2017: The Second Era of Bitcoin Begins

Akin Fernandez, also known as Beautyon, is the owner of London-based bitcoin voucher service Azteco. He is also a writer who has extensively covered bitcoin and related services, and a software developer with 15 years of experience.

In this CoinDesk 2016 in Review special feature, Fernandez gives a passionate and personal overview of the cryptocurrency industry’s year – 12 months that he says prove “there can be only one bitcoin”.

2016 has been a fascinating year, where cellular mitosis has been bitcoin’s guiding model.

The different camps previously in one group or cell have split. There are those who understand bitcoin and remain in its cell, and those that do not, and who are now in their own offshoot cells, “experimenting” on branches that are essentially non-viable.

The market participants who know how everything works, those in bitcoin, understand that there can only be one bitcoin.

There has been some excellent analysis making this crystal clear, and the fundamentally transformative work being done to extend bitcoin is categorical proof that this is true.

Bitcoin is the market winner because it is the first mover and definitive transaction layer. It is immutable not only in terms of the software rules, but the single minded, rational ethos of its protectors, who will not allow any corruption, hysteria or short-term thinking to spoil or endanger the project.

Radical change

Segregated Witness solves the transaction malleability problem, but more important than that, it makes all arguments about bitcoin’s transaction capacity limits a thing of the past. When SegWit activates, transactions using it will show up as spendable instantly – and there will be vastly more of them per second – killing another frequent and frankly, silly objection to bitcoin’s utility.

You can get a glimpse of what this will look and feel like with this beautiful colored coins demonstration of Lighting.

How bitcoin is used is about to change radically, and for the better. The final perceived limitations to it have been destroyed with SegWit. Now all that is left is building the software and businesses that will take advantage of this new, high-capacity bitcoin.

Spectators learned again this year that bitcoin is the only solution, and the roll out of SegWit is further proof of this, and it will cement bitcoin’s premier position. A small group of malcontents will always be attached to any software project, and if the history of software is anything to go by, these miscreants will eventually fade away because they have no software or solutions to offer.

If they don’t fade away and manage to scupper progress, then bitcoin was always doomed, and they deserve to win.

The resolution of the R3 experiment

All of the companies working from versions of the bitcoin software that is now two years old have forked off onto a path that doesn’t have the incredible genius of Bitcoin Core underpinning their software. This year, they’ve struggled to find a use case for their software forks, have failed to attract developers to their GitHub repos and are still trumpeting secret “trials” with corporate sponsors which are nothing more than PR fluff.

These sponsors will eventually tire of funding insurgents who don’t have the skill to add fundamental game changing features to the bitcoin software they downloaded, and the first market participant working with SegWit-enabled bitcoin, clearly demonstrating what it does, will cause the hapless sponsor firms to pivot away from these worthless trials and the Snake Oil companies in them.

After claiming that bitcoin was “dead”, R3 has managed to produce literally nothing. Incredibly, they asked their members what they want to see in a new platform, rather than innovating to provide one.

Part of their plan (which is now under way with their Corda repo) is to tap the mystical “Open Source Energy” where software magically comes from. None of these people, the bitcoin forkers or R3CEV, understand what they are dealing with both in terms of what bitcoin is and what it is for; why regulation can’t be built in to any software project whose aim is to replace bitcoin; or software development in general and how that process works. They have all been “Trumped”.

During the writing of this round up, there have been several interesting announcements. Goldman Sachs has left the R3 Blockchain Consortium, indicating once again that they have literally nothing of value to offer. I have no doubt that they are the first of many to abandon that ship without an engine, and you can be sure that this Emperor’s New Clothes affair is doomed to end up in Davy Jones’ repository.

Circle has dropped support for bitcoin payments. The grown ups are tired of bitcoin. But wait, the ex-CEO of Barclays has joined the board of Blockchain! One wallet maker drops bitcoin, and the ex-head of one of the world’s biggest banks joins the biggest bitcoin wallet.

Is bitcoin dying, or is it the next big thing? These people can’t decide!

Men without conviction

Coinbase, the company desperately trying to find out what it wants to be, adopted ethereum just before it was mortally wounded by the DAO disaster.

More on that below, but more importantly, they have just been served by the US government with a “John Doe” request for their users’ information. This is an absolute disaster for them. Defending this attack will cost them millions of dollars in legal fees and may take years to resolve.

During this time of uncertainty, no one in bitcoin will trust them, drying up their already slow user adoption. The one good thing to come out of this is that the case against giving your details over to companies like Coinbase and Circle is now set in stone. Handing over your identity to a bitcoin company is not only worthless to you as a consumer, but it’s very dangerous, and should always be avoided without exception.

Here’s why: even if their users have done nothing wrong, Coinbase is now set to be compelled to reveal their names, addresses, bank details and their bitcoin addresses and transaction records, and you can be sure these users will be brutally audited by the IRS.

