Episode 2.02 // FOLLOW THE MONEY

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) just made it harder to fund terrorists with cryptocurrencies – and made it safer for banks to trade them, changing the cryptocurrency business forever.

Roger Wilkins AO is a former president of the FATF.
Senior Policy Analyst at the FATF, Tom Neylan, worked with a team to develop recommendations (here’s a PDF of the full recommendation) that will make cryptocurrencies safer to exchange.

Episode 2.01 // SIGN OF THE TIMES

Facebook’s Libra could be the most important cryptocurrency ever. Is Libra the real deal – and what does it mean for the future of money? We ask crypto expert Samuel Brooks of Block.8 what Libra means – and how it might be used.

A few useful links:

Here’s Facebook’s white paper on Libra;
Wikipedia on M-PESA, mobile money that transformed Kenya;
And a bit more about Block.8 and Samuel Brooks.

Ten Billiion Zimbabwe Dollar note
And this is what ten billion dollars look like. Am I rich? No. Not really.

Episode 12 – HIGH FINANCE & LOW FRAUDS

Mark Jeffrey and Rob Tercek join Mark to discuss the JPMCoin, Facebook’s crypto play, the collapse of QuadrigaCX – and are 95% of Bitcoins trades bogus?

Topics: JPMorgan Coin; Facebook might earn $20B from Crypto; Jack Dorsey dedicates efforts to open-source crypto development; report submitted to SEC on fraudulent Bitcoin trading; Ethereum Classic suffers a 51% attack; the QuadrigaCX drama – and more!

Robert Tercek and Mark Jeffrey in the PodcastOne studios in Beverly Hills.

The awesome Mark Jeffrey has a new series – “Crypto Explained Simply” that’s designed to teach you all about cryptocurrency:

Mark Jeffrey’s new series ‘Crypto Explained Simply’

Episode 10 – THE SATOSHI DECADE

We conclude series one with a panel — four innovators discuss the incredible innovations flowing from Satoshi Nakamoto’s first white paper on Bitcoin, published ten years ago.

Our fantastic panelists:

Bridie Ohlsson, Blockchain Lead at AgriDigital.

Phil Shelper, CEO of Loyalty & Reward Company

Max Kenny, CEO of CryptoFlip (also featured on episode 5)

Dr. Philippa Ryan, UTS Faculty of Law

Plus our wonderful ‘drop-in guests’: Joe Lubin, Ron Tucker, Sheffield Clark, Mark Jeffrey, Hugo O’Connor and Chami Akmeemana.

And here’s the original Bitcoin white paper, from 31 October 2008:

Bitcoin – A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System

After a great conversation, we lit candles on a birthday cake — for Bitcoin!

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Phil, Mark, Max, Bridie & Pip ready to blow out the candles!

This amazing event wouldn’t have been possible without heaps of assistance from Stone and Chalk (Laura Rowan, Olga Link & Annie Le Cavalier) and the Spark Festival – many thanks for their support.

This brings series one of CRYPTONOMICS to a close, and I won’t say producer Alex Mitchell and I are celebrating the successful conclusion of the production, but…

Episode 9 – JOE LUBIN, ETHEREUM & CONSENSYS

A live-to-audience interview with Joe Lubin, co-creator of Ethereum, and ‘godfather’ of the smart contract, tracing an arc from his college days at Princeton to founding ‘blockchain venture studio’ ConsenSys.

As Joe makes clear in our conversation, Ethereum is a process – not yet a product. Here’s the roadmap for Ethereum 2.0, which takes a lot of what’s been learned since the network went live in 2016 — and tries to fix its shortcomings.

Here’s a great interview with Vitalik Buterin – the other half of Ethereum’s founding team (Joe spreads the credit around more widely) about cryptoeconomics and more.

The “live” version of the Ethereum white paper, maintained on the Ethereum website – it’s an interesting read. Particularly when you remember that it was drafted by someone who was only eighteen years old at the time.

