Vitalik’s Quantum Quest

First, a Little History

In 2013, the Bitcoin world was a much different place. The Bitcoin securities exchanges were booming. 1 Bitcoiners, scammers, noobs, and the otherwise well-intentioned were all issuing their own virtual securities for bonds, mining contracts, mining difficulty derivatives, and a wide range of startup businesses.

That whole scene, combined with the first real bloom of altcoins 2, was really the inspiration for all the next-wave offerings like ICOs 3, appcoins, blockchain tokenized shares, and pre-mine schemes.

Honestly, things were pretty fun back then. It was the Wild West of Bitcoin Finance. Everyone was trying to be their own crypto version of a broker, issuer, fundraiser, or investment bank. If you weren’t getting scammed, you were probably a scammer. There was a ton of drama to trade on 4, and oodles of arbitrage opportunities across exchanges.

Alas, one too many scams, hacks, and Ponzi schemes caused a number of complaints to be filed with the SEC, leading to a chilling of all issuers into ceasing their efforts, and the shutdown of every crypto securities exchange within the SEC’s sphere of influence.

You Too Can Invest in Quantum Mining!

All of this lays the foundation for a specific story from that year. Since Bitcoiners seemed to be aching for places to put their money to work, there was no shortage of people with their hands out. Two of those people included Vitalik Buterin and Jordan Ash.

I don’t know much about Jordan Ash 5, other than that he has an interest in quantum computing 6 and spent some time soliciting investment in various Bitcoin-related IRC channels in 2013. 7 Most people in the chat rooms were extremely skeptical of his claim that he could successfully develop quantum Bitcoin-mining technology utilizing normal computing hardware.

Jordan was fairly persistent, yet unsuccessful, in his efforts to raise funds, but after a couple weeks he disappeared and everyone moved on.

None of this was terribly abnormal back then.

The Big Pitch: Bitcoin Europe 2013

Fast forward to October 2013, at the first European Bitcoin convention, in Amsterdam. Back then, Bitcoin conferences were nothing like the swanky sort of Consensus 2016 events we get today, but this one was sort of a big deal nonetheless. I had been to Amsterdam before and enjoyed the trip, so that was a good enough excuse for me to embrace my inner Bitcoiner and fly back out there for the show.

That was where I met a number of Bitcoin bigshots in person for the first time. I got to ask Charlie Lee when Coinbase would be listing Litecoin. 8 Mike Hearn was douche, of course. Danny Brewster was an eager lad with a plan. Good times all around!

During one of the lunchtime breaks, the announcer informed the crowd that an unscheduled presentation would take place, encouraging everyone to check it out. The presentation was given by Jordan Ash, newly paired with Vitalik Buterin. 9

Keep in mind that this is all well before Ethereum and the Ether crowd sale that Buterin would later participate in. This is a glimpse into an alternate reality that could have been, a reality where we all used our bitcoins to pay Vitalik to dominate and kill Bitcoin!

Vitalik & Jordan stood on stage explaining a bit about how they could use some approximation of quantum computing to successfully mine on the Bitcoin network at extreme hash rates, effectively allowing them to secretly print money using their exclusive advantage. They explained that they needed more money to be able to create this quantum wonder, but assured the crowd that any investor would gain their proportionate share of the plethora of bitcoins they would later mine with their magical quantum mining machine.

They then directly solicited the crowd for investment.

Thankfully, they also opened to the floor to questions from the crowd. Being that I’m not qualified to assess or criticize the scientific issues related to their quantum plans, I didn’t bother to do so. Instead, I wanted to make it clear to them how flawed their plan was.

I don’t remember the exact wording of the questions I asked them, nor do I wholly recall their answers, but I do remember the gist of the conversation.

I asked how and when they intended to help make Bitcoin quantum-resistant within their plan. Vitalik waxed on how Bitcoin might be made quantum-resistant but expressed that could always be worked on after they had implemented their own quantum mining.

I asked whether they intended to open-source their work. They implied that they would consider it after they were able to mine a sufficient number of Bitcoins.

I asked why they would focus on using quantum computing on Bitcoin instead of any number of higher value targets they might be able to crack. I asked whether they had considered the greater ramifications of breaking SHA-256.

I’m pretty sure I left my most important question for last. I’m also pretty sure they didn’t have any real answer. I asked them if they had considered that if they were to succeed, they would essentially be centralizing the network under their total control and exploiting all other users, as well as their investors. I pointed out that exclusively quantum-mining Bitcoin would more than likely result in the death of that Bitcoin fork, making the pile of coins they mine potentially worthless.

Who Cares?

I’m sorry that this is just one man’s first-hand account of something that happened 3 years ago. I don’t have any particular desire to badmouth the people involved. This is just a story that people keep asking about; an interesting story that not many people got to witness.

Below is a video of a related presentation Mr. Buterin gave a few weeks later. It’s not the same pitch I witnessed, but at least it proves Vitalik has crossed paths with quantum Bitcoin topics.

I hope my account of history at least serves as an interesting glimpse into Bitcoin’s past!

Updates

Here is a post where Saint Maxwell recalls his experience with this.

Here are some tweets from others:

The final paragaph of this post has been edited so as not to trigger Peter VanValkenburgh 😉

Bitcoin is Not Fungible, Should It Be?

fungibilitylemmingsAs the Bitcoin community flexes its maximalism, noting how absurd it would be to undo the recent Bitfinex hack via hard fork (like Ethereum did with the DAO hack), it is exclaiming that the fungibility of Bitcoin must be protected:

I agree that hard forks are dangerous. I agree that forking to edit the ledger to undo a theft sets a horrible precedent that comes with many problems. However, Bitcoin has never been fungible.

Public Ledgers & Fungibility Are Incompatible

After having been kicked off of Coinbase for using their exchange too much, and off of Circle for selling them Bitcoins that came from somewhere they didn’t like, I really started to think more about Bitcoin’s fungibility.

Is it reasonable to claim that Bitcoin can have a public ledger, immutability, and fungibility at the same time? No, it really isn’t. I’m not sure that the quality of each satoshi’s fungibility and its value are separable at all.

Satoshis have multiple facets that detract from fungibility. Due to the permanent ledger, satoshis literally do not even weigh the same, with great variance too. They all have different ages, different creators.

From the moment every bitcoin is mined, it has a human and social context. Every last satoshi has/is permanent and transparent record. Each satoshi is its ledger history just as much as a unit of account, and none of them can be interchanged with another as they all have distinctive histories, permanently.

Unlike fiat, Bitcoin is practical to track and has a living history in the ledger. Consider that many Bitcoin companies and federal agencies already monitor blacklisted coins and employ blockchain analytics companies. 1

 

Confidential Bitcoin Transactions:
For Better, or For Worse?

There are various proposals and plans out there for adding better fungibility to Bitcoin via ‘confidential transactions’. Most Bitcoiners would love to see this feature supported, but I worry whether they have considered all of the potential consequences.

