🤷 Opinions Evgeny Konstantinov

The Egg of Andy Weir

Opinions
Blockchain and sharing economy went public in 2009 and are a total success
The Egg of Andy Weir

If the name of Andy Weir does not sound outright familiar, then the movie The Martian will. Andy Weir is the novelist who wrote the book in 2011 that was made into the eponymous movie in 2015.

Weir’s most famous short story, however, that went through another round of popularity with the movie release and that he published on his website back in 2009 is “The Egg”. Tallying at around 1,000 words, the story has been translated into over 30 languages by readers and is still bringing today around 100,000 visits to Weir’s website monthly.

The gist of the story is this. A man dies in a car crash and emerges in a place of nothingness where he meets God. God tells the man he will be reincarnated as a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD. Not only that, but that the man is constantly going through reincarnations through time and that every person the man ever knew directly, including his wife and kids, by proxy, or indirectly like Hitler and Jesus — they have always been reincarnations of this very man. Every person that ever existed in the universe is this man.

If you haven’t read the story, read it, it’s likely to be worth your time.

The quote of particular interest is where God explains to the man why the universe exists the way it does:

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

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Sharing economy formation

Again, the “The Egg” is Weir’s most famous story and it was relatively popular before the book and the movie The Martian. Why though? I am going to try and give this a little perspective and whether it’s a stretch, of course, entirely up to you, but it might be worth a little ponder-over.

Andy Weir published the story on his website in 2009, and the date is almost at the crest of the wave of the sharing economy formation as a concept and roughly at the foot of the sharing economy implementation in various models.

The term ‘sharing economy’ started appearing in the early 2000s and some sources attribute the first use of the term in public to professor Lawrence Lessig.

Sharing economy was a novel idea and required a leap of trust that took a lot of people to make, and it took years for a lot of users and investors to grow on.

What’s interesting though is that the concept took a firm root around the same time when the global financial crisis peaked in 2008. When the trust went away from the vertical structures — institutions — and splashed into the state of distributed, social, and horizontal.

If we list a few examples of companies that immediately come to mind when we talk sharing economy, the dates of when they started are telling:

  • Kickstarter — founded in April 2009

  • Uber — founded in March 2009

  • Airbnb — founded in August 2008

  • Indiegogo — founded in 2007

  • BlaBlaCar — founded in September 2006

With the collapse of the vertical trust flow came the great new realization of distributed trust models in which people made the great leap and started trusting each other — allowing complete strangers into their apartments, sharing long-distance car rides with someone they never knew, and giving money to people through a website simply because they liked the idea of what was promised and didn’t need or want corporations to shove a new product down their throats.

Did people shortcut the empathy distance and realize they were all more or less similar and closer to each other with the rise of the sharing economy? They arguably did.

This was the time when Andy Weir published “The Egg”, the story that says:

“Every time you victimized someone, you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

What’s extremely interesting is that the Bitcoin network went live in January 2009. It’s fascinating how much time the humankind and the ideas move in unison and do so without realizing it. The implementation of Blockchain, a trustless public ledger, that should be — or already is, depending on what project you follow — the backbone of the distributed, social, and horizontal trust happened at the same time that the implementation of the sharing economy started. Both the Blockchain technology and the sharing economy became a success.

When you check the timeline and put “The Egg”, the collapse of vertical trust, the sharing economy, and the Blockchain technology in the same row, you realize we are talking the same thing. U°Community believes the next wave of development and progress is in establishing transparent and immutable paths for the flow of the energy of trust for the communities — which are the now of the world progress — to truly thrive.

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How to Prevent Attackers From Hacking Blockchain Nodes: Professor of Cryptography Opinion

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“It looks like no one really tackles this problem right now- but they should”
How to Prevent Attackers From Hacking Blockchain Nodes: Professor of Cryptography Opinion
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Sebastian Gajek is Professor of Cryptography and Information Security and founder of Weeve, a startup in the Berlin ecosystem that brings IoT and Blockchain together. We talk with Mr. Gajek about cybersecurity and vulnerabilities in crypto industry and community.

Cyril Gilson: What can be done to prevent from happening someone hacking nodes in Blockchain, the problem similar to what happened with EOS?

Sebastian Gajek: The recent attack against EOS is about using vulnerabilities in their software that allows to hack the nodes. The consequence was that the attackers could extract secret key material and this allows them to fully control the nodes. It is the worst thing that can happen to any consensus protocol.

