FileCoin and IPFS – reinventing storage – The Startup – Medium

FileCoin and IPFS are courageous projects for sure. FileCoin is also a nice example how Blockchain technologies strive to not only create new decentralized use cases, but also new markets. It remains to be seen if these new markets can get established with the necessary balance between users and providers.

Source: FileCoin and IPFS – reinventing storage – The Startup – Medium

Understanding Public Blockchain Governance — Oxford Internet Institute

Understanding blockchain governance is critical to mitigate social conflict over blockchain protocols and in ensuring they remain functional. The promise of governance by the network – a techno-institutional solution to solving the problems of cooperation and coordination – can only work if the governance of the network is robust, fair and predictable. There is a tendency in the wider blockchain community to dismiss governance issues, and sometimes even to deny that they exist. There are a number of reasons why this is mistaken: social scientists have long known that even in supposedly non-hierarchical social communities, power relations and politics emerge to structure human interaction. Studies of open-source software projects and internet governance, both comparable to blockchains, have demonstrated the existence of governance in these contexts, whether formal or informal. The study of the governance of blockchains need not call for the formalisation and institutionalisation of current practices; instead it should be seen as a necessary step to better understand the current ways in which blockchains are produced, how they change, and how conflicts over their protocols are resolved.

Source: Understanding Public Blockchain Governance — Oxford Internet Institute

Platinum: Fool’s Gold – Quinlan & Associates

Financial services strategy consulting firm, Quinlan & Associates, has released a landmark 156-page report on the cryptocurrency space, the largest and most detailed examination of the industry to date [LINK TO REPORT PAGE].

The report, titled ‘Fool’s Gold? Unearthing The World of Cryptocurrency’, takes an in-depth look at the fundamental functions of cryptocurrencies and the surrounding ecosystem, powered by blockchain technology.

The report also seeks to demystify the ongoing debate in financial markets (and the wider economy) around the true value of Bitcoin and its future outlook through detailed valuation models.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Cryptocurrencies have been heralded as the revolution of the financial system since its proof of concept by Wei Dai and Nick Szabo in 1998, followed by Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper detailing a ‘peer-to-peer electronic cash system’ and open source code, which is now known as Bitcoin.

Underpinned by blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies promised an end to third party institutions and barriers to financial transactions. And in recent years, they have exploded onto the scene at an exponential rate. At its 2017 peak, there were over 1,300 cryptocurrencies in existence, with a combined market capitalisation of nearly USD 650 billion, rivalling the GDP of nations such as Saudi Arabia. Bitcoin (BTC) itself, the most popular cryptocurrency, has touched market capitalisations similar to economies such as Malaysia and Vietnam.

The sudden rise of the cryptocurrency market has generated heated debate by both believers and critics alike for its value, future potential, and use cases. At the centre of this discussion is BTC, with its meteoric price rise capturing daily headlines in mainstream and social media alike, with speculators rushing to the market in the hopes of joining the wave of overnight millionaires. A plethora of inter-related industries have also spawned, including wallets and payment services, crypto exchanges, and mining, as entrepreneurs across the globe look to capitalise on new revenue pools that have opened up on the back of this technological revolution.

To appreciate the recent rise of cryptocurrencies and their future potential, one must understand the underlying technology, surrounding ecosystem, and the place of cryptocurrencies in financial markets (and the wider economy). Our report details the aforementioned criteria, utilising BTC as the exemplar for current cryptocurrencies in place at the time of writing. We also drew further insights from interviews with a wide range of industry stakeholders, as well as survey responses from over 1,500 individuals working predominantly in financial services, FinTech, consulting, and technology.

Most current iterations of cryptocurrencies are, at their core, meant to operate as currencies. However, currencies have, for many centuries, needed to meet a number of specific criteria to be recognised as such – namely, acting as a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value. Despite fulfilling most of the characteristics of a traditional fiat currency, cryptocurrencies are largely being utilised as speculative investment assets, leading to considerable volatility in their value. This lack of stability, together with soaring valuations, means they are rarely used for payments. In order to achieve status as a legitimate currency, the public must spend cryptocurrencies widely to determine a credible benchmark for their actual value, encouraging businesses to accept them as a medium of payment (hence making them more liquid in the long run). Until then, most cryptocurrencies, including BTC, will continue to exist in a speculative capacity, with all the undertones of being a bubble.