So, regardless of whether they have done anything wrong and have paid all “their taxes”, they will now – at their own cost – have to prove their innocence (guilty before proven innocent; a complete violation of the US Constitution and Anglo-Saxon legal principles).

This attack on Coinbase demonstrates why ethical bitcoin companies have railed against KYC/AML.

It also shows by inference that bitcoin is anonymous enough to thwart the State, and they can only go after users if those users voluntarily attach their identities to bitcoin addresses controlled by companies in toxic jurisdictions. They can’t be easily identified in absentia of that voluntary self incrimination.

If this were not the case, the IRS would go directly to the users without referring to Coinbase at all. The fact that they can’t shows bitcoin is anonymous enough.

I expect more consumers and businesses will realize this in 2017. Perhaps President-elect Trump can stop all of this with his new America-centric administration. It’s abundantly clear to any capitalist that this John Doe action is 100% pure anti-American, and exponentially increases the risk of pushing bitcoin businesses to foreign jurisdictions.

I wrote about this before, in a consultation response to the British Government on how bitcoin should be handled.

Out of the ether

One of the most interesting events in 2016 was the “Ethereum Event”, where everything Bitcoin Core and others have been saying about the inherent difficulty and risk involved in writing complex cryptographic software came true, thanks to a single bearded man on a laptop running FreeBSD.

Since it was launched in Switzerland, cryptocurrency and bitcoin competitor ethereum has sought to radically extend bitcoin’s capabilities to a new separate database, one that was seen for a short time as the inevitable market winner over bitcoin. This is why Coinbase recklessly took the risk of offering ethereum’s native token, “Ethers”, to their customers.

One of the capabilities ethereum enables is the ability to create smart contracts, or agreements based entirely in software that execute rules – loosely speaking it’s clauses – entirely in code. Smart contracts are an extra-legal way of parties agreeing on how business is conducted and matters settled.

It’s radical, extremely exiting, and the biggest smart contract ever, The DAO, the first “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”, attracted over $140m in investment from people around the globe – and then it was hacked.

But it wasn’t really hacked. An attacker found a fundamental flaw in The DAO’s software contract clauses, and contractually drained $59m worth of ether from it, into another contract beneath it. “Ethers” are the equivalent of bitcoin in the ethereum public database and software ecosystem.

In response to this attack, ethereum, which is the skeleton that the DAO was built on, had its permanent record reversed by the developers who control it, to reimburse investors who lost ether in the DAO.

This is anathema to people in the cryptocurrency space, and caused a group to “fork” ethereum at the point in the transaction record at which the DAO contract hack took place. Forking means the new developers made a complete copy of the ethereum transaction record, and started recording their own, separate record of transactions on to the end of it.

There are now two diverging ethereae – one called “ethereum” and the other, “ethereum classic”.

Both of the database records of these systems are identical up to the DAO event, their native tokens float freely on exchanges, and as of this writing, the prices of both have essentially collapsed.

By any metric, it is a fiasco, and it is an object lesson of why there can only be one bitcoin, and why bitcoin should not fork lightly.

The big lesson for 2017

Rather than seeing the DAO event as a perfect example of why what are now called cryptocurrencies require regulation, the DAO is in fact a vivid illustration of why bitcoin and software should not be regulated.

This DAO event cost a statistically insignificant amount of money to teach a powerful lesson to all market participants, including companies like Coinbase. Without an expensive lesson like this, markets would be less efficient in finding the best models and, as a result, more vulnerable due to the speed of iteration being slower.

Those advocating for regulation should bear in mind that these experiments would be taking place in free jurisdictions, and some of them are guaranteed to succeed, like the SegWit extension to bitcoin. If the additions like Segregated Witness were subject to regulation, the pace of bitcoin improvement would slow to a crawl.

An example of this innovation stifling in the medical industry are the over 4,000 medicines awaiting FDA approval in the US. This backlog is directly analogous to new bitcoin business models – software – being blocked from release to the public.

This is exactly why no bitcoin regulation or legislation must be passed, or even considered openly, as it will signal to entrepreneurs that they are better off in another jurisdiction, just as people travel to free countries to try experimental drug treatments when all FDA approved medicines have failed to cure their disease.

The risk of bitcoin is spread evenly to the people who voluntarily choose to work with it. Trying to control bitcoin pushes a far greater risk of a generational national loss on all citizens, one that can never be recovered from once the centre of bitcoin is captured and rooted in another place.

In order to foster innovation and to allay any fears of a possible explosion of legislation that will make turning a profit in bitcoin impossible, the jurisdiction that wants to win the battle for bitcoin businesses should enact a single law – a 150-year moratorium on any legislation that touches bitcoin.

Up for grabs

2017 is going to be very interesting, and the most welcome change on many fronts is the coming Trump administration, that will hopefully eschew computer illiteracy and embrace The American Constitution and bitcoin, which is synonymous with the frontier mentality of risk taking and American entrepreneurialism.

