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Microsoft to Sponsor the Ethereum DΞVCON1 Conference

The Ethereum DevCon1 conference is set to take place on November 9th in London. In a recently published blog post by George Hallam, the Ethereum team announced that Microsoft would be one of the sponsors of the first-of-its-kind event. MIcrosoft and Bitcoin have had a somewhat strong relationship since the American company started accepting it last year. Now, it seems that “Bitcoin 2.0” technology like Ethereum is taking some of the institutional attention away from Bitcoin. Vitalik Buterin, one of the founders of Ethereum, commented on the sponsorship:

DΞVCON1 is very excited to work with Microsoft and we look forward to having them in London.”Microsoft’s head of US Technology Financial Services, Marley Gray, explained more specifically why Microsoft had taken an interest in this international and decentralized technology event:“Microsoft is excited to sponsor and attend Ethereum’s DevCon1. We find the Ethereum blockchain incredibly powerful and look forward to collaborating within the Ethereum Community. We see a future where the combination of Microsoft Azure and Ethereum can enable new innovative platforms like Blockchain-as-a-Service. This will serve as an inflection point to bring blockchain technology to enterprise clientele”.

“Blockchain-as-a-Service” is a new term that we will undoubtedly hear more of in the coming years. Most everyone involved in the technology side of their business is familiar wit Software-as-a-service (SAAS) which has given rise to incredibly large corporations. In contrast, the service that the blockchain provides is removing the need for people and points of failure in the middle and back office. Smart contracts and blockchain-as-a-service obviously go hand in hand. What will be most interesting is if Microsoft’s potential use of Ethereum in their Azure platform is what finally prompts Amazon to get into the decentralized digital currency game. One can only hope.

Ethereum DevCon1 Is Bringing Interesting Companies and People Together… For a Better FutureAlready, it has been confirmed that not only will Microsoft be in attendance, but so will Nick Szabo. That is actually no surprise given that Szabo coined the term “smart contract” many many years ago and has become increasingly vocal on the internet as his pet idea has started to come to fruition. Smart contracts are a large part of Ethereum’s mainstream appeal, though the concept is still in the process of gaining momentum. The future prospects of robots and computers replacing humans for certain types of jobs has always been on the fringe of human imagination. The more you think about smart contracts, the more you realize that such a futuristic world couldn’t exist in a stable state without something like smart contracts. As panelists at the Money20/20 conference stated:

Cryptocurrency is the most natural way for machines to pay machines.

Bitcoin-inspired blockchain technology, of which Ethereum definitely is, has seen a lot of validation lately. Other Bitcoin-inspired blockchain technology like BitShares is also gaining traction, though not in the form of Microsoft sponsorships. Besides the fundraising and actual release of Ethereum’s Frontier alpha and a shaky first few days, the formation of a conference is a milestone that most “altchains” never achieve – not that there was any doubt that Ethereum would make it this far, anyways. After all, even Imogen Heap has even started using Ethereum, why wouldn’t Microsoft be next?

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Smart Contracts as new laws? Better handle with care

