What is Ethereum?

Ethereum describes itself as “a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third-party interference.”

The term “smart contract” refers to computer code that can facilitate the exchange of money, content, property, shares, or anything of value. When running on the blockchain a smart contract becomes like a self-operating computer program that automatically executes when specific, defined conditions are met.

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer and launched in 2015.

The platform is also the basis for its own virtual currency, Ether.

Ethereum is not just a platform.  It’s also a programming language, helping developers to build and publish distributed applications.

As an example for comparison and contrast, Bitcoin is also a distributed public blockchain network.  Although there are important technical differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum, Bitcoin solely exists to offer one famous application of blockchain technology: a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables and tracks online Bitcoin payments.

Conversely, the Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.

In fact, Ethereum is also being used as a platform to launch other cryptocurrencies

In the Ethereum blockchain, instead of mining for bitcoin, miners work to earn Ether, a type of crypto token that fuels the network. Beyond a tradeable cryptocurrency, Ether is also used by application developers to pay for transaction fees and services on the Ethereum network.

There is a second type of token that is used to pay miners fees for including transactions in their block, it is called gas, and every smart contract execution requires a certain amount of gas to be sent along with it to entice miners to put it in the blockchain.

Visit the following link to see what types of Dapps are being built on Ethereum.

PWC Blockchain 2018

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is a multinational professional services network headquartered in London. PwC ranks as the second largest professional services firm in the world behind Deloitte.

In PwC’s 2018 survey of 600 executives from 15 territories, 84% say their organizations have at least some involvement with blockchain technology.

Additional highlights:

  • 45% believe trust could delay adoption
  • 30% see China as a rising blockchain leader
  • 28% say interoperability of systems is a key for success

Furthermore, they outline four strategies for blockchain success:

  1. Make the blockchain business case: evolution, not revolution
    Strategic clarity will ensure that your blockchain initiative has a business purpose around which you and other participants can align.
  2. Build an industry ecosystem
    Blockchain may call for competitors to collaborate in a new way, as they come together to solve industry-wide problems.
  3. Design deliberately
    Every blockchain will require rules and standards, particularly around what various participants will be able to access and how they can engage.
  4. Navigate regulatory uncertainty
    stay agile to meet regulatory requirements as they evolve in the years to come

What is Binance?

Binance is a crypto exchange for buying and selling cryptocurrencies. Some of the factors that have made it attractive to crypto traders include its availability in multiple languages, fast order processing and the fact that it transacts numerous digital currencies.

Binance is only for trading cryptocurrencies, and does not handle fiat currencies.

Due to evolving global regulations, Binance moved from China, where it was established, to Japan and then Taiwan and as of March 2018, relocated to Malta (Island country south of Italy).

Coinbase to List Additional Assets

Coinbase is a U.S. crypto exchange which supports Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin, which of course represent a fraction of the global digital currencies available.  To become more globally competitive Coinbase will begin listing new crypto assets which are in line with local regulations. This is a significant change for Coinbase.

For more info, visit this link: Coinbase’s New Asset Listing Process.

Blockchain and The Promise of Value to Users and Developers Instead of Shareholders

Brendan Blumer, the CEO of Block.one, presents his keynote speech on Sept 26, 2018 in Olympia, London for the Blockchain Live 2018 conference.

Blumer outlines a cogent overview of blockchain and its transformative promises.  He notes that it is a technology that welcomes everyone with no prerequisites and which will inevitably become part of our future.

Blumer offers this definition: Blockchain is simply a mutually agreed set of standardization of data storage and transmission. It’s a set of constraints that developers agree to abide by in order to obtain security, auditability and interoperability.

He suggests an analogy that blockchain is to data in some ways what regulation is to society.

He describes blockchain as a social and economic movement that offers the promise of a more transparent, efficient and interoperable world.

Blumer notes it includes a promise that, over time, it will allow our governments to better represent all of us.

He highlights how blockchain can transform centralized platforms, like Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, GitHub, insurance institutions and banking, into decentralized networks, where the profits of such networks would be minimal to non-existent and any excess value could be driven back to those who contribute to the prosperity of the project.

Blumer further elaborates: “Shareholders, as we currently understand them, are in many cases beginning to represent pricing inefficiencies and we may yield them less competitive to projects with perfectly priced goods and services.”

As an example, he describes a social network that rewards users with tokens for content creation, and requires advertisers to purchase those tokens, which drives value to the users, as opposed to traditional shareholders.

He remarks upon the democratization of blockchain with the idea that transparency may usher in a new era of equality and accountability.

Blumer describes blockchain tokenization as an opportunity that allows consumers to store value in projects they know and understand, which they can also engage in for their own prosperity.  In such a tokenized economy the activity of early discovery and evangelism can and will be a career in itself.