The transparency and immutability of Bitcoin’s ledger provides each user with the assurance that the ledger is balanced and auditable. If we were to introduce confidential transactions on the main network, or introduce anonymity somehow, would every user be able to audit its authenticity?

If there is a flaw or exploitable aspect of how anonymity is implemented, might it fester undetected? Some devs assure me that the designs are mathematically sound and force accounts to stay in balance, but most people will have to just trust this is true, as we lack the ability to audit or test any of it.

More importantly, if we were to introduce confidential transactions on the main network, would government agencies and regulators humor Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchains with the same tolerance as they do now? Might they see anonymity as the final straw?

I’ve always believed that people underestimate the power of governments to squash Bitcoin if they really wanted to, and if Bitcoin becomes an efficient, even profitable, haven for criminal finance, do you think they will pass favorable regulations and laws?

This is probably okay to the most maximal of Bitcoiners. After all, Bitcoin was made to replace the current system, and thus is always at odds with it. But do the rest care more about the BTCUSD value than how anonymous they can be?

Devs also note to me that confidential transactions may be optional and more costly than transparent ones, but I’m not sure that would put the network under any less federal scrutiny. Maybe confidentiality should only be relegated to a layer on top of Bitcoin, like Lighting Network channels, but even then I’m not sure whether that might cause all LN-tainted coins to be marked as suspicious.

Is an anonymous Bitcoin as valuable as a transparent one?

Is a confidential network as sustainable as a pseudonymous one?

Would a fork to add confidentiality features be contentious?

I don’t have the answers, but I feel these are important questions to consider in the pursuit of Bitcoin fungibility.


I originally published this on Steemit a few days ago, but I decided to rewrite it, make a nifty animated gif, and post it to my own blog. This was my favorite initial reaction: 

Bitfinex & BitGo Become Bitcoin Barbers

For the past few days, Bitcoiners have been dealing with the recent hack of the world’s leading USD Bitcoin exchange, Bitfinex, for 120,000 bitcoins. News has been trickling out about how margin positions will be settled while their service is shut down. None of the customers really know how much they might lose, but there is talk of a haircut to customers of upwards of 63%.

As rumors propagate and tidbits leak from Bitfinex representatives, we are beginning to get a sense of how some parties view the situation and how it should be handled.

I’d like to add some of my own perspectives on the situation in this post.

BitGo is Partly Responsible

BitGo, the Bitcoin security company that provides wallet services to Bitfinex, said in a blog post yesterday 1,

“Our job is to protect your Bitcoin and continue to improve the security of the service. BitGo systems were not breached in this attack and our software functioned correctly.”

BitGo makes it clear that they do not feel they were compromised or responsible for the loss of bitcoins. The post seems to be about damage control, telling people to look elsewhere for answers.

But who wants to use a security company whose solution allowed the rapid theft of 120,000 bitcoins? That is an extremely abnormal volume of coins to be withdrawn in such a time, and their very role is to be one of the guardians. It’s insane that they signed those transactions if they were not compromised and their “software functioned correctly”. If this is “correctly” then I’d certainly hate to see what happens when it malfunctions!

Sorry BitGo, but you don’t get to lose 120,000 bitcoins and get to have a security company anymore. You’ll have to do better than this. I don’t know how, but if BitGo cares about its future, it cares about Bitfinex customers being made whole.

I know I personally could not use a BitGo partner service after this. They have demonstrated that they will sign off on what anyone would consider suspicious transactions.

BitGo Wallets Aren’t Bitfinex Customer Wallets

There is a notion out there that some customers might lose all their Bitfinex bitcoins, while others will lose none or some. This comes from the fact that Bitfinex tries to segregate the bitcoins it holds for its customers into separate BitGo wallets or addresses, and the hacker was not able to steal bitcoins from some of those addresses.

As I see it, BitGo wallets are just the storage solution Bitfinex has chosen to store and account for its own bitcoins. Bitfinex customers do not hold Bitcoins, they hold Bitcoin IOUs. It has to work this way because Bitfinex’s swap lending market makes things complicated as to which customer wallet any given bitcoin might be held in.

If Bitfinex were to treat BitGo wallets that lost bitcoins on a case-by-case basis, that would certainly make BitGo a liable party in this loss. No, if they plan to pass on the loss to customers, it must be socialized among all Bitcoin exposure on the exchange.

Accountability in the Investigation & Unwinding of Positions

Customers deserve a full run-down of how Bitfinex and BitGo were hacked, as well as details about who is handling the investigation of the theft. While Bitfinex has said from the beginning that they are involving the proper authorities, we don’t know which authorities and how appropriate things really are right now. Are those authorities investigating Bitfinex and BitGo, or just trying to catch the hacker? Customers have been largely in the dark for days now.

Bitfinex has made it very clear that they will be unwinding all margin positions for all pairs on the exchange. They have provided the settlement prices they will use, but we still don’t know their method; nor do customers have any say in the matter it seems. How do we know some accounts won’t get special preference in a haircut situation? There is not much reason to trust these companies at this point, is there?

Making Customers Whole

There hasn’t been much talk of how or whether Bitfinex customers might recover their losses from this hack, but there should be. The customers showed no negligence and if Bitfinex and BitGo want to avoid litigation, federal agencies 2 , or continue to operate as businesses they will have make their customers whole.

Bitfinex itself has invested in Shapeshift.io and Netki. 3 It has been extremely profitable over the years, and its stakeholders certainly have assets too. Sources tell me Bitfinex and/or one/some of its stakeholders are also invested in Tether, as well as Blockstream, Bitcoin’s premiere Bitcoin Core development company.

BitGo’s investors include major entities like Bitfury Capital, Blockchain Capital, and Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group. 4

There is a lot of big money with a lot on the line here. The custodians of those coins must take a hit to fix this.

There are rumors that Bitfinex may issue a bond or ‘bfxcoin’ as IOUs paying dividends from Bitfinex’s profits to the affected customers going forward. That would be better than nothing, but there should be enough money invested in this clusterfuck of companies to produce a better bailout for these losses.

I hope this is how all these parties are thinking at the very least.

bucketshop

R3CEV Articles Mysteriously Disappear!

The infamous deconstructed-blockchain-as-a-service-to-relieve-your-bank-of-its-R&D-budget company known as R3CEV has somehow managed to have some disparaging articles about their newly announced $200-million-dollar fundraising effort erased from the web.

…Well, as erased as one can get these days. Cached links are available for at least two of the wiped articles 1 2.

The scrubbed articles paint a much different picture than the sterile spin provided by sanctioned versions such as this one, provided by The Merkle.

The most notable zombified excerpts read as follows:

Knives out for R3 blockchain group as it seeks $200m in funding

Bank-backed blockchain mega-consortium R3CEV is rumoured to be facing a little trouble from its member banks over its extra funding needs.

