Tag Archives: Blockchain

Being On The Right Side Of History

If you’ve been reading the 2016 pundit predictions in the digital currency and blockchain space you’ll notice a strong trend. Bitcoin is back! A number of articles (I’ve included some below) are calling this the comeback year for Bitcoin.

So what has changed? Bitcoin still is… well bitcoin. We’ve seen an uptick in the price, which might in part be fueling the bullish predictions. However, fundamentally nothing has changed. In fact, one might argue that Bitcoin has even more problems it needs to solve in 2016 – for example, the unresolved blocksize debate.

However, what many are starting to see is that the 2015 battle cry of ‘Bitcoin v Blockchain’ was really a red-herring. In 2015, the financial industry clamoured around permissioned blockchain and distributed ledger technology, but to date has been more busy forming consortiums and creating labs rather than actually pushing product. The question of which is more valuable, permissionless or permissioned blockchains, is proving less relevant and which will actually push a ‘killer app’ first is proving to be more relevant.

It’s easy to find Bitcoin’s flaws, but it’s hard to deny that it’s on the right side of history. The movement towards truely open and extensible software that has transparency as a default is hard to ignore. I think many are starting to realise this is what the main attraction is – not another database technology. So bring on 2016, the year bitcoin is resurrected for the 87th time.


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So This Is What Creative Destruction Looks Like

This week two Spanish-born residents of London, Edurne and Mayel, sealed their union on a blockchain. What makes this interesting is that they were the first to use the recently announced public notary service being offered to Estonia e-residents via Bitnation’s platform.

You may have heard of Bitnation before. Recently, they offered victims of the European refugee crisis a digital ID and a bitcoin visa card so that the displaced could more easily receive money from abroad and spend it. Interestingly, Bitnation is a DAO (Decentralised Autonomous Organisation) that is building a platform to provide government services that aren’t necessarily provided by a specific government. Under the partnership with the Estonian government, they’ll be offering notary services (including registration of marriages) on a blockchain.

Although in and of itself the idea is not novel, that a government would actually deploy it is. Many governments are thinking big about innovation in government services (we’re definitely seeing it here in Australia), yet for the most part innovation starts small. It usually starts at very low levels in the ‘stack’. A small change here, a small change there and all of a sudden things start to get interesting. Estonia is a glittering example of this. The e-residency initiative is a great case study in how governments can build small platforms that can have interesting ‘apps’ built on them (e.g. a blockchain based notary service).

Thinking about government services as a platform and then extending them through ‘apps’ makes sense – and maybe building the platform on a/the Blockchain makes even more sense. Regardless, governments now have another example of what ‘creative destruction’ looks like – and all from a small Baltic country.


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Chatting About All Things Bitcoin

A few weeks back I did a ‘blab’ with Suzanne Nguyen (@stringstory) about all things Bitcoin. Check it out and let me know what you think.

 


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Bitcoin Is Not A Movement. It’s An Application Stack

Bitcoin Is Not A Movement. It’s An Application Stack

For some reason I tend to be a libertarian magnet. Every time I speak at a Bitcoin event I’m always approached by all the crazy libertarians in the room. In the main, they ask polite questions about where the world of Bitcoin is headed and what the legal landscape might look like in the coming years for Bitcoin. However, there always comes an uncomfortable moment where the question of the Bitcoin ‘movement’ is raised. You know the “Bitcoin is going to bring down governments” and “I use Bitcoin because the government can’t take it from me” comments – if you haven’t heard either of these you haven’t been to enough Bitcoin related events.

I can see why people think I might buy into this view of the world. I’m incredibly bullish on b/Bitcoin. On both fronts, I believe it’ll have a profound impact on the way a number of industries are organised – everything from the law to the way machines interact with each other. However, emphatically, I don’t believe in the ‘movement’.

I don’t think governments will topple (I think they’ll embrace it), I don’t think banks are at risk of being displaced (I think they’ll be the biggest adopters of Bitcoin/blockchain), I don’t think you’ll see it become the world’s reserve currency ( I think it’ll do for internet commerce what Paypal initially did – but at even larger scale).

Put simply, Bitcoin is not a movement. It’s an application stack. To use an oft quoted line (or in internet speak, a meme), it’s the “TCP/IP of value”.

Take solace my libertarian friends, Bitcoin is going to be massive – but just not in a ‘the global financial apocalypse is coming and I’m insulated by owning bitcoin’ kind of way. It’ll be a movement like the internet was a ‘movement’. It’ll functionally change the way we move value in the online age. However, no government will be brought down by the tidal wave of Bitcoin. It’ll simply ride the wave.

So if you see me at a conference or a meetup come over and chat. I love hearing views on where the hell Bitcoin is headed and how it’ll change the world. But just so you know, I don’t think bitcoin is going to bring down ‘our corrupt capitalist governments’ – I just think it’ll redefine how the world transfers value. Hopefully that’s enough of a ‘movement’.


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Talking Bitcoin News On CryptoGoss

This week I sat down and had a chat with the team at CryptoGoss about what’s happening in the world of Bitcoin and Blockchain. Listen in and let me know what you think in the comments below.


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