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We have developed a very special operation system called the WeeveOS. It is an open-source project available on our GitHub. The operating system leverages cutting-edge security and privacy technologies. So, for example, we use a technique in order to isolate the secret keys from the rest of the operating system. This means in the case of EOS if WeeveOS operating system had been in place when the attacker compromised the nodes, they had got control over the nodes but were unable to extract the secret keys.  

This way you have more security and more trust in the network. We are going to release our operating system officially at Ethereum Dev Conference. A pre-release of the WeeveOS is already available through our GitHub.

We believe a lot of Blockchain technologies like EOS, like Ethereum, like HyperLedger really need to secure the nodes. It looks like no one really tackles this problem right now. This is bad because consensus protocols only work when one can trust the nodes. But for this you really need some super strong security technologies, otherwise, you will not get the trust by the quorum.

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Other vulnerabilities

CG: What other vulnerabilities do you see lately?

Sebastian Gajek: It’s like the general problem with cybercrimes: nodes are just some kind of programs, programs are written by humans and humans make mistakes. It’s natural right? Otherwise, humans would be machines.

Making mistakes is part of our genes. It looks that programming, for example, smart contracts, is like a new art.

People are now trying to understand what it really takes in order to program a proper smart contract. This is one main source where I see a lot of attacks and where devs really have to do better due diligence, take more care and verify whether the smart contract makes sense.

For example, ICOs might have fragile smart contract tokens and could be subject to those attacks.

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False smart contracts

CG: Could you give some examples of this?

Sebastian Gajek: The number one running example is the DAO. That was the greatest example, showcasing what happens if you design the smart contract in a false way. The result was clear, a lot of coins have been shifted differently than expected.

This is a canonical example showcasing you have to put a lot of care in designing smart contracts, and the same holds now for designing the programs that implement nodes. The attack I described against EOS is based on a similar problem. One where developers develop just design some kind of code and have not been careful enough.

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CG: Is there a way for individual investors in crypto to find out how secure is the system? Some indicators?

The point is the whole Blockchain technology is still  young in comparison to other IT industries. I see now first consulting companies building up exactly a kind of business to figure out whether a smart contract is vulnerable. Similar services have to be applied, for example in order to verify whether the nodes are also free from vulnerabilities.

Again this is ongoing work because people first of all have to learn how to properly program and then other people will build up services on top of that in order to verify whether the programming was correct.

Blockchain will change the Internet. It’s just a matter of time until these consulting companies will figure out there’s a huge cake, so they will hire specialists that do have the right skills, in order to give you a better understanding of what’s good or bad.

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CG: Before deciding whether to take part of ICOs or not, investors check the team, go over some lists, but I don’t think security is even in the top three points to check. What shall they do?

Sebastian Gajek: You are totally right, if I were an investor, I would really go through the points you mentioned, but I would also look who designed the contract. Because in the end, it’s all about reputation.

You really need to choose a smart contract design team that has a lot of credibility. That was one of the reasons why we have chosen to work together with ConsenSys because they have the leading experts in Ethereum development.

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CryptoComes Women in Blockchain: Crystal Rose on Blockchain Island, Governance and Open Data

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Technologist and Blockchain entrepreneur Crystal Rose talks about open data standards, ICO governance and changing the advertising model
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Contents

 

Crystal Rose is a technologist and entrepreneur who has been part of the tech community since middle school, but that familiarity has not put her out of touch with the obstacles faced by women in technology.

As co-founder and CEO of Sensay, an AI communications platform and SENSE, a Blockchain protocol that recently completed a successful ICO, she has direct experience of the industry’s challenges and prospects.

CryptoComes caught up with Crystal after she spoke on the Women in Blockchain panel at CryptoBlockCon 2018 in Los Angeles.

Katya Michaels: I heard that you started coding when you were eleven, which makes you not just a digital native, but a coding native. Do you think that being comfortable with the technology from so early on makes it easier for you as a woman in tech?

Crystal Rose: I think being in the space early and being really naive helped a lot. When I was a teenager, I discovered hackathons. At that point, it was just people getting together, creating products or sharing code. It wasn't until I was 19 or 20 that someone actually mentioned to me that I was the only woman out of a hundred people participating in the hackathon who wasn’t a sponsor or working at a booth.