The request for funding has reportedly not gone down well with the core members of the R3 consortium, who want a bigger return on their investment and for their support of the overall project.

An insider has described the situation as an “implosion”, adding that “the big banks are apoplectic with the high-handed approach and are busy considering their options.”

~ IBSIntelligence.com

&

Blockchain consortium R3 facing unrest over capital raise

Bank-backed blockchain consortium R3 is rumoured to be facing unrest among its membership as it seeks $200 million in funding to develop a utility-based service using distributed ledger technology.

According to a report in efinancialnews 3, R3 is now seeking $200 million in capital from its members in exchange for equity stakes in the proposed utility.

One industry insider described the stand-off as an “implosion at R3”, adding “the big banks are apoplectic with the high handed approach and are busy ‘considering their options’.

~Finextra.com

Are these banks finally coming to terms with the possibility that they are funding an overpriced bastardization of Quickbooks for the Cloud? Are they realizing that cooperating as a formalized cartel might not be the best path to regulatory freedom?

Who knows? More importantly, who cares?

Despite Blockchain-without-Bitcoin being a relatively unproven solution, the competition is heating up faster than a basement GPU mining farm. R3CEV is facing a reality where companies like IBM and Digital Asset are going all-in against them. That’s a lot of hungry investment money fighting over what may be an imaginary slice of vaporous pie.

Maybe if R3 representatives such as Tim Swanson and Mike Hearn spent less time trolling Bitcoin via blog posts 4 and NY Times FUD articles 5, and more time embracing the world’s greatest blockchain, they’d actually be getting somewhere.

This article will R3CEV-destruct in 3… 2…

 


UPDATE: Hey R3, you missed one! http://www.the-blockchain.com/2016/05/13/blockchain-consortium-r3-raise-raise-200-million-member-banks/


UPDATE: Finally, some concrete info about their $200m raise: http://www.afr.com/technology/r3-to-raise-up-to-us200m-from-42-global-banks-for-blockchain-trials-20160515-govexd


 

Live Blog: Consensus 2016 Conference, Day 3

9:16AM

Today is the final day of the conference. The panels are starting a bit later, and I expect a more laid-back atmosphere. Last night, I went out to dinner with my friend, Brian, who is a Debian Developer. I picked his brain about the parallels between Bitcoin and Debian as open-source projects.

After dinner, Mike Komaransky, of Cumberland Mining, invited us out to a party put on by the Digital Chamber of Commerce. The issue was that you needed a name tag to get in. When they asked who were, Mike informed them that I am, obviously, Vinny Lingham, and my friend’s name is Alex Fowler. That was easier than I thought! The party was an interesting mix of investor-types and heavy hitters. Paul Sports & Eric Lombrozo happened to be there and Eric graciously provided with me with a whiskey double. Thanks!

I was introduced to Anthony Di Lorio, of Ethereum, who explained his complex about people mistakenly putting an “L” in his name all the time. After informing them that I am Bitcoin Error Log, someone requested that I tell Anthony what his “error” is. I told Anthony that if I had wanted to attack him, I would have already, but to play along I mentioned that his “error” might be his involvement with the Ethereum initial crowd sale. He was actually very excited to talk about the topic, and offered me a menthol cigarette to take it outside and talk it out.

I learned more about the work they did to cover their asses legally, and about his perspectives on the whole thing. This is not a stupid man. I could labor over more details that aren’t terribly interesting, but in the end my impression is this: Ethereum is not Bitcoin, never intended to be Bitcoin, and if held to the ideals of Bitcoin will always fall under scrutiny. There are some things about their transparency that could be improved if viewed through the eyes of those forced to fully comply with SEC regulation, but Ethereum founders have no issue sharing information about their holdings. If you filter out all the aspects that are enveloped into what I’ve said so far, it leaves only one clear criticism. While I feel anyone should be able to invest in anything they damn well please, the people buying the Ethereum crowd sale did not buy Ether for its stated purpose. The paperwork most likely covers Ethereum’s ass, but there will always be collateral damage to overly ignorant or inexperienced investors. Personally, I’d rather live in a world where every man has free access to invest, than one where the government angles them out with standard like being an ‘accredited investor’. The world I prefer is the one where Ethereum is allowed to do what they did, regardless of whether a person believes their offering is a good investment.

Personally, I prefer to measure an ‘equity’ offering by the details of what the investor is getting and any related risks. For example, I feel the Mycelium offering is MUCH worse than Ethereum’s original crowd sale. The Mycelium offering is an insult to any investor, in my estimation. Furthermore, it’s offerings like Mycelium’s that are more likely to put us all in a “this is why we can’t have nice things” scenario.

10:00AM Setting Enterprise Standards in a Multi-Blockchain World

I have to say that listening to Vitalik Buterin field questions and correct the comments of co-panelists throughout this conference has provided me with a newfound respect for him. He has done as much as anyone here to defend and explain Bitcoin blockchain concepts. I already thanked him for this personally, but I want you readers to understand this as well.

10:37AM

Back to stories from last night. At some point yesterday I tried to introduce myself to Perianne Boring, I figured that her Digital Chamber of Commerce might be an appropriate channel to open for Bitcoin Core and their efforts to have better communication, so why not bug her? It was probably the most awkward exchange I’ve had at this event, even more so than discussing my CoinDesk Promotes London Bitcoin Forum Scam, Sweeps Under Rug article with CoinDesk reps, Ryan Selkis and Pete Rizzo. (Thanks for not strangling me, guys!) Perianne seemed suspicious of me in that first conversation, wanting to know who I worked for, and why I was helping Core over Classic, which I explained readily for her. She did explain that she must remain agnostic about such things, but relunctantly gave me her business card anyway. At the party, there were more awkward looks from her, but I only pieced together why this morning when I saw the little Chamber of Digital Commerce logo on my Barry Silbert name badge for the first time (Mike thought I should have options, what if Vinny actually showed up!?) Thanks for not kicking us out Perianne!

11:02AM

I just met Samson Mow, of BTCC, for the first time and I can report that no black holes or singularities occurred as a result. If you are not familiar with his work, he is a fellow Bitcoin leukocyte, trolling the deserving and shining sunshine onto the shadowy figures of the Bitcoin world. Follow him on Twitter. Samson discussed hiring me to go ahead and write a creative article idea I shared with him. Do I really wanna sell out?! Oh noes!!!

11:14AM

I’m walking around trying to find this panel with Alex Fowler, of Blockstream, since I have a particular interest in learning more about their Liquid sidechain project. I had no luck until I saw Ryan Selkis and asked where the hell the presentation his happening. He informs me it’s invite only and closed to the press. Grrr…

This also helps me realize that this event is pretty much over, since the private panels are the only ones continuing into the afternoon.

Thanks for reading, I hope these live blog posts were interesting to you!

