An Open Letter to Banks and Financial Institutions

Advice to Ignore at Your Own Peril By Paul Jones and Albert Szmigielski   To Whom It May Concern: And concerned you should be, gravely. A storm is brewing on the distant horizon, more clearly visible to some than others. From our lookout perch, using high-tech vision enhanced with deep research, the threat is unequivocal. Decisive timing is uncertain but the path well-defined. You can put your heads in the sand, ignoring this destructive force, hoping it will dissipate, suddenly change course, or just die out, but thorough preparation is essential to weather the storm if you hope to survive its devastating aftermath. The tempest is growing with momentum increasing, absorbing the energy from superheated seas, the eye of the

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Ethereum and Democratizing Innovation

Introduction Ethereum is a groundbreaking software innovation designed as a developer-friendly platform for the creation of DApps, aka, decentralized applications. Ethereum draws inspiration from the success and staying power of earlier decentralized Internet technologies such as BitTorrent for file sharing and Bitcoin for cryptocurrency. The ultimate vision of Ethereum is to decentralize the Internet. Why decentralization? With a decentralized architecture, DApps built on the Ethereum platform will be impervious to censorship and thereby allow developers to freely create useful applications without concern of being shut down.  Although built from scratch and unique in implementation, Ethereum uses some innovations from Bitcoin’s architecture, including a decentralized consensus mechanism to unbundle trust, a distributed blockchain ledger to record contracts, and its own crypto-token,

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Uphold, Inc. – Disrupting Global Banking

COMPANY PROFILE Uphold, Inc. is a leader in the rapidly emerging FinTech sector. Uphold’s online platform has a global reach, allowing verified members speed and flexibility in managing their money. Funds can be deposited using standard bank transfers, credit cards, and even bitcoin. Uphold account holders, which include individuals and businesses, can instantly send and receive funds amongst each other, and convert between twenty-three major currencies, four precious metals, and two cryptocurrencies. New commodities and currencies are being added regularly to expand the choices available to Uphold’s members.   VALUATION In January 2015, Uphold closed a Series B round, raising $9.6 million via crowdfunding from institutional and individual investors located in the US and UK. Equity was sold on the

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Sidechains: Alpha Sidechain Tutorial

In this tutorial we will take a practical look at sidechains [1]. We will concentrate on the Elements project [2] and its first sidechain known as Alpha . Alpha is a developer sidechain that is pegged to Bitcoin’s testnet [3]. In order to play around with sidechains in general and with Alpha in particular we need to have the mainchain installed on our machine. The mainchain in our case is the bitcoin testnet. Then we will need to install the Alpha sidechain. Let’s proceed. The instructions below are for Linux Ubuntu. Step 1 – Install bitcoind & alphad First we need to get some dependencies:

If you do not have git installed on your machine:

To be organized

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Smart Contracts and Insurance on the Blockchain

Introduction Smart contracts are a new and exciting area in computing science. Their application in finance, gambling, e-commerce, and automation of various tasks that are currently performed semi-manually is very promising. Smart contract are computer scripts (software) that aid in the self-execution and self-enforcement of traditional contracts. For the first time in history money or more precisely digital tokens, like bitcoin, are native to these software contracts, opening up wide areas of possibilities. Having money as a native type available to a computer program is a big deal. It allows the removal of the whole complicated layer of payment processing that current websites, apps, and other software systems have to deal with. One area that might benefit immensely from smart

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Blocksize: A Matter of Logistics

Discussions regarding the block size are often burdened by complex technical and engineering details, but fail to emphasize the key driver of Bitcoin’s future success. The critical driver of Bitcoin’s future success is its continued utility. If Bitcoin should for any reason become useless, it will become irrelevant! If it were to become inaccessible, or if it were to perform poorly in its main functions (1) assuring the security of the cryptographically scarce counterfeit resistant digital token bitcoin or (2) fail to securely facilitate the movement of these tokens from one address to another in an efficient, reliable, predictable and affordable manner – Bitcoin & bitcoin would become irrelevant. The original maximum allowable block size was 32MB1. In the early