After that realization, I started to seek out more women and try to understand - is it that women are fundamentally not interested in engineering? Or is it really exclusive? I think it's a combination. There is definitely an intimidation factor if you're not comfortable with the “boys club” elements of it.

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Bringing men into the conversation

KM: How do you feel about the “women in Blockchain” discourse?

CR: It's super challenging for me because I would rather not see us segregating ourselves even further. For instance, the organizers of this conference pulled me off the first panel today to put me on the Women in Blockchain panel. As a result, there were several panels with only men and one panel with only women.

I think it would be interesting if we included men on a Women in Blockchain panel to get their perspective, to understand the challenges from their side, to empower them to bring more women into this space.

Events created specifically for women in the industry are helpful for us to make connections, but we also have to take the next step- which is integrate. When I host dinners for women in crypto, I encourage men to come and participate. One good approach is to invite men, but also ask them to nominate a woman who is a candidate for the space and bring her along.

If you look at the C-suite in any industry, it is challenging for women to break through to the top level. It’s good to point that out, but without creating more exclusion. I’d like to bring the topics around to the men- ask them how they are encouraging women entrepreneurs, how they are investing in women. I want to see men step up to that conversation.

Opening doors for women entrepreneurs

KM: You are a partner with an all-women investment group, Artemis. Who are the members and what makes this experience unique?

CR: So, Artemis is 11 women from all over the world who are entrepreneurs in their own right - primarily in technology, but other sectors as well. This is a side project for everyone involved, just coming together to really understand investing in cryptocurrencies, in ICOs, and in Blockchain companies.

At this point, I consider it more of a learning club rather than a venture firm. We’re here for all the women who are entrepreneurs and are unsure in the space. We'll go through the diligence process in a really kind way and open that door.

One of the things about women is we tend to have a higher standard. Being an angel investor myself for about five years now, having people come and pitch to me, women are always more polished. But the detrimental part of that higher standard is that they might not come to the table early enough.

KM: In fact, there is research showing that women need to be extremely sure of their competence before putting themselves out there, while for men that threshold is much lower - something that has been called “the confidence gap.”

CR: Well, that research is super valid then, because that's exactly how it is with the pitches. Men might be only 50 or 30 percent there with the idea - and they give the pitch anyway. Women will only pitch an idea when they think that the chances of success are extremely high.

But when you're raising angel money, you've got to have a higher risk tolerance. You've got to say, “Hey, I want to bet on this thing and I want to go for it.” I think it would be great to see women stepping up with ideas earlier because you can validate them faster, you can get through that cycle faster and get to the next stage. We want to see women accelerated.

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Giving back for long-term solutions

KM: Have you noticed a difference in the approach taken by women versus men to adding value in this industry?

CR: I think it’s related to the likelihood of women taking high risks in things that are uncertain.

Men want a higher return, but they don't really have as much of a vested interest in the idea or the company. Maybe this is just a blanket statement, but I feel that women want to see a longer-term solution.

Men, a lot of the time, have this rocket booster mentality - I just want to get something out of the gate really fast, go to the moon, maybe it's not sustainable, maybe I've burned a bunch of fuel on the way, but it doesn't really matter. For women, it’s more of “how can I positively impact the world sustainably over a longer period of time?”

Women want to see growth and also have a harder stomach for sticking it out long term. I've seen a lot more female entrepreneurs unwilling to give up their business when it's clearly failing compared to male counterparts.

KM: You have been nominated for the Golden Token Female Leader of the Year Award. Is that exciting for you? Should there be more recognition for women, or is it just a golden star that doesn’t mean anything?

CR: That's huge, I'm extremely honored. I strive to put out a positive message and encourage everyone to ask questions and learn. Even when I stopped doing hackathons to build things, I kept going back as a mentor because I saw this need for women to be encouraged to work on something and not be afraid to fail. Out of that, I ended up doing LA Startup week, a free event to encourage entrepreneurs who either didn’t have the resources or were afraid to come out and get to that next stage. So I think recognition is huge.

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Global governance

KM: You are on the board of the ICO Governance Foundation. What do you think is in the future for this model? There seem to be two approaches- comply or insist on freedom.

CR: Or keep changing the acronym! TGE, token generation event, that's what it's called today.

The reason I wanted to get into the governance side of it is because I realized that in a global economy we have to collaborate, and understanding the global ecosystem is really important. I am fortunate to have been at the table with different governments, with Congress, the SEC, the SFC in Hong Kong. We are still operating in a world where global trade is very challenging and that is detrimental to the entire space.

