EB79 – Rodolfo Novak: Coinkite And The Feature Factory

EB79 – Rodolfo Novak: Coinkite And The Feature Factory

Started in May 2013, Coinkite has by now almost advanced to senior citizen status in the short-lived Bitcoin startup space. CEO Rodolfo Novak joined us for a discussion about what drove their initial interest in Bitcoin, why they initially focused on providing ‘bank-like’ services and how they’ve transitioned to powering the infrastructure of countless Bitcoin startups with their API. We also discussed multi-sig and the business strategy they pursued that allowed them to be profitable and not require venture funding.

Topics covered included:
– How Coinkite started
– Why they have come away from calling themselves a Bitcoin bank
– Why they have been putting so much emphasis on multi-sig
– How they’ve ended up building an insane amount of features
– The transition of their business model to providing a powerful API for startups
– What the Bitcoin ecosystem in Toronto is like

 

EB78 – Trent McConaghy: Ascribe And The Internet Of Ownership

EB78 – Trent McConaghy: Ascribe And The Internet Of Ownership

The idea of using the Bitcoin blockchain to represent and track the ownership of off-chain assets is almost as old as Bitcoin itself. One of the startups that is pursuing this vision is Berlin-based Ascribe, which allows creators to register (‘ascribe’), transfer and archive digital art.

Ascribe CTO joined us for a fascinating discussion of their ambitious goals to enable a so-far elusive secondary market for digital art, help creators monetize their work and ultimately retrofit an entire ownership layer to the internet.

Topics covered included:
– Why ownership in the internet is broken
– How Ascribe wants to realize the vision of Project Xanadu of an internet with bi-directional links and baked-in copyrights
– How the SPOOL (Secure Public Online Ownership Ledger) protocol works
– The components of the Ascribe tech stack
– How Ascribe will crawl and similarity-match the entire internet to retrofit an internet of ownership
– Why Ascribe focuses first on the digital art market

 

EB77 – Andreas M. Antonopoulos: Mastering Bitcoin

EB77 – Andreas M. Antonopoulos: Mastering Bitcoin

Few question that educating people about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is one of the most important and challenging tasks to achieve mass adoption. And perhaps even fewer disagree that there is no one more gifted at communicating the revolutionary potential of Bitcoin than Andreas M. Antonopoulos. A technologist, entrepreneur, LTB host and author, he has been speaking, writing and educating about Bitcoin for years and become one of the most popular people in the Bitcoin space.

He joined us to talk about his new book, his journey in the Bitcoin space, educating lawmakers about Bitcoin and the exciting future awaiting us.

Topics covered included:
– Why he wrote ‘Mastering Bitcoin’ and how the reception has been so far
– What he currently spends him time on
– How he introduces new people to Bitcoin
– What NOT to do when telling someone new about Bitcoin
– His experiences speaking in front of the Canadian and Australian Senate
– Why he believes in the community’s ability to keep evolving Bitcoin

 

EB76 – Emin Gün Sirer & Ittay Eyal: From Selfish Miners To The Miner’S Dilemma

EB76 – Emin Gün Sirer & Ittay Eyal: From Selfish Miners To The Miner’S Dilemma

Bitcoin’s approach to solving the double spending problem is to make a collusion and attack on the network prohibitively expensive. One of the main factors that will determine Bitcoin’s chance of survival in the long-term is whether the behavior that maximizes the profits of miners contributes to or sabotages the health of the network.

The game theory that determines this is complex and our understanding of it still incomplete. But research is increasing and two people who have been at the forefront of this work are , a professor in computer science at Cornell University, and Ittay Eyal, a post-doc at the same department.

They joined us for a fascinating discussion of their work on ‘selfish mining’, the incetive structure that underlies Bitcoin and their recent positive conclusions from the Miner’s Dilemma.

Topics covered included:
– Emin Gün Sirer’s early interest in cryptocurrencies and work on a cryptocurrency to incentivize bittorrent users in 2004
– What selfish mining is and how miners could profit from withholding blocks
– How an attacker would execute a selfish mining attack
– Why the miner’s dilemma implies that the equilibrium might be small mining pools
– Why the lack of security of clients and servers is holding back adoption

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