Interview: Stampede, Bitcoin and AI

Last week, I had the opportunity to do my first Facebook and YouTube Live Stream with Gary A. Fowler, venture capitalist, CEO, and Co-founder of GSD Venture Studios.

We not only had a brief discussion about the ‘Connectivity of the Global Private Capital Markets in a Decentralised World’ but had a candid conversation ranging from the Calgary Stampede to Scotland to Bitcoin and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the emerging world of decentralized finance.

It was great fun and in case you missed it, click below to listen in to the recording.

Bitcoin Turns 11 Today

Happy Birthday, Bitcoin!

This evening 11 years ago, on January 3rd, 2009, someone pressed a button on his (or her) keyboard and created a new currency. There was no paper, gold, or silver backing it, just bits and 31,000 lines of software code with a simple announcement on the Internet. Along with a 9-page Whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Bitcoin as we know it came into existence with someone by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto mining the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which had a reward of 50 bitcoins worth approx $350,000 today’s market value.

During the next decade, Bitcoin would skyrocket from $0.003 to almost $20,000 per one bitcoin. It was a remarkable experiment in which fortunes were made and some lost during the speculative frenzy typical of all asset bubbles. Yes, it is an asset trading hands (or digital wallets) to the tune of $27 billion on its birthday.

Bitcoin price since inception 2009 to 2019

It was the beginning of the cryptocurrency market which now stands at almost $200 bln in total market capitalization. Insignificant in the grand scheme of the approx $90 trillion in the total market capitalization of global public capital markets. But not bad from literally point zero a decade ago.

Most importantly Bitcoin introduced the world to the Blockchain and the tremendous potential of the technology to transform industries and significantly reduce transaction costs. Without getting into the details, of how blockchain works, let me give you an example of how serious IBM is which has over 1,000 employees working on blockchain projects and has set aside hundreds of millions of R&D funding to support the development of blockchain applications.

According to research by Outlier Ventures last year, total investment in blockchain companies since 2013 hit $23.7 billion and 75% of all deal-flow focused only on early-stage rounds.

Total funding raised by blockchain startups since 2013

I’m excited to be introducing soon a blockchain development company that is using a unique portfolio development approach to solve some of the most pressing challenges of our world today such as climate change, clean drinking water, and financial inclusion.

I’ll share the details in a few weeks in the comments to this article so make sure to press ‘like’ to be one of the first to learn about this exciting blockchain start-up and the outstanding investment opportunity it will present to qualifying investors.

Alternatively, DM or email me [email protected] and I’d be happy to add you to our launch notification list.


Tension Rising at Facebook Libra

The regulatory pushback on Facebook’s digital currency project Libra appears to be putting the frighteners on some of its commercial partners, with several companies currently considering their positions, according to the FT.

The news comes after reports emerged that competition watchdogs at the European Commission have begun probing potential anti-trust issues relating to Facebook’s plans, with a particular focus on the governance structure and membership of the loosely affiliated Libra Association.

Stable-coins are not the future of Crypto

The future of stablecoins isn’t really about stablecoins, but cryptocurrency as a whole. The ebb and flow of the cryptocurrency market continues to be volatile and far from predictable.

The good news is that there is a solution that could disrupt and “stabilise” the cryptocurrency market. This solution is already in use. We are talking about stablecoins.

Stable-coins are not the future of Crypto

Read the article.

Ethereum could become the first public blockchain on Hyperledger

Ethereum could become the first public blockchain on Hyperledger – if the open-source consortium’s technical steering committee approves a proposal to adopt the ConsenSys-backed Pantheon project.

Pantheon is a suite of ethereum-based services built by PegaSys, a 50-strong engineering team at ConsenSys. The Pantheon ethereum client, built on Java, is used to develop enterprise applications with features like privacy and permissioning.

The proposal was sent out in a Hyperledger mailing list email on Aug. 8, and if it is accepted, Pantheon will be renamed Hyperledger Besu (a Japanese term for base or foundation).

Read the article.

Ripple Partnership Provides New Payment Rail for UK Remittance Firm

Distributed ledger startup Ripple has added a new client to its global settlements platform, RippleNet.

UK-based remittance firm, Xendpay, announced a partnership with Ripple that allows the firm to enter new markets like the Philippines, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

According to a statement published August 21, RippleNet supports currencies that were previously inaccessible to the remittance firm. So called “smaller currencies,” including the Malaysian ringgit or Bangladeshi taka, formerly required Xendpay to form local banking partnerships.

Read the article.

Facebook’s Libra faces anti-trust review by EU watchdogs

Competition watchdogs at the European Commission have begun probing potential anti-trust issues relating to Facebook’s digital currency project Libra.

The European Commission is “currently investigating potential anti-competitive behavior” related to the Libra Association amid concerns the proposed payment system would unfairly shut out rivals, the EU authority said in a questionnaire seen by Bloomberg and sent out earlier this month.

Officials said they’re concerned about how Libra may create “possible competition restrictions” on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data, according to the document.

Erik Finman, the teenage bitcoin millionaire

cryptocurrency entrepreneur who became a bitcoin millionaire when he was still a teenager has launched a new venture that he claims will “kill” Facebook‘s Libra.

Erik Finman, 20, says peer-to-peer platform Metal Pay will be the first “all-in-one” cryptocurrency payments app and will change the way people send and receive money. Erik Finman, the teenage bitcoin millionaire.

“We’re going to finally bring crypto to the people – in ways that Facebook Libra only wishes they could,” he wrote in a Twitter post announcing the launch of Metal Pay. “This. Is. The. Libra. Killer.

Read the article.

World Bank Sells $33.8 Million More of Its Private Ethereum Blockchain Bonds

The World Bank has issued a second round of its landmark blockchain bonds.

The international financial institution raised another $50 million AUD ($33.8 million U.S.) by selling the “blockchain-operated debt instrument” (bond-i), according to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank), which managed the sale jointly with RBC Capital Markets and TD Securities.

Both new and existing investors participated, CommBank said.

All told, the World Bank has issued $160 million AUD ($108 million U.S.) of these bonds, which run on a private version of the ethereum blockchain. It is “the first bond created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life-cycle using distributed ledger technology,” according to CommBank.

“We are happy to see the continued, strong support and collaboration from investors and partners,” Andrea Dore, the World Bank’s head of funding, said in a press release. “The World Bank’s innovation and experience in the capital markets is key to working with our member countries to increase digitization to boost productivity in their economies and accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Read the article.

How Do Ethereum Smart Contracts Work?

Agoric’s plans for smart contracts that span multiple blockchains

If you think smart contracts began with Etherum or even Nick Szabo think again. Dean Tribble, founder and CTO of Agoric, claims they go all the way back to 1989, when Tribble, Mark Miller, now chief scientist at Agoric and others were working on at the American Information Exchange (AmiX) an online resources marketplace on which complex contractual relationships were programmed.

“To us, a smart contract has always been, a contract-like arrangement expressed in code, where the behaviour of the programme enforces the terms of the contract. We were doing that way before blockchains came along, although we didn’t call them smart contracts then,” said Tribble. Those early programmatic deals ran on standard clients and servers, but blockchains have changed the game, he added. “What blockchains do is they give us places to run code that have very high integrity.”

Read the article.