The ICO Governance Foundation works on creating a governance system that everyone can adhere to and live by. In this space, you have to self-govern and have integrity, but the other side is influencing the government. We need to be the voice that says, “Hey, this is what all the companies want.”

Governance happens two ways. It's not our job to sit back and wait for rules be created. It's our job to help formulate these rules, so they are most beneficial to the companies, to the people and the government.

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Open data standards and decentralization

KM: A wider adoption of the technology should help with governance because eventually, the population will be significant enough for the regulatory bodies to work with.

CR: Yes, but I think that's going to be a really tough challenge as well. I'm excited to be at this stage because I feel like it's the dawn of the Internet. No standards have been put in place for a lot of this.

At Sensay, we’ve had a lot of trouble with our data partners when every data stream is different. So we started the Blockchain Data Alliance, which is a group of people who are all building large-scale data-driven Blockchain projects to create open standards. We don’t want to continue to silo people and have them build essentially centralized systems. The whole point is distribution and decentralization.

KM: In your opinion, which platform is currently the leader in terms of smart contracts and decentralized apps?

CR: I like to say that I'm poly-chain. I think that each one is valid for its own inherent reason, but we chose Ethereum and the ERC 20 token. You can't actually code anything on top of Bitcoin, and Ethereum is the most accessible to the most amount of people.

But now we're seeing a lot of challenges with the transaction time and with the fees for our needs. We need to be able to do micro-transactions, so we are going to be announcing in a couple of months that we're moving to the EOS chain. EOS offers faster transactions and we've been really happy with their code base.

For me personally, EOS is the clear next big winner just because the technology is good. I think you've got to bet on who is creating good technology over who is creating hype.

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Changing the advertising model

CR: I'm really happy to see that all of the ads have been banned from Google and Facebook.

KM: You're a fan of that decision?

CR: Huge fan. Fundamentally, as a company, it's against our ethos to advertise. We won't allow advertisers on our platform because that changes the quality of what we transact. Our purpose is to let humans find each other based on their knowledge.

We do have brand partners like Nike who we're working with to figure out how brands can talk to people with their permission and allow them to benefit from the interaction. We can leapfrog the process of Nike buying an ad, then the publisher, like Facebook, getting the money, with the user never getting anything other than the ad.

Instead, Nike can talk to the user directly, and if the user agrees, Nike pays them. It’s removing the intermediary. I'm sure a lot of the intermediaries are very unhappy about this, but advertising fundamentally changes the results of things.

I think we're going to watch as the current decades-old advertising model starts to unravel and I'm really excited to see it change.

KM: There is a view that the ban is not going to affect the honest players because they grow their own communities and they don't need that kind of mass advertising.

CR: I believe that fully. I wouldn't have considered spending money for the acquisition of someone to buy a token because we want people who are just interested in the product and a community that’s going to stick around with us. It's not a speculative point. It’s more like, if you love us and want to be a part of this, you’re in it for a longer game.

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Puerto Rico- Blockchain Island

KM: What's your most exciting project at the moment?

CR: Мy heart is in getting every human to become their own sovereign entrepreneur. And that's what our original mission with Sensay was - to connect people together to freely share their knowledge and get a value for it.

I’m looking at communities of people now and my biggest passion is Puerto Rico, where we are doing Restart Week. Having seen what kind of impact Blockchain can have on a place that is in need of literally every resource - that's a really big mission.

Of course, there are serious challenges that don't get solved with the Blockchain - like power lines broken and roofs ripped off by hurricanes. But when you have things like money being donated to charities and disappearing, or food never being delivered, that does get solved with something like a transparent, immutable ledger system.

I think this is our first time seeing such a massive scale social impact project. We're bringing in not only resources and people and talent, but also capital in a meaningful way.  

We're helping to create laws that are friendly to people who want to run businesses, to help improve the system.

It would be really great if we could see Puerto Rico become an example of how the Blockchain industry can be applied collectively, all in one place - a kind of “Blockchain Island.”

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Scaling Blockchain by Going off the Block: Constellation’s Partitioned DAG

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While the crypto community continues to struggle with the implications and applications of Blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and token sales are becoming more mainstream, creating the additional challenge of scalability. Ironically, the gradual increase of adoption reveals the obstacles to universal adoption.

