Sunday 3 April 2022

 10 Years in Bitcoin : 2012 - 2022

On 3 April 2012 my life changed; it was just an ordinary spring sunny day in London (like today) and I came across an article in the London Times about bitcoin.

That was my Eureka! moment about the potential future of money - decentralized, under the control of no-one, with no trusted central authority. Bitcoin is on a decentralized ledger called a  Blockchain.

The link above to the Times article is also on the header of my twitter account which I changed to this handle - @BitcoinByte on the same day, when I jumped into action, securing a domain and creating my first blog post on the following day:

Prior to Bitcoin and the world of digital currencies I had devoted my career to finance and innovation (e.g. Dubai) and loved technology. Having a deep understanding of how the global banking system operates my ‘a-ha’ moment came suddenly with Bitcoin. I very quickly became something of a bitcoin ‘aficionado’ to anyone who would listen and built up quite a following; from there onwards it was a fascinating ride and a lot of fun. I made friends, traveled the world to present at conferences (Cards & Payments) both in South Africa (Johannesburg) and Singapore and continued to learn a great deal. 

In 2012, the London Bitcoin scene was not yet on the mainstream radar and was a melting pot of intellectuals, futurists and open-minded disruptors hoping to bring about positive change to the current legacy banking, money and financial system. Meetups were a fun place to be, full of hope and excitement. I was welcomed by this community and seem to stand out somewhat as an older ex-establishment figure. People were often surprised that an ex-banker, someone with international experience in London, Dubai and Moscow should have embraced this amazing new scene. But far from being held at arm's length, I was supported, pushed even towards speaking out more and helping spread the word as for example in this Forbes piece on Bitcoin by Jon Matonis in 2012.

Before long I was being asked to make presentations about Bitcoin to a major UK clearing bank in July 2012 at their Canary Wharf HQ, then again late that year to their credit card HQ in Northampton. In 2013 I was called to present to senior UK civil servants at the Future of Money event held at the Department for Business Information and Skills in Victoria. This was picked up and reported in the Financial Times:

I did other follow-up work including leading a Cabinet Office round table event, a successful and positive meeting with HMRC regarding VAT on Bitcoin - link and HM Treasury

A year after I started, I gave this interview with System D media highlighting the FT front page article on Bitcoin

Next came media interest. With Bitcoin surging to $1000+ in 2013 a British national broadcaster, ITV, did a news segment on Bitcoin. ITV presented this as something of a novelty piece, I can be seen buying, on TV, the first ever pint of Beer using bitcoin (for £3.00 / 0.0474 BTC – now about £1,650!). Looking back now I am proud to have been able to bring this tech to life for skeptics. ITV have since taken down the clip, but you can still see it on the wayback machine. 

As time went on I made more friends in the space and met many of the bitcoin pioneers and thought leaders. International crypto innovators, disruptors and travelers stayed at my house. I visited many of the key active players of the time at squats and underground events. Memorable ‘pre-fame’ interactions with Vitalik Buterin, Roger Ver, Andreas Antonopolous, Nic Carey, Erik Voorhees, Amir Taaki, Mike Hearn, (etc, etc). In those days, crypto in-fighting was minimal, Bitcoin was a unifying force and Satoshi was a wonderful mystery.

Like many others, particularly after Ethereum launched, I strayed away from Bitcoin, keeping an open mind to innovation and becoming frustrated with some of its shortfalls. 

Peer–to-Peer, censorship resistant, electronic cash was still my main interest but the tantalising disruptive prospect of smart contracts was a strong siren song. But even during those years I never lost sight of where it had all begun and the key role of Bitcoin at the centre of the crypto universe.

I continued (and will continue) to make appearances on the BBC, Sky and Al-Jazeera news channels promoting and discussing Bitcoin e.g. 

BBC News - Bitcoin / CSW

BBC News - Bitcoin /

Al Jazeera  Arabic channel - Bitcoin
Al Jazeera - Arabic channel -Bitcoin
BBC R4 Report: Bitcoin -

BBC Radio 5 Live - no link

Bit-Talk with BitcoinByte -

Some years ago some of my time was spent offering occasional consultancy (as a member of 3 expert networks) through my company: I have made telephone and personal presentations about bitcoin/blockchain/crypto to very well-known global companies, including merchant banks, tech stocks and global hedge funds. 

Although this article is about my own discovery of, and my 10 year bitcoin journey, – outside of bitcoin, I would mention that many of the early adopters whom I know in the blockchain/token/crypto space have gone on from bitcoin to achieve success and recognition with further innovations and development.

My predictions for the next ten years? With Bitcoin, Crypto and Blockchain now having entered the mainstream since late 2017, innovation is continuing to accelerate at an almost exponential rate, compared to the early days prior to 2015 when Ethereum (ETH) was the main additional crypto token launched. Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to be the market leaders with innovations continuing with the development of many other useful Tokens, Stablecoins, De-Fi (Decentralized Finance) and of course NFT’s (Non Fungible Tokens).

My thanks and cheers to:

Social Media

I have also built up significant and useful networks on both on both Twitter: 

(@BitcoinByte & @Bitc01n) 

and LinkedIn: 

( ), being connected and well-known to many of the important names in the bitcoin/crypto/blockchain space.

As at 28 March 2022: “Good job @BitcoinByte, you are 84 on #CryptoLeaders the toplist of Crypto & Bitcoin Influencers.”

It has been a very interesting and exciting 10 years and I wish everyone success in whatever they choose to do in the future in this fast moving, dynamic and engaging space.

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