2017 saw the price of BTC surpass the asset price inflation of the 17th century tulip mania, while rendering “bubbles” such as dotcom a mere blip by comparison. Its strong – albeit slowly unwinding – correlation to alternative cryptocurrencies also indicates a collapse in the price of BTC could lead to a rapid downfall for the broader non-fiat cryptocurrency market.

A number of factors underpinned BTC’s price rise in 2017. In the earlier part of the year, many of the gains could be tied to ongoing discourse around its potential regulatory legitimacy. Since then, however, its popularity – and infamy – has appeared to fuel a widespread “fear of missing out” (FOMO), a classic characteristic of most bubbles. Yet, consensus regarding its future value remains literally non-existent, with valuations ranging from USD 0 to as high as USD 1,000,000. Moreover, the majority of these predictions do not appear to be based on any robust, quantitative methods, but are more a reflection of individual opinion.

To determine whether BTC is indeed a bubble, we looked to calculate its value using two overarching approaches: (1) as an asset; and (2) as a currency.

As an asset, we valued Bitcoin using a cost of production approach and a store of value approach, resulting in values of USD 2,161 and USD 687 respectively. To value BTC as a currency, we estimated its utilisation for both legal, retail transactions payments, as well as payments in the black market. After significant testing, we calculated the price of BTC 1 to be USD 1,780.

Irrespective of the valuation methodology employed, we found the price of BTC deviates significantly from its current price of ~USD 14,000. For the longer-term, we are even less optimistic around the future price of BTC and believe it will ultimately be ruled out as a mainstream form of payment. We see this exerting greater downward pressure on its price and forecast it to trade at ~USD 810 by 2020, if not even lower. We therefore believe that BTC, at its current valuation, is a bubble waiting to burst.

While our views on the price (and future applications of BTC) remain muted, our outlook for the broader cryptocurrency industry remains much more sanguine. Existing cryptocurrencies that were designed to replace fiat currencies, such as BTC, are unlikely to act as viable substitutes to the money or currency system we have in place today, due to their inherent challenge to central bank and government functions – namely, fiscal and monetary policy. However, cryptocurrencies with associated utility applications (such as Ethereum’s ETH), as well as fiat cryptocurrencies attached to a sovereign nation, are likely to grow in significance, given the ability of the underlying blockchain technology to provide meaningful enhancements to current payment systems, as well as their broader applications beyond being used as speculative assets (e.g. facilitating the execution of smart contracts).

Although a sharp decline in the price of BTC in 2018 is likely to take the value of other nonutility cryptocurrencies with it, we see the correlation with utility cryptocurrencies being much less pronounced. While we anticipate valuations to decline in the short-term in response to the widespread unwinding of the digital currency space, valuations of utility cryptocurrencies are likely to recover and dominate the market in the long-term. We forecast total market capitalisation of private cryptocurrencies to be USD 407 billion by 2020. We also see fiat cryptocurrencies gaining momentum as governments accelerate their research and piloting efforts, with potential to be a USD 150 billion market by 2020.

While we believe BTC can largely be viewed as fool’s gold at present, digital currencies will continue to unearth major enhancements to the global payments system in years to come.

Source: Platinum: Fool’s Gold – Quinlan & Associates

Design of a software architecture supporting business-to-government information sharing to improve public safety and security | SpringerLink

Abstract

To ensure public safety and security, it is vitally important for governments to collect information from businesses and analyse it. Such information can be used to determine whether transported goods might be suspicious and therefore require physical inspection. Although businesses are obliged to report some information, they are reluctant to share additional information for fear of sharing competitively sensitive information, becoming liable and not being compliant with the law. These reasons are often overlooked in the design of software architectures for information sharing. In the present research, we followed a design science approach to develop a software architecture for business-to-government information sharing. Based on literature and a case study, we elicited the requirements an architecture that provides for the sharing of information should meet to make it acceptable to businesses. We then developed the architecture and evaluated it against the requirements. The architecture consists of a blockchain that stores events and rules for information sharing that are controlled by businesses. For each event, two parties use their private keys to encrypt its Merkle root to confirm that they know the data are correct. This makes it easy to check whether information is reliable and whether an event should be accepted. Access control, metadata and context information enable the context-based sharing of information. This is combined with the encryption and decryption of data to provide access to certain data within an organisation.