Some teams are looking for a solution for Blockchain usability by moving off the block to a different kind of network. Two members of the Constellation team – CEO Brendan Playford and COO Benjamin Jorgensen – spoke to CryptoComes about their way of addressing scalability issues and envisioning the interoperable Internet of Blockchains.

Blockchain DIY

Katya Michaels: Before you set out to create your own network, you were building a project on Ethereum. What were some of the challenges that inspired you to work on a new solution?

Brendan Playford: I've been in the Blockchain space about four and a half years. I had the fortune of being a very early miner and managed to use mining to get myself out of the place that I grew up in the UK, where there weren’t very many opportunities for people like myself. I saw the way that Blockchain allows individuals to get economic mobility – I’m absolute proof of that, being in San Francisco now.

In 2016, I was listening to NPR around August and all I was hearing was coverage of fake news with Trump. It was relevant then and it's relevant now – monetizing and weaponizing ad arbitrage on Facebook with fake news purposefully produced by a network of writers. The appetite for fake news was so aggressive in 2016, you could publish whatever you wanted and the volume would decimate any legitimate news.

That was the genesis: to build a platform that would allow factual information to be incentivized and recorded in a way where it became self-regulating and self-sustaining. We quickly realized that the high volume and high throughput we needed was totally impossible to do on Ethereum.

In order to publish the 100 - 200 articles a day, have micropayments going out globally to individual contributors and notarize the content on the Blockchain – there was no solution available that could do that.

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Bring your own bandwidth

BP: The nature of Blockchain is synchronous. You have the state replicate across every node, but those nodes are not widely distributed between individuals. Very few people run a full node of Bitcoin or Ethereum. That has led to a somewhat centralized server system based around proof of work or proof of stake where a small selection of the network own it and maintain the state. Although it is very secure, it’s not as decentralized as it was envisaged.

I saw the future not as a synchronous Blockchain, but an asynchronous network that functioned like a graph, with node to node connections. It’s very hard to read a sentence if every word has to be shared between every participant before you can go on to the next one. That's synchronous Blockchain. In a graph, you have a conversation which gossips out to the network. To avoid the information getting distorted with Byzantine actors, you have to create some kind of consensus or architecture to maintain its state.

We set out to build a network that was a horizontally scalable Hylochain. Distributed data systems have been around for years, this technology is not that new. We could create a network with the characteristics of Bittorrent or Tor, that could scale as more participants joined and brought resources – a laptop or a mobile phone –  adding to the throughput of the network.

We have this notion of a mesh net of interconnected devices creating a new Internet. These devices provide bandwidth to the network, and the availability of those resources is incentivized in two ways. One – through the mining period of ten years, and two – by creating a two-sided marketplace where the resources on the network are available for computing services.

We would like to see people coming to the network to use these resources and pay the people providing the devices. That would unlock a huge amount of economic value that's unused right now and create more upward mobility in areas that are less economically developed.

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A different kind of chain: partitioned DAG

KM: The Blockchain’s blocks are what make the technology secure, transparent and immutable. Are the DAGs blockless systems?

BP: If we look at IOTA’s Tangle, I would say yes, that is very much blockless. Hashgraph as well, although it has a notion of direction and a linear transaction history. With our chain, we dove into some really novel new research that addresses scaling. One piece comes from TU Delft university in the Netherlands. It’s called extended trust chain – like a blocked DAG (directed acyclic graph). Effectively, you have a partition, a cluster of 1,200 nodes that all participate in consensus and have a certain scaling characteristic.

There is a checkpoint block that happens in the DAG which creates immutability. The checkpoint block does a locality-sensitive hash on the previous transactions. In that partition, we roll up all the previous transactions from consensus and they get blocked.

In our DAG, we have partitions of 1200 nodes, with the capability of having 10 partitions. Above that, we have a galaxy node that's built up enough reputation over time to be given the responsibility of validating larger blocks of transactions, and also send transactions out to cluster.

Proof of Meme

KM: You have said that networks based on proof of work or proof of stake consensus are like a plutocracy – more power is held by those with more resources. Constellation’s consensus is “proof of meme,” reputation-based, but reputation takes time to build. So the network has the potential to become an oligarchy, dominated by the few people who have been there the longest. It’s conceived as a meritocracy, but could become an oligarchic meritocracy.

BP: You are absolutely right. To address this, we have devised a clustering algorithm. Over time we're going to get a curve, almost like a histogram of reputations from zero to let's say a hundred. In the hundred block you have participants who came in at the beginning, in the zero block you have those who came in most recently.