 

Live Blog: Consensus 2016 Conference, Day 2

7:40AM

I’m here bright and early after a long day at the conference, and night at the CoinCenter Gala. I actually had a pretty great time, and I’m a little hoarse from talking and a bit of hollaring during the proceedings. I drank too much, but luckily not really hung over.

My mission was mainly to introduce myself to people that might be relevant to Bitcoin Core’s new efforts to mobilize a communications team. Everyone I spoke with felt Core does desperately need to improve their overall approachability and efforts in communicating what they do, how they do it, and why, in layman’s terms.

It was great to meet and chat with everyone from the Coin Center team. They seem to be very well-equipped to fight for favorable Bitcoin policy.

I had a chat with Bruce Fenton, of the Bitcoin Foundation, where I thanked him for representing Bitcoin well in his television interviews, as the media swarmed around the Craig Wright announcements yesterday. While we have many things to criticize the Foundation for, and Bruce himself in some regards, I was tipsy enough to realize that we can’t just keep writing off their efforts, and that it would be much better to find ways to get better communicate with the Foundation so we can stay on the same page. It’s not going to be easy for the Foundation to repair its image with the Bitcoin community, but they seem intent on trying.

I sat at the OB1 (OpenBazaar) table (assigned seating), but I didn’t really talk to them much. I didn’t even introduce myself to Brian Hoffman, he was too busy sweeping ‘The Blockies” awards anyway! I personally have no particular bias for or against their product, it seems like something that would have been created by someone eventually and time will tell whether the world needs it.

The awards presentation was great, Meltem Demirors hosted and did a great job keeping the energy up. I was a bit disappointed in some of the finalists, and OB1 really was the best choice for every award category they were in.

Fred Wilson gave a great speech that generally was about rallying Bitcoin/Blockchain supporters and assuring everyone that we’ve really got something here. It should be noted that I’m generally not a fan of Fred’s perspectives on Bitcoin issues in his blog, but I did appreciate all he had to say last night.

8:22AM

The festivities have begun, starting with ‘special guest’ rep from Deloitte. She’s explaining how they had a Women in Blockchain luncheon yesterday, and commenting on improving quantity of women in Blockchain. She mentions that unlike older industries, we have an opportunity to embed women more fairly, and that, in regards to the Blockchain industry, “The door is wide open, if there’s a door at all.” Well, I’d ask, if the door is wide open, what’s the problem exactly? Personally, I find stuff like this insulting to women, I’ll leave it at that.

8:31AM How Tech Companies Are Embracing Blockchain panel

Austin Hill talking about how Blockstream “released” sidechains, and explains a bit of what Blockstream does. Don’t get too excited, the words he provided did nothing to help me understand Blockstream or what they actually do any better. He did mention some sort of tool to help the kids spin up blockchains.

This is sandwiched by Microsoft, IBM, and Cognizant explaining their Blockchainyness.

Reminder: You can read a more thorough transcript of these panels by visiting Bryan Bishop’s site here: http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/coindesk-consensus-2016/

Jerru Cuomo, of IBM, admits they have had people tack on “blockchain” to projects simply because it was easier to get funding that way…

9:03AM

I’m a bit distracted from the current panel while trying to read up a little on Craig Wright’s next magic trick. I guess he’s gonna move some old coins live on BBC or something? I wonder what the market will think if he moves a LOT of coins, heh.

Also distracted with planning a meeting of the Bitcoin Core folks here to prepare for today’s Bitcoin Core Fireside Chat. For anyone interested, Meltem prepared a splash page here: https://bitcoincorefireside.splashthat.com/

12:44PM

I spent the last few hours hanging out with Eric Lombrozo and Bryan Bishop, mostly preparing for the Fireside Chat at 1:30PM, doing our best to appreciate who makes up this audience, and how we can best make best use of this opportunity to communicate with them. Joseph Poon, representing the Lighning Network project, will most likely be joining them on the panel, in addition to David Vorick, of Nebulous Labs, who will represent an outsider perspective on Bitcoin Core.

Once Meltem showed up, she helped keep the meeting on focus and gathered notes, etc. It’s interesting to actually witness and participate in translating the technical topics and complex concepts related to Bitcoin and the Bitcoin Core cooperative into digestible sentences for an audience that will probably contain very few coders. The Core Devs are very intelligent, rational and candid people, and sometimes that can be intimidating to the unitiated.

The original plan of streaming the chat on YouTube has been changed to a Blab stream. Once I have the link I will tweet it and share from all channels I can. Please check it out!

Paul Sztorc, of Bloq, and the Hivemind project, stopped by to say hello to Eric and I at some point, which led to a great conversation about sidechains and digital identity. Paul’s the most pleasant man in Bitcoin, I’m pretty sure, but he also knows his shit. Blockstream, if you’re listening, I want a damn interview with someone about your Liquid sidechain. I WILL hunt you down eventually!

One of the scholarship winners (there was a contest of sorts with a prize of a free ticket to the conference) also approached us to ask questions about Bitcoin. She’s a lawyer based in Australia, but hailing from Bangladesh. She asked whether we knew anything about the Bitcoin scene in Bangladesh. While we had nothing to offer specifically, I did tell her about a conversation I had Andrew Lee, CEO of Purse.io, last night at the gala. I had asked him about whether Purse would eventually get heat for the money laundering potential within his service. He had an unexpected answer. Most of their users performing the role of securing and ordering the desired products are based in India, and many of them are coming from a side economy where they are paid in Amazon Gift Card credits, and thus use Purse as a way to convert that value into Bitcoin and then local fiat, etc. He noted that the total amount of unspent Amazon credit in the worlds exceeds something like $14 billion! You’ll have to do your own research to verify these numbers…

We’re going live! https://blab.im/meltem-demirors-bitcoin-core-fireside-chat-at-consensus-2016

4:26PM

I’m back in the main ballroom, Larry Summers is on stage waxing about Bitcoin and regulation, essentially pushing a narrative that all of the remotely controversial goals of Bitcoin will never fly. Meh, I kinda wish Silbert didn’t give this guy this sort of power… “I do not own any Bitcoin.” Well, then I don’t care what you say.

The Bitcoin Fireside chat went … okay. I say this only in the context of our goal of taking this opportunity to inform the blockchain world about  Bitcoin and Bitcoin Core. This was mainly a disappointment in that the audience was small and largely made up of Bitcoin Core & Classic reps and supporters. Beyond that, it was still a good presentation, and the debate that occurred was very entertaining and exciting.

In the room, we had most if not all of Blockstream, Roger Ver, Gavin Andresen, Rassah from Mycelium, Core Devs, etc. Ver and Gavin were there, of course, as antagonists, planting loaded questions and generally trying to incite sound bytes they could use against Core in all the blog posts they will right later.

Towards the end it was hard to keep order in the room, which eventually broke off into smaller groups, each having their own debate. Ver was called out for his recent ignorant tweet about block size having something to do with his inability to spend unconfirmed transactions. Gavin declined answering what his vision of successful Bitcoin looks like. I even chimed in at one point to stop the madness with my own perspective. Good. stuff.

