EB128 – Jed Mccaleb: Stellar And The Vision Of An Open Financial System

EB128 – Jed Mccaleb: Stellar And The Vision Of An Open Financial System

When Jed McCaleb discovered Bitcoin, there didn’t even exist an online marketplace to trade the cryptocurrency yet. The experienced founder who had earlier started file sharing site eDonkey, acted fast and started the first Bitcoin exchange MtGox which he later sold to now-infamous Mark Karpeles. Jed later founded the pioneering Ripple project before leaving to start Stellar.

We discussed his journey through the industry and the ambitious plans Stellar has to create an open financial system that will give access to financial services to a much broader spectrum of humanity.

Topics covered included:
– Jed’s early involvement in the industry and founding of MtGox and subsequently Ripple
– Why Jed left Ripple and started Stellar
– How Ripple and Stellar differ
– The Stellar Consensus Protocol
– Why the organization behind Stellar is a non-profit foundation
– Stellar’s focus on developing markets and Nigeria in particular
– The role and distribution of Stellar’s currency Lumen

EB127 – Anthony Di Iorio: Jaxx, Ethereum And Why Community Matters

EB127 – Anthony Di Iorio: Jaxx, Ethereum And Why Community Matters

We were joined by repeat guest , a definite contender for having (co-)founded the most projects in the blockchain space including Ethereum, Kryptokit, Decentral and Jaxx. We got an update on the vibrant Toronto blockchain scene and Decentral. The main discussion revolved around the new wallet Jaxx that is simultaneously a Bitcoin and Ethereum wallet and takes a significant step towards a more unified and accessible cryptocurrency experience. Finally, we discussed his recent appointment as Chief Digital Officer at the Toronto Stock Exchange / TMX Group and the upcoming trade show Blockchain World Expo.

Topics covered included:
– Update on Decentral and Kryptokit
– How the Jaxx wallet
– Unique UI challenges of Ethereum wallets
– The role of community in bringing innovation to corporates
– His role as Chief Digital Officer at the TMX Group
– The upcoming Blockchain World Expo in Toronto

EB126 – Trent Mcconaghy: Scalable Public Distributed Databases With BigchainDB

EB126 – Trent Mcconaghy: Scalable Public Distributed Databases With BigchainDB

One of the major drawbacks of Bitcoin is its low transaction throughput. Maxing out only a handful of operations per second, there have been many proposals to scale it up so that it can compete with existing distributed database technologies. As the blockchain’s demand continues to increase, it’s unclear if the Bitcoin protocol will ever be able to handle thousands, if not millions of transactions per second. BigchainDB is taking a different approach. Rather than trying to scale up blockchain technology, it starts with a big data distributed database, RethinkDB, and adds blockchain features and characteristics.

, Co-founder and CTO of Ascribe and BigchainDB, joins us to talk about how this protocol may become to databases, what IPFS and Ethereum are to distributed filestorage and computing, respectively. Able to perform more than one million writes per second and capacities in the petabytes, BigchainDB has the ambition to become the world’s public database platform.

Topics we covered include:

– A brief update on Ascribe since Trent was last on the show
– The motivations behind BigchainDB and that problems it’s trying to solve
– How BigchainDB plans to solve the typical scalability bottlenecks found in blockchain protocols
– BigchainDB’s capacity, performance and latency characteristics
– BigchainDB’s consensus model, applied to RethinkDB
– Potential application for BigchainDB, in both centralised and decentralised application stacks

EB125 – Florian Glatz: Defining A Legal Framework For Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO)

EB125 – Florian Glatz: Defining A Legal Framework For Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO)

The relatively new concept of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), is often praised as a new type of organizational structure that has no identifiable owner or owners, and whose actions are automated and determined solely by a pre-defined set of rules. Views on DAOs differ widely. On one hand, members of the Bitcoin/blockchain space often portrayal them as AI-like swarm organisms, free from the shackles of nation-states, and that can act at will regardless of laws or regulation. On the other hand, legal experts caution that, like corporations, DAOs and their creators could be held liable in civil lawsuits, and that they may be served a hard dose of reality when they end up in court.

We are joined by Florian Glatz, attorney, researcher and software developer (not to mention the proud owne r of the awesome domain name blockchain.lawyer). We discuss some of the basic legal concepts surrounding contracts and in what ways smart contracts may or may not fit within our existing legal framework. We also dive deep into DAOs, and address some of the challenges they may pose in the near and distant future.

Topics covered include:

– The history of innovation in law
– How merchant law (Lex Mercatoria) emerged in the 13th century
– How we can define smart contracts
– The legality of smart contacts
– The need for natural language contracts vs. contracts which are written in code
– Decentralized Autonomous Organizations
– The Slock.it DAO
– What would happen if one tried to sue a DAO

EB124 – Rune Christensen: Maker Dao Ethereum’s Decentralized Central Bank

EB124 – Rune Christensen: Maker Dao Ethereum’S Decentralized Central Bank

The challenges Bitcoin’s wild volatility represents for achieving mass adoption have made the necessity for stable cryptocurrencies apparent long ago. With Ethereum applications, the problem is even more apparent as many use cases from predcition markets to insurance are impractical using the even more volatile ether. Maker DAO is an ambitious attempt to solve the problem by building a bank-like system to issue a value-stable currency on Ethereum.

Rune Christensen joined us to discuss the need for Maker and the complex system to guarantee stability.