(Sole24Ore) “A contract is an agreement”, this was the mandatory phrase for starting a private law exam test after which we would discuss the conditions for its validity. Today, university memories are coming back as contracts are revised in technological form; indeed they’re called Smart Contracts. This brilliant intuition came from Nick Szabo who proposed them in 1994, even before Bitcoin and the diffusion of the Internet.
Let’s start with the definition:
“Smart Contracts are computer protocols that facilitate, verify, or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, or that obviate the need for a contractual clause. Smart contracts aim to provide security superior to traditional contract law and to reduce other transaction costs associated with contracting.”
The words in bold about automatic performance of the clauses is a source of opportunities and risks, questions and doubts. One thing is certain: A Smart Contract isn’t a contract, but only the part related to agreements performance.
Until now, when one of the contracting parties feels the other party didn’t respect a clause of the contract then a third party need to be called in order to settle the conflict. This neutral authority has always been a human one. Now, we rely increasingly on technology to facilitate relationships between humans, even if this could seem an oxymoron. Maths (or should we say cryptography) intends regulating any operation between each one of us, close or far, a known or unknown stakeholder.
How do technology and economy meet at this point?
If a contract represents the formalization of an agreement, how can we make it secure between parties that remotely agree and maybe don’t even know each other? The answer is
Smart Contracts based on Blockchain technology.
The contract then becomes an instructions set. If it can be codified, it can also be “computed”, i.e. if the conditions are satisfied, it ensures that performance is automatic.
It sounds like a futuristic scenario, but in reality the Internet of Things (IoT) includes this form of contracts for new services. All is fine, in the end “equal justice for all”, not only for those who possess the power. Eliminating all excess of human discretion which leads to long and inconclusive civil lawsuits is actually one step forward.
But in which direction?
If we choose the one that leads to no human discretion at all, the risk may be even greater. These systems are fascinating, they open up incredible scenarios, but they also are autonomous and immutable. This isn’t good, machines must remain instruments. They mustn’t have the last word. Otherwise this will be the first step on a slope in which decision power is given to machines. Instead, we would like machines that assist us in the decision-making process. We must leverage them but not be ruled by them. The variability of emotions remains a human factor that we shouldn’t give up.
The third party, not human, to which we entrust the performance of contract can’t always be mathematics. We hope for a coexistence with the practitioners: the new generation lawyer will have to know how to write a Smart Contract, for example translating the clauses into computer code as shown in the figure.
All this to emphasize the fact that Smart Contracts should be used to control the performance, and never to judge. New technologies require for behavioral models to adapt. . We must use them according to their usefulness, without extremisms. We will use these instruments but wisely, because we don’t live in a deterministic world. Not yet.
Author: Massimo Chiriatti, technologist and member of

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Stellard compared to Rippled

So there’s a new fork in town going by the name of Stellar!

Jed McCaleb had an idea for a new cryptocurrency which did not depend on mining and hired a small team of developers (David Schwartz, Stefan Thomas and Arthur Britto). This idea grew into one which borrowed from Ryan Fugger‘s original concept of community credit and was designed to provide a scalable solution for global payments with liquidity provided by anyone who wanted to make an offer or supply credit to satisfy that payment. An elegant concept was the basis for the formation of OpenCoin, later to become Ripple Labs. Jed hired Chris Larsen, and a subsequent, well-documented fallout occurs over the allocation of 20% of the XRP to three individuals and the fair distribution of the remainder. Jed leaves Ripple Labs and announces a “Secret Bitcoin Project”, which it turns out is a fork of the rippled codebase with some minor modifications and a new user interface. The release is partnered with a clearly expressed set of rules governing the distribution of the XRP equivalent known as STR.
So what are these code modifications and do they make a big difference to how likely Stellar is to succeed? Let’s have a look at the significant commits which have occurred since the fork attempt began on April 24th 2014. We’ll disregard all of the obvious “rename ripple=>stellar” alterations. 
Account ids begin with a g is a fairly straightforward change to the base58 alphabet for encoding account ids and other Stellar types. The main result is that all account ids begin the letter “g”, rather than an “r”. Why “g”? Who knows. 
Add InflationDest field is perhaps the most revolutionary change. The idea is that each account gets to nominate another account which, each week, receives a share of 0.019% of all the STR in existence, perhaps as a result of continued good stewardship of the network and supporting codebase. The field is optional. The formula is here and then revised here and here and here. Two new fields FeePool and InflationSeq are added to the LedgerHeader. 
Accounts can be deleted means that a user can consolidate his/her STR back into a single account from multiple accounts. Trustlines must first be removed. 
Clean up old unimplemented data structures, such as Nickname and GeneratorMap
Bootstrapping from a centralised peer provider is removed
A switch to ed25519 from P256 for creating and verifying signatures is implemented. 
Expose wallet_public to anyone and rename to create_keys. This is a security risk as someone could fake a response on a server and be in possession of your secret. 
Remove EmailHash, WalletLocator, WalletSize, MessageKey and Domain fields from AccountRoot serialization format and the flag PasswordSpent
A painful merge of the main rippled codebase. 
Some surprising lack of familiarity with a key data structure in the codebase. 
So, does the above represent any serious deviation or innovation on the rippled implementation? The inflation is an interesting idea, but it reminds me of the old bankers’ adage.

