Thoughts on Bitcoin

Bitcoin is.

The security of bitcoin as a protocol is derived from the quantum properties it uses as a secure informational state machine. The state transitions can be trusted based on pure mathematics.

  • Elliptical Curves
  • Digital Signatures
  • Proof-of-Work

Bitcoin as a system is the most powerful machine / computer in the world.

It has already achieved this in a quick almost 10 years.

What makes it incredibly valuable with respect to the concept of money is that it is fairly easy to write to the the most powerful machine in the world.

State is live.

Transactions that are submitted are picked up by 98% of the hashing power of the machine.

It is a universal singleton.

By definition it is information creation in the purest form.

It is quantum in that a bitcoin address exist in a digital layer thats function is created on a spent output and used on input.

That act of transferring a bitcoin is that which creates the value.

No digital file is transferred.

Bitcoin is simply a namespace for the act of quantum transactional state verification.

It is a wave until that act of spending makes it material. It is untangible yet verdical.

Consensus is secured by gravity and energy.

There is a distribution of energy that is secured by the ability to call and announce state change verification. It’s inputs and outputs on the network.

It is a graph database d = 1.32

Hashlink:

ipfs/QmZHh2KKXTFtdmk5ybV2hmjXZvEpmyXEvj11DnNoguukmF

Interoperable, Scalable Blockchain Protocols

Last week I attended the Wanxiang Global Blockchain Summit in Shanghai. There were a number of sessions but one that really stuck with me was about potential scaling solutions for distributed consensus protocols.

There is a concept of polyglot persistence which essentially means certain databases are meant for certain reasons. You have SQL database, noSQL databases, graph databases, blockchains, distributed fault-tolerant consensus ledgers, CRDTS; all of these different types of protocols. They have different consensus mechanisms, data models, query languages, state change and message ordering models such as validators or orderers; but in order to effectively scale they need to be to interoperate and need to be able to complement each other.

They will need to be able to share account state. They will need to be able to resolve any concurrency issues that arise. They will need to be able to resolve replication and eventually be consistent.

Most of my time is spent working at the application layer but an assumption that I have as that building solutions that will incorporate multiple protocols will be important in the future.

This type of approach is not necessarily found in the blockchain space specifically because of the economic/personal incentives one has if heavily invested in a specific protocol. This could be time learning Solidity versus Kotlin; this could be owning a bunch of Ether vs NEO; this could be working at a company that is heavily contributing to a particular open project.

Regardless of ones preference in blockchain/distributed ledger/consensus database; this past trip to Shanghai validated that taking a multi-blockchain approach and being open to learning the differences between them and how they could also complement each other is going to have a great effect on the way that solutions in the future will be built.

An example of this is the new Ethermint Token.

Ethereum and Tendermint

In what is being called the Shanghai Accord; a new partnership between the two projects was announced in which they will work together to help scale blockchain technology. Tendermint a Proof of Stake consensus protocol and its new Internet of Blockchains Hub / project Cosmos is working closely with Ethereum project to essentially create derivate tokens on Tendermint infrastrucutre in what is being called a hard spoon. Essentially a new coin is minted on another chain (tendermint) that uses the account state or balances of an existing token on a chain (ethereum); and we have Ethermint. This could mean in an effort to provide a scalable cross-blockchain solution in which tokens now have shared state/accountbalances on the Ethereum Chain and the Tendermint Chain.

Content-Addressed Blockchain Resolvers

This is but one approach to have inter-operable blockchains. Other approaches have been proposed historically such as pegged side chains but one to me that seems very interesting is leveraging IPFS at the network the content address and resolve through the different blockchain / databases (as long as there is a key value store) using multihash and the ipld thinwaist protocol. It is still much just concept but again it is aligned with the idea of having multiple chains interoperating to address some of the issues that blockchains are facing today.

Plasma

Another approach is using Plasma; this allows transactions to occur offchain; only broadcasting them to the chain if there is a transaction dispute; you never sent me the money, vice versa). In this way the blockchain becomes an arbiter or a distributed court house; a way to have veridical computing if there is in fact a need for the chain based settlement.

Proof-of-Stake

Another take away  and interesting concept is the movement to proof-of-stake. Ethereum’s movement towards POS is in Vlad Zamfir’s Casper protocol. Other chains such as Lisk uses a dPOS system and Tendermint is on POS as well. A common theme between them is the concept of weight. The stake and the weight of stake has some very interesting implications on the security and threat models that could be introduced to the protocol. More on Proof-of-Stake/Casper in another post.

There have been a few recent cross chain atomic swaps recently aswell.

Litecoin + Decred

https://blog.decred.org/2017/09/20/On-Chain-Atomic-Swaps/

And cross chain transaction component verifications.

ZKSnarks + Ethereum

The Byzantium hard fork went live on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet at block 1,700,000; one of the features was support for ZKSnarks. On the Ethereum ropsten testnet a a zksnarks component of the Zcash transaction was verified.

Public Chains and Financial Services

Lastly from Nick Szabo’s talk on Smart Contracts the idea of a smart contracts acting a digital distributed vending machine was very interesting. There are certain security guarantees; and the rules are deterministic and known (you put in money into the machine something comes out). I have heard the vending machine analogy from Chain.com as well, the concepts share the same vision of taking the best of public blockchain technology and the best of existing financial services.

 

2017-09-16 01_49_44-Untitled - Notepad

2017-09-20 09_43_59-Dapps.ai Platform - PowerPoint

2017-09-16 02_00_15-Untitled - Notepad

 

IPLD Resolvers

This was in my drafts from a few months back, right when I got really excited about IPFS, content addressing data, and the potential future applications that will be built on the protocol.