Huge thanks to both UTS and the City of Sydney’s Visiting Entrepreneur Program for their assistance in making this all happen!

 

Episode 8 – CRYPTOPIA

Fanatical belief in cryptocurrencies lead to the perfect becoming the enemy of the good. Michel Bauwens takes us on a tour of what’s good.

Rob Tercek sat through a day of rally-style promotion of cryptocurrencies in Puerto Rico in February 2018 – and came away with a few questions.  Here’s Max Keyser’s talk at that event, which Rob found particularly disturbing:

Michel Bauwens’ P2P Foundation has been working to promote social uses of blockchain technologies.

Here’s a P2P Foundation post about “10 blockchain projects to keep an eye on“, including: The Possible Project and ShareRing. (ShareRing is Australian, so we do our best to have them on CRYPTONOMICS in our next series!)

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Level One Project promises to bring cryptocurrency and smartphone-based trading to the developing world.

Finally, the Regen Network, which sees in itself a complete rewriting of how we account for value in civilisation.

Episode 7 – GOOD BUYS

ICOs are risky investments – CRYPTONOMICS looks at how their pitches play on our wishes for a better world, to get us to part with our cash.

We heard about the Great Keppel Island ICO, and here’s the original press release I received on the 4th of September, 2018:

GREAT BARRIER REEF ISLAND CRYPTO TOKENISED

The Crypto Challenge Forum promises:

Blockchain and the Future of Humanity:
Economy. Environment. Ethics

Then we took a look at the white paper’s for two ICO’s we discussed back in Episode 4:

PowerLedger’s POWR token white paper: Power-Ledger-Whitepaper-v3

The Guardian Circle GUARDIUM token white paper: guardium_whitepaper_en-1.0.3

And if you want to have a peek at the Mark Pesce Token, go here

Episode 6 – FEDCOINS & STABLECOINS

Businesses risk big losses accepting cryptocurrency payments. Do we need a ‘stablecoin’ that holds its value – or government ‘fedcoins’?

 

Havven is an Australian startup creating a ‘stablecoin’ on the back of a very well-subscribed ICO, raising USD $30,000,000 (closer to AUD $40M). Those funds serve as the surety so that their currency can be exchanged dollar-for-dollar with USD.

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We spoke to Havven founder Kain Warwick about what it takes to create a stablecoin – and why people might want to use one.

Tether is the most well-known stablecoin. But it’s been devilishly hard to find an auditor willing to say Tether has an adequate store of USD:

https://www.coindesk.com/tether-review-claims-crypto-asset-fully-backed-theres-catch/

Ecuador had a wild ride into and then out of a ‘fedcoin’:

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/02/06/ecuador-becomes-the-first-country-to-roll-out-its-own-digital-durrency.html

https://cointelegraph.com/news/state-issued-digital-currencies-the-countries-which-adopted-rejected-or-researched-the-concept

But will stablecoins really work?  MIT Tech Review says ‘um…’

 

Episode 5 – SMART MONEY

Imagine a company with no employees, no managers, no board of directors. Imagine a company that ran as a piece of software guaranteeing a democracy of shareholders.

Distributed Autonomous Organsation, or DAO, promised this to its investors:

dao_voting

It didn’t quite go as planned.

We’ve learned a lot about securing computer programs in the nearly 25 years since Brendan Eich invented Javascript – a language now powering nearly every site on the Web.

We’ve invented ‘sandboxing‘ – your smartphone apps can’t steal data from one another, nor can the websites you visit.

Vitalik Buterin created a cryptocurrency with coding features built into the currency. Ethereum runs millions of programs, each in its own sandbox.

Enabling ‘smart money’ – money that can think for itself – Ethereum has proven among the most useful of all coins – and as a result is now worth more than any cryptocurrency other than Bitcoin.

EtherScripter is an amazing tool that lets you drag-and-drop the design of smart contracts. It draws heavily from the SCRATCH programming language used to teach children as young as 6 years old the essential skills of programming. So EtherScripter is easy to understand – and fun.

