Monday, 24 April 2017

Cardano: A Blockchain with privacy and regulation

Blockchain is a potentially transformative technology. However current solutions are hampered by issues such as lack of regulatory oversight, experimental software with unproven security, poor governance that stifles scalability, and a lack of long-term planning for protocols. With the imminent launch of the Cardano protocol and the completion of the first ever crowdsale to perform detailed compliance checks on its 10,000 individuals, Cardano aims to change this.

What is Cardano?
Read the full article on medium by Michael Parsons 

Blockchain and the future of audit

Some say it will be as big as the internet, so what exactly is Blockchain? 
We’ve been told that Blockchain is set to transform financial transactions and thus the world of corporate reporting. It’s predicted to be as big as the internet, but what exactly is it and how could it affect all of us?
Blockchain is a type of database known as a distributed ledger that operates on a consensus basis. Whenever a user submits a new data block to the blockchain, the majority of other users must confirm that it is valid. The database does not have a central administrator.
Read the full article and watch a video which explains what blockchain does, how it works and the ways in which it will affect us all:
Blockchain and the future of audit

Blockchain video

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Blockchain - White Paper on DLT

Whitepaper on Distributed Ledger Technology

"DLT.... is better known as “blockchain.” and is essentially a technology that supports networks of databases that enable participants to create, disseminate and store information in a secure and efficient manner. While database technologies are not new, what makes DLT's special is that these networks of databases can operate smoothly and securely without necessarily being controlled and administered by a central party that is known and trusted by every participant."
"Bitcoin marked the introduction of blockchain-based DLT. Since then, there has been a rapid evolution in the design of DLT platforms. Platforms with varied features and characteristics have emerged on which developers can build different applications. DLT platforms can be divided into two main categories: unpermissioned and permissioned. In unpermissioned platforms, the ledger is maintained by collaborative action among nodes in the public network, and is accessible to anyone. In a permissioned platform, participation is restricted to member nodes only: the ledger is maintained by authorised nodes and is accessible to registered members only. Permissioned platforms enable fast transaction validation to take place, offer enhanced privacy, and at the same time take less energy to operate."

The Research White Paper 
The full DLT Whitepaper is here

In this connection, the Fintech Facilitation Office (FFO) of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has commissioned the Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) to conduct a research project on the subject of DLT. The key objectives of this project are to carry out an open-minded and an in-depth examination of the technology (including an investigation into its potential, its risks, and its regulatory implications); and to identify possible applications of DLT to banking services by engaging in proof-of-concept work."

Monday, 29 February 2016

Rootstock Explained | Smart Contracts on the Bitcoin Blockchain

"As a concept the Rootstock [1] platform is one of those ideas that once it is proposed it is obvious that it is a great idea. Essentially Rootstock aims to be what Ethereum is, a decentralized, Turing-complete smart contract platform. However, Rootstock aims to utilize the Bitcoin ecosystem rather than creating a new one from scratch. The way this will be accomplished is via the still not fully implemented sidechains technology [2]. This approach presents both advantages, and its own set of challenges. We will briefly outline what the Rootstock platform promises to offer and then will discuss the main points of the proposal."

"Rootstock will exist as a Bitcoin sidechain. If you haven’t heard of the sidechains proposal you can review the whitepaper here, or read our explanation of sidechains here. But in summary a sidechain is a blockchain that is separate from the main Bitcoin Blockchain, but assets can be transferred back and forth."

Full post here by Albert Szmigielski

Friday, 6 November 2015

Permissioned Ledgers And The Case For Blockchains Without Bitcoin - Tim Swanson

Tim Swanson recorded this in June 2015 - an important addition to the Bitcoin blockchain debate:
One topic that is guaranteed to cause heated discussion among cryptocurrency enthusiasts is the idea that blockchains can be controlled by known validators and function without an underlying cryptocurrency. Some think this is a non-sensical idea fabricated by those spineless enough to want to appease regulators and but clueless enough to miss the whole point of cryptocurrencies. But others believe that Bitcoin is unsuited for a lof of ‘Bitcoin 2.0’ applications and that permissioned ledgers have wide-reaching potential to increase efficiency and transparency.
Tim Swanson takes part in an important discussion of permissioned ledgers. He’s among their best-known proponents and has recently published a whitepaper discussing how they work and looking at different startups in the space.
Topics covered included:
– Why the ‘blockchains without bitcoin’ idea is so controversial
– Why it is strange that KYC is done widely on Bitcoin users but not on the validators
– Why even semi-decentralized blockchains can provide big efficiency gains
– Why the 51% attack possibility is an obstacle for the use of the Bitcoin as a settlement network
– Why financial institutions don’t care about censorship resistance but do care about irreversibility

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Bitcoin to be the world's sixth largest global reserve currency?

Bitcoin is going to be the world’s sixth largest global reserve currency, a new study has found, as blockchain becomes increasingly important to mainstream lenders.
Interviewing 30 leading bitcoin companies, mergers and acquisitions adviser Magister Advisors found that over the next 15 years bitcoin is set to soar in popularity as a reserve currency, a currency held by governments and institutions in large amounts, as part of their foreign exchange reserves.
Today, the US dollar is the most popular reserve
Bitcoin has been having a bullish month, with the price soaring to a 2015 high last week, and trading at $374 today. The cryptocurrency was also boosted by the European Commission’s recent decision to exempt it from VAT, effectively accepting it as a currency.
But the real game changer, the study argues, is likely to be the technology that bitcoin builds upon: the distributed ledger known as the blockchain.
Magister Advisors estimates that the top 100 global financial institutions will invest over $1bn on blockchain-related projects in the next two years. Major banks, including Barclays, and UBS are increasingly experimenting with blockchain to keep up with the developing technology.
Jeremy Millar, a partner at Magister Advisor, said:
"We have now reached a fork in the road with bitcoin and blockchain. Bitcoin has proven itself as an established currency. Blockchain, more fundamentally, will become the default global standard distributed ledger for financial transactions."
Read the full article here

Friday, 30 October 2015

Blockchains: The great chain of being sure about things

The (Blockchain) technology behind bitcoin lets people who do not know or trust each other build a dependable ledger. This has implications far beyond the bitcoin cryptocurrency.
"The blockchain began life in the mind of Satoshi Nakamoto, the brilliant, pseudonymous and so far unidentified creator of bitcoin—a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash”, as he put it in a paper published in 2008. To work as cash, bitcoin had to be able to change hands without being diverted into the wrong account and to be incapable of being spent twice by the same person. To fulfil Mr Nakamoto’s dream of a decentralised system the avoidance of such abuses had to be achieved without recourse to any trusted third party, such as the banks which stand behind conventional payment systems.
It is the blockchain that replaces this trusted third party. A database that contains the payment history of every bitcoin in circulation, the blockchain provides proof of who owns what at any given juncture. This distributed ledger is replicated on thousands of computers—bitcoin’s “nodes”—around the world and is publicly available. But for all its openness it is also trustworthy and secure. This is guaranteed by the mixture of mathematical subtlety and computational brute force built into its “consensus mechanism”—the process by which the nodes agree on how to update the blockchain in the light of bitcoin transfers from one person to another."
"...a world with record-keeping mathematically immune to manipulation would have many benefits. If blockchains have a fundamental paradox, it is this: by offering a way of setting the past and present in cryptographic stone, they could make the future a very different place."