Content addressing is a true computational advancement in the way that we think about adding and retrieve content on the web. We can take existing databases and use the various parts of the IPFS protocol to build clusters of nodes that are serving content in the form of IPLD structures.

IPLD enables futureproof, immutable, secure graphs of data the essentially are giants Merkle Trees. The advantages of converting a relational database or key value db into a merkle tree are endless.

The data and named links gives the collection of IPFS objects the structure of a Merkle DAG — DAG meaning Directed Acyclic Graph, and Merkle to signify that this is a cryptographically authenticated data structure that uses cryptographic hashes to address content.

This protocol enables an entirely new way to search and retrieve data. It is no longer about where a file is located on a website. It is now about what exact piece of data you are looking for. If I send you an email with a link in it and 30 days later you click the link, how can you be certain that the data you are looking at is the same as what I original sent you? You can’t.

With IPLD you can use content addressing to know for certain that a piece of content has not changed. You can can traverse the IPLD object and seamlessly pick out piece of the data. By using IPLD once that data is locally cached you can use the application offline.

You can work on an application with other peers around you as well using a shared state. But why is this is important for businesses?

Content addressing for companies will ensure a number of open standards. We can now take fully encrypted private networks that are content addressed.

This is a future proof system. Hashes that are currently used in databased can be broken but now we have multi-hashing protocols.

We can build blockchains that use IPLD and libp2p.

The IPLD resolver uses two main pieces; the bitswap and the blocks-service.

Bitswap is transferring blocks and blocks-services is determining what needs to be fetched based on what is currently in the local cache and what needs to be fetched. This prevents duplication and increase efficiencies in the system.

We will be creating a resolver for the enterprise that enables them to take their existing database tables and convert them into giant merkle trees that are interoperable. IPLD is like a global adapter for cryptographic protocols.

Creating the Enterprise Forrest

Here is where it gets interesting. The enterprise uses a few different types of database; relational SQL databases, noSQL distributed databases.

Salesforce is a another type of database that we can take and convert into a Merkle Tree.

S3, is another type of database,

I call this tables to trees.

We are going to take systems that are onPrem siloed or centralized to a cloud provider and turn them into merkle trees using IPLD content addressing.

The IPLD resolver is an internal DAG API module:

We can create a plug and play system of resolvers. This is where a company can take their existing relational database and keep it.

We will resolve the database and run a blockchain in parallel. This blockchain will be built using two protocols that are from the IPFS project: ipld and libp2p

The IPLD Resolver for the enterprise will consist of

.put

.get

.remove

.support.add

.support.rm

We will take any enterprise database and build out the content addressed merkle tree on it.

Content Addressing enterprise content on IPFS-Clusters

Enterprise can consist of 10,000 nodes 50,000 nodes 100,000 nodes and the IPLD object has to be under 1 MB.

That all will be hosting the merkle tree mirror of the relational database.

This can also enable offline operation for the network. Essentially they have their own protocol that is mirroring their on-premise system.

We will be starting with dag-mySQL, dag-noSQL, dag-apex

The MySQL hash function that exist on the on premise system stays when implemented. If that hash is ever broken there is no way to upgrade the system with up completely migrating it.

This makes data migration a lot easier or not even necessary in the future. Once the data is content addressed and creates the merkle tree, we can then start traversing the data.

We will also build interfaces that can interact with the IPLD data

IPLD is a format that can enable version control. The resolver will essentially take any database, any enterprise implementation, and convert it into a merkle tree.

We are essentially planting the seeds (product) and watering them (services). Once these trees are all in place that can communicating because they are all using the same data format.

Future Proofing your Business

We are creating distributed, authenticated, hash-linked data structures. IPLD is a common hash-chain format for distributed data structures.

Each node in these merkle trees will have a unique Content Identified – a format for these hash-links.

This is a database agnostic path notation any hash – any data format.

This will have a multihash – multiple cryptographic hashes, multicodec – multiple serialization formats, multibase – multiple base encodings 

Again, why is the important for businesses? The most important is transparency and security, this is a tamper proof, tamper evident database that can be shared, traversed, replicated, distributed, cached, encrypted and you know now exactly WHAT you are linking to, not where. You know which hash function to verify with. You know what base it is in.

This new protocol enables cryptographic systems to interoperate over a p2p network that serves hash linked data.

IPFS 0.4.5 includes that dag command that can be used to traverse IPLD objects.

Now to write the dag-sql resolver.

Take any existing relational database and you can now traverse that database content addressing.

Content Addressing your database to a cluster of IPFS Cluster nodes on a private encrypted network.

Deterministic head of the cluster then writes new entries.

We use the Ethereum network to assign a key pair for your users to leverage the mobile interface. You can sign in via fingerprint or by facial recognition using the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit. Your database will run in parallel , you will keep your on premise system and have a content addressed. Content Addressing a filesystem or any type of database creates a Merkle DAG. With this Merkle DAG we can format your data in a way that is secure, immutable, tamper proof, futureproof and able to communicate with other underlying network protocols and apllication stacks. We can effectively create a blockchain network out of your exisiting database the runs securely on a cluster of p2p nodes. I am planting business merkle dag seeds in the merkle forrest. Patches of these forrest will be able to communicate with other protocols via and hash and in any format.

This is the way that the internet will work going into the future. A purely decentralized web of business trees.

 

Continued:

On Graph Data Types

DAG:

In a graph model, each vertex consists of:

  • A unique identifier
  • a set of outgoing edges
  • a set of incoming edges
  • a collection of properties (key-value pairs)

Each edge consists of:

  • A unique identifier
  • The vertex at which the edge starts (the tail vertex)
  • The vertex at which the edge ends ( the head vetex)
  • A label to describe the kind of relationahship between the two vertices
  • A collection of properties (key-value pairs)

Important aspects of the model:

Any vertex can have an edge connecting it with an other vertex. There is no schema that restricts which kinds of things can or cannot be associated.

