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Archive for the ‘blockchain’ tag

Apr 1, 2019

Acknowledging Risks in Institutional “Stablecoin” Cryptocurrencies and Fractional Reserve Banking

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, cybercrime/malcode

(Originally posted March 7, 2019, on the Crowdfunding Professional Association’s website.)

The purpose of this memo is two-fold:

  • To highlight the possibility of risks to banking and finance sectors arising from new financial instruments based on blockchain technology; primarily from novel financial accounting methods and products called “stablecoins,” digital tokens, and cryptocurrencies.
  • To encourage regulators and policymakers to engage blockchain thought leaders, product developers and the community in general to better understand the economic and policy implications of public, private and permissioned blockchains; their application to banking and finance regulations; and how innovation may be encouraged in a safe, sound and responsible manner.

Like any technology, blockchain can and may be used to improve a variety of operational, identity, security and technology challenges that the future of digital banking, business and society face. Blockchain technology is also poised to create new and increasingly clever methods and economies for value, commodities, assets, securities and a slew of yet-to-be discovered financial instruments and products. However, no leap in technology and finance is ever made without risk. As policymakers and stewards of the current and future digital economy and ecosystem, we have an obligation to our constituents and the global banking and finance community to guide the growth and adoption of emerging fintech technology in a safe and sound manner.

To that end, three areas that have the potential for regulatory and compliance issues as companies such as JP Morgan Chase, embrace and develop blockchain technologies to leverage digital tokens, cryptocurrencies and novel accounting systems such as the so called “JPMCoin,” are highlighted:

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Jan 18, 2019

Blockchain — Why remodeling your own house is stupid.

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, cryptocurrencies

I love hearing the enthusiasm and joy in the voices of first time home buyers who are going to save money, bond and remodel their house together. Brand new doctors, seasoned lawyers, accountants, project managers, the boldest of GenX and Millennials who grew up swinging VR joystick in lieu of hammers. But they’ve watched Property Brothers and Love It or List and have the best database of YouTube videos for home remodeling in their entire subdivision or building. They even park in the “Pro” section at Home Depot and have their very own monogrammed Leatherman construction gloves.

You can remodel your own home. Even “just” your kitchen or “just” your bathroom. You can read and have all the resources at your disposal. But don’t. Don’t even fucking think about it. Remember how you tried to cook Thanksgiving dinner last year and ended up burning up your kitchen, which is why you need to replace it? Those were simple enough directions too, right?

But what does this have to do with blockchain and more importantly your business?

Glad you asked. Well, your business is like your house. Blockchain is like a remodel. You can do it yourself. You’re after all a pro at your business. But your business isn’t blockchain. Your business is shipping, consulting, farming, logistics, banking, money exchange, insurance, lending, maybe even selling pizzas. Your business is a business. Your business isn’t a way of doing business or a business tool like blockchain. Your business is a way of generating you income to provide for your family, workers, community, financial security and future. It ain’t a way to decentralize any of those, unless you want to find out what a “decentralized” retirement looks like. (Hint, think working poor at 75 years old. #GigEconomy).

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Dec 31, 2018

Virtual Currencies Are As Old As Favors

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, disruptive technology, economics, finance

I owe Jack Shaw a favor. It’s one of those, “This one time in Cambodia…” type of favors. We won’t speak of it beyond perhaps a nod and wink. It’s not written down anywhere; the details of such are so vague as to be almost non existent, while encompassing the known universe. It expires upon death, of the sun; and can be redeemed whenever and by another person who need only walk up to me and say, “Jack Shaw sent me. He says to tell you ________”. And tada, that favor has been redeemed for value.

Jack would call this favor a “marker.” It’s more valuable than your house, the Empire State Building & 100k Bitcoins combined. It can even be redeemed for something even more precious, my time or an opportunity or access to my network. You know, those things that money can’t buy. Well, you can lease my time from time to time.

Favors, markers and promises are humanities’ first virtual currencies.

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Nov 1, 2018

Will we all be using a blockchain currency some day?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, government

At Quora.com, I respond to quetions on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency. Today, a reader asked “Will we all be using a blockchain-based currency some day?”.

This is an easy question to answer, but not for usual Geeky reasons: A capped supply, redundant bookkeeping, privacy & liberty or blind passion. No, these are all tangential reasons. But first, let’s be clear about the answer:

Yes, Virginia. We are all destined to move,
eventually, to a blockchain based currency.

I am confident of this because of one enormous benefit that trumps all other considerations. Also, because of flawed arguments behind perceived negatives.