America can still win the bitcoin prize, just as it won with Silicon Valley. The title of “World Center of Bitcoin” is still up for grabs in 2017.

And in this piece, I haven’t mentioned the looming prospect of the inevitable Venezuelan hyperinflation event, or the appalling fallout of the first shots in the war on cash in India, which triggered a 30% premium on bitcoin in that extraordinary country.

If there ever was a time for a service like Azteco, 2017 is it – a frictionless means of buying bitcoin, that reduces complexity to almost nothing and is perfect for the consumer. Combined with the welcome international expansion of Purse.io, the sublime and revolutionary OpenDime and the other products and services that are sure to follow, 2017 is going to exhilarate, entertain, enrich and enrage like never before!

Original: http://www.coindesk.com/coindesks-influential-people-blockchain-2016/

央行直屬機構招數字貨幣人才,區塊鏈是否新趨勢?

央行網站刊登的2017年度人員招聘信息顯示,其直屬單位中國人民銀行印制科學研究所開始招聘數字貨幣相關研發人員。

職位簡介顯示,該崗位要求計算機專業,主要從事數字貨幣及相關底層平台的軟硬件系統的架構設計和開發工作。具有系統架構設計經驗、區塊鏈技術開發或應用經驗、大數據平台開發經驗者優先。另外,招聘信息安全、密碼學相關專業,主要研究數字貨幣中所使用的關鍵密碼技術,對稱、非對稱密碼算法、認證和加密等。

截至目前,已有多家金融機構表態將在區塊鏈上開展應用試驗研究,並組建區塊鏈應用聯盟或加入國外區塊鏈聯盟。但是,央行目前對包括區塊鏈在內的數字貨幣的表態仍較謹慎。

今年1月20日,央行在中國人民銀行數字貨幣研討會上表示,將研究數字貨幣的多場景應用,爭取早日推出央行發行的數字貨幣。該次會議透露,央行已於2014年成立了數字貨幣研究團隊,並於2015年初進一步充實力量,對數字貨幣發行和業務運行框架、數字貨幣的關鍵技術、數字貨幣發行流通環境、數字貨幣面臨的法律問題、數字貨幣對經濟金融體系的影響、法定數字貨幣與私人發行數字貨幣的關系、國際上數字貨幣的發行經驗等進行了深入研究,已取得階段性成果。

今年2月13日,中國人民銀行行長周小川在接受媒體采訪時表示,數字貨幣的技術路線可分為基於賬戶和不基於賬戶兩種,也可分層並用而設法共存。區塊鏈技術是一項可選的技術,其特點是分布式簿記、不基於賬戶,而且無法篡改。如果數字貨幣重點強調保護個人隱私,可選用區塊鏈技術,人民銀行部署了重要力量研究探討區塊鏈應用技術,但是到目前為止區塊鏈占用資源還是太多,不管是計算資源還是存儲資源,應對不了現在的交易規模,未來能不能解決,還要看。

除了區塊鏈技術,人民銀行數字貨幣研究團隊還深入研究了數字貨幣涉及的其他相關技術,比如移動支付、可信可控雲計算、密碼算法、安全芯片等等。我們會與金融界、科技界合作,進一步加大對各種新型創新技術的研究和合理利用,優化完善數字貨幣發行流通的技術框架,並充分預見、及時反應、有效解決在應用推廣中可能出現的風險。為此,人民銀行殷切希望有關各界大力支持、參與,取得成果,作出貢獻。

用區塊鏈建立本土服務

金融業、科技業當紅的名詞,莫過於「區塊鏈」,而行動支付則是區塊鏈的重要應用之一。資策會創新應用服務研究所所長楊仁達指出,區塊鏈衝擊了金融業、零售業與科技業,但也帶來機會與挑戰,特別是區塊鏈的模式,讓服務也能數位化的被傳遞,行動支付就是重要的表徵。

楊仁達呼籲,透過區塊鏈建立信賴機制,發展在地化行動支付服務。讓業者彼此行動支付的機制可以互通,為了促進消費者使用服務,可以推動紅利點數促銷方案,連帶透過區塊鏈的應用,整合廣告行銷或是智慧裝置加入,建立台灣本土行動支付生態鏈,增加更多應用。他說,如果不想要看「XX支付」統一一切,現在就要開始做。

近期Amazon推出Amazon Go服務,在實體店裡逛,看到就可以拿走,帳款透過後臺清算。他說,更理想的方式,是看到就付錢買下,但不用大包小包提著走,而是交易系統不斷更新所有的交易、向各店面撿貨後,打包好,傍晚就送達。

他說,現在台灣支付環境可說「內憂外患」,國內本土行動支付工具與通路包括歐付寶、街口支付、Pi行動錢包等20多家業者「分散的投入」,面對的卻是支付寶、微信支付等已經登台的大陸業者,以及即將登台的Apple Pay、Android Pay、Samsung Pay等國際業者,服務範圍擴及各商圈。當前支付是數位核心的根本,台灣一定要建立本土支付服務,避免未來消費者資料、訊息都在國際業者手中。

how hot is blockchain

Relax Lawyers, Nick Szabo Says Smart Contracts Won’t Kill Jobs

No, smart contracts will not rid the world of lawyers, despite the greatest efforts of blockchain innovators. At least, that’s according to Nick Szabo, the man widely credited with inventing the smart contract concept itself.