Given an vertex, you can efficiently find both its incoming and its outgoing edges, and thus traverse the graph – ie. follow a a path through a chain of vertices- both forward and backward. ie ie why you can traverse a hashed blockchain with a resolver.

By using different lables for different kinds of relationships, you can store several different kinds of information in a single graph, while still maintaining a clean data model.

 

 

2017

We are on the edge of the future – seeing the emergence of technology that we dreamed of years ago; AI powered bots, Holographic GUIs, autonomous vehicles, decentralized application networks. It’s happening fast. There is new form of distributed world consciousness of truth in the internet, it enables people to come to distributed consensus about certain things. Sometimes it is tough to tell which are certain, cryptographic proof of providence of content will become a standard. Ratings and reputation currency creating the convergence of identity. Proliferation of meta-physics in numbers. More ICOs, tokenized application networks, appcoin protocols, zero-proof currency spinoffs, enterprise crypto consortium, and crypto hedge-funds.

This past year I learned:

This is going into the 5th year I have written on my blog. I am at just over 45,000 views all time.

screenshot-2017-01-01-08-51-20

Hit 11,424 this year in total views; not bad, though a slight decrease from 2015.

2016-12-01 16_17_47-Stats ‹ domsteil — WordPress.com.png

2013: A Year in Review

2014

2015

2016:

 

These were some my goals from 2016:

  • Learn AngularJS and ReactJS
  • Learn Microsoft CRM Programming C# .NET
  • Earn Blockchain Technology Patent for Smart Contract Management
  • Build the Dreamforce Story and Demos – (Alphabet type HUGE Conglemerate)
  • Build Salesforce Lightning Components for the Relaunch
  • Learn how to push GIT, anywhere in the world to anyone in the world
  • Build 21.co applications to earn Bitcoin
  • Learn Chinese and Portuguese
  • Build a program with the Tessel.io
  • Start MicroSaas with the BizSpark program at Microsoft
  • Trade Cryptocurrency daily, more ICOs,
  • Finish the Art of War
  • Write a blog post on the state of cryptocurrency
  • More water every day
  • Eat Healthy: Chicken, Vegetables, Almonds, Salmon, Brown Rice, Eggs, Protein Powder, Oatmeal
  • Run and Lift at 6AM at Koret out by 6:45 to get to work by 8

Some of the highlights from 2016:

  • Traveled to London for work and visited Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, and Ibiza) with my Dad for his 60th.
  • Flew to New York for the second time for the Consensus 2016 Hackathon and won the prize for best App on Azure by Microsoft. MicroSaas – Enterprise Smart Contract Platform and Exchange (BizSpark grant).
  • Made it into an article in TechCrunch for Bots and VR at Apttus
  • Started investing in ICOs

Focus in 2017

  • Build Dapps
  • Build with Babel, ReactJS, Redux, GraphQL, and Node
  • Keep building Bots and a VR/AR interface library in Unity
  • Learn about Containers, Docker, Kubernetes
  • Learn how to write python scripts with Tensorflow, Theano and Keras libraries
  • Write 21.co computer python scripts
  • Write 1000 Ethereum Smart Contract Clauses
  • Read Applied Cryptography cover to cover with annotations
  • Keep a written Daily Journal and Physical Calendar
  • Say my autosuggestion every morning
  • Drink more water, run, and read everyday (52 books, 365 miles)
  • Get 100K views on the site

Crypto –

Cryptocurrencies, cryptographic application networks, applied cryptography protocols, application coins, decentralized application networks. Dapps.

Bitcoin is first and last OR Bitcoin is first of many. The price of bitcoin is next to $1000 and the overall market capitalization has hit an all time high:

screenshot-2017-01-01-09-05-35

 

Do we only need one cryptographic state machine for the world similar to one internet to the world? Does segwit, payment channels, teechans and the like round out the Bitcoin network or do Turing complete scripting decentralized state networks aka Ethereum bring us into the next generation of decentralized applications. There is room for both, and the price of both tokens Year over Year seems to think so as well. Despite the Dao hack dropping the price from a high of 19$, down to around $7.50 now, Ethereum is moving fast.

Companies such as Truffle are making Smart Contract development for the Ethereum network much easier. Zeppelin is creating a library for secure and effetive smart contracts, BlockApps is creating the bridge for Enterprise Blockchain deployments and apps, and MetaMask is making your browser Ethereum network compatible via the web3 api.

ZCash – zkSnarks – Zero Knowledge Proofs has a ton of upside; 21 million notes that come with an encrypted memo field, a key that enabled selective disclosure, and ofcourse the blockchain immutable, petrified effect.

Brave and Blockstack are reimagining the internet browser experience.

The finserv platforms players have launched  R3 Corda and also Chain has launched its platform and smart contract language Ivy.

Enterprise is off the races with Microsoft leading the pack; and IBM not far behind banking on hyperledger on blue mix, and AWS with Monax.

consulting firms are just starting on POCs such as Delotties Rubik;

I think this is a fundamental shift in the enterprise back office from on-premise, to cloud, to dapps.

Dapps for the enterprise; or a new UI over decentralized application networks like bitcoin or ethereum.

That is next.

One last thing on ICOs and blockchain tokens; a paper was released on the difference between securities and blockchain tokens which I found interesting. Ideally if doing an ICO or any cryptocurrency the following is something to keep in mind:

  • the token is sold once there is an operational network using the token, or immediately before the token goes live, it its more likely to be purchased with the intention of use rather than profit
  • It is built with all of the technical permissions necessary to actions the networks functions; it is for use and able to be used by an individual buying the token
  • A token which has a specific function that is only available to token holders is more likely to be purchased in order to access that function and less likely to be purchased with an expectation of profit.