“There are two types of people in the world. Those that understand compound interest and those that pay it”.

The switch to ed25519 may one day permit performance gains, but not before any nodestore speed issues have been solved. The ability to delete an Account is useful. Everything else is mostly cosmetic and housekeeping. 
What is obvious from the team of three developers working on the C++ codebase is that there is not a deep understanding of what is going on in the internals, at least not yet. There is no published roadmap of future changes. Worst of all is that recent security fixes on the main rippled codebase have not been integrated into the stellard codebase and a new security flaw has been wilfully introduced.
The switch to an open and thoroughly explained plan for STR distribution is a welcome one, but a web page with words on it is just that. Time will tell.

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Alex Grey Cosmic Christ CROP1 1000x288

Smart contracts may depend on Smart Oracles, said CTO of Ripple Labs

Smart contracts may depend on Smart Oracles to inform contracts about the state of the outside world, said CTO of Ripple Labs
(BitcoinMagazine) Stefan Thomas is one of the more talented and respected developers in
the space. An old hat at this young technology, he has been making
waves as the CTO of Ripple labs. In a recent effort he has set his
sights on smart contracts technology. The designs and implementation he
and his team have come up with are interesting, to say the least.
In a white paper entitled Smart Oracles, we see described a novel, simple, and flexible approach to smart contracts.
In such a system, rules can be written in any programming language,
and contracts can interact with any service that accepts
cryptographically signed commands. The paper also includes an
implementation of smart oracles, called Codius (based on the Latin “ius” meaning “law”).
Smart contracts are an exciting new frontier for technology,
business, and law that have the potential to usher in a wave of
innovation and serve as a building block for a next chapter of the
The concept of a smart contract is to formally encode the conditions
and outcomes of a legal agreement into a computer program. Rather than
rely on another party to enforce the terms of the arrangement, the
obligations of a smart contract are settled automatically and
autonomously through the execution of its code.
As such, math-based currency networks like Bitcoin and Ripple
provide an important building block for smart contracts by allowing the
transfer of digital assets with a cryptographic signature. The benefits
of using smart contracts instead of traditional contracts are increased
speed, efficiency, and trust that the contract will be executed exactly
as agreed.
Uatu, The Watcher
Most proposals for smart contracts depend on independent entities to
inform contracts about the state of the outside world. Bitcoin contracts
rely on “oracles
to attest to facts from the outside world by introducing signatures
into the network if and only if specific conditions are met.
For instance, the smart contract for a will would need to know
whether or not someone had died. Such a system typically requires the
smart contract code to be executed on the consensus network itself. But
encoding advanced logic and executing untrusted code is complicated to
integrate. Until now, this has been one of the primary obstacles for
creating a viable smart contract system.
Smart oracles take the concept of oracles a step further by placing
the untrusted code execution in the oracles’ hands. Smart oracles, then,
are trusted or semi-trusted entities that can both provide information
about the outside world and execute the code to which the contracting
parties agreed.
By decoupling the execution of untrusted code from the consensus
databases and other services that track and transfer asset ownership,
smart contracts can be achieved without increasing the complexity of
existing consensus networks like Bitcoin and Ripple.
Algolon, The Observer
Without being tied to any single consensus network, contracts created
using smart oracles can interact with multiple networks at once as well
as virtually any type of online service. This means that a single smart
contract could interact with Bitcoin and Ripple, web-based services
like PayPal, Google, Ebay, etc. or even other Internet protocols, such
The Codius implementation of smart oracles is designed to provide
developers with a robust and familiar platform to build smart contracts
and hit the ground running. Because Codius uses Google’s Native Client to sandbox untrusted code, developers can write contracts in any programming language.
Codius and smart oracles in general open up new possibilities for
developers, entrepreneurs, and enterprising legal and financial
professionals. Agreements that previously required lengthy legal
contracts can be translated into code and run automatically by smart
Smart contracts hold the potential to empower people to build a
fairer, more affordable and more efficient legal system and smart
oracles are one of the simplest ways to realize that dream. Potential
use cases include bridges between value networks, escrow, cryptocurrency
wallet controls, auctions for digital assets, derivatives, debt and
equity, smart property and voting.
Since the system is extensible, the functionality will continue to expand as the ecosystem develops.

