Malta as ‘Blockchain Island’

Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world, with a population of less than 500,000. The island is a speck in the Mediterranean Sea, between Europe and Africa.

Malta gained its national independence from Great Britain in 1964.

As a small country with limited natural resources, they have the willingness and ability to move quickly to adopt new opportunities that can grow their economy.

Malta has made itself very welcoming to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies by establishing friendly regulation and low taxes for such businesses.

Hence, capital, start-ups and talent are leaving less friendly jurisdictions to set up shop in Malta.

So far, the welcoming hand has benefited Malta with a new influx of revenue for the country.

The above video includes interviews with the Finance Minister of Malta, Edward Scicluna; Changpeng Zhao (Binance); John McAfee; Tim Byun (OKEX ); Alexandre Dreyfus (chiliZ); and Marc Taverner (Bitfury).

Blockchain Security Facts and Myths re Industrial Control

Richard R. Brooks, from Clemson University, speaks at the Industrial Cybersecurity Conference 2019, about blockchain and smart contracts.

Brooks notes that true blockchains are distributed, decentralized, trustless and theoretically immutable.

Following are additional notes.

Blockchain security is partly based upon its systemic decentralization, as opposed to central authority.

In Etherium, smart contracts are embedded in the money.

Hyperledger is a modular styled blockchain.

Scrybe: a blockchain ledger for clinical trials

Some of the open problems he discusses re blockchain include:

  • Wallet exploits lead to theft
  • Fake wallets lead to theft
  • Mining has many alternatives
  • Applications other than currency are probably a better fit

Brooks describes the blockchain audit application as a particularly good idea.

He states that smart contracts are a good way to remove single-point of failure in a system.

Side chains are a way to make blockchains more efficient.

Using Blockchain to Restore Privacy

Privacy expert, Steve Shillingford, speaks about privacy and blockchain at TEDx Salt Lake City.

Shillingford notes that the web has evolved from a decentralized platform to a tool controlled by a few corporate and government interests.

He further expresses that he knows this because he helped create the technology to accomplish that.

Following are additional notes from his talk.

Our digital world does not square with our analog experience. Almost everything we do without our phones is our analog experience.

The intrusive and unsafe digital world has left us feeling unsure and uncertain.

According to a PEW study, 93% have agree they have lost control of their personal identify. 9 out of 10 expressed lack of confidence in govt and private institutions.

But we can bring back the original intent of the internet.

Unlike anytime in history, people are becoming aware of these violations and are starting to take actions. One way is by reducing use of social media.

For some people cutting out the intermediary is a movement.

Hence, blockchain is shifting the power back to people.

We can decide what information of ours is accessed, shared and stored, without middlemen or caretakers.

With blockchain, entries can not be modified or changed without the author’s consent.

Blockchain puts freedom, trust and privacy back in the hands of the people.

In the offline world we have control of our personal safety, at least by determining where we go. With blockchain, we can take control back from powerful companies and big governments.

Blockchain gives us the power to live online, the way we live offline.

Blockchain will provide a safer and more connected world.

Steve Shillingford is an entrepreneur, technologist, and cybersecurity expert.” Steve Shillingford is an entrepreneur, technologist and cyber security expert. He is Founder and CEO of Anonyome Labs, maker of MySudo. A reformed data miner, Steve is a staunch consumer privacy advocate with more than 25 years of experience driving innovation and growth at industry-leading technology companies.

Blockchain + AI = Decentralized Artificial Intelligence

Siraj Raval discusses artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

He notes that machine learning – AI – is not new. It’s been around since the 1950s.

However, in recent years, one facet of AI, neural networks, has engendered the model of deep learning, which has outperformed all prior machine learning models.

Hence, all big AI advancements noways are coming from neural networks.

In contrast to AI, he describes blockchain as an immutable data structure that no one owns.

Raval depicts AI and blockchain as a ying and yang.

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

More specifically, he describes AI (“yin”) as probabilistic (subject to or involving chance variation) and changing, using algorithms to guess at reality.

He describes blockchains (“yang”) as determininistic (forces and factors cause things to happen in a way that cannot be changed) and permanent, using algorithms and cryptography to record reality.

Raval refers to our personal data as the most valuable asset we have and yet we give it away for free to companies in exchange for free services.

Hence, decentralized apps are an important idea, which can also be called web 3.0, which he considers one of the most exciting developments today.

More specifically, he describes decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) or decentralized apps (Dapp) as a solution to data management.

DAO is a computational process that runs autonomously, on a decentralized infrastructure with resource manipulation. “It’s code that can own stuff.”

Instead of one central authority owning it, the participants have ownership.

Raval states that the future is AI and blockchain.

He also cautions against the downside of decentralized apps using AI and blockchain, such as machines running independent from the control of humans.

Raval ends with a rap about AI and blockchain.

Siraj Raval is a Dapp developer & entrepreneur. He is founder of a crowdfunding platform for developers called Havi, has developed several iOS apps including Meetup, and has worked on a host of open source work.

The Evolution of Blockchain

Nicola Morris speaks about blockchain and its opportunity to transform commerce.

Morris dissects the mechanisms of blockchain as well as its possibilities, and examines how this system can create more trust and transparency across the many ways we buy, sell, or analyze value.

She describes how the current database systems used in commerce are exchanging value, but that blockchain is more effective and efficient.