The buy in is based on the premise of the usefulness of the underlying function that the token enables on the decentralized network. The value of the token is based on the supply and demand of the underlying function.

AR –

Built AR Hololens CPQ Applications

Jet and Bike configuration inside of Hololens –

Learned how to create a Holo-App

Learned C# classes and  Visual Studio

Learned Unity how to build GameObjects, import GameObjects from Blender. Applying scripts to different game objects and manager objects. How to call methods that looked into the children of certain gameobjects and in doing so was able to create animations and implement visual rendering based on user interaction via voice and gesture taps.

Unity is a very powerful platform to learn, it is very remarkable to essentially anchor an image from a computer into a digital layer in the space around you.

I think Unity and the platform is amazing. You are able to download a 3D model import it into a scene, apply a script, and deploy it the 3D world to interact with.

This learning curve to accomplish this is not too bad. You can start designing and deploying 3D models in a holographic interface. The other cool thing is that they stayed anchored; in that when i put a hologram in my living room, and come back two weeks later my hologram is still there.

It’s thethered to the real world in space; theres context to what you build.

I enjoy working on VR.

I think that setting up the VR and learning how to deploy holograms was one of the hardest but coolest projects I have ever worked on.

Bots –

Build Bots using Howdy.Ai for Slack, wrote the OAuth 2 script

Built bots using Microsoft Botbuilder and attended BotDay

Built out Max… bots on Azure

Integrated LUIS NLP model into the Bot code hosted on bitbucket continuous deployment to Azure web app.

Conversationalist are no doubt a new way to interact with applications, but they also inherently change the way we build software.

Bots are never really a finished piece, there is always something to optimize, tweak, add in; to make the bot more human like to create a better experience for the user.

There is so much friction that is removed in conversational interfaces. The advancements with lingustics and computers is astonishing. I remember creating my first SVG trees using prolog to parse english and japanese sentences. I didn’t realize it then but ultimately that recursive programming was an excellent base line for my understanding of how to create bots that leverage NLP.

The other important thing about getting a bot up and running is that is is being hosted, you have the app id, secret, you have continuous deployment from a bitbucket repo, you have the right size application node, your webservice are leverage keys that do not expire causing latency issues, you are testing locally with an emualtor before pushing changes to the live bot, that you are taking into a fact security, querying the data intelligently, that the bot sounds conversational and you have removed console log statements from the dialect, that you are able to talk to the bot randomly and achieve some outcome, that the bot is available in multiple channels and dynamically can alter the response based on the context, that the bot learns, and you learn, what it is that can make it more efficient, effective, and execute what it is it is being told to do.

Also,

that you have a pricing model for the bot, and you know exactly how much this bot is going to cost you and earn your platform provider in the form of consumption, that it is ultimately going to have to be managed through a lifecycle of improvements, and that during these lifecycles people who need to access the bot are going to come and go and you will need a way to manage what users have access, in addition to if you want to update at a certain time for certain users, how that can be accomplished, and ultimately if you can run some different advanced algothritms through all of the data you are collecting because you are essentially creating a platform, in essence you will need a way to bake in some form of deep nueral net; my guess would be to stay ahead of the market.

 

I am truly excited to begin the next step in my career. I’ll be working on the technology that is fundamentally going to change the way that enterprise companies around the world do business. There is the combination of having a decentralized blockchain network facilitate certain business functions between trustless parties. The decentralized trustless yet collaborative industry. Decentralized Applications that enable certain functions and state on a world computer, a distributed consensus protocol, from an internet browser. There is the concept of having an intelligent agent calling and deploying to these decentralized networks…

 

Happy New Year,

Live the dream.

-Dom

 

 

 

 

CryptoTrends

This article is about what hasn’t been in the headlines in the crypto space.

By crypto space I mean: cryptographic currencies, decentralized ledgers, distributed consensus protocols and thee / a blockchain protocol.

It is fast pace, riveting, real-time, global; it never sleeps.

From the highly anticipated Halvening, to the Rise of Ethereum and the Fall of the DAO, to the next big anticipated ICO; this year has arguably been the most exciting for this global phenomenon.

I haven’t posted in awhile, it still feels like the wild west times of cryptographic state transition machines. Lots has changed but governments still do not know how to classify it, exchanges have trouble securing it, people still can’t get enough of it; a true computational advancement growing before our eyes into a new global digital layer.

You have computing nodes around the world opting in to share the concurrent state of ownership of digital entities coupled with an arms race of specialized chips consuming immense amounts of energy incentivizing the search for a mathematical proof that secures and enables a robust cryptographic monetary system.

A truly born global and open enabler of immediate value transfer.

Clearing and settlement that relies purely on the underlying cryptographic stacking of blocks full, and I mean completely full, of digital cryptographic signatures.

On the Surface

Someone can securely hold digital entities of value, they can be exchanged and used anywhere in the world, there is no one that tells them how much they can send or spend; the rules are written in computer code.

One can engage in instant digital arbitrage and use a physical proxy for food at a restaurant or a means of transportation. This is the current reality we live in, or in other words:

There is a digital layer that not everyone in the world knows about. This layer is operated in p2p cryptography. It has already arrived, but is not evenly distributed yet.

One could leverage this layer in reality if they know the way to access it:

One way is to use Shapeshift to exchange one alt for another, set the withdraw address to a web wallet, send the alt from a web wallet a global digital exchange, sell for Bitcoin, withdraw to a wallet associated to a Bitcoin debit card then go to the nearest ATM for cash effectivo.

This could take maybe 15-20 minutes.

In real time using a variety of mediums, pure decentralized digital arbitrage. A seamless flow of taking a non-tangible digital unspent transaction output and turning it into cash.