During the keynote address at the Smart Contracts Symposium at Microsoft’s New York headquarters this week, Szabo gave an update on the industry he helped create – a talk that was followed by a string of commenters from smart contract professionals.

Addressing a group of about 250 people (comprised largely of members of the blockchain trade association, the Chamber of Digital Commerce), Szabo broke down the potential benefits and what he sees as the current limits of self-executing code run on a cryptographic, shared ledger.

Szabo said:

“Lawyers worried about losing their jobs to robots, you’re actually doing something that’s mostly complimentary to a smart contract. Smart contracts are mostly making possible new things that haven’t been done before.”

Crucial differences between traditional contracts and smart contracts are that the logic in traditional law is based on the “subjective” interpretation of analogy, according to Szabo. On the other hand, blockchain smart contracts are based on Boolean “bits and logic” that underpin bitcoin.

There are also differences on the global scale, he went on.

While traditional law falls into “jurisdictional silos” defined by state borders and other lines of demarcation, blockchain-powered contract law has the potential to exist across borders.

The result is that while traditional law is relatively flexible, involving interpretation and judgment (and can therefore be corrupted), a software version is “rigid and predictable”.

“Traditional law is manual, local and often uncertain,” said Szabo, who is also the co-founder of cryptographic assets firm, Global Financial Access. “Public blockchains are automated, global and predicable in their operations.”

While the jobs of lawyers may be safe for now, other professions might not be so lucky.

Creative destruction

In fact, smart contract law is so different from traditional law that, instead of lawyers’ jobs being at risk, it’s those in other industries with repeatable tasks with the most to lose.

Speaking on a panel covering smart contract platforms and applications, Marley Gray, Microsoft principle architect in charge of blockchain engineering, said that smart contracts elevate the “distributed resolution of the truth” first enabled by the bitcoin blockchain.

For contract designers dealing in this new distributed way of reconciling such complex processes, the hard part will be to not get trapped into thinking in terms of encoding existing processes into a blockchain, Gray said.

“People have a hard time unlearning what they’ve been brought up to do,” he explained. “Sometimes the best thing to do is completely destroy a business process.”

Bloq CEO Jeff Garzik echoed the notion that business workflows need to be entirely reinvented from the ground up.

But he took the idea further, arguing that the reimagined workflow won’t just impact how businesses function internally, but how they do business with each other.

“Blockchain is adjudication as a service,” said Garzik, a former BitPay employee. “It validates rules that are common to the entire playing field. It’s very much a hyper-real-time version of the court system.

IBM fellow and vice president of blockchain technologies Jerry Cuomo summarized the push to reimagine business workflows far beyond law:

“When folks really start to step back and think about business processes as a decentralized sport, as a team sport, it completely changes the possibilities of how you do a KYC and AML.”

Language choice

While smart contracts are in their earliest phases of development, large-scale failures have helped to define issues that should be avoided.

In addition to Szabo’s review of the state of smart contracts, he discussed the forward to a white paper published that day and distributed to event attendees, titled “Smart Contracts: 12 Use Cases for Business & Beyond“.

Prepared by the Smart Contracts Alliance, an initiative of the Chamber in collaboration with Deloitte, the paper describes smart contract implementations ranging from the automatic compliance of the destruction of records to instantaneous processing of auto insurance.

The paper positions smart contracts on a spectrum ranging from contracts “entirely” written in code to “natural language” contracts with encoded payment mechanisms.

To Szabo, the safest way to execute such contracts would be the bitcoin blockchain, which he called the “most reliable financial system that’s ever been deployed”.

In spite of the current limitations of the bitcoin network for supporting smart contracts, in Szabo’s forward to the white paper he described his ideal smart contract deployment as rather complimentary to its current abilities:

“My personal favorite and most exciting type of smart contract is constructed in peer-to-peer environments, from simple natural language by individuals to operate between individuals.”

Blockchain Chicago Panel predicts bitcoin uptake to continue in 2017

This past Wednesday at Blockchain Conference Chicago, a panel of industry experts cast predictions for what 2017 will hold for both Bitcoin and Blockchain.

Prominent themes panelists foresaw included continued investment in blockchain specific startups, steady and increased adoption of Bitcoin for shopping and remittances, and a rise in the bitcoin price. While 2016 has proven to be a strong year for the space, panelists saw 2017 as a year poised to build off of this momentum.