4:52PM

VISA rep on stage, pumping VISA or something. Claiming they are open and collaborative now because they have an API and will also do business directly with Apple & Facebook instead banks alone. They are “looking toward the future” guys! They are working with Chain.com to identify real world applications for blockchain. Alrighty.

Now Chain is giving away a prize to a broadway show while he ‘makes the blockchain real’ for the audience.

5:00PM

I want to take a minute to share a random conspiracy theory I cooked up regarding Craig Wright. Now that he has announced that he plans to move some unknown amount of Bitcoins to prove himself as Satoshi, I wonder why he would do such a thing. We already know this doesn’t remove all doubt, right? Well, what if this is all an elaborate scheme to allow him to move a large amount of Bitcoin while controlling the story as to why. The real story might be that he hopes to move them to break them down into smaller lots and eventually start to sell them off? Consider that if anyone to move a huge lot of old coins without sharing a story, this would surely spook the market. Maybe this is a way for him to set those coins free?

Live Blog: Consensus 2016 Conference, Day 1

7:12AM

This morning I woke up at 4:am to a price alarm I had set for BTCUSD. I shrugged it off, but after a bit of grumbling decided I should check to see if there was more to it. All of my chat groups and social media circles were lit up with news of Gavin Andresen vouching for Craig Wright as the real Satoshi. Immediately I knew it was going to be a tough week for Bitcoin and, more specifically, the Bitcoin Core team.

Almost immediately people were debunking this “proof of Satoshi” as insufficient. That quickly escalated to Bitcoin Core assessing Gavin as some flavor of “compromised”. Whether via a hack, greed, ego, or government force, it became necessary to revoke Gavin’s commit access, his ability to change the code within the main repository for Bitcoin.

I’m here now with Bryan Bishop, waiting for Eric Lombrozo. Bitcoin Core is preparing statements for media, and for anything that may come at us and the Bitcoin world this week.

There is talk that Craig Wright intends to release a second wave of “evidence” tomorrow as well. Needless to say, this will be an action-packed week and conference.

7:53AM

For those interested, here are a number of references showing lack of credibility of Craig Wrong:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/4cqjrn/maxwells_claims_re_satoshis_pgp_keys_ignorant/d1l55ch
https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/3w027x/dr_craig_steven_wright_alleged_satoshi_by_wired/cxslii7
https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/3w3y2d/satoshis_pgp_keys_are_probably_backdated_and/
http://motherboard.vice.com/read/satoshis-pgp-keys-are-probably-backdated-and-point-to-a-hoax
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10702001
https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/3vzgnd/bitcoins_creator_satoshi_nakamoto_is_probably/cxsa9hs

People are starting to fill into the main room now for opening ceremonies and keynotes.

If you want a more granular, less flavorful, live-blogging experience today, Bryan Bishop will also be transcribing everything that hits his ears here: http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/coindesk-consensus-2016/

8:13AM

Ryan Selkis walks onto the stage to theme music from Kill Bill. He mentions the event will have more than 150 speakers, and that even though tickets are sold out, he’ll allow Craig Wright in if he shows up (crowd lols).

He’s still doing sponsor mentions, talking about etc. He included some sort of joke about Bitcoin Core that no one understood, and mentioned something like “I thought I’d get more of a reaction, I guess this really is a Blockchain conference.”

8:22AM

Garrick Hileman on stage show slides about the state of investment in the indursty, state of Bitcoin, state of Ethereum, more.

Classifies Currency companies separate from Blockchain companies, from Hybrids. Q1 this year is first time where investment in Blockchain companies exceeded investment in Bitcoin companies.

He wants to keep his comments on Bitcoin brief now. Notes it has doubled in price and quantity of ATMs YoY. Hashrate up 3x. Notes BTC price has been relatively stable, and that it’s a bad thing. He feels volatility attracts traders, etc. Notes exchange trading volume has gone up dramatically. He says Bitocin’s start to 2016 has been mediocre.

Slide shows picture of Zane Tacket commenting on scaling concerns. He’s elaborating on more challenges to Bitcoin, but notes issues could affect Ethereum too.

He’s moving on to Ethereum now. Ethereum had the best Q1 by far, up 1300%. Rising in search rankings. Talking about what makes Ethereum special and how smart contracts are killer app of blockchain. Usess example of automatic payment to dogwalker via a leash…

Current slide shows Linus Torvalds, Vitalik Buterin, and a question mark for Satoshi Nakamoto, talking about open source projects, painting Bitcoin as more troubled for lack of leader

Moving on to sentiment talk, showing wordcloud with “blockchain” larger than “Bitcoin”.

8:32AM

Compares blockchain to a Rorsarch test, people see different things within it. Noting diference between permissioned blockchains and permissionless ones. Showing slide of a matrix showing how some blockchains are platforms vs software vs public vs private. “R3 is an interesting example.”

4x more blockchain startups than a year ago. USA dominates but UK, Sweden, China, Canada follow. Hyperledger has 40 members, SWIFT getting into the game.

Wifi service intermittent…

8:39AM

Marco Santori on stage. He’s legal ambassador to the Delaware blockchain initiative. Notes Delaware was very savvy as to how blockchains work very early on. Introduces Jack Markell, Delaware governor.

Jack joke-announces that he is Satoshi. Will now explain what they are doing with ‘the blockchain’. Delaware is gold standard for company formation. Blockchain can eliminate counterparty risk and decrease costs, speed settlement and exchange more inexpensively.

Officially launching their blockchain, 4 parts.

8:50AM

Regulation – Reflecting a regulatory reform effort. “We don’t believe governments should be prescriptive”, should be “descriptive”. First state to create LLC. No immediate plans to regulate licensing of Blockchain businesses, they will observe to determine best practices.

Practical Needs of Businesses – Delaware blockchain will support new category of corporate shares: Distributed Ledger Shares. Allows immediate transactions of shares. Efficiency. Keep track of shareholder rights is normally frustrating and expensive. They see their ledger a great answer.

Aiding Companies to take advantage of all Delaware has to offer – Generally noting reason why Delaware is a good place for businesses.

I need a break.

9:43AM

Just finished a little pow-wow with various Core devs as they assess the day so far and get on the same page on dealing with media and the upcoming panel with Gavin. Met Paul Vigna, as he gathered some quotes from Bryan Bishop nd Eric Lombrozo. It’s electric here for us… despite the amzing lack of power outlets in this buidling.

