EB75 – Paul Brody: Internet Of Things And The Democracy Of Devices

EB75 – Paul Brody: Internet Of Things And The Democracy Of Devices

As the cost of computing continues to plummet, the number of connected devices is increasing dramatically. In the future powerful computing capacity will be in billions of devices ranging from the lightbulb to the car door to new wearables. This new internet of things (IoT) will dramatically change our lives.

Paul Brody, a Technology Strategist and the former VP of Mobile and IoT at IBM, joined us for a discussion of where the IoT is going. We discussed their white paper on why a decentralized, blockchain-based internet of things could solve the problems of the current IoT in terms of privacy, scalability, and business models.

Topics covered included:
– What the Internet of Things and its core value proposition is
– Why the current IoT business models are broken
– How a decentralized IoT infrastructure would be more secure, scalable and economically feasible
– What role the blockchain could play in a decentralized IoT
– The three components of IBM’s ADEPT proof-of-concept

EB74 – Robby Dermody: Counterparty – Assets, Dividends And Decentralized Exchange

EB74 – Robby Dermody: Counterparty – Assets, Dividends And Decentralized Exchange

In the crowded race to become the leading ‘Bitcoin 2.0’ platform, Counterparty has stood out by avoiding fancy crowdsales and instead building a platform that works. The protocol, which sits on top of Bitcoin and thus benefits from the security of its mining power, allows issuing assets, paying dividends or trading in a decentralized way. Over the past year, it has been the platform of choice for many crowdsales and is also what powers LTBCoin.

Co-Founder Robby Dermody joined us for a discussion of the features and evolution of the project.

Topics covered included:
– Why they create the initial XCP supply by destroying bitcoins
– What the different components of the Counterparty system are
– What distinguishes embedded consensus systems like Counterparty
– Why crowdfunding has become a major use case for Counterparty
– Why Counterparty’s Ethereum-style smart contracts will play an important role in the future
– Their new company Symbiont, which aims to commercialize Counterparty’s technology

EB73 – Dan O’Prey & Daniel Feichtinger: Hyperledger Decentralised Ledger Platform

EB73 – Dan O’Prey & Daniel Feichtinger: Hyperledger Decentralised Ledger Platform

The cryptocurrency ecosystem is increasingly divided into different camps. There are those betting and working on the eventual mainstream success of Bitcoin. And there are those who take elements of Bitcoin’s technology and repurpose them to improve existing systems.

Hyperledger is one of the projects firmly in the latter camp. They are envisioning a world where innumerable interoperable ledgers are operated by different parties. Hyperledger is their tool for the creation and management of these ledgers. CEO Dan O’Prey and CTO  joined us for a discussion of the project, underlying technology and their view of where the cryptocurrency ecosystem is going.

Topics covered included:
– Why Hyperledger is trying so solve a fundamentally different problem than Bitcoin
– How networks consisting of known parties can have massive performance and scalability advantages over anonymous networks
– Why Hyperledger doesn’t have or need its own currency
– How Hyperledger can vary the degree of decentralization and security depending on use-case
– Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT)

EB72 – Siân Jones – Cryptocurrency Regulation Update: Uk, Isle Of Man, California, Bitlicense

EB72 – Siân Jones – Cryptocurrency Regulation Update: Uk, Isle Of Man, California, Bitlicense

When one is busy driving a technological and societal revolution forward, complying with complicated regulatory requirements is rarely a top priority. Yet, the reality is that at this stage the often ambigious and rapidly evolving regulatory landscape can have an outsized impact on the fate of cryptocurrency startups and on the adoption/integration into existing systems.

Epicenter Bitcoin Regulatory Correspondent and founder of COINsult Siân Jones joined us for an update on the state of Bitcoin regulation in a variety of jurisdiction.

Topics included:
– The recent statement by the UK’s treasury on digital currencies
– How the Isle of Man keeps pioneering a cryptocurrency-friendly environment
– The stance of the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) towards Bitcoin
– The insanity of the looming BitLicense rules and difficult-to-predict consequences they may have

EB71 – Lisa Cheng – Token Sales And Crowdfunding In The Cryptocurrency Space

EB71 – Lisa Cheng – Token Sales And Crowdfunding In The Cryptocurrency Space

Creating a new token and selling it to fund the development of software has become a preferred way of fundraising for cryptocurrency entrepreneurs. It’s a tempting tool, allowing startups to avoid traditional investors, build a community and allow anyone anywhere to own a stake in the project. For participants, there is the promise of big financial upside and being part of novel undertakings.

Lisa Cheng, whose consulting firm Vanbex has accompanied many crowdsales, joined us for a discussion of this revolutionary way to fund and monetize open source software.

Topics covered included:
– Why crowdfunding and cryptocurrency are a natural fit
– A brief history of crowdsales in the cryptocurrency space
– US securities law and the questionable legality of token sales
– The value of writing a solid white paper before launching a sale
– Elements of a successful coin launch
– The role of companies like Swarm and Koinify in conducting crowdsales

EB70 – Chainalysis, Surveillance And The Path To Mass Panic

EB70 – Chainalysis, Surveillance And The Path To Mass Panic

When spinning up a few hundred data-gathering Bitcoin nodes prevented some breadwallet users from transmitting bitcoin transaction, a minor panic quickly erupted about the Bitcoin compliance startup Chainalysis and their supposed sybil attack on the Bitcoin network.

