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!
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This week I’ll be be discussing two technological topics: EOS, CertiK, the OMG-moment in Michigan, research and application of blockchain by The Netherlands, KAS Bank, Zug, alnd Adblock Plus and the Bitcoin price drop.
New blockchains start all the time and I can fill hours of podcasts with only news about releases. But when the fifth largest cryptocurrency by total value launches its blockchain (after a year of gathering money and testing), it’s worth mentioning. EOS launched last week, is worth over 4 billion dollars and the launch process took some time. Validators had to be chosen by the network and two third +1 of the candidate community had to vote in favour of launch and some other built in processes had to be finished. And last Saturday the blockchain even “paused” for several hours. The EOS architecture is designed to enable vertical and horizontal scaling of decentralized applications, the company states. What the network will be able to do will become clear in the next few years, but it’s a DLT-network to keep your eyes on.
Then to the University of Yale, where decades of research have been crammed in a technical solution that claims to be the first time bug-free, hacker-resistant means of securing transactions on blockchain. It’s called CertiK. Nowadays the only solution for bugs in the coding of a blockchain is a hard fork. The blockchain is split from the older version and is no longer valid. CertiK introduces a new formal verification technique. “It breaks down hard-to-solve problems into many small, easy-to-solve mass proofs. These are then composed together for end-to-end guarantees”, says Gu. Using your own or CertiK’s established methods, these proofs can be solved by hand. After validation by multiple independent entities, they are confirmed. My lack of coding experience makes it hard for me to grasp the implications of this development, but it could result in programmable blockchains. Check the source in the description for more info.
Governments and law
Than to a government that doesn’t understand blockchain, as it appears. The state of Michigan passed a bill, aiming at prosecuting people who falsely alter data on blockchain. Let that sink in for a few seconds: it’s illegal to change data on blockchain. Dear senators: it’s impossible to alter data on blockchain. That’s one of the pillars under this whole new technical development. Let’s label it OMG and leave it at that…
The Dutch government investigated the use of blockchain in elections. A report by University of Nijmegen researcher Jaap-Henk Hoekman states blockchain has two major problems for using it in elections: the secret ballot and the degree of decentralization of blockchain. The secrecy of your vote in the ballot booth can’t be guaranteed and the paper voting of today is already decentralized. The conclusion in the report: don’t use it. As we have heard in earlier podcasts: blockchain is used in several voting processes, I’ll even discuss two(!) after this. But before we develop a blockchain application for a delicate process as a general election, let’s take a good look at the cons.
Two voting applications present the pro’s after tests they published last week! KAS bank and Swiss city Zug tested voting applications. KAS bank developed its own app: Voteroom. It uses blockchain technology to make the voting process during shareholders meetings transparent and simpler. The first test was successful and in September an entire shareholders meeting will be held using the application. More information about the technology behind the app or the way the blockchain works wasn’t shared unfortunately. I hope organizations will open up about that part of their tests.
Zug in Switzerland is going to test an application using the digital ID of its inhabitants for digital voting. The test aims to answer questions about privacy protection, ballot secrecy, unchangeability, testability and traceability. For this test, voters can answer two yes/no-questions and one multiple choice question. An interesting test for all governments, because as we have seen in the Dutch example, all democratic governments have the same basic issues when implementing blockchain.
A well known company using blockchain deep under the hood of a new application is Adblock Plus. The company behind Adblock wants to call out fake news. A new app will categorize websites to call out fake news. Using AI and information from reliable sources sites are categorized and users of the Chrome extension see a coloured icon to show if the site is reliable, biased, satirical or fits some of the other categories. Where does the blockchain fit in? The database they created will be decentralized using the Ethereum blockchain. A new protocol and built-in game mechanism will reward submissions. Ben Williams is interviewed on further details of the app in the Techcrunch article linked in the description: interesting stuff.
As we saw in the news last months, the price for Bitcoin has dropped from between 18 and 20 thousand dollars in December 2017, to about 6000 in the last few months. Chainanalysis has investigated why this happened. And it is not the quick wins of people who bought them in August and sold them in December, it’s the long term investors that sold off 30 billion dollars worth of Bitcoin. The report has lots more of interesting findings (and is a great marketing tool for the company, and I’m helping them by talking to you about it), such as the number of lost Bitcoin: between 2.3 and 3.7 million!
And that wraps up this Last week in blockchain. Check my website: www.wimpelgrim.nl 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: EOS, CertiK, Michigan, The Netherlands, KAS Bank, Zug, Adblock Plus and the Bitcoin price drop. And definitely check back next week for my new podcast on Soundcloud and in Dutch on Blocker.nl! And if you like what you’ve heard, share this podcast with your friends and on social media.
Voting research in The Netherlands
Adblock Plus and fake new
Bitcoin price drop
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