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blockchain 1

Think the Internet’s disruptive? Hold tight for blockchain!

Wonder what all the fuss is about Bitcoin? A growing number of technology watchers are becoming increasingly excited about the peer-to-peer system on which the digital currency is built.
(Diginomica) The blockchain, this is the distributed, encrypted record that Bitcoin uses to record every transaction. An article in the Telegraph last week by Matthew Sparkes explained how the blockchain works:
The idea is that each and every transaction is broadcast by the person initiating it. Rather than telling the bank we want to spend [$5], we tell the world. That transaction is bundled up with thousands of others and cryptographically bound into a ‘block’ by ‘miners’ …
To quote the wiki dictionary maintained by ‘the Bitcoin community’ — perhaps the nearest you can get to an official explanation — ‘mining is intentionally designed to be resource-intensive and difficult so that the number of blocks found each day by miners remains steady … The primary purpose of mining is to allow Bitcoin nodes to reach a secure, tamper-resistant consensus.’

This matters because, as Sparkes sets out under his provocative headline of The coming digital anarchy,
this is a system that can be applied not just to money but to any kind of transaction, from domain name registration to legal arbitration or public elections. In between those two extremes, it could completely overturn the way enterprises organize themselves and tout for business.

The fifth protocol
To better understand the impact on business, it’s worth going back to a longform blog post from April by Angellist CEO and co-founder Naval Ravikant, in which he states that cryptocurrencies will create a fifth protocol layer powering the next generation of the Internet:
The Four Layers of the Internet Protocol Suite are constantly communicating. The Link Layer puts packets on a wire. The Internet Layer routes them across networks. The Transport Layer persists communication across a given conversation. And the Application Layer delivers entire documents and applications.
This chatty, anonymous network treats resources as ‘too cheap to meter.’ It’s a giant grid that transfers data but doesn’t transfer value. DDoS attacks, email spam, and flooded VPNs result. Names and identities are controlled by overlords — ICANN, DNS Servers, Facebook, Twitter, and Certificate ‘Authorities’.
Where’s the protocol layer for exchanging value, not just data?
Where’s the distributed, anonymous, permission-less system for chatty machines to allocate their scarce resources? Where is the ‘virtual money’ to create this ‘virtual economy?’ …
Cryptocurrencies are an emergent property of the Internet — almost a fifth protocol in the Internet suite. If [Bitcoin creator] Satoshi Nakomoto did not exist, it would still be necessary to invent them.
Someday, they will be used by the machines in our network, on our desk, in our garage, and in our pocket to exchange value and achieve consensus at blinding speeds, anonymously, and at minimal cost.

What Ravikant is really describing here is not Bitcoin per se but the work of the blockchain, providing a trusted, shared transaction record that allows machines to own and exchange value without human intervention. Although in strict engineering terms it’s not really a protocol, its impact is potentially as huge as any of these other building blocks of the Internet.

Effectively, Ravikant is arguing the blockchain is how the Internet of Things will exchange value — not just monetary value, but also many of those other components of business transactions that we currently find much harder to quantify, such as trust and reputation.

blockchain blocksAutonomous things

Now back to Sparkes, who recounts a scenario imagined by Mike Hearn, an ex-Googler who now works on Bitcoin:

Jen wants a taxi. She tells her smartphone where she’s heading and it immediately starts gathering bids from nearby taxis and ranking them based on price and user reviews. This system on which requests and offers bounce around is called TradeNet, and it would be based on blockchain technology.
The strange thing about these vehicles is not that nobody drives them, as self-driving cars will have become commonplace decades before, but that nobody even owns them. They are what Hearn calls ‘autonomous agents’, independent machines which earn their own money through fares, pays for their own fuel and repair and operates utterly without outside control.

Far-fetched it may be, but this is the kind of scenario that is getting venture investors excited about blockchain right now — and you can understand why.

