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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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What does Byzantine Fault Tolerance mean?

July 16, 2018
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I’ve been trying to understand what Byzantine Fault Tolerance means for almost a year now and slowly peeling off the layers of the onion to understand better but I’m probably still only a quarter of the way there. In this article I will try to explain BFT in a different way. From the dictionary One of the main challenges for me in understanding BFT is understanding the word itself. What does Byzantine actually mean? The Oxford dictionary defines it as: Relating to Byzantium (now Istanbul), the Byzantine Empire, or the Eastern Orthodox Church (of a system or situation) Excessively complicated Characterized by deviousness or underhand procedure. Straight of the bat, these definitions don’t make understanding BFT any easier. Let’s go to Wikipedia Wikipedia The standard go to for any BFT explanation is some team of dudes (a general) wanting to attack some castle with a handful of other teams and the rule is they need to either attack all at once or not attack at all. Any half baked attempt will result in catastrophic failure and with everyone retreating with their tails between their legs way back to ancient Mesopotamia in early antiquity. I’ve read it about a million times, watched […]
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Hashgraph Hello World on Eclipse

July 1, 2018
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Running the Hashgraph hello world sdk using command line is quite simple and fast but if you want to start building your own applications, using and IDE like Eclipse is the way to go. Step 1: Download the Swirlds SDK. Download the Swirls SDK at https://www.swirlds.com/download/ and extract it. Step 2: Download & Install Eclipse Download the latest version of Eclipse at: http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/. The Hashgraph docs mention Eclipse 4.7 (Oxygen) but 4.8 (Photon) has just been released. We’ll be using Photon here but either will be fine even including older versions. Note: If you get this error: “The JVM shared library “/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/JavaAppletPlugin.plugin/Contents/Home/bin/../lib/server/libjvm.dylib” does not contain the JNI_CreateJavaVM symbol“, then check out how to resolve it here. Once the install completes, select Eclipse IDE for Java Developers. The Enterprise Edition (EE) version will work as well. Then select an installation folder and accept the T&Cs and open up the application. Step 3: Import Hashgraph SDK Project Ignore the welcome start up page and click ‘Workbench’ in the top right hand corner. If you can see the package explorer pane on the left hand side navigate to Window > Show View > Project Explorer. Then select File > Import > Maven > Existing […]
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NEM testnet faucet mines Monero

June 20, 2018
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Here is a NEM testnet faucet if you are testing the NEM blockchain. You can claim up to 10 XEM (randomly) every 1 hour and your computer’s CPU will shoot to 300% for a minute or two while it solves a proof of work algorithm. It is basically mining Monero for the owner of the site using the cryptonight algorithm. https://xarleecm.com/en/nemfaucet/
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Token Summit I with Sia, Storj, Filecoin and Blockstack

May 17, 2018
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A really neat video from Token Summit I in New York on May 25 2017 talking about decentralized storage. The guys on stage are William Mougayar (moderator), Muneeb Ali, co-founder of Blockstack, Juan Benet, founder of Protocol Labs, Shawn Wilkinson, founder of Storj and David Vorick co-founder of Siacoin.
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NZ a participating member in ISO/TC307 Blockchains

April 18, 2018
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New Zealand is now a participating member of ISO/TC307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. There are 34 participating members in all and 12 observing members. Being a participating member means NZ gets to contribute and vote on decisions related to this technology.  
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ISO/TC307 Blockchains and New Zealand

April 6, 2018
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I had the opportunity to give a brief presentation on Blockchains and the NZ landscape to the Standards Approval Board (https://www.standards.govt.nz/about-us/approval-board/) as part of Standards NZ proposal for NZ to move from an observer membership (O) status to participation (P) status for “ISO/TC 307 Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies”. Steve Lowe from Standards NZ is leading the charge where the standards covers the following scope: ISO/TC 307/SG 1 Reference architecture, taxonomy and ontology ISO/TC 307/SG 2 Use cases ISO/TC 307/SG 3 Security and privacy ISO/TC 307/SG 4 Identity ISO/TC 307/SG 5 Smart contracts ISO/TC 307/SG 6 Governance of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems ISO/TC 307/SG 7 Interoperability of blockchain and distributed ledger technology systems ISO/TC 307/WG 1 Foundations ISO/TC 307/WG 2 Security, privacy and identity ISO/TC 307/WG 3 Smart contracts and their applications SG: Study Group, WG: Working Group. Participation status means NZ will have a voice and a vote to help contribute to the future direction of blockchain technologies. Currently there are 32 participating members and 14 observing members. ISO/TC 307 has met twice, most recently in Tokyo. Work is progressing in many areas including reference architecture, terminology, smart contracts, and security and identity. Separate study groups were established […]
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The Subtleties of Siacoin

