Posts tagged blockchain
Vinay Gupta has not raised $257 million in an ICO. He is not yet a Bitcoin billionaire. He is not a Thiel Fellow, nor a Thiel Lad (to translate to his native Scottish vernacular). With Bitcoin reaching new highs monthly, the dominating headlines often miss the point of cryptocurrency because it was never about the money or the brand. It’s about interesting people doing interesting things, and Gupta has quietly impacted the world in his own way, doing a lot of thinking over the years (136,000 tweets worth). Gupta helped coordinate Ethereum’s 2015 release, working as a project manager on strategy and communications. He worked as the strategic architect of Consensys, the leading crypto venture studio, and as the designer of Dubai’s National Blockchain strategy. In addition to being the Blockchain Fellow for Digital Catapult, a UK government-funded initiative to increase the amount of innovation in the country, he has two current projects.
While blockchain is the future, I do not believe the future is what we are living today. We are living among the experiments. What we see around us might be in ruins tomorrow. What we get as our future might not have been invented yet. With hopes still high and a sharp eye on the industry, I am waiting for the ultimate blockchain. Will it be Ethereum? Or NEO? Or Qtum? Or Tezos? Or something else? I don’t know. For now, I am excited to witness one of the largest shifts a human life can live through. Even if the future does not appear to be near, the future is not far either.
The TEFAF Art Market Report, Online Focus 2017 highlighted the importance of decentralised technology within the art market. Pownall’s report includes survey responses from 673 dealers regarding their views on the use of blockchain. She finds that three quarters of auction houses, one third of intermediaries and one fifth of galleries intend to ‘offer blockchain technology within the next five years’. She also finds that almost 20% of galleries, auction houses and intermediaries intend to accept payment in digital currencies in the future. Despite these ambitions, there is an absence of shared research and knowledge and a severe lack of co-ordination about blockchain solutions that would be suitable for the art ecosystem.
“As a double bonus, if everyone stays irrational it might greatly enrich the author, providing future funding for blockchain performance art.” The great art project of our age is to entirely collapse the distinctions between “fraud” and “performance art,” so that one day mortgage-bond traders will be able to say “wait, no, I wasn’t lying about bond prices to increase my bonus, I was performing a metafictional narrative about bond-price negotiations in order to problematize the underlying foundations of bond trading in late capitalism.”
But, in truth, it’s not that difficult to understand Ethereum, blockchains, Bitcoin and all the rest — at least the implications for people just going about their daily business, living their lives. Even a programmer who wants a clear picture can get a good enough model of how it all fits together fairly easily. Blockchain explainers usually focus on some very clever low-level details like mining, but that stuff really doesn’t help people (other than implementers) understand what is going on. Rather, let’s look at how the blockchains fit into the more general story about how computers impact society.
Beyond just another trading instrument, ether is a means to run many services on the Ethereum blockchain, like fuel for energy. Smart contracts when deployed can provide many different use cases. Even as we write, we are already seeing many decentralized applications making use of smart contracts to provide a myriad of services on Ethereum. Below is just a small non exhaustive list of examples.
So what happens when you cross blockchains and internet of things? One outcome is buzzword overload. In the coLAB, we don’t like that very much. We like to make things tangible, and we learn what’s possible by building prototypes.So we built a proof of concept solar panel kit that automatically creates renewable energy certificates as it generates power. Why energy? What are renewable energy certificates? Let us explain.
About a week ago, I put together the Marmot Checker, which is another piece of the puzzle in terms of automating knowledge generation throughput. Briefly, an image is uploaded, processed, and sent to the Google Cloud Vision API to get descriptions of the image; these descriptions are checked against a user-defined list of words, and if there is a match, the image is added to the toadserver. Although the implementation is quite is simple, a few hundred lines more of code and you’d have, say, a smart contract that sends the submitter of matched content some amount of tokens as a function of the match score and/or the users’ reputation. On the whole, this is part a growing set of tools for the scientific community. Already we’re seeing more and more startups building tools to streamline the collaboration workflow process between research laboratories.
Everyone is talking about blockchain, the new technology in the FinTech Industry. The concept of blockchain has energized the financial services industry globally. The concept has already brought a disruption in the financial industry. LTP brings to you the overview, technology, application areas and use cases of blockchain.
The [Ethereum] hard fork has provided an example of social consensus overriding machine consensus. This effectively places machine consensus, and therefore immutability (in it’s technical sense) as subordinate to social consensus. Whilst this has been cited by some as an about-turn from all that blockchain stands for, I see it as the opposite, an evolution beyond fundamental ideals toward a more pragmatic understanding of reality in which we recognise and leverage all the value blockchain architecture can offer, but retain (as do all blockchain communities) a measure of power over the underlying ‘hard rules’.
One of the governance problems of blockchains, related to the fundamental error of decentralization theater, is the failure to build deliberative institutions on top of the “parliament of miners.” Voting by proof of work is great, especially if the majority is well above 51%, and can demonstrate its strength without an actual hashing race. It’s a good way to finalize decisions. But not a good way to make them. But blockchain governance would be considerably improved if the miners actually had a formal way to delegate their power to a structured institution that represented them. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have foundations and/or core teams, but authority in these institutions isn’t tied in any way to actual mining power. Informal politics fills this void with personality cults and eloquent blogposts, all hoping to create collective agreement among the actual voting miners. History shows this is not a great way to run a railroad. Misalignment between a fundamental power, like the miners, and a group purporting to represent them, like the foundations, is inherently dangerous.