BITCOIN ADOPTION GROWING

As Bitcoin approaches its eighth birthday, a more mainstream understanding of Bitcoin’s basics, combined with a recent increase in the price, is spurring adoption of the cryptocurrency. John Solomon, Co-Founder and CEO at Digital Mint, detailed how recent success at his bitcoin distribution business points towards further growth for bitcoin more widely.

Solomon:

At Digital Mint, we are seeing an increase in consumer adoption, just organic use of Bitcoin as a digital currency, as a means of purchasing things online […]. People are actually using bitcoin to shop online for Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. We expect the trend for uptick in adoption for Bitcoin to continue.

Similarly, Tone Vays of LibertyLifeTrail sees bitcoin as leading the way with ICO’s and blockchain prototypes remaining in the background to bitcoin’s centrality. Vays sees growth in the use of digital cash, particularly for American businesses looking to deliver services to far reaching corners of the world.

“I see the cash aspect on the internet growing, particularly due to the opportunities it gives companies like Netflix who can now deliver to the developing world without dealing with the risk for credit card fraud,” Vays added.

INVESTMENT IN BLOCKCHAIN FORECAST

2016 has shown a surge in traditional institution driven interest in and prototype creation of blockchain solutions, with investments in projects such as Hyperledger and DragonChain pioneering institutional efforts. In 2017, look for more of the blockchain prototypes to launch and demonstrate use-case specific potential of blockchain technology in a live environment.

Susan Poole, founder and CEO at Blockbridge Advisory, pointed out how young the community collectively still is and sees increased investment into Blockchain startups. Blockchain will continue inroads with launched products into areas such as healthcare, insurance, and digital content distribution. Poole added:

Large companies, the ones we know and love, will continue investing […]. We will see traditional money in industry verticals making investments not only in their own innovation labs, but also in blockchain startups.

Even as investment in blockchain organizations advances, efforts to create blockchain-like prototypes will be met with heightened realism, according to Vays.

“I see ‘Blockchain’ as a buzz word fading away, as people realize that what they’re referring to is actually just database technology, not this revolutionary aspect of cash on the internet,” Vays commented.

BLOCKCHAIN AND THE ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’

Blockchain technology is additionally poised to play a role in the internet of things (IoT). As computer technology integrates itself into more and more consumer applications, blockchain can act as a communications and encryption layer to enable these plethora of devices to communicate and transact with one another.

“I see Blockchain playing as an invisible hand in bringing forth the internet of things.”  This will also have a role with big data analytics and machine learning applications, added Lawrence Johnson, head of RightPond Solutions at MorningStar.

John Solomon, in addition, sees the easiest problems to tackle for blockchain as the ones that will be realized first. For example, storing data around one’s electrical grid intake is a use case that affects all homeowners and has an impetus behind it for privacy. Similarly, in our homes, iOT solutions will play a role.

“You can have a refrigerator place an order on a blockchain, and the grocery store sees it, and delivers your groceries. In the short term, this is the next step in the application of this technology,” Solomon added.

ILLINOIS WELCOMS BLOCKCHAIN STARTUPS

One other announcement of note during the day was the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announcement of a state government-lead Blockchain Initiative. 

The Illinois government is looking to provide a welcoming regulatory environment for blockchain and bitcoin startups while setting an example to other states for creating a pro-innovation regulatory framework.

Moreover, the DCEO is encouraging exploration and implementation of blockchain technology into state records, such as mortgage transactions, birth records, and land titles. For example, the Cook County Recorder of Deeds is set to become the first land records office in the United States to recognize a land record conveyance using a blockchain solution.

The Illinois government has issued guidance and is accepting comment for feedback. Further details of this will be released in coming weeks.

區塊鏈專利是一個壞主意嗎?

未來為控制銀行和其他大行業潛在的重要技術而鬥爭。

區塊鏈處於十字路口。一方面,該技術承諾將改變銀行和農業等企業的記錄保存,這一技術比以往任何時候都更加開放,包括Chain和R3在內的公司表示他們會將其區塊鏈軟件代碼向公眾開放。

但是,在工作中還有另一個力量可能會阻止技術開放。這種力量是以專利的形式出現,大銀行和其他人提出申請,尋求20年壟斷區塊鏈的各個方面。

最突出的例子是Goldman Sachs申請的一項專利,用於“使用…分佈式分類帳處理金融交易…存儲對應於相應資產的分類帳的一部分” – 換句話說,使用區塊鏈工具來解決交易。

高盛應用程序引起了一個小媒體炒作,但投資銀行不是唯一一個尋求區塊鏈專利。美國銀行,埃森哲和摩根士丹利是在過去幾年提交的數百個區塊鏈相關專利申請中出現的其他大公司名稱。同時,一個名為Craig Wright的有爭議的人聲稱發明了比特幣(該聲明被廣泛懷疑)已經提出了數十項專利,試圖控制區塊鏈。