February 16, 2018
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First of all, I’m a fan of Siacoin. The team appears upfront and transparent. They’ve had a working product for a long time now and the concept is good, monetising spare hard disk space. But it’s not until you go through the process that you really understand some of the subtleties of Siacoin. The main one being, it’s not really designed for the average Joe to rent a few Gb of disk space and make some money. It’s for the professionals and here is why. When I heard of monetising spare disk space, I quickly started hunting for the old spare hard drives I had lying around. A few 2.5 40Gb from old laptops 5 years ago, an 80Gb and a 160Gb. Great. I downloaded the client and then discovered I needed to buy Siacoin to make Siacoin. This is because wannabe hosters like myself need to put some Siacoins on the line because if I don’t keep my hard drives running, my customers (renters) will lose their files they store with me. This is called collateral and that’s fair. So I got set up with some Siacoins and managed to connect to the network and make 40Gb + 40Gb […]
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Australian Blockchain Landscape Tour

February 2, 2018
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I landed in Sydney on the evening of Wednesday the 11th of October at 6pm and arrived at my apartment ready to chillax. I knew there was a Sydney Bitcoin meetup at the Metropolitan Hotel and was in two minds about attending. Being an introverted geek my first instinct was “Yeah, nah, I’ll go next time”. The uncomfortable feeling of walking into a room not knowing anyone and feeling awkward has been with me my whole life but on this occasion, I told myself to just get over it! What transpired set the scene for the entire trip. I met Adriana, one of the meetup founder stalwarts and started asking a million questions. Sitting next to her was a guy called Jack who lives about an hour out of Sydney but makes the trip in to all these meetups. I was then introduced to Jason, the man with the red hat. The other founder of the meetup and respected community member.   Adriana mentioned she was running a blockchain event at a co-working space called Fishburners as part of the Sydney Spark Festival Fintech event the following week. I ended up volunteering and had a blast.   I learnt about […]
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Great Siacoin farming tutorial

January 18, 2018
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Here is a great resource from Sia Today (https://sia.today/) on how to get a computer up and running as a host to rent our excess storage on your hard drive. Unfortunately the article doesn’t have the date it was published but it seems like it was mid 2017. There are lots of screenshots, probably a bit too much but this is great for beginners.  
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How to figure out what Hyperledger is

December 21, 2017
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I had the opportunity to explorer the Hyperledger project in more detail and my first impression was: “It is an inter web mess of “stuff” that takes a bit of time to understand. “ It took me a few days to slowly build a picture of what Hyperledger is and my second impression is: “It’s actually pretty neat once you breakdown the various components and there is a lot of potential.” The biggest challenge at the beginning was understanding all the terminology involved. Fabric, Sawtooth, Iroha, Composer, Indy etc, then figuring out how they fit together. Hint: They don’t. The next step involved taking 1 technology and peeling back the layers and understanding the architecture and concepts. If you have a current understanding of blockchains or even bitcoins it helps a lot because you can draw parallels. So what is Hyperledger? Some define Hyperledger by defining what it is not. This is helpful. It is not a company, not a cryptocurrency and not a blockchain. The definition that made sense straight away to me was: “Hyperledger is an umbrella project of open source blockchains and related tools” From here, let’s look at the components and rename them slightly. Platform Fabric: […]
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Wellington Blockchain Breakfast

December 7, 2017
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The Blockchain Association of NZ hosted the second Wellington executive blockchain breakfast this morning at the Bolten Hotel. We had a diverse range of people from Kiwibank, MBIE, lawyers from Bell Gully and Wakefield law, blockchain company founders and a few independents as well. It was a great chance to network and connect more on a professional level in a more intimate session and also at a different time of the day. Half way through we played musical chairs and everyone got around to meet and connect with everyone else. It was a buffet breakfast and the private room at the Bolton Hotel was fantastic. Thanks to everyone who turned up and special thanks to Wendy for helping to organise! See you all next year!
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Being Schooled in Digital Signatures

