Friday, November 20, 2015

Whats wrong with Bitcoin, MtGox, Blockchain, C&S, la France.

First thoughts to the French and all those touched by the dreadful events there. Although I'm not a soccer aficionado I could not help but be positively moved by the goodwill of the France v England match. Humanity can be so strong in the face of terrorism.

This week I was at Clearing and Settlement World. Good to catch up with may familiar faces and some new ones too. I spoke on Bitcoin. (I'll put the slides up on this site under the blockchain tab).

I started blogging for a variety of reasons. One of them was that blogging on an article would force me to have an internal discipline to formulate an opinion on what I read. We're all bombarded with news but I wanted to force myself to digest and comprehend more than the vanilla message of corporate communications.

And so to Blockchain and Bitcoin. I felt I was just regurgitating links. So, I've been immersing myself into Bitcoin to better understand the rise of the blockchain. And I have some conclusions on Bitcoin that give me some context to shape my opinions (of course I reserve the right to change my opinions as new information comes to light or indeed as and when I'm corrected). Hence a lot of background articles in this blog post.

Bitcoin gets a bad rap. Black market money like Silk Road and trading scandals like MtGox.  So what? Hard or fiat currency has always been used for crime (at least from what I gather from the movies). Why is digital currency any different? We're all familiar with trading scandals. Nick Leason is vermin...that does not mean Barings and derivatives are bad. I like Bitcoin (BTC).

Bitcoin has got problems.
1. Bitcoin relies on a code base. Those people that maintain and support that code base are not economically aligned with the success of bitcoin. At best, the great work of Bitcoin is supported by the Bitcoin Foundation (much the same as Wikipedia).
2. Bitcoin is slow. Not only is it slow, it is positively lethargic. Bitcoin relies on new blocks being validated every 10 minutes.
3. Bitcoin is expensive. Bitcoin ain't going to fix our micro transaction problems. (When I say expensive I do so in the context of transaction fees).
4. Bitcoin is not green. I think it is an environmental nightmare. There are various estimates, but one conservative academic paper I read put the consumption of electricity of Bitcoin miners on a par with the daily power consumption of Ireland (i.e. the country, not just a small island).

None of this is new and consensus is that the Blockchain, the Bitcoin enabling technology is the way to harness all that is good in Bitcoin. So we can focus on the commercial applications of the blockchain.
...and there is a funny thing. The blockchain is all about a open, publically shared ledger (OK, you can have a private ledger, personally I think we'll end up with consortium ledgers where regulators have a lens to see all activity). And then you go to all these web sites to try and get underneath the mechanics of the technology application and all I can say is details are scarce. I used to moan about Central Market Infrastructure transparency of pricing but at least you could down load their rulebooks and circulars.

Whatever your pleasure, go about it this weekend unreservedly but respectfully. (I went to see a couple of emerging live bands last night).

Via la France.


Economist article on blockchain.
* Note if you're not a subscriber it may want you to register.
The article is good, but I would say generalist. Nothing revolutionary here.

Mt. Gox and Ripple Founder Jed McCaleb Unveils Project 'Stellar'
McCaleb is the original founder of defunct Japanese bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and a co-founder of digital currency-focused payment network Ripple Labs. ( users in London are able to spend bitcoins at a number of restaurants and coffee shops around London. This can be done due to SpectroCoin integration to a WoraPay platform.

Timeline of history / events.

...and a nice Bitcoin timeline of events.

The shady history of Mark Karples

Some of Karples initial online dialogue after taking over at MtGox.

MtGox Business Plan

Mt. Gox and Ripple Founder Jed McCaleb Unveils Project 'Stellar'

Some great stats and graphs here:

General News

Coal is dead? No one told ChinaThis one from real world mining.

Bitcoin Group Makes Third Attempt to IPO in Australia

Bankchain Gold Trading


Clearing and Settlement World comes around again.
17th -18th Nov.
I'm delighted to be presenting Bitcoin / Blockchain.


ICE agrees $650m Trayport acquisition
initial clients, which include, the San Francisco-based blockchain API company that partnered with Nasdaq to develop the platform, ChangeTip, a Bitcoin company specializing in micro-payments, and PeerNova a blockchain-inspired ledger and database company

...The first participants will include:, ChangeTip, PeerNova, Synack, Tango and Vera....
....Nasdaq recently announced it will undertake an effort to manage proxy voting via blockchain technology in Estonia, as its next proof-of-concept for the company's blockchain initiative....


Dyson on innovation.
“Creativity should be thought of as a dialogue. You have to have a problem before you can have the game-changing riposte.”(otherwise referred to as the "problem phase” of innovation).
Personally I subscribe to the 3 phase model of innovation:
1. Tinkering and refining Day to Day processes; (run the bank)
2. Thoughtful restructure or re-engineering of processes; (change the bank) and
3. Implementation and adoption of disruptive technologies.

Clever advice on how to use your settings

Emotional Intelligence

I'm a big believer in EI. This article, due to the bullet points, is interesting, but I don't think it totally nails the topic, hence it doesn't inspire me to buy the book they're promoting.

A wonderful crowd sourcing success story
Radical Bee Hive Rakes in $4.8 Million

Pythagoras' Theorem: .....................................24 words.
Lord's Prayer: ................................................66 words.
Archimedes' Principle: .....................................67 words.
Ten Commandments: ................................... 179 words.
Gettysburg Address: ......................................286 words.
US Declaration of Independence: ..................1,300 words.
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: .......7,818 words.
EU Regulations on the Sale of CABBAGES:.....26,911 words.
(source: Mum)

The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.
Saint Teresa of Avila

“The harder the choice, the less important it is”
Fredkin's paradox

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