EB117 – Eric Lombrozo: Upgrading Bitcoin With Segregated Witness

EB117 – Eric Lombrozo: Upgrading Bitcoin With Segregated Witness

In the midst of the heated blocksize debate one could be forgiven to think that there is very little Bitcoin developers are able to agree on. Yet, when core developer and Blockstream co-founder Pieter Wuille introduced the concept of segregated witness at the Scaling Bitcoin conference in Hong Kong most of the Bitcoin community quickly rallied behind the proposal.

Eric Lombrozo, CEO of wallet company Ciphrex and responsible for running the segregated witness testnet, joined us to discuss the proposal and its implications. Segregated witness, it turns out, does not only provide an elegant way to increase the blocksize via a soft-fork, it also solves transaction malleability and greatly simplifies updating the Bitcoin’s scripting language. It’s a crucial topic and may well enable a new wave of accelerated innovation in Bitcoin.

Topics covered included:
– The various benefits of segregated witness
– The mechanics of segregated witness
– How segregated witness solves transaction malleability
– How segregated witness could increase the blocksize to 2-3MB with a soft fork
– What segregated witness means for wallet developers
– How segregated witness could facilitate development of off-chain networks such as Lightning Network
– The important difference between hard forks and soft forks
– How segregated witness will allow updates of Bitcoin’s script language via soft forks

EB116 – Eli Ben-Sasson: Zero Knowledge Proofs

EB116 – Eli Ben-Sasson: Zero Knowledge Proofs

Zero Knowledge Proofs are methods of providing cryptographic proofs to another party while keeping some information secret. The simple concept of ZKP offer tantalizing possibilities: Banks could prove solvency without revealing depositors. Governments could prove the fairness of an election without compromising privacy.

Computer science professor Eli Ben-Sasson joined us to discuss where blockchains and cryptocurrencies intersect with Zero Knowledge Proofs and related technologies such as zkSNARKs. It offered a fascinating view into what will surely become a core part of blockchain tech in the future.

Topics covered included:
– What are proof systems?
– Zero Knowledge Proofs (ZKP) and other terminology such as SNARKs and zkSNARKs
– The mechanics of Zero Knowledge Proofs
– The role of performance in Zero Knowledge Proofs
– Applications of ZKPs
– The widespread potential impact of ZKP to verify processes

EB115 – Matan Field: Backfeed And The Social Operating System For Decentralizde Organizations

EB115 – Matan Field: Backfeed And The Social Operating System For Decentralizde Organizations

The idea that in the future tokens will play a crucial role in networks and organizations to incentivize decentralized collaboration and reward contribution is not new. It’s the original decentralized autonomous organization idea that has informed many projects that have been on the podcast (Swarm, Ethereum, Factom, Storj, etc). For Matan, the vision originally led to found decentralized ride-sharing application LaZooz. One year ago, he left LaZooz to found Backfeed, which is building the tools that so far have been missing to make mass collaboration without a central party possible.

Topics covered included:
– How he became interested in blockchains and started the ridesharing application LaZooz
– Backfeed’s vision for a social operating system for decentralized organizations
– The role of reputation, proof-of-value and tokens in Backfeed
– The applications Backfeed is currently building
– The business of model of Backfeed

EB114 – Vinay Gupta: From Lawyer Capitalism To Programmer Capitalism

EB114 – Vinay Gupta: From Lawyer Capitalism To Programmer Capitalism

Vinay Gupta has been a programmer, 1990s cypherpunk, ‘resilience guru’, Ethereum release coordinator and currently collaborates with Consensys to mainstream smart contract technology. He also invented the Hexayurt, a cheap and resilient architectural structure for disaster-stricken communities.

Recently, Vinay has become a thought leader in the cryptocurrency space. He is famed for his eloquence and ability to distill the crypto-finance technological paradigm into easy big-picture visualisations. Check out this podcast for some unique insights into technology, politics and history.

Topics covered included:
– His work on resilience. The connection between resilience and cryptocurrencies
– A history of the cypherpunks – who they were, what they believed in and why they failed.
– Why smart contracts matter? What is special about them?
– The impact cryptocurrencies will have on capitalism
– Why cryptocurrencies could be a great tool to explore basic income

EB113 – Jae Kwon, Dustin Byington & Ethan Buchman: Tendermint – Private Modularized Blockchains

EB113 – Jae Kwon, Dustin Byington & Ethan Buchman: Tendermint – Private Modularized Blockchains

As blockchain technologies mature, new protocol specifications are emerging, which take unique approaches to software design and how consensus is achieved. We have talked about Multchain and OpenChain in the past, but Tendermint promises to be a viable solution for many permissioned blockchain use cases. It’s design is modular, meaning that the application layer (smart contract) and the consensus layer are completely independent. This provides added flexibility and allows for business logic to be written in practically any programming language. In addition, its unique approach to consensus, a round-robin Proof-of-Skate algorithm, is much better suited for permissioned blockchain scenarios than Proof-of-Work.

Meher and Sebastien talk to Tendermint co-founders, Jae Kwon, Dustin Byington and Ethan Buchman, about this promising new blockchain protocol and how it is different from other projects we’ve seen so far.