December 3, 2017
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I’ve read so much about digital signatures but still didn’t truly understand what they were. I managed to get a one on one with an engineer cryptographer called Weiwu and it was amazing. It goes something like this: Start of with a message. eg “I own this piece of land at 21 To The Moon Avenue” Hash the message. Let’s call this e. Generate a set of keys. ie a public and private key. Let’s call the private key d Generate a random number k. Sign the message with the function sign(e, d, k). That is pretty much it. To get hands on, try these commands: In OpenSSL – create private/public keys, sign and verify: openssl ecparam -name secp256k1 -genkey -out private.pem openssl ec -in private.pem -pubout -out public.pem echo|set /p=”ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ012345″ > message.dat openssl dgst -ecdsa-with-SHA1 -sign private.pem -out signature.dat message.dat openssl dgst -ecdsa-with-SHA1 -verify public.pem -signature signature.dat message.dat Ref: https://github.com/kmackay/micro-ecc/issues/89
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Sydney Blockchain Hackathon Round Up

November 29, 2017
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I had never been to a hackathon before so when I found out one was being held in Sydney I was super excited. It was called Blockathon: The Biggest Blockchain Hackathon in Australia and it was held this past weekend from the 24 -26 November 2017. The great Bokky ran several workshops leading up to the hackathon exploring lots of potential projects. I found it very useful. It was like a pre-hackathon hackathon. Most of us didn’t know each other, had never participated in a hackathon before and were all looking to understand how it worked and if our ideas were even worthy of entering. In the workshop we discussed ideas, some people pitched theirs and some “fluid” teams were formed. We also chilled out and ate pizza too. It really was a pre-hackathon hackathon. Then came the big day. Getting to the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre at the University of New South Wales was a little tricky but not impossible. It is a fabulous space though. Its concept is centred around a presentation space, a manufacturing space and a working space. Very clever! A pull up banner would have been nicer than a whiteboard but I can understand why the whiteboard […]
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Sydney Blockchain Day 2 & 3

November 26, 2017
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Day 2 started with delicious waffles (there was more than 4!), and then the teams were right back to it. The mentors wondered around helping teams and experts helped with technical questions. At lunch time there were talks from Gazecoin and NEM. On Sunday, waffles were on again and everyone was building up to the pitch at 4pm. There were 13 teams and each team was given only 4 minutes with a hard stop. It was literally mid sentence hard stop! After the presentations 54 boxes of pizza’s were served with a mix and mingle session while the judges deliberated. When the judges came back everyone waited with anticipation for the results. The winners? CryptoCats. Digital assets on the blockchain. The first runner up was JOE, Javascript On Everything and third place was Strata Blocks. It was an amazing event and was very well organised. After the prize giving there were all sorts of offers of funding and sponsorships offers all round. Congrats to everyone involved.
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Double booked Blockchain Event In Sydney

November 15, 2017
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It was unfortunate but a few days ago (the 14th of November) there were 2 huge events on at exactly the same time. First there was a Future of Bitcoin, Ethereum, ICOs & the blockchain panel discussion with special guest Dr Craig Wright beamed in from London which drew ~250 people and then there was the ConsenSys $50M Blockchain Fund + Community Pitches 2 blocks down the road that also drew 250+ people. I ended up going to the panel discussion because I wanted to hear from the self proclaimed Satoshi Nakamoto. The panelist comprised of Dr Craig Wright (Bitcoin Guru), Bok Khoo (Ethereum Guru), Rob Allen (PWC), Lasanka Perera (Independent Reserve) and Tobias Abbey (Investor). Craig was really the main person everyone came to see. He is very polarising and didn’t swear at all this time compared to his talk in Arnhem. He is definitely very knowledgable and despite what people may think, the community is better with him than without. One highlight was when Bokky asked Craig to transfer 0.001 bitcoins from block #1 to him and he would send 10 times more in ether back. Craig declined saying he doesn’t want his money. Craig was generous with his time […]
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