Bitcoin and the CBNC Circus

CNBC calls this a “documentary,” but it’s merely sensationalist entertainment. Although it’s not a sincere look at the world of Bitcoin or cryptocurrency, it does touch upon different perspectives, presumably to offer a hint of gravitas to a circus sideshow presentation.

When one contemplates the decline of journalistic standards, this serves as an apt example, replete with a clown, whom they feature as their expert character, versus a few serious characters whom are used primarily for sound bites.  The main circus act is the female “finance journalist” who permits herself to be patently objectified.  No #MeToo message here.

The Advance of Litecoin

Charlie Lee is a computer scientist, best known as the creator of Litecoin. He serves as the managing director of the Litecoin Foundation and he also works for Coinbase.

The above video is Lee’s keynote presentation at the 2018 Litecoin Summit on September 14, 2018.

Lee preceded his presentation with a brief talk about the controversy surrounding the sale of his Litecoin holdings in December 2017 at the top of the crypto market.

As part of his primary talk, Lee discussed the energy use in Proof of Work mining as that which makes Litecoin and Bitcoin secure.

Lee compares Litecoin to Bitcoin as an analog to silver to gold, where Litecoin is silver and Bitcoin is gold.

He notes that we live in a fiat currency world and that’s not going to change for a while.

He describes the end game of Litecoin and Bitcoin as sound money that is also being used by merchants.

Lee presents a variety of graphs that show Litecoin has gone up exponentially, but the creation of blocks is unchanged at every 2.5 minutes and notes that the Litecoin blockchain has been working almost flawlessly.

He noted that Litecoin is adopted and supported by almost all exchanges and is already accepted by lots of merchants.

Lee also discussed future development, which includes the importance of sound money, as well as scaling and the desire to increase fungibility and privacy of Litecoin.

He described Litecoin as decentralized money and “people’s money,” referring to it as money that can’t be devalued or taken away.

Bit Torrent, Tron and Project Atlas

Tron purchased file-sharing service BitTorrent in July 2018.

Tron founder, Justin Sun, stated that the deal makes Tron the “largest decentralized Internet ecosystem in the world.”

In the above video, Justin Knoll, Project Atlas Lead at BitTorrent, describes their work as a way to pave the future of content distribution by connecting the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network and its 100 million monthly active users to the TRON blockchain network.

Knoll briefly outlines how it will work and how participants will have the option to earn tokens for participating.


The Future of Blockchain and Decentralized Networks

Matthew Spoke, CEO of Aion Foundation, speaks about the future of blockchain and decentralized networks.

Aion refers to itself as “a multi-tier blockchain network designed to support a future where many blockchains exist to solve unique industry problems and to power the services of the modern world.”

In this talk, Spoke discusses the evolution of human societies and notes that societies were built around geography and limitations of information and resources.  More specifically, he points out how throughout history, social structures have been built on hierarchies.

He compares how, historically, evolution occurred slowly. Whereas now we are seeing massive transformations year after year.  He proposes that the world has changed and governance needs to be re-thought because our social structures are not reacting fast enough.

He suggests that instead of being organized by geographies and hierarchies, that we should replace hierarchies with networks

Networks connect sovereign units. And in regard to organizing our world, networks could connect:

  • Sovereign individuals
  • Sovereign products
  • Sovereign cities
  • Sovereign autonomous organizations

What’s needed in such environments are clear definitions and rules which represents a truth for all connected via any specific network.  Which is how blockchain works.

Spokes further outlines how the internet evolved in a way in which large, centralized monopolies control our digital lives.

Blockchain allows us to revisit and re-architecture this arrangement since blockchain does not require these centralized monopolies.

He highlights how the internet is built on 12 basic protocols.

Blockchain will also evolve with layers and layers of protocols to solve different problems, but we’re very early in the development cycle in that we are still building base layers of blockchains.

However, in comparison to the development of the internet, this time with blockchain it will be different because blockchain has a built-in economic incentive. If you participate in the development, you can benefit as the network grows. Blockchain includes the concept of an owner inside of a global infrastructure. Nevertheless, it takes time to build these technologies.

Lots of projects will run out of money in the next few years.

Also, first to market doesn’t always win.

At the end of the day, global engineers and researchers are working to build a new internet of value.

Congress Seeks to Define ‘Blockchain’

One of the challenges of blockchain technology is its lack of interoperability between different networks. As the technology evolves, developers around the globe are working on platforms that do not play well with others.

That’s not an oversight.

There simply is no existing standards. 

Yet.

However, a bill is being introduced to as least establish a definition of blockchain itself as a basic starting point of coordinating future technological development.

H.R.6913 – Blockchain Promotion Act of 2018 is the name of the bill.

U.S. States are also trying to come up with their own definitions.  Such efforts are laudable. Yet, a broader attempt is necessary to establish an industry definition that not only crosses state lines, but ideally would be globally respected.

An industry definition is a good start to more efficient blockchain development and deployment.