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The Blockchain NZ Conference kicks off at the Westhaven Pier in a few hours

May 6, 2017
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It’s Sunday and the most anticipated blockchain event in New Zealand will start tomorrow but festive activities are actually starting today with a harbour cruise. There is a special pre-blockchain harbour cruise at 12:30pm today from Westhaven Z pier. Check here for more info. After this, at 6pm there is a pre-conference function at the Viaduct/Moonsoon Poon. Andreas Antonopoulos will be the keynote speaker on Monday and Vitalik Buterin providing the closing keynote on Tuesday. Check out the blockchain NZ conference site for details on speakers and the agenda. It’s gonna be huge. See you all there.
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BANZ AGM, Ubering Energy and what sharing does

April 28, 2017
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I was invited to Auckland to share my “Ubering Energy on the Blockchain” talk at the GridAkl (“Auckland’s Innovation Precinct”) a few days ago and it neatly tied into the first Blockchain Association of New Zealand (BANZ) AGM. It was wonderful to meet all these people from different backgrounds all contributing to this new technology. The vibe is certainly different to that of Wellington. It was fascinating to learn more about what NZTech does, the blockchain research projects from AUT and some exciting energy projects that others are doing as well. The next few months is certainly going to be very interesting. BANZ is gaining momentum and there are plans in place to grow the awareness and to continue the concerted efforts to see where this technology can go in all sorts of industries. The Blockchain Conference at the start of May is going to be huge with some amazing speakers. The big challenge I see is to continue this momentum. It’s been 8 years since bitcoin was invented. The 10 minute heartbeat that started this avalanche of innovation and paradigm shift has never stopped beating. Yet the resistance is still there and for all sorts of reasons. I’ve been […]
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Ubering Electricity on the Blockchain

April 14, 2017
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I came up with this idea 18 months ago and like any one thought it was super amazing and super unique. A worlds first maybe? A Google search quickly crushed that idea! People had already talked about it and others were also building it and testing it. That didn’t deter me though because hey, when is an idea ever super unique. It’s all about execution! I started designing it over Christmas and spent the last 2 months building it. I’ll be presenting it at the Wellington Blockchain Meetup next Wednesday. What is it? Check out the video below. Come along if you’re around to understand what I did and how it works.  
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How Charlie Lee created Litecoin presentation at Coinbase

April 5, 2017
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This is a really neat video where Charlie Lee, shares how he created Litecoin. Charlie talks about making it similar to bitcoin so that it could leverage the future work that went into bitcoin because the code base is similar. He also talks about how he wanted to make it fair because there were a lot of premining of new altcoins at the time. The “litecoin is the silver to the bitcoin gold” was a great marketing ploy that worked. Being copper or another precious metal just doesn’t have the same ring. Well worth a watch.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Why Understanding P2PKH is Important in Blockchain

January 13, 2017
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Introduction P2PKH is an important acronym to learn. It stands for “Pay To Public Key Hash” and is the most common form of transaction on the bitcoin blockchain. Part 1: What on Earth does “Pay to Public Key Hash” mean? In a bitcoin transaction, the “Public Key Hash” is synonymous to a “bitcoin address”. (A bitcoin address is derived from a the hash of your public key for the technically minded). So let’s reword P2PKH to mean “Pay to this bitcoin address”. That’s not so scary is it? P2PKH is therefore an instruction on the blockchain to transfer ownership from the current owner to the new owner of the bitcoin address. Why this is important to understand? This instruction can be modified for example to say, “pay to this bitcoin address OR that bitcoin address”. This is basically a smart contract in its simplest form. It is also known as multi-sig. A multiple signature condition that states “please provide any 1 of the 2 provided bitcoin addresses for this transaction to evaluate to true and execute”. That is the basics of P2PKH. Part 2 tackles this from a technical angle. Part 2: What does it “technically” really mean? There are […]
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Good overview of some technical blockchain concepts

January 12, 2017
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This is a good resource for some really technical information on bitcoin and blockchain fundamentals. You know you’re getting heavy when you see the word endian! The information was well laid out over several  sections and the concepts built upon each subsequent section. The audience expectations were laid out which was a nice touch. I would have included the section number in the title so I knew how far in I was and how many more sections there were. The term “outpoint” was introduced in section 9 and I first thought it was a typo for output but Davide confirmed it wasn’t. It would have be good if it was explained in a bit more detail. The example code was one of the highlights. A lot of people talk about stuff, but it’s the implementation or the “how” part that is the hardest. The last section on wallets was interesting as well. This would be a good area to possibly expand on.  
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OpenSSL Cookbook

January 11, 2017
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Blockchain technology relies heavily on understanding public and private keys. How they are generated and used. This OpenSSL Cookbook is a good reference. I found the first half more informative and useful than the second half. Here is the link to the online version: https://www.feistyduck.com/library/openssl%2dcookbook/online/ For other formats, check out: https://www.feistyduck.com/library/openssl-cookbook/
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Learning The Lightning Networks

January 10, 2017
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There are lots of resources to read when learning about the Lightning Network for blockchain transactions. Here is a recommended list of resources in a specific order. Lightning Network Summary from https://lightning.network is a great one pager that is very clearly written and provides a great summary intro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zVzw912wPo “The Scaling Bitcoin to Billions of Transactions Per Day” also on the lightning.network home page is important as well. It is clear with good examples. This 3 part article does a good job also. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-building-a-bidirectional-payment-channel-1464710791 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-creating-the-network-1465326903 https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/understanding-the-lightning-network-part-completing-the-puzzle-and-closing-the-channel-1466178980 Finally, some discussions at bitcoin.stackexchange will come from a different angle also. http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/43700/how-does-the-lightning-network-work-in-simple-terms http://bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/42639/what-are-the-trade-offs-between-transacting-on-lightning-network-and-bitcoin-mai These are your starters. If you want to get more technical, the whitepaper from the https://lightning.network homepage is your next step. It’s 59 pages and the first 10 or so pages are ok, but it then jumps another gear. Unfortunately what put me off was the abstract. The bitcoin protocol can encompass the global financial transaction volume in all electronic payment systems today, without a single custodial third party holding funds or requiring participants to have anything more than a computer using a broadband connection. A decentralized system is proposed whereby transactions are sent over a network of micropayment channels (a.k.a. payment channels or […]
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