Tatiana visits New Zealand’s first Bitcoin South

I have been prepping for weeks and have finally arrived in Melbourne for my tour of Australia and New Zealand.  What brings me all the way across the world? Well, Bitcoin South, which is 29th & 30th Nov, in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand! Not only will I be speaking and performing the Bitcoin Jingle along with other songs from my 3rd album, but I will also be doing a lot of video content for the magazine, which I really look forward to sharing. In the meantime, you still have time to get your tickets and join me! But why should you? Well, I send some questions over to Fran Strajnar of www.BraveNewCoin.com and the organizer of the conference to find out […]

btcsouth

I have been prepping for weeks and have finally arrived in Melbourne for my tour of Australia and New Zealand.  What brings me all the way across the world? Well, Bitcoin South, which is 29th & 30th Nov, in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand! Not only will I be speaking and performing the Bitcoin Jingle along with other songs from my 3rd album, but I will also be doing a lot of video content for the magazine, which I really look forward to sharing. In the meantime, you still have time to get your tickets and join me! But why should you? Well, I send some questions over to Fran Strajnar of www.BraveNewCoin.com and the organizer of the conference to find out more.

Tatiana:  When and where is conference located?

Fran:  29th & 30th Nov, in beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand.

Why do you think Queenstown is a good location, and what made you want to undertake such a big project?  

Queenstown matches the spirit of Bitcoin: bold, adventurous, elegant in its aesthetics. Queenstown has an International Airport so we thought “people will need to travel anyway – let them travel somewhere nice”. I’m putting it on to drive adoption in Australasia.

Who are some of the speakers and why did you choose them?

We selected our speakers carefully. We wanted the best in the world in the fields of regulation, FinTech, Investments, Economics, Security etc. so to match our Agenda – a comprehensive progression from “What Is Bitcoin?” through to taxes & regulation and onto the advanced subjects which go into the practical uses and show where the disruption/future is heading.

Andreas Antonopoulos is probably the most well known Bitcoin Expert in the world. Jeffrey Tucker is a published Economist and understands what the relationship of bitcoin and money is, Ben Bomhardt from Draglet will cover the bitcoin trading/exchange markets and their evolution. The Chief Executive of Payments NZ is sitting on our regulation panel and many decision makers in finance and government are expected to attend to gain a foundation for building comprehensive regulation on. There’s too many to name, but they are listed at our site for people.

What other activities will be going on?  I know that New Zealand is a more adventurous location than the average conference setting?

There’s opportunity for adventure sports. We’re going to go for a bungee jump with Andreas and anybody else feeling up to it on the day before the conference. There are wine-tours, golf, a few private dinners planned: different groups are into different things – we just give people the option to do anything they want by listing the activities on the website.

How will this event be different?

Most people fly in and fly out to conferences. By choosing the adventure capital of the world (Queenstown, NZ) we are offering people the ability to meet, network, then build on those relationships on the days after the conference by doing activities or sight-seeing together.

How did you get involved with Bitcoin and what other projects are you working on besides the conference?

I heard about Bitcoins in 2010. Didn’t start any companies around it until late 2013.

My company Techemy Ltd, which is the only comprehensive and accurate Price-Index on the planet, is designed to offer true price-discovery. Having accurate market data allows for products and services to be built on top of it. We are about to launch our 2.0 API for those looking at building such services. We will also be launching a new portal on bitcoin.info domain shortly with more useful info and tools.

What’s next for the region?  How is Bitcoin viewed?

Just like everywhere else – there’s those who understand it. Then there’s those who haven’t done the research. There’s some really exciting things happening within NZ and AUS in the Bitcoin space – lots of development and investment in all areas.

For more information on the conference or Brave New Coin, go to:

http://bravenewcoin.com

http://bitcoin.info

http://bitcoinsouth.co

 

 

Genecoin: DNA for the Blockchain

While it’s a common refrain in the Bitcoin universe that the Blockchain will have countless uses for the storage and management of scarcity in our lives, it’s still a field that’s just starting to deliver on this promise. Enter Genecoin, a newcomer in the Bitcoin space that seeks to fulfill an unlikely spot in our Blockchain future: the encoding and storage of who we are. Despite its name, Genecoin is not a crypto currency or a counterparty asset. Genecoin is the name of a nascent company run by a group of anonymous bitcoiners based in a undisclosed location in the United States’ northeast coast. The members of Genecoin are offering a simple proposition to the Bitcoin universe: to populate the […]

genecoin

While it’s a common refrain in the Bitcoin universe that the Blockchain will have countless uses for the storage and management of scarcity in our lives, it’s still a field that’s just starting to deliver on this promise. Enter Genecoin, a newcomer in the Bitcoin space that seeks to fulfill an unlikely spot in our Blockchain future: the encoding and storage of who we are. Despite its name, Genecoin is not a crypto currency or a counterparty asset. Genecoin is the name of a nascent company run by a group of anonymous bitcoiners based in a undisclosed location in the United States’ northeast coast. The members of Genecoin are offering a simple proposition to the Bitcoin universe: to populate the Bitcoin Blockchain with the sequenced DNA of its customers.