At any point, regardless of location in the entire world, you can buy, sell, short, swap, any digital entity of any magnitude via a computer in your pocket and then go and use it IRL.

It’s unfathomable.

What other asset class can you trade digitally and globally at any time then immediately exchange for cash? That has this type of volitility?

Now if buying dinner or booking a flight is the first step, this is only going to become more and more prevalent as more asset classes are put on the blockchain. If I can spend coins on the blockchain, why can’t I earn coins on the blockchain?

On the Machine Layer

Machines do not need a UI in order to interact with the blockchain.

You don’t have to be there for a machine to interact with your endpoint.

If right now I can do all of the above, trade, sell, spend, crypto, pull out money, then I should have just an easy a time earning the above via some digital mechanism.

This is what the 21 computer enables – one’s machines to earn bitcoin per http request.

This still really doesn’t encompass the profound implications of being able to directly interface with a global value transfer network at the command line or by writing a consumable API. Tapping into the network should be easy, creating a closed loop once in should be even easier.

Something I thought is fitting is it comes down to input vs output. The analogy is equivalent to one Elon Musk mentionend recently in that as humans our input sensors are incredible, however the output is very inefficicent ( I have been typing on the train as fast as I can for the last half hour and I am barely at 800 words). It’s even worse when we are on a phone. We have two thumbs. Two measly thumbs to try and explain. Nueral lace is a way’s out but I think being able to incentivise machines for output is a step in a indirect but somehow related path.

I need to make it more of a habit to code in Python on my 21.co computer.

__init__ method   | Flask 

Bots

I haven’t been writing as much because I have been building bots. I have been using Howdy.ai’s BotKit to create a number of Slack bots.

Following tutorials online and eventually creating the conversations handlers, and connecting them to various APIs using a combination of npm packages, node.js, and heroku.

The platforms that are driving the new shifters Slack, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft. The big differentiator is that Slack was made enterprise team first. They have the most momentum and a great indicator of this is their growing appexchange.

As an operating system for teams of any size, there is a huge upside to bringing in the various tools one would use on a daily basis into one place.

Being able to leverage /commands, Webhooks, and bots will enable new levels of productivity and ultimately drive business outcomes.

I will have a post soon on how to build these integrations to Slack.

The next bots I make will be with Microsoft botbuilder and Azure.

OAuth

serialize JSON, deserialize.

Callbacks

ICO’S and CryptoArbitrage

There has been a recent increase in the number of Initial Coin Offerings.

Lisk was a solid one. Despite the DDOS on the web wallet at launch, overall the coin has given strong returns, has gotten some great backing, and a has accumulated a relatively high market capitalization.

There have been a few other ones ICOs recently that I have not participated in. The big thing here is your looking at the the tech, the team, are devs going to build on the platform, what is the main differentiator, what exchanges are going to list it and last but definitely not least; follow the whales and traders on Twitter.

There is no question whether or not you can profit off Alts, you’re hedging a quick come up versus a platform and community that contributes to growth and continued innovation.

Don’t Just Hold

From an immediate coin flipping for profit point of view I would make sure that you have a few different mediums you could use to exchange the altcoin into BTC in a relatively fast way, within at least an hour. Confirmation times and amounts do vary by exchange and by the level of identity verification you have on the exchange but ultimately you want to make sure that if you are going to be investing in an alt that you know that it can be converted back into Bitcoin with out jumping through too many hoops.

When making an exchange in the crypto world it comes down to liquidity and security. If you want to you can completely trade via your phone, log into your various wallets via web browsers, and refresh and count blocks until your money has moved. Not really recommended for various security reasons but it does work.On the flip side you can get a device for an offline wallet or create, print, and send a multisig paperwallet.

Just a side note I would make sure when trading that you send a little bit first to an address verify it got there and then send the rest, just good practice. On the flip side if you are cashing out from bitcoin to a bank account make sure that the card / account your are withdrawing the money to is not closed or inactive.

Definitely keep an eye on:

coinmarketcap.com

WhaleClub, twitter feeds

check what time it is in China, NY, and SF.

On the Protocol

I often forget that the code that operates all of this can be directly interfaced with. Actually sending the raw transaction data.

Actually piecing together EVM assembly.

Review the code of the protocol. In a sense if you find a bug the bounty could be millions.

On Nodes

The number of nodes that keep a copy of the blockchain needs to be increased. This also means that the number of nodes running the same version of a protocol needs to be increased as well. A network of Raspberry Pis can create a interactable global digital layer if you know how to directly interface with the Bitcoin Protocol or a high level level language that does so.

I don’t think that Ethereum should soft fork or hard fork, disclaimer: did not throw DAOn.

Conclusion

Overall I think that there is a bigger trend in play that is the same way that everyone learned typing, cryptography will be the same way. Everyone will be learning / using cryptography.

Think about that you have this entirely new layer that not that much has been built on yet.
Look around, nothing really is running on the blockchain yet.
Think about what the Internet as a communication layer between people looked like.
What if cars ran on a P2P blockchain mesh network. Each stored a copy of the blockchain.
Would it make sense for cars to be connected via a blockchain layer vs an Internet layer?
Or better yet is a easier for to achieve the outcome by calling directly it from a blockchain?

 

More Research on:

Seg Witness

OP Return

Recursive Bots and NLP

Questions:

A big question was whether or not Bitcoin was going to be the first or the last cryptocurrency. It’s definitely not the last, but will the alts stick?

Which of the big 5 tech companies will make the first major Bitcoin acquisition?

 

MicroSaas

This post is from my time at the Consensus 2016 Hackathon a few months ago.

The consensus from the 2016 Hackathon was that smart contracts and decentralized applications will drive blockchain innovation and businesses into the future.

