Users Abandoning DApps as Augur Moves onto Mainnet  – Diar

applications | blockchain | smart contracts

Active daily users on Dapps have been plummeting week on week. Diar number crunching shows that there are currently less than 1600 users active on the Top 10 Dapps based on user count. And transactional volume is dwindling alongside dropping users. To make matters a little more bleak, the most used decentralized exchanges, IDEX, ForkDelta and Bancor have seen their user base dwindle to less than 5% from peak in a short few months.

Source: Volume 2 Issue 28 – Diar

Lightning Network Reference Rate.

bitcoin | blockchain | economics | finance | Research Notes

I am proposing that the second point on Bitcoin’s risk spectrum should be LNRR, the Lightning Network Reference Rate. Routing fees earned on bitcoin staked to Lightning payment channels can be expressed as an interest rate. The rates received on the payment channel or node level can be hashed and cryptographically provable. Node operators can opt-in to publish realized interest rates on their capital. If a consensus can be reached on an interest rate calculation protocol, capital providers can publish interest rates in an open and transparent way. Positive interest rates will attract bank-like entities that believe they can earn positive return using effective payment channel management and security techniques. Some bitcoin previously held in cold storage will seek the income attainable in Lightning Network, the first ever example of an opportunity cost tradeoff in bitcoin that doesn’t require additional counterparty risk. Bitcoin staked to Lightning is the most unique income producing asset in all of monetary history: income with zero counterparty risk. The historical implications of this on capital markets are tremendous.

Blockchain Economics | Markus K. Brunnermeier

blockchain | economics | papers | people | Research Notes

When is record-keeping better arranged through distributed ledger technology (DLT) than through a traditional centralized intermediary? The ideal qualities of any record-keeping system are (i) correctness, (ii) decentralization, and (iii) cost efficiency. We point out a \textit{Blockchain Trilemma}: no ledger can satisfy all three properties simultaneously. A centralized ledger writer extracts rents due to its monopoly on the ledger. Its franchise value dynamically incentivizes honest reporting. Decentralized ledgers provide static incentives for honesty through computationally expensive Proof-of-Work algorithms but eliminate rents through “fork competition.” Portability of information between “forks” and competition among miners fosters competition among decentralized ledgers that is fiercer than traditional competition. However, fork competition can engender instability and miscoordination. While blockchains can keep track of ownership transfers, enforcement of possession rights is still needed in many blockchain applications.

Source: Blockchain Economics | Markus K. Brunnermeier

European countries join Blockchain Partnership | Digital Single Market

blockchain | people | politics | Research Notes

23 European countries have signed a Declaration on the establishment of a European Blockchain Partnership. The Partnership will be a vehicle for cooperation amongst Member States to exchange experience and expertise in technical and regulatory fields and prepare for the launch of EU-wide blockchain applications across the Digital Single Market for the benefit of the public and private sectors. This should ensure that Europe continues to play a leading role in the development and roll-out of blockchain technologies.

Source: European countries join Blockchain Partnership | Digital Single Market


blockchain | critique | justice | law | people | related_projects | Research Notes

This is the website of the CoHuBiCoL research project, for which Mireille Hildebrandt received an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council, enabling to set up a team of both lawyers and computer scientists, to conduct foundational research into computational law. The site will be updated as we go along. Note that the official starting date is January 2019.  We will investigate how the prominence of counting and computation transforms many of the assumptions, operations and outcomes of the law. The research targets two types of computational law:​artificial legal intelligence or data-driven law (based on machine learning), andcryptographic or code-driven law (based on blockchain technologies).


Law As Computation in the Era of Artificial Legal Intelligence. Speaking Law to the Power of Statistics by Mireille Hildebrandt :: SSRN

blockchain | justice | law | papers | people | Research Notes

Mireille Hildebrandt

Vrije Universiteit Brussel; Radboud University

Date Written: June 7, 2017


The idea of artificial legal intelligence stems from a previous wave of artificial intelligence, then called jurimetrics. It was based on an algorithmic understanding of law, celebrating logic as the sole ingredient for proper legal argumentation. However, as Holmes noted, the life of the law is experience rather than merely logic. Machine learning, which determines the current wave of artificial intelligence, is built on a data-driven machine experience. The resulting artificial legal intelligence may be far more successful in terms predicting the content of positive law. In this article, I discuss the assumptions of law and the rule of law and confront them with those of computational systems. As a twin paper to my Chorley lecture on Law as Information, this should inform the extent to which artificial legal intelligence provides for responsible innovation in legal decision making.

Governments Explore Using Blockchains to Improve Service – The New York Times

applications | blockchain | Research Notes

Government agencies usually aren’t the first to try new technology, but the momentum around the blockchain industry has spurred adoption. It helps that some vendors are offering their services pro bono or at a discount, avoiding what is typically an arduous procurement process.Still, there are significant challenges. The technology is immature, with problems around speed, volume and security, Mr. Sirer said. The industry is also immature, with new vendors popping up and dropping out. Finally, political bureaucracy can be a hindrance.Some high-profile projects have stalled. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority concluded that a digital currency would “look broadly similar to, and not clearly superior to, existing infrastructures.” The Texas company building a blockchain-based land registry in Honduras gave up because of communication problems with officials. Isle of Man’s plan to secure internet-connected devices with blockchain halted after the start-up behind it shut down because of a founder spat.Perhaps the biggest gap between expectations and reality occurred in Sierra Leone, where the Swiss foundation Agora was widely reported to have powered the first blockchain election. This turned out to be overzealous marketing. The National Electoral Commission denounced the reports as “fake news,” and Agora acknowledged that it had merely been allowed to record some votes in its presidential election on a blockchain as a demonstration.The Cook County Recorder of Deeds worked on a land registry pilot with velox.RE, a California-based start-up that did the work free. The pilot, which created blockchains for more than a million parcels, took a team of nine people eight months. The system is accessible through a rudimentary website. If you look up the property status of 5801 South Ellis Avenue, for example, you will see hundreds of pairs of 64-character strings, which correspond to transactions going back to 1985.The pilot made it clear that some foundational work is needed before Illinois can move to a blockchain land registry, Mr. Mirkovic said. Records must be digitized. Data formats must be standardized. A law must be passed to require that title transfers be registered with the government. Finally, Illinois voters recently decided to merge the Cook County Recorder of Deeds and the Cook County Clerk’s office, which would delay any decision on blockchains until 2020.The pilot also showed that the agency could solve some problems without blockchain. The pilot inspired the office’s existing software vendor, Conduent, to integrate some blockchain-like concepts into its more conventional design. And in his post-mortem, Mr. Mirkovic pointed to Iowa, where land records were accurate, title insurance was cheap, and citizens could look up information in a statewide online database that did not use blockchain.Mr. Mirkovic hopes that his office can eventually use the technology. “I still believe the idea is too good to ignore,” he said.

Source: Governments Explore Using Blockchains to Improve Service – The New York Times

Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future

applications | blockchain | critique | Research Notes

You actually see it over and over again. Blockchain systems are supposed to be more trustworthy, but in fact they are the least trustworthy systems in the world. Today, in less than a decade, three successive top bitcoin exchanges have been hacked, another is accused of insider trading, the demonstration-project DAO smart contract got drained, crypto price swings are ten times those of the world’s most mismanaged currencies, and bitcoin, the “killer app” of crypto transparency, is almost certainly artificially propped up by fake transactions involving billions of literally imaginary dollars.

Source: Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future