Morris describes the blockchain benefits of speed, transparency and truth.

She depicts blockchain, in its most fundamental form, as a ledger which keep track of transactions, except it’s on multiple computers, which makes the record viewable to others.

Also, a transaction recorded on a block is immutable, or unchangeable.

Since the data is available to others, there’s trust and transparency.

This is a massive development since there are so many intermediaries whose reason for existence is based upon lack of trust and transparency (think bankers and many aspects of banking). Hence, blockchain eliminates middlemen and reduces commerce friction.

However, things are not perfect yet and there is lack of regulatory governance. So, although the evolution of blockchain will not occur overnight, we will get there.

Morris uses the development of the internet as a parallel analogy to the evolution of blockchain, with the difference that blockchain is new and the internet has had a few decades to evolve into a meaningful global platform of communication.

Morris believes blockchain will democratize and revolutionize commerce.

Nicola Morris leads the WEX corporate development team and is responsible for corporate strategy, M&A, marketing, and new business ventures, including our businesses in Latin America and Australia. Prior to joining WEX, Morris worked at Verizon Communications, where she was focused on new business opportunities, identifying M&A targets and creating communications related to Verizon’s growth strategy. Morris has also previously worked at Digex, Iridium and for the U.S. government. She currently serves as a trustee on the Portland Symphony Orchestra Board and as a director on the Center for Grieving Children’s Board.

What is IOST?

This brief video outlines and overview of the IOST network and ecosystem.

IOST uses a “Proof-of-Believability” algorithm to enable high-speed transaction throughput while ensuring nodes stay compliant. Some of the factors monitored include IOST token balance, reputation-based token balance, network contributions and user behaviors.t

They boast of faster and higher-grade Byzantine Fault Tolerance mechanism, microstate blocks, Atomic Commit protocol and a dynamic sharding protocol (Efficient Distributed Sharding), which are intended to ensure transactions are safeguarded, consistent and fast while reducing storage, configuration costs and processing power for validators.

IOST states they are committed to a permissionless and transparent network that is open source and accessible for all.

Their website says “anyone is able to participate in every layer of our system, from using services on our blockchain to running a node and validating transactions. Our rules and code are open for all to see and no preconditions will limit participation.”

From AI to Blockchain: Top trends to watch in 2019

Amy Webb, founder and quantitative futurist at The Future Today Institute, talks with Tonya Hall at ZDNet about blockchain, benevolent malware, AI, and mixed reality.

In spite of the vicissitudes and hype of cryptocurrencies, the potential for blockchain to benefit so many industries is irresistible.

Within the field of artificial intelligence, there is much to pay attention to. Facial computing is a branch of AI which shows great promise.

In terms of generally looking at future technology, Webb advises looking broader than your own industry.

The Future Today Institute researches emerging technologies at the fringes and tracks them as they move towards the mainstream. Their pioneering, data-driven forecasting methodology and tools enable organization leaders to make better decisions about the future.

A MATRIX AI Network-Enhanced Future

The MATRIX AI Network is a global, open-source, public, intelligent blockchain-based distributed computing platform and operating system that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.

MATRIX was created to make blockchains faster, more flexible, more secure, and more intelligent.

Registered in Hong Kong, the Foundation has separate departments to manage various aspects of the development and operations.

MATRIX AI Network is designing Intelligent Contracts that leverage natural language programming and adaptive deep learning-based templates to auto-code.

MATRIX’s Secure Virtual Machine can detect attacks on transactions by providing AI-backed vulnerability detection with fault-tolerant protocols. In other words, the MATRIX team has introduced formal verification technology during transactions to detect security vulnerabilities.

AdLedger Introduction

Adledger states they are “a nonprofit research and development consortium charged with implementing global technical standards and solutions for the digital media and blockchain industries.”

“The goal of AdLedger is to further trust and transparency within the digital media space.”

Blockchain is key to that ambition.

In the above video, Christiana Cacciapuoti of AdLedger; Chad Andrews & Babs Rangaiah of IBM; Ryan Nathanson of Salon Media Group Inc.; and Adam Helfgott of MAD Network, discuss issues plaguing ad tech and how AdLedger can address these issues.

The goal is for brands to get more media for their working dollar, publishers will get a fair price for their inventory and consumers will get messages that are better targeted and more relevant.


Blockchain as the New Architecture of Trust

Kevin Werbach, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, joined Mozilla’s Director of Public Policy, Chris Riley, in a discussion of decentralization and trust online, to explore Kevin’s recent work on the blockchain as a trust architecture.

Werbach notes that blockchain is represented as an ultimate form of decentralized trust. In other words, you can trust the system without trusting specific actors. That concept is underscored by the fact that no one has the power to change a distributed ledger once transactions are recorded. And interested parties can see the same information, which provides a standard of transparency.

Werbach notes that too much trust in the system is unwarrented. He notes that for a given blockchain to succeed, all parties need to trust the system, so some amount trust is inherently required. Yet, he notes examples of the system failing, in terms of fraud and illegal activity, which have exposed flaws in the system. Hence, Werbach advocates for proper governance and regulation.

The discussion touches upon the realities of scalability re blockchain, citing that current technologies are adequate for many real-world scenarios, but not in others.

Werback is also the author of, The Blockchain and the New Architecture of Trust.