Genecoin is still in its earliest stages of existence, and is not bashful about letting its audience know that the company is just in its beginning stages. The price list is still open ended, and the web site is quick to note that “We’re Gauging Market Interest.” However, the principles have clearly received a lot of attention in a very short time, and seem committed to the goal of servicing their first customers. For potential customers, the Genecoin process will start by connecting a client with a gene sequencing lab. This lab will send a saliva collection kit via the US mail, along with instructions to the user on how to collect their saliva using the provided hardware. Once collected, the user sends the sample back to the lab, via the postal service, where the sample is processed and sequenced. After sequencing, the results will be sent to Genecoin, where they are then to be persisted onto the Bitcoin Blockchain. Though there are many companies offering their customers gene sequencing services, it’s the Blockchain persistence that separates Genecoin from the competition.

Amongst the many technical challenges that Genecoin is openly addressing is just how to store this DNA data using Bitcoin. Given that your typical human’s unencrypted DNA takes up approximately 750 MiB of data, storage of this data in full, on the Blockchain, would be significantly cost prohibitive. However, Genecoin is quick to point out that much of this data is redundant between humans, and that this size can be drastically reduced by merely encoding the ‘differences’ amongst a single human’s DNA from those of a reference model. Such an encoding would require off-chain data be used for reference, and Genecoin is exploring various ways of referencing this data in a decentralized capacity. In addition to the considerations surrounding space efficiency, Genecoin is actively exploring mechanisms to encrypt the storage of one’s DNA on the Blockchain as well. After all, just because one wants their data to persist forever, doesn’t mean they want everyone privy to it. Options for latter decryption would include time-lock, and oracle-based decryption schemes.

So, why would anyone want to encode their DNA on the Blockchain? Like much in the crypto space, some projects are a solution in search of a problem. However, one easy reason to use the blockchain to store DNA would be as a replacement for a traditional ‘Birth Certificate.’ Notarization has long been a function provided by the Bitcoin Blockchain, so to ‘notarize’ the existence of a person’s DNA could attest to the existence of an identity, and its age. This attestation would thereafter function in the much the same way as does our current oracle-based (hospital-centric) system. Additionally, for those thinking of the far off future, another fanciful notion might be to encode one’s DNA for the purposes of cloning by a future generation. If that sounds a bit too far-fetched, well, just remember that decentralized currencies were once a far-fetched idea as well.

Regardless of where Genecoin and the DNA sequencing market goes from here, there’s a number of wonderful questions being asked and answered around the Genecoin project. Does the Blockchain have value? What’s the best way to store data so that it will survive the eons? How will the Blockchain find a use outside of the traditional confines of the financial space? These questions will be answered in enough time, but one answer that’s immediately obvious for many in the Bitcoin community, and hopefully to be obvious for others in the biology community: the Blockchain has many uses above and beyond just the storage of balances on a ledger.

Bitcoiners Prepare for These Words: I Should Have Listened

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost   “I should have listened,” say the skeptics, cynics and the disbelievers. But they are speaking of you and your words once you realize they were right. They may honestly believe that your bitcoin fascination will end sadly, wherein they can dutifully remind you that they told you so. “I should have listened,” might be the words created during times of frustration in the mind of this reader from time to time. These thoughts and feelings may come to the relatively inexperienced Bitcoiner who may have, unfortunately, purchased a few bitcoin during the peaks to sadly watch the price deflate. For those who only know bitcoin […]

I should have listened

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

- Robertson Davies, Tempest-Tost

 


“I should have listened,” say the skeptics, cynics and the disbelievers. But they are speaking of you and your words once you realize they were right. They may honestly believe that your bitcoin fascination will end sadly, wherein they can dutifully remind you that they told you so.

“I should have listened,” might be the words created during times of frustration in the mind of this reader from time to time. These thoughts and feelings may come to the relatively inexperienced Bitcoiner who may have, unfortunately, purchased a few bitcoin during the peaks to sadly watch the price deflate. For those who only know bitcoin as a possible currency replacement, or an investment in some way that only shows on the surface of bitcoin, it may seem like dark days. They might have read about the great bitcoin crashes in the past, but perhaps the cycle and patterns won’t repeat this time.