Source: Design of a software architecture supporting business-to-government information sharing to improve public safety and security | SpringerLink

Blockchain in government: Benefits and implications of distributed ledger technology for information sharing – ScienceDirect

Abstract

Blockchain refers to a range of general purpose technologies to exchange information and transact digital assets in distributed networks. The core question addressed in this paper is whether blockchain technology will lead to innovation and transformation of governmental processes. To address this question we present a critical assessment of the often exaggerated benefits of blockchain technology found in the literature and discuss their implications for governmental organizations and processes. We plea for a shift from a technology-driven to need-driven approach in which blockchain applications are customized to ensure a fit with requirements of administrative processes and in which the administrative processes are changed to benefit from the technology. Having sound governance models are found to be a condition for realizing benefits. Based on a critical assessment we offer directions for further research into the potential benefits of BC applications in e-government and the role of governance of BC architectures and applications to comply with societal needs and public values.

Source: Blockchain in government: Benefits and implications of distributed ledger technology for information sharing – ScienceDirect

Blockchain, Law & Policy workshop February 12, 2018, Amsterdam

The Business Law and Economics Symposium, the Blockchain &
Society Policy Research Lab at IViR, and the Center for Law & Economics at ETH Zurich presents the  Blockchain, Law & Policy workshop.

Date:  February 12th, 2018 (8:30-17:15)

Location:  IViR Documentation Room, Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam, Roeterseilandcampus – building A, Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, Amsterdam

Program:

8:30-9:00 BREAKFAST
9:00-9:15 Opening statement by Stefan Bechtold & Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci

Session 1

9:15-10:15 Luis Garicano (LSE): The Governance of Blockchain: Hard Forks, Cryptocurrency and Norms
10:15-10:45 COFFEE BREAK
10:45-11:45 Davide Grossi (Groningen): A Social Choice-Theoretic Analysis of the Stellar Consensus Protocol
11:45-12:45 Stefan Bechtold (ETH Zurich) & Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci (UvA): Property Without Law: Personalized Property Rights Through New Contracting Technologies

12:45-14:00 LUNCH (served in the conference room)

14:00-14;45 Joris Cramwinckel (Ortec Finance, Rotterdam): Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts: Potential and Limits, with an Application to Pensions
14:45-15:45 Hermann Elendner (HU Berlin): Liquidity and Resiliency of Crypto-currency Markets

15:45:16:15 COFFEE BREAK
16:15-17:15 Balazs Bodo, Daniel Gervais and Joao Quintais (Amsterdam): Who Needs Copyright When We Have Blockchain and Smart Contracts?

 

See the detailed program and the abstracts here: Blockchain Program 2018

Curso experto legal en Blockchain, Smart Contracts e ICOs – 15 horas (24 – 26 enero 2018) – Blockchain España

Segunda edición del Curso experto Legal en blockchain, Smart Contracts e ICOs del 24 al 26 de enero de 2018Duración: 15 horas24 enero de 9.00-14.3025 enero de 17.00 – 22.0026 de enero de 9.30 a 14.00.Incluye dos Labs Prácticos, un caso de compraventa de vivienda en Smart contract y acceso a la comunidad de conocimiento de Blockchain España.PROGRAMA MÓDULO 1: Tecnología Blockchain, bitcoin, ethereum y principales retos jurídicos.MÓDULO 2: Identidad digitalLAB PRACTICO·         Cómo funciona el acceso·         Explora transacciones en una Blockchain.·         Usa una wallet.MÓDULO 3: Smart contracts.LAB PRACTICO·         Crear un Smart Contract con Solidity: Haz una compraventa de vivienda en Smart ContractMÓDULO 4: ICOS.MÓDULO 5: DAOs.**VER DETALLE DEL PROGRAMA ABAJOA QUIÉN VA DIRIGIDO?·         Abogados y profesionales del derecho.·         Miembros de la administración pública.·         Académicos y docentes.·         Empresas que estén valorando el lanzamiento de un proyecto Blockchain o una ICO.Precio 1.573 Euros (1300 + IVA)Inscripción: Envía un email a blockchainespana@gmail.comCurso presencial en Madrid. Espacio Impact Hub.

Source: Curso experto legal en Blockchain, Smart Contracts e ICOs – 15 horas (24 – 26 enero 2018) – Blockchain España

Course: Blockchain and Intellectual Property (26-10-2017) (Basic level)

On the 26 October 2017, the EUIPO brought together around 80 people to interact and discuss the implication of Blockchain technology on the world of intellectual property. Participants includes Blockchain experts, national IP offices, right holder representatives and representatives from civil society. The conference convered the basic concepts of the technology, the many aspects of interaction between the technology and intellectual property, 3 practical use cases and a look into the future.

Source: Course: Blockchain and Intellectual Property (26-10-2017) (Basic level)