This year’s hackathon was held in the heart of Times Square at Microsoft’s Technology Center. I would say the event had about 4x as many devs compared to the hackathon last September. Out of the 25 different teams that presented on Sunday, about 15-20 were built on Ethereum; a huge increase from the 3 of 15 teams at last year’s hackathon. A few of the applications including the winning one, Decentralized Energy Utility, were built using Hyperledger on IBM’s Cloud and Tierion was used by several teams as well to embed data at scale into the blockchain.

Though the majority of the focus from a development standpoint was not focused on the Bitcoin blockchain, there were exciting  announcements by 21 around the Machine-Payable web and Bitcoin as the 3rd layer to the Internet. They have now open sourced the 21 libraries which effectively could make any computer a Bitcoin computer. This could spur a whole new set of financial innovation webs with different P2P escrow and lending models, micropayments and connected blockchain technology stacks.

Another huge launch was the Bitcoin Market Open Bazaar. This is a next generation open market built on Bitcoin. This is the first of many of these types of markets and platforms or even business models that will be completely recreated using blockchain technology. In order to support these types of new business there needs to be a scalable backend .

One of the biggest takeaways from the hackathon was that Cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud and AWS are partnering with various Smart Contract and blockchain companies to build consortiums and spark blockchain innovation. This could be by listing the app on the platform, running POCs or sponsoring / hosting hackathons.

These huge cloud companies have started a chains race to attract the best developers and the newest most innovation companies in an effort to “make blockchain real”. By leveraging the cloud infrastructure of these different platforms, blockchain applications can be rapidly deployed and scale. With this notion in mind, I knew going into the Hackathon the I wanted to build using the Azure platform.

We built MicroSaas using Blockapps, the best-in-class blockchain application platform that enables developers to quickly build and scale applications on Microsoft Azure.

So what is MicroSaas?

MicroSaas is a enterprise software platform and marketplace to aggregate micro-consumable APIs across multiple cloud software vendors and service providers. Through Ethereum Smart Contracts, we enable vendors to be paid on a per transaction basis in real time as API calls are made by users. As the calls are made by the user, ether is deducted from the smart contract and paid to the vendor. If the user wants to switch vendors or do some other business function, they can buy a different contract from the market.

This new model frees users from the Per-User-Per-Month SaaS model, provides a verifiable proof of vendor service level, and it enables early stage startups in developing markets to access these critical SaaS functions. The platform also allows users to switch vendors on the fly depending on the use case, performance demands, or cost.

MicroSaaS is the name of new age of enterprise computing; it enables Business-to-Business micropayments on a global decentralized network facilitating value transfer and state transition for SMBs. Businesses around the globe will grow on the MicroSaaS platform. The traditional model for enterprise SaaS software will continue to thrive at the commercial and enterprise level but MicroSaas enables new markets and businesses where a per user per month model is not feasible to grow the business.

Instead these businesses will use micropayments to make API calls embedded within JavaScript components running the commands that drive business growth; creating a contact in a database, sending an eSignature, appending a general ledger.

MicroSaas was the winner of the Microsoft’s hackathon award; 3 years of full access to software, services, support and $750 a month of credits to build on the Azure platform via the Micosoft Bizspark program.

This is the beginning of entire new business platform built on the world’s first decentralized virtual machine. We use Smart Contracts in Solidity to store the variable state and functions of traditional objects or entities in cloud business platforms such as Account’s, Opportunities, etc.  This completely new transaction and payment model also enables other software vendors to build their businesses with Ethereum smart contracts creating an entirely new range of decentralized software applications.

It enables new forms of data verification and automation using cryptographic hash functions at each stage of the revenue driving business process.

Companies can now operate under the assumption that both parties have cryptographic representation of every deterministic property of a process. The price of the API, the outcomes of the transaction, are completely based on met or unmet inputs that are cryptographically locked into smart contracts and active on the Ethereum blockchain. The amount of ether it is going to cost to deploy the contract plus the charge for using the SaaS application can be set in the properties and shared as fact in the state of the abstract virtual computer.

This is a revolutionary concept. Shared state, distributed consensus, validity; all properties derived from Bitcoin now applied to the enterprise software world.

Individual software vendors, system integrators, and partners will leverage this technology with their customers creating an immutable history of every transaction made between the service providers.

Check out MicroSaas on Devpost.

 

The Rise of Ethereum

The decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies are their biggest strength and their biggest weakness.

Often this is the case with something that completely disrupts the status-quo. The fact that decentralized currencies are open source also creates a unique situation where that which is the best given path or fork in the long run must be agreed upon and adopted by all (or a majority of miners in this case). However, when the consensus is not achieved at the level of those who truly are driving the development, alternatives rise. This is the case with the current rise of the Ethereum platform and the current value of Ether. In terms of the number of Dapps emerging, the amount of R&D investment at the enterprise level (IBM, Azure), and of course the current rise in Coin value; Ethereum is quickly becoming the more robust, more promising, and ultimately the more intriguing blockchain for developers, investors, traders, and anyone who has seen the evolution of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Does this mean that Bitcoin is done? Absolutely not. Bitcoin is still in it’s infancy and leads the pack in mining power, market cap, investment, startups, and overall global interest. The scalability issue is one which overall means that the network is working, in an unprecedented way it is really the first instance of a decentralized global consensus protocol. The question is not how do we mitigate risk with as some will say changing the path of a couple billion dollar plane inflight, but instead, how do we make Bitcoin, the global decentralized currency of the world, work. How do we enable people to build on the platform, host a node that’s relaying transactions and strengthening the network, run a miner that’s off the energy grid.