We’re here bout to watch sound checks for the “Reaching Consensus on Open Blockchains” featuring Gavin Andresen, Vitalik Buterin, Neha Narula, and Eric Lombrozo. If this conference is a $200 pay-per-view event, then this is the title match. I can’t even guess how this will go, but I am excited…

10:17AM

The speakers are here backstage getting ready, I’m sitting with Bryan by the only electrical outlet in the room. Buterin is rocking his purple cat bag like a champ. Gavin just asked Eric if he’d mind increasing the block size a bit, pretty please. lol

In honor of Craig Wright being the Michael Jackson of blockchains, “Rock With You” is playing on the loudspeakers. I can’t help but dance in place…

10:30am

The event has begun. Moderation by Pindar Wong of VeriFi. Gavin says “I was not hacked. I believe is without a reasonable doubt Satoshi Nakamoto.”

They didn’t dwell on that topic just yet, but now Neha is explaining how the scene is becoming more academic and true to scientific processes.

Vitalik says blockchains not like any other system. Use analogy like English language required consensus or were developed by an institute, requiring agreement for new words, and then rvial insititutes forming.

What is Bitcoin Core? Eric says, the open source softwar project that builds the backbone of the Bitcoin network. Core trying to make a decentralized and compatible process to add new features without pushing people off network. Explaining benefits of segregated witness update that is coming soon.

Gavin notes there are roughly 7000 nodes not al running same software. Agrees with Eric that we need to get more serious about nailing down protocol definition.

Neha notes it’s frustrating to deal with everyone’s different definitions of consensus. She notes consensus alogrithms are not new, but using currency to secure open protocol is new and exciting.

Buterin says their spec is in English, not code. “Software that is finished is software that is dead.”

Discussing interoperability of open and closed ledgers. Vitalik announces a smart contract that has some interoperability with Bitcoin and Ethereum. Can be done with any chain.

Gavin says network effect for money is very strong and it’s natural the world wants there to be one money. Surprised how many alternatives exist to Bitcoin. Not surprised if tech from other chains ends up on Bitcoin anyway.

“Programmable money is really cool.” says Buterin.

Eric talking. Bitcoin Core does want specs in English too, but it’s hard to pin things down that way. Open to interpretation. Eric also says he’s excited to have smart contracts on multiple chains and is very promising. It’d be nice to stick with a layered model to make changes easier.

Pindar asking what community is doing to onboard new devs and people. Buterin says it’s difficult and hard to educate. Makes some digs about some efforts being controlled by boards and companies. I missed some of his comments, sry.

What is decentralization? Vitalik says it expresses the difficulty of collusion. Jokes that Bitcoin mining is 5-10 miners in china, almost like a chamber or House, with Core acting as another chamber.

Questions from audience.

Is anonymity worth sacrificing for convenience. “Sometimes” Buterin. “It depends” Gavin. A longer answer from Eric, noting how there are certain aspects you may want to reveal but should always be their own choice. Vitalik argues that privacy goes beyond just buying things people don’t want you to buy.

What is downside of immutability. Gavin says it makes things easier for law enforcement. Vitalike says overseas that Mexico atm was able to tell him balance in pesos and realized that his canadian bank had to share that info to them and being surprised.

Vitalik plugs Estonian identity project on Ethereum.

Closing remarks on open blockchains.

Future is bright, Gavin. Has huge faith in open process. Innovating is the key. It’s hard to keep track, plugs Reddit…

Vitalik makes dogecoin joke. He notes there are many different processes, antifragility comes from the whole ecosystem. The more people we have doing different things the better progress wil be had.

Neha notes we are still early in these processes, but crypto and databases are old. We are making it cutting edge. There is a lot of excitment about closed blockchains, but they are missing the point (Yes!).

We need to find ways to improve communications and do a better job getting everyone on same page, curing misinformation. We need to figure how we can find more services to build a more decentralized internet with proper incentives.

Gavin waxing on how Craig signed from block #1 a message of Gavin’s choosing. He feels like Wright is Satoshi. Says don’t ask questions about Wright, he won’t answer.

Vitalik arguing! Says Craig had an opportunity to prove himself properly but instead he chose to take a blog post path and only show sig to selected people. He said this fails signaling theory.

PRAISE BUTERIN!

Session over.

1:41PM Upgrading Capital Markets panel

Sorry for the break, had a long lunch various conversations about Bitcoin and Core, etc. I’ll try to fill in later…

Juthica Chou: CFTC does assert relevance in Bitcoin, it’s similar to other things they regulate. It’s unique in that regular businesses might also need to hedge their exposure to Bitcoin volatility.

Barry Silbert: Commenting on how Central Banks may issue digital currencies in the future as a tool to manage economy.

Bobby Lee is skeptical about central banks creating digital currencies.

Silbert counters that he is still confident there is appeal to a government to getting the game at some point. Feels giverment digital currency will happen.

Bobby: Concerned about such blockchains having no recourse.

What’s the future of DAO?

Barry: I am incredibly excited about the ethusiasm of Ethereum … but he senses there is a utopian view of society that he can’t see happening in the real world any time soon. it’s super interesting but concerned about smart contracts focusing on gambling, ponzi, and pyramid apps. I don’t think the world needs a decentalized Uber or AirBnB.

Bobby: DAOs not on the radar in China.

Michael Moro: Making commentary about provenance issues related to supply chains and other real world blockchain solutions people are trying.

Barry not a big fan of decentralize all the things. More interested in hybrid things, revenue shares, global securities issuance, all instantaneous, tradable. Auditability allows creation of new types of securities.

Do you expect non-financial markets to attract regulation?

Juthica: If there are problems that become excused, then probably.

How can blockchain decentralize existing lending markets?

Michael: In some ways it’s a correlary of p2p lending. If you can blockchain auditability aspects, then yes. Some processes could be cut out and reduce cost of capital.

Barry: You can level the playing field by spreading it internationally. If you can underwrite risks in the foreign markets, that’s empowering. Talking about BTCJam (in a positive light, sadly).

3:04PM

Generally, liveblogging the presentations is hit or miss content-wise. Since Bryan is transcribing, and now CoinDesk is cramping my style with their own live blog, maybe I can focus more on the experience and the conversations I’m having with people.

Civic

I spent some time learning about their product and how it works, as I have a particular interest in digital identity concepts, and what the digital world might look like if implemented correctly with reputation management features. Unfortunately, Civic isn’t quite as innovative as I thought it was and amounts to a privacy-invading initial authentication process for the consumer (think biometrics, etc). As a user it’s no different that current 2-factor authentication apps. It’s actually less secure in that sense, since they are aiming to make it a simple notification that you swip left or right to approve uses of your identity. For the banks or merchants that sign on, there are obviously many more benefits, as this would give them much more info and trust in their customers, even if still able to be compromised. I didn’t get meet Vinny, but he’ll be here tomorrow, so maybe I’ll bore him with how I think he should run his product 🙂

Earlier, over lunch, I sat with Eric Lombrozo and we discussed a pitch that a rep from the Bitcoin Foundation was giving us this morning about a protocol standards group. Think, Satoshi Roundtable, but quarterly and with actual power to influence when and how protocol changes are made. I was candid with the well-meaning lad, that the Foundation and Fenton may not be people capable or appropriate to solve or manage such things. I feel Core is making efforts to better communicate and would prefer to see that through, before forming central authorities that would mostly serve to throttle Bitcoin Core in practice.