到目前為止,美國專利局還沒有實際授予任何這些專利。但如果是這樣,專利所有人可以尋求數百萬美元的損失賠償,從其他不同意授權他們的技術,甚至關閉他們的禁令的區塊鏈用戶。更糟糕的是,業主可以採用“專利拖釣”模式 – 僅僅依靠專利,並使用殼公司針對任何使用區塊鏈的人提起訴訟。

根據流行書“區塊鏈革命”(Blockchain Revolution)的合著者唐·塔普茨科特(Don Tapscott)的說法,專利訴訟激增可能對該技術的發展造成破壞性影響。

“這種行為與創新,協作和開放性是對立的,這是新數字時代的核心”Tapscott說。 “我覺得不幸的是,這種行為根本不是因為新的模式威脅到老牌企業的自身利益。”

但是在高盛和摩根斯坦利這樣的銀行,據報導,他們的專利申請造成了區塊鏈財團R3(上周銀行離開了R3)的緊張局面,因此假設他們將採取積極行動可能為時過早。

接近高盛的一位消息人士說,該銀行的專利申請主要是一項防禦措施,以確保一家科技公司或另一家公司“不會將其貨幣化”。該來源人只會在匿名的情況下發言,他補充說,也將其獲得的專利捐贈給尋求促進金融部門採用區塊鏈的聯盟。

與此同時,一些人則認為,專利將是blockchain不可避免的一部分,而且這並不是一件壞事。 Justin Hill是Olswang律師事務所的專利律師,他最近寫道,區塊鏈專利集群的出現可能類似於電信行業發生的情況,在電信行業中,公司支付知識產權持有人使用標準技術。

區塊鏈專利是否正確?

目前仍然不清楚,專利可能是鼓勵區塊鏈技術的方法,或者這樣的專利在美國法律下是有效的。

電子前沿基金會的律師丹尼爾·納澤(Daniel Nazer)告訴“財富”(Fortune),區塊鏈是一種軟件,因此會因為一宗名為愛麗絲(Alice)的最高法院案件而面臨著很大的障礙。 該決定裁定,大多數或者所有的軟件專利是不符合專利保護的抽象概念。

他補充說,許多這樣的專利申請也必須說服反對的聲音。因為他們的應用程序不是像比特幣或區塊鏈本身這樣的概念。比特幣或區塊鏈今天無法獲得專利,因為比特幣的假名創作者Satoshi Nakamoto,已經在多年前公開了他們。

但Nazer仍然擔心,專利局將不能適當地控制質量,並向他們全部都發出無多大作用的區塊鏈專利。

“我擔心系統會失敗,並且會有很多抽象的和平庸的專利:『為XX而做的區塊鍊』,然後每個人都必須為法律而談判然後創新將減緩。”

然而,現在,專利陷阱的前景並沒有減緩像Chain這樣的公司,這些公司為Visa和Capital One等公司開發區塊鏈協議,並在10月發布了一個開源版本的Chain Core軟件。

“專利?我們強烈認為,這應該以開放源代碼的方式進行,並且專利只能防禦性地使用。”Chain首席執行官Adam Ludwin告訴Fortune。 “未來會有訴訟嗎?大概會有。”

再見腐敗的慈善:Hello 區塊鏈

根據慈善援助基金會的新文件,區塊鏈技術最終可以用於執行傳統監管機構的許多功能。

區塊鏈技術為慈善機構創造了一個新的模式,它管理大量的資金,需要復雜的會計和進行大量的研究,從數字交易和智能技術增加的區塊鏈技術中獲得很大收益。

去年,美國的慈善機構帶來了超過2萬億美元的收入。 其中3730億美元來自慈善捐款。 雖然慈善捐款越來越受歡迎。 該行業仍然存在多年來持續存在的問題,這阻礙了許多人作出其他方面的貢獻。 在某些情況下,它阻止人們捐贈。

慈善援助基金會最近發布了一份20頁的報告“Giving Unchained – 慈善和區塊鏈”,探討區塊鏈技術如何影響慈善機構籌集資金和運營的方式。

這是慈善的未來嗎?

該報告稱,區塊鏈技術可以改變人們對慈善事業的貢獻方式和資金解決社會問題的方式。

  • 可以代表資產的數字彩色硬幣創造一種方式來捐贈無形資產,如知識產權?
  • 自治合同能為企業提供新的機會,使慈善事業能夠植根於慈善機構籌集資金和解決社會問題的新方法上嗎?
  • 區塊鏈能否提供“徹底的透明度”來克服缺乏公眾信任?
  • 區塊鏈技術支持的“物聯網”能否提供一個智能機器成為“超理性”捐贈者類的環境?