This could mean as some have proposed increase a block size from 1MB to 2MB to address an immediate issue. Or increase the blocksize in tiers over time so that the network scales. But I think the block size debate is missing the point. We need to think more in terms of off chain solutions.Examples such as, Tierion, embedding the Merkle Root of data into the blockchain, or Payment Channels and the Lightning Network facilitating offchain transactions between two parties with only an open and close broadcasted to the network, 21 building the ubiquitous machine payment layer and true micropayments ecosystem; these are types of companies and solutions that I believe will make Bitcoin the cryptocurrency of the world, work and serve as self-evident.

Again, that does not mean that other blockchains and more platforms like Ethereum will not emerge (Lisk). It is now very evident that private blockchains, within institutions will definitely serve a place in the years to come. In addition to this, sidechains will also serve to make the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem more robust. I truly believe in the statement that Intranet (oracle installation) vs Internet is an anology for blockchains(R3) vs The Blockchain. When you have an open protocol that is globally accessible, there is an unlimited and unimaginable number of potential future applications that will arise. This does not mean that internal blockchains developed by the existing financial ecosystem will not create new innovative processes and solve enterprise problems. But, the intrinsic value in having an open protocol for the world to build on especially when it comes to fintech and the tipping point we are at with the developing world onboarding into the digital age, I believe The Blockchain truly is more promising. I still am betting long on Bitcoin and I do hope that some sort of consensus is achieved amongst the core developers in order to enable people around the world to embrace this technology. Until that happens, I am buying more Ether.

Check out the new Ethereum Homestead Release

https://www.ethereum.org/token

https://www.ethereum.org/crowdsale

https://www.ethereum.org/dao

 

 

 

 

2016

90% of the World’s data was created in the past year.

We are living in a time of exponential technological advancement. Recursive machine learning & artificial intelligence, distributed systems and decentralized value transfer protocols, everything on the web creating real-time distributed consciousness. Exciting times.

This past year I learned:

  • how to program and build on the force platform
  • solve enterprise problems using SaaS
  • last but definitely not least, more about anything and everything crypto-currency.

This is going into the fourth year I have written on this blog and the stats have increased year after year. I just about hit 32,000 all time.

Stats

Hit 14,568 for this year. Not bad.

stats2

2013: A Year in Review

2014

2015

Some of the highlights from 2015:

  • Building some of my first Mobile Apps & Demos
  • Moving into my own apartment in SF
  • Presenting in 3 Sessions at Dreamforce
  • Winning the Coindesk Makeathon (& visiting NY for the first time)
  • Going to Texas for my first business trip

Focus in 2016:

  • Get 60K views on the blog
  • Build my own 21 endpoints to my bitcoin mining tutorials.
  • Build a solar powered bitcoin node and solar powered bitcoin miner bundle. (100 W Panel, inverter, controller)
  • Learn React.js Framework
  • Learn Python (Finish Learn Python the Hard Way) and write my own scripts on the 21.co computer
  • Learn Aura (Lightning Framework)
  • Continue to Learn Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Finish the Portuguese Duolingo & move to next one
  • Continue to learn Salesforce APEX Development
  • Use a Myo band during a demo
  • Build out end-to-end Lightning Experience
  • Get it – 185
  • Read The Intelligent Investor
  • Keep a Journal and write in it daily
  • Trade crypto-currencies daily using ShapeShift, Liquid
  • Drink more water

Funny I just looked at the journal and had already written down 2016 goals; they were pretty much the exact same.

I took a career development class in Barcelona a few years back and we had to do a mental exercise. It led me to the sentence:

I felt like a Boss because I was in my Prime

That is definitely where I need to get to. It’s just finding a balance between the craft, the activity knowledge, the learn knowledge; the energy, the effort, the execution. Autosuggestion kicked in, fully engaged, rested, on point, and dialed in.

I kept my blog on wordpress.com instead of wordpress.org. May be making the switch soon, once I have it in different languages I could hit my number.

On my Birthday in June I wrote down a few things:

  • Get Healthy Looking / Toned / Cut-up
  • Capitalize on Bitcoin
  • Read Autobiography of  Yogi
  • Build a Solar Mining Rig
  • Learn AngularJS
  • Continue Chinese Studies
  • Build a Hadoop Cluster onRpi
  • Work smart, delegate, innovate
  • LIVE THE DREAM

Stocks

I have bought some of my first Stocks using Robinhood. I also am currently reading the intelligent investor.

Crypto-Trading

I have bought into Ether and the Ethereum platform. I am looking into other alt-coins but primarily will be investing in Bitcoin.

Taking It to the Next Level

I have a couple Raspberry Pis, a 21 Bitcoin computer, USB & ASIC Miners, Solar Panels, just ordered a BitSeed with 1 TB of storage (5+ years of future txns), I have a Tessel 2  on the way; I want to build the total Blockchain / Bitcoin system setup:

  • 100 W Solar Panel running +1 TerraHash
  • Running a Full-Node on the Bitseed + 1TB
  • Run a Full-Node on the 21 Computer
  • Run Ethereum Frontier on a Raspberry Pi
  • Run Kali Linux on the Other Pi
  • Connect the Tessel to the 21 Inc computer

Taking it to the next level is going back to my Combinatorial Creativity Through Technology. Combining all of these different technologies, JS, distributed consensus protocols.

Then expand this to Solar Farm with underground mining facility…one day. Keep programming in Python on 21 Bitcoin computer. Just writing Scripts, learning the syntax, building the memory.

Lastly My post from 2015

Lightning Network: Packets to Circuits

21.co: The Bitcoin Computer

Managing Digital Scarcity: Enterprise Cryptocurrency Applications

2015 Internet Trends

AngularJS

$GBTC

MYO Armband

Hash and Ledger

How to Setup an AntminerS5

Salesforce Lightning

 

Happy New Year. Live the Dream.

