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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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Melbourne Blockchain Centre

November 7, 2017
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I had the opportunity to visit the Blockchain Centre in Melbourne that I had heard so much about. It’s in the heart of Melbourne in South Bank, not far from the Crown casino. It offers co-working space in the day time and a meetup space in the evening time. The other times are spent expanding the Blockchain Centre franchise model. There’s a “museum” of bitcoin miners but the neatest part for me was Satoshi’s whitepaper enlarged  and hung on the wall. That was cool! The space is very new and officially opens this week.    On this particular evening there was also a packed (photo below was pre-arrival) Crypto Traders meetup which was absolutely fascinating. The presenter introduced all these Japanese terms, eg Kijunsen, and how to trade purely from looking at charts and understanding. It was an amazing learning opportunity. There are several meetups each week where generally Monday is for cryptotraders, Tuesday Ethereum, Wednesday Blockchains and Thursday privacy and security related. One benefit is that all these meetups converge at this one place. It provides a great consistency with a menu of evening learning & education and connecting & sharing which is great to see.
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Leemon Baird – Inventor of Hashgraph

October 23, 2017
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An interesting concept of achieving consensus. No blockchain is required. This is the second no blockchain concept I’ve come across. The first one being IOTA.  
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Roger Ver , Max Keiser , Charles Hoskinson on Nexus Conference 2017

October 16, 2017
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Some good discussions and thoughts on all things crypto!  
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Wellington Blockchain Meetup Oct 2017

October 5, 2017
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As Christmas draws near, the Wellington community came out in force for another blockchain meetup. This month we had a number of speakers from the community sharing their experiences in the blockchain world. I kicked things off with a talk on how I put my land title on the blockchain. Jose Higino shared his experience with Steemit, the blockchain platform where content creators can paid and the content is locked on the chain. Find Jose’s presentation notes, on Steemit of course, here. Tim Goggin talked about his experience of seeing how the state of Illinois are promoting grassroots communities and collaboration in the blockchain space with the launch of the Chicago Blockchain Center. See: US Government Supports Launch of New Chicago Blockchain Center Our final speaker Hamish MacEwan gave a hands on demonstration on an array of hardware wallets. In particular, Hamish show how paper wallets and the ledger nano works. Afterwards, we had the usual networking session also. Thanks to Jose, Tim and Hamish for contributing. I’m sure everyone managed to find something to suit their taste and walked away learning something new. Thanks again to BizDojo for hosting and see everyone next month.
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Understanding the basics of Bancor

August 27, 2017
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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to figure out what Bancor is and how it works in 5 mins? Unfortunately with anything new, it takes a little longer. Follow me on my journey of figuring out how Bancor really works. Lets start with the obvious I went to their website and found a neat definition. Bancor Protocol is a standard for a new generation of cryptocurrencies called Smart Tokens Ok. So it’s a new way to create cryptocurrencies but, what is it really? It’s like defining a plane as “A mechanism to travel the world and realise your dreams”. Sure but again, what is it really? A bit further down there’s more meat. The Bancor protocol enables built-in price discovery and a liquidity mechanism for tokens on smart contract blockchains. These “smart tokens” hold one or more other tokens in reserve and enable any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes. The funny thing is, I actually understand this definition and it’s pretty accurate, but only after spending 3 days reading the […]
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Revolutionizing Accounting on the Blockchain

August 1, 2017
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A small project I’ve been working on. I’ll be presenting this at the Wellington Blockchain meetup on the 8th August 2017. https://www.meetup.com/Blockchain-Wellington/events/242044728/  
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Accounting on the blockchain for SME

July 24, 2017
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I had an idea to give the accounting industry a little tickle up so did a bunch of some research and found out there wasn’t much on accounting on the blockchain. There’s a lot of fluff from the “big four” that uses big words like “hash” and “consensus algorithms” along with mentions of single, double and even triple entry accounting but nothing of real substance. What do accounting applications such as Xero, MYOB, Sage and Intuit actually do? Fundamentally they take transaction data as an input (manually entered, scanned receipts with optical character recognition or bank feeds) and produce nice pretty reports and the ability to create invoices and perform reconciliations as well. Many of them have wonderful extra features such as payroll and inventory management but let’s just keep things simple and ignore this for now. Accountants use these applications to perform tasks such as submitting tax returns and understanding the financial health of a company. Again, a simplistic view and we’re talking SMEs here. (Small to Medium Enterprise). Now imagine the day when your local supermarket accepts bitcoins or any other form of cryptocurrency. Imagine getting paid in bitcoins and paying your suppliers in bitcoins. Current thinking and […]
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Siacoin blockchain directory

July 14, 2017
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For reference, if you are on OSX, the working directory for Siacoin is ~/Library/Application Support/Sia-UI For Windows, its under C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Sia-UI What’s the current blocksize? It’s just under 6Gb.
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So you wanna put Chinese pork on the blockchain?

July 6, 2017
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When I see headlines like Walmart and IBM Are Partnering to Put Chinese Pork on a Blockchain I’m thinking, sorry, but how do you put Chinese pork on the blockchain? And it’s not just limited to food. Electronic Medical Records on the Blockchain is big news also. Let’s now add to the confusion and track beef with a cryptocurrency instead of a blockchain. Russia Gets First Sanctioned Cryptocurrency – And It’s Tracking Beef What does all this mean? Studying the blockchain has led me to understand that small bits of information can be included in a transaction. Think of it like adding a custom message when sending a small amount of, in this case, bitcoins. This article will first look at how one can add a custom message on the blockchain, specifically the bitcoin blockchain, and then figure out how it relates to Chinese pork. OP_RETURN The first thing to understand is that a blockchain is made of blocks and blocks are made of transactions. This is what a transaction looks like. In hex: Expanded it looks like this: Inside a transaction there are fields called op codes that are used to put rules in place to determine who can […]
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Mega Bancor Review

June 20, 2017
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Here is a great detailed write up on Bancor and what they do. Also make note to read the discussions below as well as other points of views are given. http://hackingdistributed.com/2017/06/19/bancor-is-flawed/  
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The Killer App: Engineering the Properties of Money

June 11, 2017
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Andreas keynoting at the NZ Blockchain Conference on the 8th of May 2017. Fundamental concepts: MoE, SoV and UoA. Medium of Exchange, Store of Value and Unit of Accounting. Watch on!
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Downloading 122MB of the bitcoin blockchain

June 1, 2017
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Apparently it will take just over 1 year for me to download the entire bitcoin blockchain! I certainly hope not. Let’s wait and see.
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