區塊鏈技術的好處

  • 透明度:分類帳是公開的,任何用戶都可以看到。基於它的任何系統是完全透明的。
  • 降低交易成本:分類帳由用戶維護和擁有,因此不需要第三方,從而降低了相關成本。
  • 建立信任:由於區塊鏈技術消除了對第三方的需求,並使交易開放,它可以在提高信任方面帶來顯著的好處。
  • 集成物理和數字:區塊鏈技術提供了一種在數字世界中表示任何有形或無形資產的方法。它以這樣的方式實現,即資產的所有權可以在任何時間被電子支付系統識別。

看一看這個例子:

BitGive基金會,它自稱是世界上第一個比特幣非營利組織。

該組織與非營利組織如Save The Children和The Water Project合作,解釋創始人和執行董事Connie Gallippi,利用比特幣的優勢,即更便宜,更快和更安全的交易,以籌集慈善資金。

今年3月,BitGive在肯尼亞西部的一所女子學校推出了一個水井,完全由比特幣社區成員提供的比特幣捐贈11,000美元。

該井服務於500名肯尼亞人,否則他們不能獲得用水,加爾比皮說。 “這產生了巨大的影響。”

“雖然很少有慈善機構或捐贈者在這個階段甚至能夠意識到區塊鏈,但似乎幾乎可以肯定的是,這種技術在未來幾年會發揮越來越重要的作用。那些希望在這個新環境中繁榮的人,因此會很好地思考現在的影響。”

有什麼好處?

大幅降低交易成本。

  • 區塊鏈技術是分散的。這意味著它不是由任何一個人或組織擁有或操作,而是由用戶共享。區塊鏈上的交易不需要中間人(PayPal,慈善代表),因為生態系統可以用來創建像“智能合同”這樣的計算機協議(代碼行),記錄和激活基於觸發器。

提高透明度

  • 區塊鏈技術的本質是完全透明的(嗯,不是100%準確)。系統的任何用戶可以確切地看到誰在任何給定時間擁有什麼,以及誰給誰給誰。因為加密貨幣是不可替換的(即每個片段是唯一的,所以一個交易不能簡單地交換另一個交易),捐贈者將能夠通過慈善機構跟踪他們捐贈的另一方。

增強信任

  • 信任應該是慈善組織中最重要的因素,但這些天似乎不是這樣。區塊鏈技術提供了顯示信任的真正機會。取消對第三方(支付系統,組織和政府)的需求意味著新的2.0慈善機構(您需要的)和非營利機構將不再依賴其他機構,如銀行,律師和政府機構以同樣的方式

總體優勢:

  • 幾乎零交易成本
  • 消除中間人
  • 消除腐敗

你的下一步是什麼?

購買一些加密貨幣並習慣使用它。閱讀基於區塊鏈貨幣的CAF報告。 終於成為變化,而不是等待變化發生。

安永將在瑞士支持比特幣作為服務咨詢支付方式,推動比特幣獲得主流吸引力

安永(EY)雖然是世界上最著名的服務提供商之一。但是即使這樣,這家公司也必須不斷探索創新型概念。到2017年一月,安永瑞士分公司的客戶將可以使用比特幣結算發票。另外,該公司還在蘇黎世的辦公室增添了一個比特幣ATM。很明顯,EY有一個清晰的計劃來推進比特幣的采用,首先從瑞士開始。

瑞士正在迅速成為最歡迎比特幣的國家之一。相對於對抗加密貨幣,瑞士楚格鎮已經可以使用比特幣來支付公共服務。如今,EY開始擴大比特幣業務,發展速度越來越快。事實上,EY瑞士分公司的所有員工將開始使用數字錢包APP來接收和消費比特幣。

安永(EY)在瑞士全面進軍比特幣

EY決定進軍比特幣某種意義上確實出乎意料。在蘇黎世辦公室安裝比特幣ATM就是邁出的重要一步。另外,安永工作人員和外人都可以使用這個ATM,使其成為該公司的一個很好地營銷工具。看到EY采取實際行動來擁抱比特幣和區塊鏈,而不是只說不做,這確實是一個積極的信號。

不過,最大的新聞是EY在即將到來的2017年將如何讓客戶能夠使用比特幣支付咨詢服務。這樣,EY將會成為接受加密貨幣支付的最大公共公司。另外,EY Garage-Lab正在與客戶合作,推進智能合約技術。在這個數字化時代, 這種劇烈的變化看起來更有保證。

安永金融服務咨詢合伙人Daniel Haudenschild告訴媒體說:

“在我們的創新實驗室,EY Garage-Lab,我們正與我們的客戶一起合作,推動基於智能合約的數碼產品的發展。與數字貨幣一起,客戶可以充分利用他們的優勢,如低交易成本或自動化處理。”
EY希望幫助引導其客戶進入新時代的數字業務運營。通過覆蓋五個關鍵支柱行業,他們試圖為數字世界建立信心。此外,他們將會為企業提供指導,以及支持他們進行轉型。看起來比特幣在業務模式發展過程中起到不可或缺的作用。