Dom

The Lightning Network: Packets to Circuits

There are three problems that developers see in regards to scaling Bitcoin:

  • Micropayments are not exactly cheap to make
  • the size of blocks/the blockchain over time
  • malleability

The Lightning Network aims to solve these problems by creating hash-locked payment channels facilitating instant off-chain real bitcoin transactions.

Before we can understand what the Lightning network enables, we need to have a baseline understanding of what exactly a hash and payment channel is.

Hash

A cryptographic hash function is a way to encrypt data and verify that data has not changed. The SHA256 hash function will take any input and output a 64 character string output. In order to produce a certain hash output you must know the secret input. The Sha256 hash will always produce the same output for a given data input.

domsteil –> SHA256 –> 1773a0ebb54be6bbc0c6be79fae0799046b7ecb089b11460e0070a62c6e319af

Payment Channel

A payment channel is an off blockchain P2P payment where confirmation is done by the parties involved and does not need to be announced to the network.

By combining these two technolgies we can create the hash-locked smart contracts between multiple parties to facilitate a counterparty-risk free transaction layer on top off the Bitcoin protocol.

T+3 an existing method in the financial system was created as a settlement period. The Lightning Network also creates a similar T+time settlement system using a hash-locked smart contract and appending a transaction to the resulting hash output.

Trustless Transaction Example:

Alice, Bob, Carol, and Dave.

1

Alice wants to pay Dave .01 BTC, but does not have a direct route.

Alice pays Bob, Bob pays Carol, Carol Pays Dave.

2

Dave has R, a preimage which produces cryptographic hash H within n blocks.

Dave can now get 0.01 BTC if she discloses R to Carol.

Carol discloses R to Bob.

Bob discloses R to Alice.

3

Pure P2P offchain settlement.

For more information read about the Lightning Network here.

 

21.co: The Bitcoin Computer

After months of anticipation my 21.co Bitcoin computer finally arrived. I anxiously opened up what felt like Pandora’s box to a new age of the internet. The 21.co Bitcoin Computer is the first of its kind and is the foundation for a new range of applications.

First things first, if you want to run this as a standalone machine (linux) you will need:

  • Keyboard/Mouse
  • HDMI Cord
  • Monitor
  • Wifi Dongle (Included)
  • Powercord (Included)

I plugged in the powercord and the machine is up and running.

I’m feeling nastalgic, reminds me of when I set up my first raspberrypi, USB powered hub, ASIC mining rig. The command line experience is definitely helping with the setup.

I have just logged into the system, I setup my WiFi, and I am ready to begin building!

First Hour with the Bitcoin Computer

Off that bat the first tutorial I want to setup is the Bitcoin Payable proxy to one of my Antminer Tutorials. Since S5 is still getting a lot of hits I will go with that one.

Correction: First things first, run the 21 update command in the command line.

21 update

Daft Punk Pandora in the background definitely adding to the experience I might add.

Over a year ago, I built my first Raspberry Pi Bitcoin Node preconfigured with wifi and the blockchain preloaded to an SD card, bundle it with whatever ASIC you would like. The problem I wanted to solve: Increase the number of Nodes around the world, read here. That was when there were 7,000 nodes, now we are down to 5,000. Hopefully these Bitcoin Computers are the key to strengthening the network and bringing back a decentralized state to the network.

This machine takes that idea to the next level, still running updates…

Again before I setup this proxy server for one of my tutorials, I need to setup my 21.co account and start the miner.

Updates are done I believe the screen went dark.

21 Successfully installed!

Ok now to start the miner:

21 mine

Creates a wallet for my with a 12 word HD wallet.

Ok got that written down.

Next:

Set up my Account with 21.co, have my mining payout address, and I am mining, again!

Now to check out this mining dashboard:

21 mine --dashboard

Let’s take a look. Dashboard Overview, Monitor, Log.

Running around 50Gh/s I just made 20000 Satoshis I can now use to buy API calls.

THIS.

21 mine

Another 20000 Satoshis.

Ok now i’m starting to get it.

(Probably not even at the tip of the iceberg realistically)

Ok so I have 100000 Satoshi now after running 21 mine a few more times.

Time to start testing out some of these apps.

THIS.

Concept of “buffered pooled mining”.

It basically allows you to quickly mine some satoshis in order to make an API call.

Caution: Before you think wait I can just run 21 mine (command) all day and I’ll be rich! If you run it too many times in a row you will be rate-limited by a difficult hashing problem sent to your chip, so don’t abuse it!

Ok sending out sms with Bitcoin. Only cost 1000 Satoshi.

Search on the web; also just a few satoshis.

Now to do this programmatically:

sudo nano search-client.py

 

#!/usr/bin/env python3
import json
from two1.commands.config import Config
from two1.lib.wallet import Wallet
from two1.lib.bitrequests import BitTransferRequests

# Set up a bittransfer. The wallet's private key
# is used to sign transactions, confirming that the
# balance is spendable by the given 21 username.
wallet = Wallet()
username = Config().username
requests = BitTransferRequests(wallet, username)

# Determine the price of a given endpoint, in satoshis
url = 'https://market.21.co/search/bing'
info = requests.get_402_info(url=url)
print(info)

# Buy the endpoint
results = requests.post(url=url, data=dict(query='how to flip bitcoins'))
print(json.loads(results.text))

Setting up my own digital store when someone can pay me in bitcoin for access to tutorials on how to setup bitcoin miners.

This is powerful technology.

It wraps around Bitcoin as a Protocol. Enabling you to create an unlimited range of decentralized applications. I just created another user in the system.

I can now have multiple agents. This is also a great way to test any application you are building, you can have multiple users with different balances and simulate the application behavior.

12/28/2015

21.co has released an API documentation library with four primary modules:

 

I am currently redoing exercises in Learn python the Hard way and building out the examples in the API documentation tutorials.