How do we get those new participants up to the higher reputation while maintaining security of the network? We want to give them a fair opportunity to progress.

Imagine taking that histogram and clustering participants into cohorts – first year entry, year 1 to year 9, year 9 to year 20… We create a weighted algorithm that takes a portion of nodes from each cluster and puts those into consensus. You're always going to be taking some from the zero cluster and as they perform consensus properly, they will move up.

We actually have a test net out, modeling the clustering algorithm to see what it would look like in five years and make adjustments to that. We are looking for ways to avoid that oligarchy as much as possible. We are using the REGRET reputation model, but we may find that there's a better measurement we can use in our machine learning algorithm.

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Post-Blockchain?

KM: Some critics say that Blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. Despite many proposed use cases, they are not being realized. What will it take to bring real usability to Blockchain? Or are we in a post-Blockchain stage already, moving to more scalable technology?

BP:

I think a lot of negative press comes from the tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. As thought leaders and pioneers in the space, all of us need to be conscious of that and make sure that when we do say these things openly, that there is some substance behind them – whether with academic groundwork or actually delivering a viable product.

Hundreds of ICOs and dapps launched in the last year where the promises will not happen. They just won’t deliver. That exacerbates the problem.

Are we post-Blockchain? I don't think we are. I think we're about to enter into the Internet of Blockchains era. You will have Bitcoin for store of value. You will have Ethereum for certain uses, and Zcash for certain uses. Don’t underestimate the Bitcoin core guys. There is a roadmap that they have and it is highly likely we will not see all the solutions at once.

You want to bring about change gradually and slowly, and you want to bring about adoption in a sustainable way. What we’d like to see with our architecture is an underlying fabric that connects and mixes these chains. It's not one Blockchain to rule them all.

There will be individual solutions like Constellation that applications can interface with. Over the next 5, 10 years Bitcoin will still be around, Ethereum will still be around. There’ll be other technologies that will enable the interconnection of these chains.

Enterprise adoption

Benjamin Jorgensen: One of the main hurdles for adopting Blockchain is the cost benefit analysis for major enterprise companies to shift out of their legacy platforms and come onto Blockchains.

We look to the Fortune 500 companies to guide us, but if you consider the history of venture in Silicon Valley, you see that innovation is always done at the grassroots level.

Blockchain does solve problems. We've identified that it gets rid of middlemen. It allows for a distributed ledger so that people can own their own data, going back to what we initially set out to do. Major commercial banking isn't going to shift a significant portion of their business under the Blockchain because of the cost benefit analysis, hiring and firing new people, getting rid of services, the time it takes to ramp up. I think we're going to see a new era of businesses come to the forefront and actually recreate this new world.

KM: Perhaps it's a space for businesses that are going to be natively Blockchain.

BJ: Absolutely. We know that by implementing Blockchain you can significantly improve margins. The initiative is probably going to come from new businesses that are able to create something that's leaner, faster and stronger, and scale rapidly to catch up to those Fortune 500 companies. We've seen this before in the venture space with traditional startups.

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Internet of Blockchains

KM: Going back to having different Blockchains for different uses – obviously that depends on good solutions for Blockchain interoperability. Are we getting close to that in terms of technology?

BP:

Every Blockchain is just data held in a space where it’s notarized as factual and correct. If we can create some way of formally defining and verifying each chain in this ecosystem mathematically, every developer who builds on one chain or across chains will have a framework.

Think about banking – we have SWIFT for a reason. It is the standard that allows transactions between banks. We have to have a SWIFT for Blockchain. When you start to see those frameworks come out and be supported by native languages like Java with plugins for other compilable languages, that’s when we'll see an explosion.

BJ: You have to look at the implications of this - why does it matter to have Blockchain interoperability? Where Constellation’s transaction speeds are really coming to the forefront is around the IOT space. Connecting software devices, automation, AI, micropayments. They're going to have to be able to communicate in a seamless manner. Maybe it’s not a problem, but it's an opportunity.

Smart contract usability

KM: A lot of people have misconceptions about smart contracts – how they work, what they can and can’t do. A smart contract is limited to the Blockchain. In order to access relevant outside data, there have to be solutions for bringing that data onto the Blockchain. How close are we to real smart contract usability?