摩根大通:我們也是一家科技公司

高盛曾屢次表態,我們是一家科技公司。顯然,競爭對手不願讓這個風頭被高盛一家獨占。摩根大通CFO Marianne Lake昨天在年度投資者會議上稱,摩根大通不僅是一家投行,也是一家科技公司中。

摩根大通共聘用4萬個技術專家,包括1萬8千個開發者來“創造知識產權”。摩根大通目前科技預算為90億美元,佔投資規模的三分之一。該公司在網絡安全和主動風險防禦措施中還投入20億美元。

此外,摩根大通投資超過300家初創科技企業,業務遍布金融科技,數據分析,安全以及其它領域。

5

 

華爾街見聞此前多次提到,高盛CEO Lloyd Blankfein稱高盛是一家科技公司。除了不斷加大在科技領域投資,招聘大量計算機工程師。高盛還試圖運用科技改善其初級銀行家處境,把枯燥乏味的工作留給機器人,被媒體稱為“最會玩科技的投行”。

2014年末,一家名叫Kensho的金融數據服務商得到高盛1500萬美元的投資。而Kensho正在研發的一種針對專業投資者的大規模數據處理分析平台,將能部分取代投行分析師們的工作。該工作平台將可以快速,大量的進行各種數據處理分析工作並能實時回答投資者所提出的複雜的金融問題。

買東西、做生意必懂新單字:區塊鏈

想像一個情況:你在蘋果iTunes商店中,花新台幣20元買美國流行樂天后泰勒絲最新發行的單曲;猜猜看,泰勒絲可以拿走多少版稅?

只有新台幣0.06元,中間19.94元的差價,全部跑到中間商口袋了!

今天如果有辦法直接跟泰勒絲交易,也許只要花極便宜、1/300價格,就可即時下載小天后熱門又動聽的歌曲!對於賣家與創作者來說,這種微軟創辦人比爾.蓋茲眼中的零阻力資本主義,簡直就是個烏托邦,但這個讓生產者與消費者直接交易的模式,已不是夢想,最快在明年初就能實現。

不過,區塊鏈真正的貢獻絕對不僅限於金融產業,它可能改變所有人類的交易行為。世界經濟論壇創辦人施瓦布教授預言:區塊鏈將繼蒸汽機、電力和電腦發明之後,帶動人類的第四次工業革命。

就字面上來看,區塊鏈生硬、不易理解,其實原理簡單:運用資訊科技讓所有交易過程透明化,記錄每一次交易,同時也把每一道經手交易的帳本,都攤開來給大家看。也因此,區塊鏈的正式名稱是「分散式帳本技術」。

這條鏈子為何能產生革命性的改變?

區塊,指的是記錄一段時間內所有交易的數據包。在此,交易的定義廣泛,從交換商品、資產、意願,到交付結果、進度都是。一旦交易關係人都認同最終結果,過程中產生的所有紀錄就會被打包封存,從此不容更改,所有區塊都依時間序串接起來,無止境延伸。不只金融交易,區塊鏈運用在食品安全維護上,也相當管用。加入區塊鏈的元素就像是在製程中導入「全民狗仔」機制,動用社群力量、發揮獎勵作用,強化監督效能。

區塊鏈創造了贏家,對於現有業者的威脅也不小。因區塊鏈透明、公開,讓交易過程中「資訊不對稱」的情況大幅下降,勢必影響在經濟活動裡中間人角色。在極端的狀況下,現有的線上交易平台Apple Music、Spotify、唱片商、公關經紀人,都可能成為「死亡名單」候選人;同理,書商Amazon、串流影片商Netflix,也都可能成為犧牲者。

但《中間人經濟》一書作者柯拉可芙斯基認為,像Airbnb等共享經濟平台,屬於價值型中間人,它們建立嚴謹的口碑制度,讓使用者負起責任,也保全信任的本質。對這類企業來說,區塊鏈反而是如虎添翼的優化工具。
然而,一些區塊鏈的缺點也開始浮現。首先是處理速度問題。以比特幣為例,至今已封存40多萬個資訊區塊,由於每一個區塊都會包含前面所有區塊的交易資訊,以至於交易時間拉長,成為安全漏洞。

其次,交易訊息更改不易,也是區塊鏈的缺點。假設買方自己在輸入交易金額時不小心多打一個零,卻到交易完成後才發現。這時除非賣方秉持誠信,願意歸還溢付金額,否則在雙方合意交易,並交付共識決的前提下,買方完全無從求償。

以目前情勢推斷,區塊鏈大勢已難擋,任何人或企業只要認同它,都能改變自己成為一部信任機器,加入信任經濟圈。

一個簡單記帳方式的改變,重組人類間的信賴關係,一場全新商業革命,也將從此開始起跑。