EB136 – Arthur Breitman: Tezos – A Self-Amending Crypto-Ledger

EB136 – Arthur Breitman: Tezos – A Self-Amending Crypto-Ledger

The lack of an explicit governance mechanism has created deep problems for Bitcoin. Ethereum, with the DAO-related soft/hard-fork discussions, may face similar challenges ahead. Yet, already in 2014 Arthur Breitman quietly started working on cryptocurrency network Tezos that has an explicit mechanism to let coinholders vote on protocol upgrades.

Our discussion with Breitman centered around how explicit governance could lead to a more secure and evolutionary protocol. We also discussed Tezos’ approach to smart contract that tries to prevent bug-riddled and insecure smart contracts such as the DAO which has thrown Ethereum into a deep crisis.

Topics covered included:

  • Why stakeholders voting on forks can prevent consensus attacks
  • The mechanics of Tezos’ governance
  • How an upgrade mechanism could allow Tezos to rapidly and radically evolve
  • Why the programming language in which smart contracts are written is crucial for security
  • Why a functional language that allows formal proofs such as OCaml is more suited for smart contracts than Ethereum’s solidity
  • The road ahead for Tezos

EB135 – Stephen Palley: Lawmodynamics And How To Sue A DAO

EB135 – Stephen Palley: Lawmodynamics And How To Sue A DAO

For many the promise of decentralized applications and DAOs is to be beyond the limitations and rigidity of the existing legal system. There is no question that where DAOs can roam freely, innovation can accelerate. But can the law, courts and regulations be left behind so easily?

Lawyer Stephen Palley joined us to discuss what happens when the new and old worlds collide and how courts will look at what goes on in the land of DAOs and DApps.

Topics covered included:

  • Whether trust is reduced, removed or just shifted elsewhere in blockchain systems
  • If creating decentralized applications could create liability risks
  • Why courts will impose a legal structure if a formal one doesn’t exist
  • The concept of jurisdiction and how it could affect DAOs
  • Why one should be careful with saying a DAO provides insurance

EB134 – Emin Gün Sirer And Vlad Zamfir: On A Rocky DAO

EB134 – Emin Gün Sirer And Vlad Zamfir: On A Rocky DAO

Raising $150m+ through its toke sale, ‘The DAO‘ has become the most notable decentralized application to date. The ambitious goal of the project is to form an decentralized organizations that efficiently makes investment decisions and generates a return for the token holders.

Computer Science professor Emin Gün Sirer and researcher Vlad Zamfir joined us to discuss the various security issues with the daring project and why they’ve called for a temporary moratorium on funding proposals.

Topics covered included:
– How the DAO works
– What the role of the curators is
– What splits are and how they became a way to withdraw funds
– Why the DAO has a bias towards approving proposals
– How attackers could ‘stalk’ token holders when withdrawing their funds
– How the DAO can be upgraded

EB133 – Pascal and Julien Hamonic: Applying the Mechanisms of Thermoregulation to Cryptocurrencies

EB133 – Pascal and Julien Hamonic: Applying the Mechanisms of Thermoregulation to Cryptocurrencies

One of the problems often cited when talking about cryptocurrencies is their level of volatility compared to traditional fiat currencies. This makes most cryptocurrencies a poor instrument for storing value, and introduces complexities when making purchases in fiat amounts. Stable cryptocurrencies include mechanisms which allow them to stay pegged to fiat currencies like the US Dollar or Euro. They present a number of advantages, and, in addition to taking the headache out of making purchases, can be used by cryptocurrency traders who need a stable unit of account for hedging their assets.

We talk to brothers Pascal and Julien Hamonic, Core Members of the Nu team about the NuBit stable cryptocurrency. Similarly to the mechanisms that keep our body temperature stable, NuBits relies upon the introduction of new coins into circulation when demand increases, and for coins to be taken out of circulation when demand drops. Shareholders (NuShareholder) vote on these measures as the network relies on custodians who bring liquidity into the market in exchange for dividends, and on speculators who “”park”” coins in exchange for potential returns when demand increases again.