Here’s a simple EtherScripter smart contract that performs a coin flip:

Etherscript coin flip

Get your hands dirty with EtherScripter here!

As we learned in our interview with CryptoFlip‘s Max Kenny, there’s a lot more to doing a coin flip well – that is, with truly random results.

The DAO failed because of bugs – and hubris. Smart contract pioneers wanted to run before they’d learned to walk.

This WIRED article explores the failure of the DAO in detail.

Episode 4 – TOKENOMICS

What gives a coin its value? Gold is rare (as is Bitcoin), but most coins are plentiful. So we need to ask another question – is a coin useful?

The utility of a coin can be determined by observing how it’s been designed to be used – and comparing that against how people actually use it.

Bitcoin was originally meant to facilitate peer-to-peer cash transactions on the Internet, but because of its long settlement times (in the tens of minutes) and high fees, it’s rarely appropriate. Instead, Bitcoin’s utility comes from its store of value.

But there are other coins:

litecoin 768px-Namecoin

Litecoin and Namecoin are both similar to Bitcoin – ‘cloned’ from the Bitcoin source code. But each of them are just different enough to attract their own traders.

In 2015, Ethereum came along – more about that in episode 5 – and the number of ‘initial coin offerings’ exploded, generating well over twenty billion dollars (USD) in sales:

ICO_Tracker.png

PowerLedger provides a blockchain-based accounting mechanism allowing individuals generating energy at home – via renewables such as solar and wind – to sell that energy to their neighbors, with real-time payments.

Dr. Jemma Green joined us to discuss the utility of the POWR token – created to act as a ‘bond’ against settlement of electricity bills – but with much broader applications.

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Dr. Jemma Green (and 6 week-old Castiel) joined us for an interview about PowerLedger

Dr. Green described a system of POWR tokens and another token – SPARKS – used together to facilitate payments:

Power-Ledger-Model-min.png

The POWR token sale raised $34,000,000 in investment for PowerLedger.

According to Mark Jeffrey, the real value of any coin can be surmised by its usefulness – and he suggests we head over to Block’tivity to see the real-time chart of the most useful coins.

Here’s a snapshot from 25 August 2018:

Blocktivity
Usefulness is not correlated to value. Bitcoin is useful. EOS, STEEM and Ethereum more so.

 

Mark Jeffrey also took us through the tokenomics of Guardian Circle, his ‘decentralised 9-1-1’ application that aims to bring emergency services to billions in the developing world. It uses a ‘Guardium‘ token to incentivise first responders. (Disclaimer: I am both an adviser to Guardian Circle and am a Guardium token holder in recognition of my services as an adviser. This is not investment advice.)

 

Episode 3 – THE BUSINESS OF BLOCKCHAINS

Agricultural settlements are a long-term problem for agribusiness.

emma-weston-agridigital-5-638

The farmer is always taking on all of the ‘counterparty risk‘ – the chance that the buyer won’t or can’t pay.

AgriDigital created a blockchain for agricultural settlements – ensuring farmers get paid for their crop as soon as it get sold – and not six months later.

emma_in_studio
Emma Weston of AgriDigital joins us in studio

Land title registries will be using blockchain – once the various bureaucratic difficulties get sorted out. It might work something like this:

land title.png

Arianee is creating an asset registry for luxury items – very similar to the blockchain application described in the middle of the episode. Here’s a short video about what they’re up to:

In 2015, IBM and Samsung jointly announced their ADEPT initiative – to bring blockchain security to all of the connected devices in our world.

Here’s IBM’s whitepaper describing their goals for ADEPT – which could bring blockchain to almost all connected devices, numbering in the tens of billions:

IBM ADEPT Practictioner Perspective – Pre Publication Draft – 7 Jan 2015

The University of Melbourne has tested a blockchain-based solution to provide access to verifiable academic credentials.  Graduates can expect a system like this to be in common use within the next few years.