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STEM, Blockchains and Collaboration

May 29, 2017
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The Hutt Valley STEM Festival was part of NZ tech week and I was asked to participate to talk on Technology and the New World of Work. There were 4 speakers in total. Gary talking about the importance of collaboration and communications. I talked about the importance of learning STEM, blockchains and how collaboration helped me with my “Ubering Energy on the Blockchain” project. Malcom talked about a sprout device which is this amazing device that allows not only 3d modelling, but changes the way we interact with computers. Gordan, the local 3d printing expert talked about how 3d printers work with tips for those going down the 3d printing path. The kids loved watching the 3d printer in action. Gordon in action speaking about 3d printing. Sean’s household electricity distribution board connected to a raspberry pi and a mac. It measures electricity consumption and displays it on a webpage. STEM, Blockchains and Collaboration presentation at the Dowse Art Museum.  
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Blockchain in Health Presentation

May 26, 2017
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I had the opportunity to present at the Emerging Tech in Health Symposium 2017 on the 24th of May at the Wellington Westpac Trust Stadium to an audience of 180 health and medical professionals along with IT mangers of health firms. It was organised by Health Informatics New Zealand (HiNZ) and New Zealand Health IT (NZHIT). Here is a list of all the Emerging Tech In Health Speakers. The focus was on looking forward to see what healthcare would look like 10 years down the track. Some of the concepts were mind blowing. Health care is going to radically change with technologies such as virtual/augmented reality, monitoring patients with devices that measure and record your every movement and with Nadia, a virtual avatar. Basically everything thing you’ve seen in sci-fi movies, will practically come true. I spoke briefly about what the blockchain is, some of the properties it has and attempted to help the audience understand blockchain related health articles a bit more. Some other highlights included a future with these control centers in hospitals that make it look like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange or mission control in Houston. 3D printing medication! And project Emma which […]
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NZ Blockchain Conference 2017 Summary

May 18, 2017
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This years blockchain conference was brilliant and engaging and will be remembered (at least for me) for the 2 keynote speakers, Andreas Antonopoulos and Vitalik Buterin who came to New Zealand and imparted their knowledge and engaged with the people of New Zealand. It started on Sunday the 7th of May where an Auckland harbor cruise was organized and some of the speakers made it. Afterwards, we all headed down to Monsoon Poon for drinks, dinner and more socializing. The conference started on Monday and all the speakers were great but a few speakers stood out for me. Pamela Morgan’s talk on bitcoin was full of energy talking about the legal aspects of bitcoin and also the need to be able to secure it properly with multi-party signatures. She is a lawyer with an inner geek streak that uses Ubuntu as her OS of choice. Now that is impressive! The other highlight was of course Andreas Antonopoulos. His talk was as always of high quality, thought provoking and to the point. He has this incredible knack for creating these superb analogies to explain various concepts. One of the best parts was in the panel discussion where he addressed a comment […]
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Day 2 recap of Blockchain NZ Conference #TBCNZ17

May 9, 2017
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Day 2 of the conference started with Christoph Jentzsch from Slock.it talking about “How companies can exist with only computer code and the story of ‘The DAO’.” It was amazing to be able to meet the person who “authored” the DAO. Margaux Avedisian was next talking about a “Beginners Guide to raising money via ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings)” and “How to plan and execute a successful crowdsale”. It was very insightful and very interesting. The main takeaway I got was that you have to know your stuff if you’re asking for money. If you don’t, you will be found out. Jake Vartanian then talked about “Crowdsale Design, Marketing, and Community.” He had the most powerful and emotional start to his presentation when he talked about his experience meeting a kid who wanted $125 to start up an ice cream stand on his travels in South East Asia. He ended up giving the kid the money and kept in touch ever since. There was a panel discussion after that taking questions from the audience. After morning tea Graham Anderson & Mital Kayaiya from Webjet Australia shared their experience with what they are doing with blockchains. Maksim Izmaylov from Travel Tech Con […]
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Day 1 recap of Blockchain NZ Conference #TBCNZ17

May 8, 2017
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The day started off with a welcome from Minister Jacqui Dean. Then Vic Crone from Callaghan Innovation talked briefly about their involvement. Mark Pascall from 3 Months then gave a great talk on “How to explain explain blockchain at a dinner party, without boring the pants of everyone”. It was interesting and humorous as well with notes such as don’t bring a laptop and a projector to a dinner party! Paul Salisbury from 3 Months then gave a blockchain 102 and laid the foundation of how blockchain works and some of the details under the hood which was important. He has a very clear and calm voice which drew the audience in and kept their attention. Then came Pamela Morgan from Third Key Solutions talking about bitcoins, blockchains and smart contracts from lawyers. If Mark brought the humour and Paul bought the voice, Pamela bought the energy! She is a geeky lawyer and was certainly passionate in her message. After morning tea, Stephen Macaskill, president of the blockchain association of New Zealand talked about why bitcoin matters and the history of money. Stephen also has a calming voice and thinks the word crypto will become synonymous to great or amazing. […]
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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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