Most Bitcoiners have been told, by the ‘experts’ in popular opinion, that bitcoin is a scam, a ponzi scheme, or a joke. It must be true – the public reason, because they read it on the Internet. The public also might get their inside information from their government, their news channel or their neighbor. Everyone must think they are the experts blockchain technology, yet 99% of the population wouldn’t know a blockchain from a dog chain.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. A quick glance at history will reveal closed societies that refuse to think outside their own paradigm. They shun new ideas or thought and progress.

“It’s a ‘pump and dump.’ You’ve been duped,” they tell us. Many Bitcoiners have tried to explain how it will change the world – but are met with skeptics who point to the steady decline in price as their proof. Most have never heard of blockchain technology, or understand how it is already changing the world. They have yet to learn of the changes they’ll find in passports, privacy and property.

The price of bitcoin has gone down fairly steadily throughout the year and not without reason. There have been major shocks to the bitcoin system this year, such as the spectacular implosion of Mt. Gox. Ominous warnings from repressive governments reminding their citizens that bitcoin isn’t a legal tender, as if they needed reminding that you can’t spend a foreign currency to pay your bills. Yet despite the bad news that seemed to pile on bitcoin to begin the year, bitcoin still hangs around. It still makes the news. The on-air skeptics which laughed only a year ago have straight faced conversations now. Old school economists still can’t believe the world would embrace a paradigm change that would then make their work seem less relevant.

paul

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

Famous old-school economists like Paul Krugman may take delight with each price drop. Perhaps he’s writing and rehearsing his speech already: “Bitcoin – I told you so

“I should have listened,” could be the words that haunt some early bitcoin adapters. They were brave enough to think differently than most of the world and many were even told – that they thought foolishly. Early Bitcoiners have largely steeled themselves to these opinions and adapted to become stronger because of the constant barrage of criticism.   New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose, wrote an article in March of this year, describing the bitcoin community as a cult. But sometimes even the critics come around. Kevin recently left New York Magazine to work for ThisIsFusion, his new employer seems intent on promoting bitcoin through Twitter. Convert, or two-faced? Knowing that your fellow Bitcoiners have also faced the strange looks and sideways tilting heads showed that shared experiences strengthens the bonds in the community. Having somebody call you ‘crazy’ might be a badge of honor in the Bitcoin crowd. That’s a sign you’re now on the ‘inside’. However,  if you are looking for a cult to join – you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Most in the bitcoin space already know that bitcoin investment is not for the faint of heart. The common mantra from even the Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist is: “Do not invest more than you can afford to lose.” Of course, some choose to ignore these words. Others have used the opportunity to double-down on their investment, taking advantage of the cheaper prices. But yet the dark clouds continue to hang over the bitcoin world. The community is likely ready for the “bitcoin weatherman” to give a good news forecast for bitcoin which includes warmer temperatures and sunshine. They want to have the reassurance that they did not give their hearts and minds to a cause and movement that only fizzles while the world reminds them that they should have listened.

The thought that bitcoin could go to zero would be a bitter pill to swallow, probably more than almost any other investment because of the emotional investment many have with the technology. To be fair, it would likely be hard for most to not be emotional about this bitcoin. It is different because it carries the baggage of forcing Bitcoiners into defending it and by extension oneself for believing in the idea because it comes to represent the essence of the individual. One’s judgment and vision may be called into question for following the road less traveled. Defending bitcoin is defending yourself because it is so different. To remain centered, it’s perhaps best to expect the price to reach zero. How does one know if they’ve invested too much money into bitcoin as an investment? If they will lose sleep  if the price of bitcoin goes to zero. Most current day bitcoin investors have yet to have the honey badger of money come to their rescue as he has so often in the past.

It appears that fans in the bitcoin space are increasingly diving into two camps. In one camp we have those who are mostly interested in the speculation and investment. They don’t really care for the politics or movement that has begun around the technology. The Wall Street investors and most venture capital money seem to fall into this category. The other camp is the “hard-core” Bitcoiners who think of it not as a currency or payment system, but as freedom.

It’s a movement.

It might be argued that this group wouldn’t mind so much if the technology promised by the blockchain invention will live on in other currencies or methods that have just begun. Of course, some may be evenly split – but if bitcoin fails the movement will live on through the explosion of innovation that follows.

Bitcoiners are at a unique advantage point to watch the development, understand the advances that are happening in the science and, most importantly, to be there first. Bitcoiners are the ones feeling the pulse of the future in blockchain technology. A skeptic may believe these words that encourage readers to adjust expectations that the bottom could fall out and they are only preparing to concede defeat. However this is not the case. There is no “we’ll get them next year” mentality unlike the fans of every sports team – minus one. Many Bitcoiners have skeptical friends and family who refuse to try to understand what the fuss is all about. They might be all too happy to say those four hated words nobody likes to hear:

I. Told. You. So.


Now for the good news:

star night

 Stubborn rays of hope refuse to be extinguished.