I get the idea that one benefit of having me around, for Core, is I can say things that might be more politically tricky for them to say. This is behavior I’m happy to perfor, of course! Eric does feel Core can do better with connecting with the community, projects, and businesses concerned with Bitcoin protocol changes. Honestly, the sincerity of Eric and Bryan in their care for Bitcoin is palpable. I have no doubt that most core devs are probably the same way when it comes down to it.

Over lunch I got into deep debate with a nice fellow running a consumer-focused web-based Bitcoin wallet. It was a great conversation where we explored why on earth Gavin might be willing to sacrifice all his credibility if he is wrong about Craig Wright being Satoshi. I was also able to communicate some enlightening points as to why a 2MB block size hard fork is a shitty scaling solution. I get me Bitcoin Jesus points for the day I guess.

4:16PM

Building a Better Payment Rail

Back in the main ballroom now. Ryan Selkis introducing the next speakers. Again, please refer to Bryan’s transcriptions or CoinDesk’s liveblog if you details. I’m going to ty to focus on commentary.

Santander, Align Commerce, BitPesa, Ripple, Deloitte on stage. Hosted by Stan Higgins of CoinDesk. Suits talking about cross-border transactions. How to deal with places that don’t have hard-currencies. Talk of sub-Saharan Africa…

4:28PM

As an aside, I purchased a fancy limited edition Denarium Silver Ounce Bitcoin today, with a cool Bull on the face. I liked that I was able to purchase it with Bitcoin, and that they loaded it with a Bitcoin for me, as I was not able to buy this product online from them due to their inability to ship loaded coins to the USA. Happy to add it to my collection 🙂

That might be all my loging for today. I’ll be attending the CoinCenter gala later this evening, so if anything interesting happens, maybe I’ll check in again late tonight.

Thanks for reading!

 

Live Blogging From Consensus 2016: Hackathon Day 2, May 1, 2016

11:30am

I decided I may as well check out the hackathon before the actual conference, since I have the time, and wanted to meet up with Bryan Bishop, one of the Bitcoin Core developers I’ve been working with to get Bitcoin Core’s new communications team and efforts off the ground.

The hackathon is hosted by Microsoft at their swanky tech center in Times Square. I don’t think I’m supposed to be able to get in, but I explained to the security folks that I’m here as media, and that they haven’t issued me pass yet. She was cooperative thankfully.

Bryan took the time to answer some questions I had about the Lightning Network, which helped me understand it better, and will hopefully let me explain it better to others in the future.

Currently, the hackers are doing practice presentations where they get the chance to test their planned presentations and get feedback from panelists. Seems like a cool way for them to get better at presenting.

The first presentation I caught partially, but they are using the Bitcoin blockchain. The next 3 have all been based on Ethereum, including one that sounds a lot like he invented money for farmers :/

I noticed Dan Anderson, AKA Droplister, from the podcast Unconfirmed Transactions is here, programming away, so I gave him a quick hello. Check out his anarcho-millinerist stylings on SoundCloud when you get chance!

12:PM

As Bryan looked over my shoulders while typing, he private-messaged the following link to me: http://thetypingcat.com/course/qwerty

LOL, yes, I’m horrible at typing, never formally trained. Maybe I’ll take the time to practice with that website in the future…

1:30PM

The practice presentations are over, and in 30min everyone will begin their official presentations.

Lunch was provided, and Bryan, Dan, and myself had a great conversation about Blockstream’s Liquid and the dynamics of how arbitrage might work when fully implemented. This led to someone overhearing our conversation and asking about how DAOs, might be relevant. It was an odd interjection from a man that, to my conspiracy-loving nature, looked and sounded much like a government rep or consultant to government interests. He informed us that he works as a consultant and is researching the viability of various blockchain solutions versus existing database options. His company is called InfoRev, if I heard him correctly.

Deloitte is walking around giving out branded t-shirts that say “Make the blockchain real” and setting up their promo banners, etc.

1:40PM

Here’s a list of the upcoming presentations:

1    Proof of Phone    A
2    CyberSecurity Insurance     B
3    FarmShare    A
4    Aira Virtual Economy    B
5    Decentralized Energy Utility    A
6    SharingChain    B
7    Object Chain    A
6    Solidity to Go    B
9    Black Ops Messaging    A
8    SmartAirBnB    B
11    Bidding Wars    A
10    Community Relief Fund    B
11    Vote HQ    A
12    Andre    B
13    Riot    A
14    Instant Tutors    B
15    DNA Samples    A
16    Clearporter    B
17    Lead Market    A
18    Infinity    B
19    P-to-P markets    A
20    Micro-Sass    B
21    Distributed Lab    A
22    UnionD    B
23    Healthchain    A

2:10PM

The presentations are beginning now. Judges have been introduced, time to discover the next “killer app”! Contestants had about 24 hours to create and will be judged on “uniqueness, market-readiness, quality of presentation, and tech complexity.” Each project gets 3 minutes to present and 1 minute of Q&A with the judges.

Proof of Phone – KYC oracle on ethereum platform linking phone # to Ethereum wallet. Helps to allow ‘sovereign identity’ (expect to hear that buzzword more often). The app works with SMS to authenticate account creation.

CyberSecurity Insurance – Trying to solve the problem of not knowing a party’s actual cybersecurity. Uses oracles and smart contracts on Ethereum as well as bitcoin. I didn’t quite understand it, partly because I had to move across the room due to alternating presentation podiums. He wrote it as an Ethereum smart contract from what I understand, so I’m not sure if judges found the static demo sufficient. Sounds like it somehow assesses security of a firewall.

FarmShare  – “Agriculture platform for 21st century”. Tokenizes products and tasks related to farmers such as delivery. Sounds like you must participate to get farmshares. Mentioned ability to track full provenance of product from the labor to the seed to the farmer’s market, etc. Utilizes Ethercamp and Angular.

Aira Virtual Economy – Integrate games with Ethereum smart contracts, giving community tools for trading on virtual marketplace. Judge didn’t really see how smart contracts are used.

Decentralized Energy Utility – Solve high cost, inefficiency and corruption of energy. Assumes house has smart meter that settles to system with smart contracts. Built with HyperLedger. Judge asked how network might talk back to lighting, and whether people would lose power were their blockchain to go offline.

Solidity to Go – Full editor for Solifity for Eclipse. Adding more Go to it, converts Ethereum smart contracts to HyperLedger.

(I’m not a coder, dear audience, so please forgive me if my understanding of these pitches is limited or inaccurate!)