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Oct 25, 2018

You don’t understand Bitcoin because you think money is real

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, government, internet

Maria Bustillos is founder of the blockchain supported publication, Popula. I stole the title of this post from her essay at Medium.com (linked below).* I hope that Maria considers it a tribute rather than title-plagiarism. Her article is blocked by a pay wall, so allow me to explain a concept that confounds even a Nobel Prize winning economist. My take on the issue is somewhat different than Ms. Bustillos.

The difficulty understanding or appreciating Bitcoin boils down to a misconception that the dollar is backed by something more tangible, such as gold, guns or the promise of redemption. Not only is this an illusion, but Bitcoin is backed by something far more tangible, intrinsic and durable.

The illusion that “real” value emanates from government coupled with a robust consumer economy has been woven into our DNA for millennia. But, the value we attribute to a Dollar, Euro, or Yuan is a result of conditioning rather than any intrinsic value. That same conditioning has led us to believe that there is something sane and inherent in a nation that controls its money supply and its monetary policy.

Most public works projects—power generation, space ships, or the telephone network—were controlled by government in the past. If not, they were regulated as a licensed monopoly. This creates a choke point, a lack of competition, and a gaping opportunity for inefficiency, mismanagement or graft. It defies a free market economy and it concentrates power in the hands of politicians. But, at one time, it seemed necessary.

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Sep 25, 2018

Disruption Experience Nails It

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, education, finance, innovation, internet, policy, robotics/AI

The Disruption Experience this Friday in Singapore is a blockchain event with a difference. With apologies to the Buick commercial, this is not your grandfather’s conference

I know a few things about blockchain conferences. I produced and hosted the first Bitcoin Event in New York. My organization develops cryptocurrency standards and practices. We help banks and governments create policy and services. And as public speaker for a standards organization, I have delivered keynote presentations at conferences and Expos in Dubai, Gujarat India, Montreal and Tampa, New York and Boston.

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Aug 4, 2018

How will Bitcoin Work When Mining Rewards Run Out?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, internet

Let us frame the question, by reviewing what miners really do…

Miners play a critical role in the Bitcoin network. Their activity (searching for a nonce) results in assembling an immutable string of blocks that corroborate and log the universal transaction record. They are the distributed bookkeepers that replace old-school banks in recording and vouching for everyone’s purchase or savings.

From the perspective of a miner, there is no obvious connection between their activity and the worldwide network of bitcoin transactions and record keeping. They are simply playing an online game and competing against thousands of other miners in an effort to solve a complex and ongoing math problem. As they arrive at answers to small pieces of the problem, they are rewarded with bitcoin, which can be easily translated into any currency.

What is the Problem?

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Mar 12, 2018

John Oliver explains Bitcoin, Blockchain & Crypto (with precision & clarity)!

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, internet

John Oliver is a crossover who bridges the art of a comedian with the reporting and perspective of a liberal political pundit. Even detractors acknowledge that Oliver addresses serious issues with unusual wit and humor.

I never thought Oliver could (or would) tackle the topic of cryptocurrency—at least not with value to the viewer. It is too geeky, and too esoteric. (It also cuts into my mission of evangelism and education). smile

He did, and he sparkles! Feel free to jump past the fluff. The Bitcoin tutorial starts at 3:40. Of course, my friend, Shechter, in Long Island New York will bust a gut over what Oliver says at 9:40. It is not only clear and concise, it is accurate and terribly funny!

Whether you are a Bitcoin newbie or a seasoned blockchain coder, this is the video you have been looking for. This one is durable.

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Mar 12, 2018

What sets cryptocurrencies apart from each other?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, internet

Today, I was asked to answer this question at Quora:

What sets each cryptocurrency apart from the others?

“Cryptocurrency” is a broad term. It refers to payment coins, of course—such as Bitcoin and Litecoin. But, because most tradeable tokens attain an asset value, the word is often used to refer to smart contract devices, such as Ethereum, a host of other blockchain based tokens, functional Internet-of-Things tokens, and even ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). Since people treat ICOs and IOT tokens as investment instruments even if they are useless as a payment mechanism, they all fall within the realm of a cryptocurrency.

So, before addressing the question, let’s distinguish between Altcoins and ICOs. I assume the question refers to Altcoins, and not ICOs…

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Mar 6, 2018

Have there been successful Transaction Malleability attacks?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, internet

First, let’s get some basics out of the way…

What is Transaction Malleability?

Here are 2 explanations of transaction malleability: [Coindesk] [TechTalk]

In a nutshell, Transaction Malleability is a weakness in the original Bitcoin implementation that enables a bad actor to change the unique ID of a bitcoin transaction before it is confirmed on the Blockchain. Such a change makes it possible for someone to pretend that a transaction didn’t happen, if all necessary conditions are in place.

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