Again, and again, and again the topic of bitcoin relentlessly resurfaces again proving: it’s not dead yet. This fact must be annoying to the critics who haven’t been able to see past their own present paradigms. People EXPECT bitcoin to fail. The longer it hangs around, the more it stays in the news, the more everyone talks about it:  may slowly and silently be chipping away at their resolve. Justifying their opinion becomes more difficult and their ego will instinctively remind them to be consistent with themselves to save face. But reality and ego might be destined for a collision course.

Why does it seem that many Bitcoiners are actually… happy? There are conventions and meetups where people don’t seem to care about the price. Many in the bitcoin space readily admit that the price is perhaps the LEAST interesting part of the bitcoin story. Wall Street firms are preparing to create Equity Trading Funds (ETFs). Commodities Futures  and Trade Commission (CFTC) have already held hearing and the general feeling is that all systems are go. The CFTC is the agency that regulates gold, silver, and other commodities and they consider bitcoin in the same category. Their charge is to guard against price fixing and market manipulations. If they are successful the wild price swings could finally find calmer and  more predictable waters.  The fact that bitcoin currently does not have a stable and predictable price is the biggest knock against it. If we want to use bitcoin as a currency, we need to be able to cross off the “store of value” complaint that critics maintain. It remains to be seen how effective the attempts by the CFTC will be.

How much do these Wall Street companies say about the price of bitcoin these days? The silence is deafening. They are keeping their cards close to their vests. This could be a good sign for bitcoin holders.  Hedge funds, mutual funds, and other big firms have strict restrictions in the kinds of investments they are allowed to allocate funds. When regulations are finalized all the pieces could fall into place that will finally allow the financial vehicles from which they can allocate some diversification money. The regulated bylaws do not allow them to invest in bitcoin directly, just as they cannot invest in gold or silver directly. They do so by using the gold and silver ETFs that track the price and (supposedly) are backed by the asset. If just a one percent investment allocation is diverted toward digital currencies by these huge firms … the price will explode. If just one percent of the allocation of gold investment was hedged into bitcoin – the price will explode. Bitcoin meets the criteria of being the magic word investors love to hear: “non-correlated asset“. In these scenarios, the projected price possibilities are so incredible it may be seen as imprudent to speak of them out loud.  Many of these fund managers are likely licking their chops wanting to get in early. If the price does explode, other mutual fund managers will be under pressure for their own funds to compete. This domino effect could result in its own positive feedback loop.

Circle Internet Financial just came online and out of beta and it is silky smooth. Bitcoin Investment Trust was created by SecondMarket and its first New York regulated exchange is reportedly just waiting for the New York regulators to issue final guidance. PayPal is entering the business. There have been some indications that Dell has more plans for bitcoin beyond just accepting it as a payment option. Many industry experts indicate the hottest job market in the field of technology now is going to bitcoin startups.

New York seems to be closer to having a workable bitcoin licensing plan. Several foreign governments appear to be finally ‘getting it’ and warming to the idea of bitcoin related jobs invigorating their economy.  Wall Street firms need to purchase bitcoin funds at low market value – the lowest possible.  I don’t want to start a conspiracy theory, but logically, would it not make sense to be pleased to see the price of bitcoin going steadily down so they could strategically move into position and buy it up before making any big announcements? Wouldn’t you if in the same position? The entire bitcoin market cap is child’s play for big Wall Street firms. The market is so thinly traded (by Wall Street Standards) that they could probably assign an intern to buy and sell at the right pivot points to send the price exactly where they want it. Or a wealthy hedge fund manager using his personal money over a few lunch hours. For now, small time players will be just have to hang on for the ride. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

In short, it seems that the market price and the news lurking around the corner and hidden in the details of news articles, do not align. This may only recognized by those “in the know” that track these events closely and can divine meaning. The current price does not match up with the rumblings of titanic shifts that are underfoot. I do not give financial advice – but I do give caution…don’t get greedy and limit your excitement to what will allow you to sleep peacefully if it doesn’t go as you’ve planned.  But… on the other side of all this talk about preparation – it’s fun to imagine preparing for takeoff. In this case, a safety harness and safety straps may be in order. Strap in for the wild rocket ride that might be possible in the months and years ahead. Remember to keep your hands and feet inside the rocket ride at all times. While you’re on it, try to come up with something good to say every time you hear those four words from your friends, family and foes.

“I Should Have Listened.”


Leave a comment for others to see what you will tell them.

Follow me on twitter: mreespublic

Star night picture provided by:

http://lisandrolee.deviantart.com/art/Star-Night-164921953