Topics covered in this episode include:

– How Tendermint came to be and how it has evolved since its creation
– Smart contract programming and the Tendermint Socket Protocol (TMSP)
– How Tendermint makes use of the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)
– Tendermint’s approach to PoS consensus and its scalability benefits
– Use case for permissioned and public blockchains
– Future plans and business models

EB112 – Casey Kuhlman: Permissioned Blockchain And Disrupting Industrial Application Design

EB112 – Casey Kuhlman: Permissioned Blockchain And Disrupting Industrial Application Design

Permissionable blockchains have gained much attention from enterprise this past year, and specifically, the traditional fiance and FinTech sectors. As new protocols emerge and the technology is matures, it is becoming apparent they are simply a new class of database, one which integrates business logic (smart contracts) and a consensus layer (PoS, PoW, etc).

is the CEO of Eris Industries, a company which specializes in building permissioned blockchain systems for enterprise. Their aim is to deliver the technologies which enable companies to easily build and deploy applications which make use of blockchain and smart contract technologies.

Topics we discussed include:

– Preston’s impressive background as an engineer, Marine soldier, lawyer and startup founder
– Eris Industries and what the company is trying to achieve
– Permissionable blockchains and their usefulness in industrial applications
– Smart contracts, how to explain them and legal status
– How blockchains can be used to revolutionize the way organizations construct business processes
– The idea of Blockchains-as-a-Service
– The various use cases for blockchain technologies

EB111 – Andrew Miller: The Gas Model And Ethereum’s Economics

EB111 – Andrew Miller: The Gas Model And Ethereum’S Economics

Andrew Miller is a computer science PhD student at the University of Maryland who focuses on cryptocurrency. Having gotten involved in Bitcoin in 2011 and focused on cryptocurrencies early in his research work, he is one of the most prolific researchers in the field.

Our discussion mainly focused on security aspects of Ethereum including their gas model, Proof-of-Work algorithm and plans to switch to Proof-of-Stake.

Topics covered included:
– How he got involved in doing research on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies
– The blossoming of academic interest in the topic
– His work on analyzing Ethereum’s gas model
– Potential vulnerabilities of the Gas model
– Ethereum’s PoW algorithm
– How Ethereum handles the block size limit

EB110 – James D’Angelo: Satoshi’s Big Mistake And The Centralization Of Bitcoin

EB110 – James D’Angelo: Satoshi’S Big Mistake And The Centralization Of Bitcoin

With over 600,000 views, James D’Angelo’s educational videos at the World Bitcoin Network are among the most popular resources on Bitcoin. Besides his excellent technical explanation, he has also been vocal about the dangers of the increasing centralization of mining.

James joined us to talk about his background as a rapper, the World Bitcoin Network, his proposal to use the Bitcoin blockchain to fight climate change and his argument that keeping Bitcoin decentralized would require sacrificing the anonymity of miners.

Topics covered included:
– How he first learned about Bitcoin and started the World Bitcoin Network
– His proposals on identity and climate change
– The crucial mistake Satoshi made in designing Bitcoin
– Why none of the current ideas can solve the underlying problem of the centralization of mining power
– Why decentralization should be the only design criterion for Bitcoin
– His Axiom: That anonymity and decentralization of miners are inversely correlated
– How Identity-based Mining could foster decentralization

EB109 – Tim Pastoor: Rethinking Identity As A Decentralized Web Of Trust With Identifi

EB109 – Tim Pastoor: Rethinking Identity As A Decentralized Web Of Trust With Identifi

Identity is probably one of the most important constructs in our society. In our modern world, protecting one’s identity has become complex, as we no longer rely solely on governments to prove who we are. In addition, most identity sources can be easily compromised. Credit cards and social security numbers weren’t developed with the Internet in mind, and other identifiers such as logins and passwords aren’t well suited truly secure authentication and authorisation.

We’re joined by Tim Pastoor, Founder of 2way.io, to discuss how we can improve control of our identities using concepts borrowed from Bitcoin. Tim walks us through how people could better manage different identities and build reputation networks using Identifi, a global address book protocol invented by Martti Malmi, one of the very first Bitcoin users. We also talk what role this system could play in the future as autonomous agents and artificial intelligence become more prevalent.

Topics we discussed include :

– The history of identity systems and how traditional identity systems are broken
– How the invention of Blockchain technologies changed the way we think of identity
– The Identifi protocol and how it works
– How we can build reputation through Webs of Trust (WoT)
– The future of identity and how Identifi could provide ID for IoT, robots, autonomous agents and artificial intelligence
– 2Way.io and what the company is trying to achieve

EB108 – Brian, Meher & Sebastien: The Big Chain Powwow

EB108 – Brian, Meher & Sebastien: The Big Chain Powwow

The Bitcoin and blockchain industry has been through a lot this year. While the Bitcoin price has experienced relative stability, perhaps indicating slow growth, the space has grown into a rich and diverse ecosystem of startups and open technologies. Through inspiring proof-of-concepts and exciting use cases, blockchain technologies have gained legitimacy as a viable technology to improve transparency, reduce costs and optimise processes, to name a few of it’s benefits.

In this episode, all three Epicenter Bitcoin hosts, Brian, Sebastien and Meher, come together to look back on the events which marked the space this past year, and speculate on where thing may be heading in the future.

Among the topics discussed in this episode:

– Shift in focus from Bitcoin to blockchain technologies
– Public vs. private blockchain debate
– Bitcoin blocksize debate
– Media censorship and r/Bitcoin dictatorship
– Ethereum and it’s flourishing ecosystem
– Sebastien’s new startup: Stratumn