Last week in blockchain – 2018 week 13

Last week in blockchain for week 13 of 2018, a podcast with the latest developments in the world of the blockchain.

Welcome to Last week in blockchain. My name is Wim Pelgrim, a blockchain enthusiast and with this weekly podcast you’ll stay up to speed about all the major developments on the blockchain. And that in under 10 minutes!

This week I’m going to talk about the adoption of the blockchain in American legislation and an article proposing the opposite: a stall. And besides some small news articles I’d like to share with you, my favourite subject this week is the new book that’s been announced about the blockchain by Natalie Smolenski. And if you like this podcast, please share it on social media and in groups you think might be interested in the blockchain!

First the short news: a major setback for the bitcoin network hit the news last week: bitcoin’s blockchain contains links to child pornography. Researchers from the university of Aachen downloaded the entire bitcoin blockchain and found evidence for a possible image of a mildly nude minor. You may not know, but not only financial transactions are stored on the bitcoin blockchain: Learning Machine, a company I will talk about in a few minutes, stores educational data on the bitcoin network. And so do several other companies. But researchers found that all kinds of illegal material was stored in the blockchain itself and that creates not only moral issues, but also legal issues for miners and others storing the content on their computers. To be continued…

Than I have to come back to my podcast #6: Sierra Leones National Election Commission has pushed back on the news that blockchain technology was part of their election process. Agora stated they tested their capabilities in Sierra Leone as observers, not as a part of the voting process.

Then three news items about the adoption of the blockchain in the United States. Tennessee has implemented law that recognizes smart contracts. Also the US Congress 2018 Joint Economic Report is very positive about the possibilities of the blockchain. I also mentioned Arizona in podcast #3 with taxes payed with bitcoins. It seems a lot of American government bodies are enthusiastic about the blockchain and it possibilities. But an other article last week seems to convince us of the opposite: the adoption of the blockchain is stalling in the US. This conclusion was based on the rumours JPMorgan is going to spin off its blockchain division Quorum. And yes, the blockchain isn’t fully developed and executives have a lot of questions that are yet unanswered. The article discusses several issues with the blockchain: its immaturity, scalability, legal issues and lack of use cases. And yes, the blockchain isn’t mature yet. But when we wait until it is fully grown to its potential, we will be to late. Like the music industry was to late when the internet emerged and their business went down. And a lack of use cases: these bankers should listen to “Last week in blockchain”.


But the most exiting news I read comes from an article on Natalie Smolenski was one of the speakers at BCinED2017 in Groningen, The Netherlands in September 2017. I spoke mrs. Smolenski there in the lunch break about The Learning Machine and education on the blockchain. An interesting conversation and a very nice personality.

The news is: she’s writing a book. And although a lot of people are writing books about the blockchain, this book will have an cultural anthropological approach. She will be discussing decentralized ledgers from Micronesia in 500 A.D. They used a decentralized currency until the 19th century. But as Smolenski tells the interviewer: “It is very hard to maintain a mental distributed ledger beyond the confines of a small group of people who know each other well. Even then, accounts differ and conflicts arise.”

With that historic ledger in mind, I kind of understand the choice Learning Machine made to use the bitcoin network for the storage of educational data. Besides the availability of large blockchain networks at the time they started, the choice for a public ledger in stead of a permissioned blockchain seems to be based on a more fundamental value. And storing other data on the bitcoin network is possible as we have seen at the beginning of this podcast. But how save is this information, when you put in out in the open? And what happens when the encryption is broken in a few decades? A permissioned blockchain for this kind of information exchange seems the more reasonable approach to me. And that’s what I’m doing at BlockChange, the educational blockchain application I’m working on. Maybe mrs. Smolenski can come back to Groningen this year to discuss the matter. Looking forward to it.

And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: for more info on me and my podcast and a full transcript of this episode. Check the links to all the news items I talked about in the description: Venezuela, China, Hyperledger Fabric, Hashgraph and the organizations: Coca Cola, PostNL, Karate and games on the blockchain.  And definitely check back next week for my new podcast on Soundcloud!

Full transcript
You can download a full transcript of this podcast here


Pornography on the bitcoin network

Agora in Sierra Leone


United States Congress

Blockchain adoption stalling

Natalie Smolenski




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