Topics covered included:
– Why money is the most successful product ever
– What makes stablecoins are necessary
– The different components of Maker such as the stablecoin Dai, the token MKR and the role they play
– Why Maker needs insurance against black swan events
– Maker’s different planned stages of increasing decentralization
– The MKR token sale and its value proposition for investors

EB123 – Brock Pierce: From Digital Goods To Digital Currency

EB123 – Brock Pierce: From Digital Goods To Digital Currency

We’re joined by , Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, investor and all around emblematic figure of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Brock tells his story, from his early beginning a entrepreneur in his teens, to the massively successfull video game industry businesses he built in the early 2000s.

As Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation, he gives us his perspective on how the Foundation’s role has evolved over time and its areas of focus going forward. Brock also weighs in the recent debates around governance and block size.

Topics covered included:
– The lemonade-stand beginnings of Brock’s entrepreneurship story
– How he became involved in gaming and pioneered the sale of digital goods
– The 400,000-strong professional gamer supply chain he built in China
– His first contact with Bitcoin and the initial concerns he had
– Blockchain Capital and how he ended up investing in dozens of Bitcoin startups
– The blocksize debate and whether Bitcoin needs an explicit governance process
– The future of the Bitcoin Foundation

EB122 – Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn: Zcash – An Open Financial System With Privacy

EB122 – Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn: Zcash – An Open Financial System With Privacy

For Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn, part of the cypherpunk movement since the early 1990s, the vision of a decentralized financial system that has both openness and privacy has existed since long before Bitcoin. After many failed attempts, Bitcoin proved that that vision could be achievable. But Bitcoin also failed to deliver on the privacy features as blockchain analysis allows tracing movements and deanonymizing many users.

Zooko joined us to discuss his project Zcash, a fully anonymous cryptocurrency that is scheduled to launch in July. Through Zcash’s use of ground-breaking Zero Knowledge Proofs (or zkSNARKs) the blockchain will leak no information about sender, recipients nor amounts. It was a fascinating discussion of the most anticipated launch of a cryptocurrency since Ethereum.

Topics covered included:
– Zooko’s long cypherpunk history
– How overconfidence derailed many cypherpunk projects
– Why Bitcoin’s privacy is broken and how Zcash provides true privacy
– The too-good-to-be-true Zcash team
– Why Zcash is based on a fork of Bitcoin
– How the initial parameter generation creates a potential security weakness
– Why Zcash believes in an evolutionary approach to designing cryptocurrency protocols

EB121 – Winston Moore & Jeremy Stephen: Barbados, Bitcoin And Central Banking

EB121 – Winston Moore & Jeremy Stephen: Barbados, Bitcoin And Central Banking

For orthodox Bitcoiners central banks are often seen as the incarnation of evil. But , alas, in the case of two Carribean central banking economists the feeling of reprehension wasn’t reciprocated. Winston Moore and Jeremy Stephen were formerly associated with the Central Bank of Barados and fascinated by the potential of cryptocurrencies, they explored the consequences of their central bank holding Bitcoin as part of their international reserves. They joined us for a discussion of central banking, the pecularities of monetary policy in a small island nation and what Bitcoin could bring to the equation.

Topics covered included:
– The function of central banks
– The role international reserves hold for central banks
– The peculiar challenges of central banks of small island nation states
– How speculative attacks on central banks work
– Why central banks may want to hold cryptocurrencies as part of their portfolio
– How Bitt plans to issue Barbados Dollar using the Bitcoin blockchain and the open asset protocol

EB120 – Maciej Olpinski: Solving The Economic Mismatch Between Content And Attention

EB120 – Maciej Olpinski: Solving The Economic Mismatch Between Content And Attention

The problem around content monetization is one which content producers are constantly trying to solve. At the core of this problem is a mismatch between supply and demand. Content, which is increasingly abundant, is captured by human attention, which is in limited supply. The volume of content being produced is growing at staggering rates while total human attention remains flat.

Our guest, , argues that the current content monetization model is outdated, broken and is in need of an overhaul. Previously at Google and YouTube, Maciej has a broad understanding content monetization models and lays out a vision for open marketplaces for attention using blockchains. He argues that content discovery systems like the Google Page Rank algorithm and Facebook’s News Feed could be replaced by open networks based on the mechanics of Bitcoin.

Topics covered in this episode include:

– How the current content monetization model works and why it’s broken
– The inner workings of content discovery
– The economics of content discovery
– Open marketplaces for attention and reputation
– New web-native business models for content discovery

EB119 – Adam Gibson: A New Kind Of Auditing – Cryptographic Proof Of Online Accounts

EB119 – Adam Gibson: A New Kind Of Auditing – Cryptographic Proof Of Online Accounts

A pioneering feature of Bitcoin is verifiability of transactions: It is designed to enable low-power devices and high end computers alike to be able to verify occurrences on the blockchain.

This observation led our guest, Adam Gibson, to wonder why webpages aren’t so easily verifiable as a Bitcoin transaction? Can I prove to you that I have certain bank account balance over the internet? Why do we submit photocopies of passports rather than furnishing a cryptographically verifiable proof of citizenship by logging on to a Government site?

Born out of this intellectual itch is the TLS Notary protocol. It pioneers a new kind of auditing that enables participants to prove that a certain https page was in their browser. This protocol paves the way to brilliant designs for Proof of Reserves, Smart contract oracles and Decentralised fiat-to-bitcoin exchange.

Topics covered included:

– Why is the current Web structured to be not easily verifiable?
– What is TLS and how does it work?
– How TLS differs from SSL.
– The TLS Notary protocol
– Capabilities and limitations of TLS Notary.
– Applications of TLS Notary including provably honest smart contract oracles.

Links mentioned in this episode:

– The TLS Notary website: tlsnotary.org/
– Oraclize, the provably honest oracle service: www.oraclize.it/
– The TLS specification (TLS 1.0 RFC 2246):