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Ethereum For Everyone

 Introduction Everyone should know about Ethereum—and this article will explain why. The goal here is to describe this groundbreaking software project in layman’s terms. A big-picture approach will be taken, analyzing Ethereum’s design and implementation with comparisons to legacy computer systems. Liberty will be taken to simplify some of the technical details, so emphasis can be placed on the fundamental architecture and socio-economic implications of this radical innovation. Ethereum is an ambitious open source endeavor that promises to change the world by revolutionizing the utility of the Internet [1]. There are far-reaching implications for engineering a better, more honest world. Ethereum is creating a “truth” protocol with unlimited flexibility, allowing anyone and everyone to interact peer-to-peer using the Internet as

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Ethereum: What’s the fuss?

The inspiration for Bitcoin has largely emerged from discussion and work based in the cypherpunk movement beginning in the 1970s into the 1990s and continuing into today[1],[2],[3].  The thought of digital currency entered into the collective consciousness via Neal Stephenson fictional work Cyrptonomicon[4] published in 1999.  However in 1982, David Chaum published[5] an article formally introducing secure digital cash.  Chaum went on to form DigiCash[6] in 1990 applying his ideas about digital currency. Bitcoin evolved beyond this original work by removing the need for a trusted third party.  This was achieved with the innovation of a peer-to-peer, consensus based public ledger (blockchain) cryptographically secured by digital signatures[7] and proof of work[8],[9],[10],[11] which eliminated the need for a trusted third party[12].  The token, bitcoin, is tracked

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Bitcoin & Blockchain Programming #007 – RPCs via Python

by Albert Szmigielski Previously we issued commands to bitcoind via PHP using Remote Procedure Calls. In today’s tutorial we will do the same using Python. We are assuming you have python installed on your machine. On Ubuntu 14.0.4 Python 3.4 is installed by default. If you do not have Python installed, just do a search on how to do it, there is a number of good tutorials out there. Or depending on your system you can try

If you are not sure if Python is installed on your system you can check by doing:

for versions 2.x or

for versions 3.x The RPCs to bitcoind are accomplished via json format, so we will need a library for

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Primer: Think about accepting bitcoin.

Many friends label me a Bitcoin fanatic, however let me first state that Bitcoin alone will not save your business, will not make you wealthy, and is not essential for a successful business; at least not today.  Bitcoin remains small[1], but important in a growing niche payments technology space.  We will see more of it in the future.  In 2009, Bitcoin introduced two fundamental innovations[2]; the blockchain: a secure public ledger managing the possession of a cryptographically scarce counterfeit resistant digital token.  That token, bitcoin with a small ‘b’ is what a merchant may accept at the register alongside cash and credit cards.  That token, BTC (aka XBT), in the last 7 years, has achieved a real world value which

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Bitcoin & Blockchain Programming #006 – Blockchain Notary System Design

by Albert Szmigielski Notary System Let’s design a notary system. A system that can notarize a document and store it. There are three solutions possible: a decentralized one, that can keep functioning for ever, a centralized system that would depend on a company running it, and a combination of both. We would like the system to be decentralized, so that in the event of our company’s demise the system can keep on functioning. This is a desirable property to have as wills may need to exist for decades before they are executed. In addition to this we will have a centralized component where we keep the information stored for our users. Added functionality like storing authorized users able to access

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An Overview of MaidSafe’s SAFE Network – Secure Access For Everyone

  If you have additional points to add, be part of the conversation! Please comment below! Brief History MaidSafe is the only cryptocurrency project I know of that is older than Bitcoin. It started in 2006, raising 5 million dollars to fund a 14-person team working towards the goal of decentralizing the internet. [1] Since then, the project has had more face-lifts than an aging D-list celebrity. Last year they even completely rewrote the C++ code into a new programming language called Rust. [2] The Maidsafe team is finally about to release the first version of their long awaited minimum viable product to the general public. [3] I can’t wait to try it out! What is it? The SAFE Network

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