Topics we discuss in this episode:

– What is NuBits and what is the goal it is trying to achieve
– The different components of Nu (NuBits, NuShares)
– The economic mechanisms behind the $1.00 USD peg
– Who are the different participants in the network (NuBits users, NuShareholders, custodians)
– The important role of custodians in providing liquidity to the network
– The consensus model used in Nu
– The initial allocation of NuBits and NuShares
– The governance mechanisms in Nu

EB132 – Stephan Tual: Building A Universal Sharing Network On Ethereum And A $150M DAO

EB132 – Stephan Tual: Building A Universal Sharing Network On Ethereum And A $150M DAO

In this episode we welcome back Stephan Tual, the COO of Slock.It, a German startup working at the intersection of the Internet of Things and the Ethereum blockchain. Slock.It’s small team also wrote the smart contracts that power ‘The DAO’, a decentralized capital management entity that recently raised north of $160 million for investing into Ethereum based projects. ‘The DAO’ has been featured in many mainstream news outlets, such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Economist.

The interview explores the vision, motivation and challenges behind both ‘The DAO’ and Slock.It. Some of the topics discussed in this episode are:

– Stephan’s background and role as CCO at Ethereum Foundation.
– What is ‘The DAO’ and how it relates to Slock.It.
– DAOlink and the business opportunity of enabling interactions between DAOs and traditional firms.
– Opportunities, assumptions and challenges for ‘The DAO’.
– Vision and products of Slock It – Univeral Sharing Network and the Ethereum computer.

EB131 – Stefan Thomas & Evan Schwartz: Building The Internet Of Payments With Interledger

EB131 – Stefan Thomas & Evan Schwartz: Building The Internet Of Payments With Interledger

One of the foundational problems in payment networks is that they are mostly uninteroperable. This problem exists at all levels, from consumer payment solutions like PayPal, to national and multi-national banks. This complexity is brought on by the proprietary nature of payment networks, and moving value from one to another requires a negotiation between parties on which common payment network to use in a transaction. We saw similar problems in the early days of the Internet, assembled around protocols which allow for data to be routed and move between networks in a standardized way.

We’re joined by Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz, co-creators of Interledger. This neutral protocol would bring the same level of interoperability we know take for granted around the flow of data, to payments, thus allowing money to move freely across networks. A market maker, who holds accounts in both networks, would receive funds in escrow from a sender, and move funds to an escrow account with the receiver, getting paid by the sender when he shows the proof the funds were delivered to the receiver.

Topics discussed in this episode:

– What is Interledger and what problem is it trying to solve
– Interledger’s architecture
– How connectors and routing works, and how we may compare it to the way data flows on the Internet
– Cryptographic Escrow and its role in Interledger
– Requirements for payment solutions to become Interledger compatible
– Interledger’s community group at the W3C
– How Interledger applies to micropayments
– Ripple’s role in Interledger

EB130 – Erik Voorhees: Fooling The Fox – The Story Of The Shapeshift Hack

EB130 – Erik Voorhees: Fooling The Fox – The Story Of The Shapeshift Hack

In the short history of the Bitcoin industry, there has been an impressive amount of high profile hacks, ranging from a few hundred thousand to many millions of dollars. In all of these, customers, Bitcoin users, where robbed of their funds because poor security policies, negligence, incompetence, or plain old scamming. Recently, the cryptocurrency conversion service ShapeShift fell victim to a hack in which over $200,000 of company funds were stolen, initially by an employee, and then by a hacker to whom this employee had sold sensitive company information. Luckily, no customers lost any money as ShapeShift does not hold any funds on behalf of users.

We talked to ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees who walks us through this captivating ordeal, which sounds like it could be the plot of a movie. He speaks about how the company is trying to recover and what he has learned from this unfortunate event.

Topics we discussed on this episode:

– How the ShapeShift hack went down
– What steps the company has taken to avoid this from happening again
– What he learned from the hack
– ShapeShift’s long-term vision as a company and product
– Ethereum’s role in their recent growth
– His history as an entrepreneur in the Bitcoin space
– His views on libertarianism and the long-term impact of Bitcoin on that movement

 

EB129 – The Far Future In Front Of Us

EB129 – The Far Future In Front Of Us

As the blockchain field continues evolving rapidly, Sebastien, Meher and Brian take some time to discuss the current environment and the longer term implications of blockchains. We discussed how smart contracts could affect the pace of innovation and the competitiveness of industries. We also talked about the role DAOs will play and what we can take away from the current DAO crowdsale and its connection with Slock.it.

Topics covered included:
– How companies running on smart contracts could impact the pace and cost of innovation
– A smart contract-based insurance example
– Why smart contracts and blockchains will challenge our understanding of organizations
– The current state of DAOs
– Slock.it and the DAO crowdsale

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