BJ: When you think of a smart contract, you think it's legally binding, when it's really just a document that says: these two terms have been met, let's exchange the value that comes in. Tennessee courts just reaffirmed that a certain document that's on a smart contract with certain verbiage actually can be upheld in courts. We're just getting to that point where it's going to have a legally binding impact.

BP: This goes back to appropriate use cases. What is a contract? It’s just written verbal logic. What is code? Code is logic. So we figured out this way of notarizing a bit of logic on a chain and then replicating that state across nodes.

Ethereum relies on oracles to provide this data, but there's no way that thousands of data points would be able to transact and go onto Ethereum with the current throughput without being somehow aggregated and centralized.

A chain like Constellation could collect that data together, creating a data marketplace that becomes the oracle for Ethereum in a cross-chain sense. Ethereum could call Constellation through an ACI (application chain interface) for that data, which will be known to be provable and factual, instead of relying on a sensor and a centralized server. If you're connecting to Constellation, that will give a decentralized source of truth.

How far are we away from a place where you could rely on sensor data to provide an outcome of a smart contract? I would say five years. There’s a curve with this kind of technology, Metcalfe's law.

We’ll start to see the first commercial applications, the beginning of a mesh network where there is a source of truth that connects everything, all underpinned and underwritten by reputation. That's what we're building.

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October's Top 10 List of Token Holders on Ethereum: Electrify.Asia is Leading

Electrify.Asia has by far the most new ERC-20 token holders, which means it is currently the most popular cryptocurrency on the Ethereum network
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Ethereum is one of the leaders of today’s crypto world: it is second only to Bitcoin by market cap with 20.5 billion US dollars; right now, it is also standing at number four in terms if its monetary value following Bitcoin, Maker, and Bitcoin cash with almost 200 USD for one coin of Ether.

But, of course, Ethereum is not only a giant platform that generates its own cryptocurrency: it also lets other cryptocurrencies use its Blockchain network, so long that all of the technical rules are observed within the ecosystem. As a result, all cryptocurrencies that are hosted by Ethereum, apart from its own Ether, must be ERC-20 compliant (Ethereum Request for Comment), and every holder of an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency is thus also a de facto holder of an ERC-20 token.

This means that ERC-20 token holder figures are indicative of how well a crypto coin is doing within the larger Ethereum framework. The more ERC-20 token holders there are, the better that “guest” currency is doing, and since Ethereum is also one of the market leaders, any given cryptocurrency’s internal popularity on Ethereum also directly reflects on how well it is paddling through the crypto sea in general.

Below is the top 10 list of this October’s new ERC-20 token holders for each of the leading Ethereum-based cryptocurrencies:

This October’s New Token Holders

The current winner by a landslide is Electrify.Asia with almost 100 000 new ERC-20 token holders this October, followed by XMax with around 13 500 new token holders, then Moneytoken with around 12 000, Skrumble Network with around 9 000, 0xcert with roughly 8 000, SALT with 7 000, UChain is lagging slightly behind with around 6 800, FansTime has close to 6 500 token holders, DAEX around 4 500, and finally Datum is in last place with just under 4 000 new ERC-20 token holders this October.

Being “the first retail electricity marketplace in Southeast-Asia addressing the need for transparency and security in the consumption of energy” and with their slogan promising to “build an intelligent energy ecosystem for Asia”, the Singapore-based Electrify.Asia, headed by Julius Tan and Martin Lim, have set very high expectations for themselves. Let’s see what happens closer to the New Year!

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The Biggest Crypto Owners in the World by Nation

Millions Own Cryptocurrency in America
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Cryptocurrency is a hot commodity nowadays: it’s in the media, it’s on trading platforms, it’s in the minds of many who have made fortunes through it and those who are still at work to achieve financial stardom. But how many people, in fact, own cryptocurrency the world over? Based on the data gathered throughout the year, we’re bringing you the ten crypto ownership world leaders by the percentage ratio of their respective populations:

Turkey is first with 18%, then Romania with 12%, Poland with 11%, Spain with 10%, Czech Republic with 9%, USA / Austria / Germany / Italy are all with 8%, followed by Australia with 7%. In spite of Turkey’s apparent superiority, the winner by the actual number of people is the United States: given that its population is around 327 million people, 8% of it is roughly 26 million people (three New York Cities put together!), which is way ahead of other countries. This is, however, not that unusual since the US is also leading the planet in terms of its crypto-computational power, i.e. it has the most miners and nodes verifying individual blocks in the global Blockchain.        

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