Object Chain – Publice registry of physical objects on Bitcoin blockchain (using Tierion). Android and iOS app. Example: Car dealer tracks history of car VIN, mileage, etc. Judge questions use of Bitcoin blockchain instead of smart contract, due to bitcoin requiring transfer of value and Ethereum not (I think?). Answer was to not take on counterparty risk of Ethereum.

FleetChain – Solving high cost of short-term rental of large equipment. Requires a device. Allows owners to increase utilization of their equipment by renting. HyperLedger project. Their implementation was nonfunctioning to unreliability of the service! Judge asked them to consider using Ethereum…

Black Ops Messaging – Distributed ledger to control and store intelligence. HyperLedger project. Example included “trusted spy” as a user. “Secrets” can be destroyed afterward. Spy adds block to blockchain with payload. Lots of referring to “The Blockchain” without specifying which blockchain… Annoying to hear all this “The Blockchain” talk when not referring to Bitcoin.

SmartAirBnB – Going to the bathroom, sorry, I think we can guess this one 😉

Bidding Wars – Sorry, missed this one too! It was getting hot, found cooler area of room by the door.

DAO Community Relief Fund – Adding transparency to charity funds using ‘the blockchain’, Ethereum, I assume? Seems like requests can be made and then people can vote whether to disperse money.

Vote HQ – Uses BlockApps, SMS, and Ethereum to allow voting processes via ‘the blockchain’. Authenticates, tallies and totals, etc. Judge points out that SMS is a point of failure.

Andre – Video game inspired by Super Monkey Ball, incorporating Bitcoin betting and transparent leader boards, etc.’the blockchain’.

RIoT – Retail Internet of Things, addressing inventory accuracy between retailers and supply chain uing RFID and bar code scans via .

Instant Tutors -Connects students with tutors using smart contracts. Includes reputation and price of tutors. Ethereum.

Lead Market – Uses Tierion’s hashing to the Bitcoin blockchain to allow a market for selling fresh sales leads. Uses Bitcoin! One of the few presentations to demo full working software. Judge says “Y’know there’s a company that gets paid millions of dollars a year to do what you made in a few hours.” The only complimentary comment I’ve heard so far. Good job, Dan!

DNA Samples -MIA

Clearporter – Shipping system supply chain with complete transparency for shipping industry, including granular pricing/bonuses for early delivery.

Infinity – Social investment network.

P2P markets – Secondary auction market for loans for any blockchain. Receiving, appraisal, and custody escrow. All this guy had was a slide.

Micro-Sass –  Aggregates APIs to allow companies and users to call services at transactional level. Free them from per-user/per-month model and independence from vendors. Private Azure blockchain.

Distributed Lab – Some sort o whitepaper presentation suggesting standards for how blockchains should be stacked, I think…

dOTT -Paywall for digital content, movies in this case. Utilizes Ethereum Serenity smart contracts. Not clear why smart contracts are needed for this…

UnionD – Union as a service on Ethereum blockchain. Portability of data, reliability, reduced turnover. A “virtual negotiation table” for workes and businesses. DAO.

Healthchain – Securing prescriptions on the blockchain. Their slides seem well-designed for 24 hours, good job. Serves doctors & patients.

4:10pm

Of note, some judges consider private blockchains ‘scalable’ opposed to others. This was apparent in several comments throughout the day. There is definitely a bias in the room about which type of blockchains are appropriate for what. I’m not totally clear if that means Bitcoin-reliant projects will be less likely to win, but I doubt that’s an issue considering one judge builds on Bitcoin (via Tierion).

5:10pm

Time to announce the winners!

Deloitte on stage, they announce Fleetchain as their winner! Their prize is a a day and dinner at their “innovation lab” with their blockchain gurus to help them launch their company.

Microsoft and Consensus up next. They announced a partnership where they will have a virtual hackathon for a month this summer. Proof of Phone wins! and DAO Community Relief wins! They didn’t remind us what the prizes here are, sorry!

Microsoft has a surprise prize $150/mo free Azure credit and product licenses, awarded to Micro-Sass!

EtherCamp on stage presenting their award to three winners: Infinity!

IBM prizes up next, presenting a huge clown check to Black Ops, for  GoPro cameras and some advertising. Their main winner is Decentralized Energy Utility, sorry I couldn’t see the amount on the clown check from my seat!

Final sponsor prize from Tieron next, Lead Market is the winnerof 1 BTC!

Final overall prizes: UnionD gets Honorable Mention. Runner-up Community Relief team. And the winner of the $5000 clown check is …

Decentralized Energy Utility!

Coin Center Releases PSA: How to Evaluate Satoshi Nakamoto Claims

Adam Back, Gavin Andresen, Hal Finney, Craig S Wright, Satoshi Nakamoto

For the past month, maybe longer, there has been chatter from various corners of the Bitcoin world that Satoshi Nakamoto might be revealing himself soon. I heard theories it was a hoax, and/or that it was Craig S. Wright that might be ready to provide evidence he is Satoshi himself.

I mostly dismissed these rumors, well, because that’s what one should do with rumors initially. But lately, the chatter seems to be reaching a fever pitch. We’re seeing articles like this and this.

Clearly something is up, and people are speculating this is the weekend we’ll learn what.

As this weekend drew near, I observed a few media outlets asking for help and clarification on various historical details surrounding Satoshi’s accounts and keys, in preparation:

The result is a Google Doc providing guidelines for evaluating any claims that someone might be Nakamoto:

Here is a PDF version for anyone that doesn’t want to deal with Google Docs.

We could probably go on and on about the ramifications of the real Satoshi Nakamoto revealing himself, but this blogger will remain extremely skeptical of any claim. This could all be some sort of ploy from the media, or Mr. Wright, or whomever, to gain attention and exploit uninitiated readers. In my opinion, Bitcoin has moved on from its progenitor and is probably better off without him resurfacing.

In the meantime, I miss the old Satoshi.

I Miss The Old Satoshi

i-love-satoshi-mug-name-identity-alias-boyfriend-girlfriend-388920-p

I miss the old Satoshi, straight from the node Satoshi
Sail the Silk Road Satoshi, don’t fork the code Satoshi
I hate the new Satoshi, the absentee Satoshi
The SPV Satoshi, blockchain all the things Satoshi
I miss the real Satoshi, holographic sealed Satoshi
I gotta say, at that time I’d have revealed Satoshi
Before there was one Satoshi, it wasn’t any Satoshis
And now I look and look around and there’s so many Satoshis
I used to love Satoshi, I used to love Satoshi
I even learned to hodl, I thought I was Satoshi
What if Satoshi made a song, about Satoshi?
Called “I Miss The Old Satoshi,” man that would be so Satoshi
That’s all it was Satoshi, we still love Satoshi
And I love Satoshi like everyone loves Satoshi

(For those that aren’t into pop culture, this is a riff off of Kanye West’s song,
I Love Kanye” on the album, Life of Pablo. The original lyrics are pure genius,
but I hope you find this version entertaining too!)

Droplister does his rendition here. Thanks, Dan!