Chainalysis CEO Michael Gronager joined us for a discussion of what happened and what role transaction monitoring will play in the future. We dove deep into the tension between the desires for user privacy and the requirements to achieve integration into existing financial services.

Topics covered included:

– How Chainalysis’ nodes caused problems for breadwallet
– What damage a large scale sybil attack could really do to Bitcoin
– The role transaction monitoring will play to achieve Bitcoin integration in existing systems
– Why transaction-related blockchain analysis does not threaten Bitcoin’s fungibility
– The best way users can protect their anonymity

EB69 – Thomas Voegtlin – Electrum, Spv Wallets And Bitcoin Aliases

EB69 – Thomas Voegtlin – Electrum, Spv Wallets And Bitcoin Aliases

Powering an estimated 5-10% of all Bitcoin transactions, Electrum is one of the leaders of the Bitcoin wallet space. The open-source walled was started in 2011 and played a key role in the development of the light-weight SPV wallets. Developer Thomas Voegtlin joined us for a discussion of Electrum, their recent 2.0 release and the rapidly evolving Bitcoin wallet space in general.

Topics covered included:

– The evolution of Bitcoin wallets and what motivated him to start Electrum
– Electrum 2.0 and its new features such as Multi-sig and hardware wallet support
– The security tradeoffs between using an SPV wallet versus a full node client
– How Bitcoin aliases could do away with Bitcoin addresses

EB68 – Kamikaze Attack, Block Halving And The Perils Of Proof-Of-Work

EB68 – Kamikaze Attack, Block Halving And The Perils Of Proof-Of-Work

Is Bitcoin secure from attacks that could destroy the currency? To a large part, this is determined by how expensive it is to carry out an attack and by the potential profits the attacker could generate. Ideally, an attack is so expensive to carry out that no profit-driven attacker would engage in it.

But in this episode, Brian argues that the cost of attacking Bitcoin will likely decrease in the future and the ability to short Bitcoin and thus benefit from an attack will increase dramatically. We take an in-depth look at the anatomy of such an attack including:
– How an attacker would need to go about shorting bitcoin
– How the kamikaze mining pool could be used to bribe miners to join the attacker
– Why all profit-driven miners will have an incentive to join the attack, whether or not they believe it will succeed
– Why the block halving in 2016 could be an exceptionally dangerous time for Bitcoin, since an attack would be cheap to execute and likely to succeed
– How a gradual decrease of the block reward, instead of the 4-year halving rhythm would reduce risk

EB67 – Brian Hoffman: OpenBazaar, Peer-To-Peer Commerce, Third-Party Arbitration, Ricardian Contracts

EB67 – Brian Hoffman: Openbazaar, Peer-To-Peer Commerce, Third-Party Arbitration, Ricardian Contracts

What Bitcoin did for money, OpenBazaar is trying to achieve for commerce. Born as a fork of the Dark Market project, OpenBazaar aims to facilitate online trade by removing unneeded middlemen. Built as an open source protocol, users simply install the application on their computer to gain access to marketplaces available on the network. From the app, they may also place items or services for sale by creating “Ricardian contracts”, which get propagated to the network and made accessible to everyone to see. The protocol, which uses Bitcoin as a means of payments, utilises multi-signature transactions. This makes it possible for transacting parties to include third-party arbitrators, who may intervene in the event of a dispute. We talked to Brian Hoffman, the project’s Lead Developer, about this paradigm-shifting project and the potential it has to disrupt person-to-person marketplaces such as eBay. Currently in beta, OpenBazaar is due for a full release in Q1-Q2 of 2015.

Topics we discussed:

– History and current status of the project
– Mechanics of a simple transaction on OpenBazaar
– Ricardian contracts
– OpenBazaar’s proposed arbitration model
– Reputation and the important role it plays in peer-to-peer trading
– Business models that may be threatened by this technology

EB66 – Levin Keller: Coyno, Bitcoin Bookkeeping, Filing Taxes, Building a Bitcoin Startup in Europe

EB66 – Levin Keller: Coyno, Bitcoin Bookkeeping, Filing Taxes, Building a Bitcoin Startup in Europe

Levin Keller is known to many in Berlin as the man who warned everyone about the dark scenario where buying Bitcoins in Europe would be subject to VAT. As with the VAT issue, Levin was also concerned with the complexity of filing tax returns. For merchants and companies dealing in Bitcoin, keeping track of gains and losses makes proper accounting a messy ordeal.

His startup, Coyno, hopes to solve that by providing standalone, read-only bookkeeping for your existing wallets. Coyno allows you to import the public seed from your HD wallet and keeps track of transactions. The service, currently in beta, reads your wallets’ public addresses and stores bookkeeping information whenever a transaction occurs. By recording the exchange rate at the time of transaction, Coyno can generate reports of taxable events, allowing users to more easily file their taxes. By allowing Coyno to read all your wallets, it’s able to differentiate incoming and outgoing transaction from funds being moved within your organization, a feature lacking from other reporting tools.

Levin also talks about his journey of being incubated at the Axel Springer Plug and Play Accelerator in Berlin. He also weighs in on some of the challenges of building a Bitcoin startup and attracting investors in Europe.