~15km due […]
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Chilling out with Tyler from Viant

November 2, 2018
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After our presentation at Proctor and Gamble, where Tyler, the co-founder of Viant (a blockchain-based platform for modeling business processes, tracking assets and building the supply chains of the future), demonstrated the platform with a hands on demo, we took the opportunity to have lunch at the local markets. The food available was amazing, especially the Hainan Chicken but we did sample a whole range of dishes. Viant is a very neat solution and is making great progress in the blockchain supply chain space. Keep an eye out for more announcements at https://viant.io/
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Blockchain 101 for Proctor & Gamble Singapore

October 26, 2018
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I had the opportunity to present a blockchain 101 to Proctor and Gamble in Singapore recently trying to engage an audience for an hour talking about ConsenSys, consensus and all things blockchains included concepts such as blockchains v distributed ledgers, cryptocurrencies v tokens, and of course use cases. Proctor and Gamble have launched a digital transformation program to learn more about disruptive technologies of which blockchains is one of them. The whole week was part of their ONWARD program where staff could attend all sorts of training in the area of their interest.   After I finished, Tyler Mulihive, the co-founder of Viant talked about their blockchain-based platform for modelling business processes, tracking assets and building the supply chains of the future. The attendees also managed to create an example supply chain application for themselves which was really neat.   Tyler, Michael Teo, (P&G Senior IT Manager for IT Innovations) and I. I also managed to have lunch with some of the awesome Singapore ConsenSys crew at WeWork at Suntec city. The office is a very nice space.  
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CareChain NZ: Blockchain in Healthcare Symposium

October 14, 2018
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I had to the opportunity to contribute to CareChain NZ: Blockchain in Healthcare Symposium in Auckland recently that was brilliantly organised by Tom Varghese and Tech Futures Lab. Mark from Blockchain Labs NZ kicked the evening off with a Blockchain 101 talking about what is distributed ledger technology, how does it work, and how can blockchain help healthcare. Mark had a great example of explaining trust and decentralisation using neighbourhood trading using trusty “Harold” (love the name!) who Alice and Bob have known for a long time as an example. Blockchain enables Harold to be removed from the equation. Next was Shahid Saiyad from IBM talking about what applications blockchains have the most promise in healthcare. IBM have put significant efforts in the blockchain space. The funniest talk of the evening had to go to Jerome Faury from Centrality. He kinda set the scene from the beginning with his t-shirt! Katherine Noall from Sphere Identity shared fascinating blockchain insights for identity management in healthcare. Kris Vette from Chain Ecosystem discussed the options to enable blockchain adoption and success in healthcare and what factors influence the scalability of blockchain projects. Alex Sims talked regulation and privacy (a topic she could talk […]
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Tokenization: It isn’t new but it is the future

October 2, 2018
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I had the opportunity to publish a piece in the Crypto AM publication where the audience of City A.M. (of which Crypto AM is part of) is sophisticated/high net worth/qualified City of London workers with  315,000 daily readers in print. As the Crypto winter maintains its steady grip on token prices and the ICO craze of 2017 has all but subsided, for now at least, many are wondering what to make of all these tokens that now float around in cyber space? In this article we look at the emergence of all these tokens in this tokenized economy, if the concept is really new and what’s installed in the next few years. Blockchain technology has enabled a large wave of enormous innovation with respect to the creation of these so called “utility tokens”, which are essentially promises that they can be redeemed at some point in the future for a product or a service. With over 1,600 tokens and counting, they all have created their own miniature economies battling for investors, developers and users and of course promised the masses that their Blockchain platform or application is the one that will solve the most relevant problems in today’s society. Problems […]
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An intro in the world of ISO/TC 307

September 13, 2018
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My first foray into the ISO world came in the form of helping companies attain ISO 9001, Total Quality Management. This is the stamp of approval indicating that a company is following good practices and procedures usually in the manufacturing industry. I spent some time looking at the ISO 27000 series when I was a briefly a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISM) and then I learnt the entire NZ Electricity Act 1992 (the regs) and the AS/NZS 3000 for the electrical industry. Having studied (not invested unfortunately) blockchains since 2014, when ISO/TC 307 blockchains and distributed ledger technology came out I jumped at the chance to get involved. I had been in contact with Standards NZ and contributed to New Zealand upgrading its status from an O member (Observing) to a P member (Participating). It was very challenging at first because you indicate from a list of topics what interests you and your Standards body rep registers you to various groups. Then you get hammed with all sorts of emails and there is no one to help “onboard” or explain what all of this means. In May 2018 there were 7 Study Groups (SG) and 3 Work Groups (WG). ISO/TC […]
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Consensus protocol explained with Ethan Buchman from Tendermint

August 17, 2018
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Here is a great podcast on a bit of history of consensus protocol, what they are and how they work and also what Tendermint is and what it is useful for. Worth 60mins of your time. The transcript can be found here. Consensus Systems with Ethan Buchman
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How blockchains work

August 1, 2018
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This is a great example showing how blockchains work. Highly recommend watching it.
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Running NEM on a Raspberry Pi in 5 minutes

July 24, 2018
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A raspberry pi is a very neat device and very powerful for its size. Here is a simple guide on getting the NEM blockchain running on it in 5 minutes. What you’ll need: Raspberry Pi. I’m using the Pi 3 Model B as it has inbuilt wifi and 1Gb ram Step 1: Download NIS Visit: https://nem.io/downloads/ and download the NEM Infrastructure Server. Assuming you have ssh’d into your Raspberry Pi, I navigated to the Downloads folder and ran wget. wget https://bob.nem.ninja/nis-0.6.95.tgz You might encounter a certificate error: ERROR: The certificate of ‘bob.nem.ninja’ is not trusted. ERROR: The certificate of ‘bob.nem.ninja’ has expired. If you do, run the following: wget --no-check-certificate https://bob.nem.ninja/nis-0.6.95.tgz Step 2: Extract NIS Extract the file with: tar -xvf nis-0.6.95.tgz You will see a new package folder. cd into this folder and you’ll see a whole bunch of files. You can actually start the NEM node now if you want to run on mainnet. For testing purposes, let’s configure it for testnet. Step 3: Switching to testnet cd into nis and edit config.properties cd nis nano config.properties Look for “nem.network = mainnet” and change to “nem.network = testnet” Step 4: Start NEM Node ./nix.runNis.sh You should see the node […]
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