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Bitcoin like the Internet In 1995

At only five years old, bitcoin
is receiving more venture capital investment than early stage Internet
companies were in 1995. Remember what the Internet was like in 1995?
If you have 27 minutes to refresh your memory, YouTube has a Computer Chronicle video showing what the 1995 Internet
looked like. If not, the piece discusses how hard it was to stream
video, how there was no safe way to process credit cards, how ugly the
websites looked and how slow the Internet was.
Things seemed so grim. In 1995 Newsweek ran a piece: “Why the Internet will Fail.”
Sound familiar? These are the same arguments against bitcoin: hardly
anyone uses it, it isn’t safe, and it is hard to use. However digital
currencies are so much cheaper, more convenient and more powerful than
their analog counterparts that, like the Internet, their widespread
adoption seems assured.
Which digital currency will triumph? Hundreds or even thousands of
competing digital currencies have entered the market. So far none has a
clear shot at overtaking bitcoin. Bitcoin’s network effect is growing at
a fast rate, making its dominance even more likely.

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Bitcoin: the future of payments

The implications of bitcoin’s effect on consumer finance, investment and banking are not fully understood, a new report from Innopay suggests.
(CoinDesk) The payments and transaction service consulting firm explored the nature of digital currency and its impact on a broad range of market sectors, tapping everyone from European central bankers to core members of the bitcoin community for insight. At its heart, the Innopay report points to a broad awakening within the global economy to the benefits of bitcoin and its underlying technology, but acknowledges that ignition remains held back by and large.
Apprehension about the security and stability of bitcoin, especially among banks, large companies and a broader subset of consumers keeps the clear benefits of digital currencies from achieving mainstream usage. The experts interviewed by Innopay agree that bitcoin will deeply affect how people transact with one another, but remained split on how digital currency technology will manifest in the years ahead.
Economist and CoinDesk contributor Tuur Demeester told Innopay:
“Just like the Internet has broken open the information market, one can expect the same paradigm shift to occur with cryptocurrencies on the financial market.”
Digital currencies were also seen through the lens of regional financial crises, consumer technology and the future of the internet. The rules of global finance, the Innopay report explores, could be fundamentally rewritten by the likes of bitcoin and other currencies.

Payments networks revisioned with bitcoin

One area explored in the report is the concept that bitcoin can change how businesses and consumers pay one another. At the center of this, Innopay notes, is the change in how financial parties trust one another. The evolving nature of this trust structure carries the potential for significant benefits – and complications.
As Demeester remarked, the number of bitcoin transactions continues to grow steadily but this fact does not preclude traditional payments networks from maintaining a significant role by comparison. However, he said that many of the core services offered by banks may be facilitated more cheaply and efficiently with digital currencies, suggesting that banks are at risk of market loss for their inaction.
He said:
“The traditional financial system is being challenged to step up their game in terms of efficiency because the bitcoin environment is removing middlemen.”
Others who spoke with Innopay were less convinced.
Kim Gunnink, an official with the Dutch Central Bank’s Payments Systems Policy Department, said that the central bank views bitcoin usage today as “a fad”. Gunnink argues that bitcoin’s performance as a type of money is poor overall, citing its fluctuating value as a critical flaw that makes it ineffective as both a unit of account and a store of value. As well, the official said that the future of bitcoin transaction fees could pose a long-term issue.
On the other hand, Gunnink noted the growing influence of digital economies among businesses and consumers, leaving the door open for the technology to grow in usage. Gunnink added that the addition of new services and avenues for digital currency acquisition would ease adoption, saying:
“Cryptocurrencies could be gaining ground in the field of cross-currency payments, as a growing payment method for global online purchases or peer-to-person payments. To what extent this growth will become a reality is still unclear.”

Why bitcoin is held back

Innopay’s report also confirmed what many other observers have said about the barriers to bitcoin’s success. A mixture of uncertain regulation, poor consumer information and complicated means to acquire bitcoin makes it difficult for broader use to take off.
Dave Birch, a director for IT advisory firm Consult Hyperion, remarked that governments remain cautious about passing definitive legislation about bitcoin because they both lack understanding of its underlying technology and fear missing out on future tax revenue. However, he predicted that governments will eventually see bitcoin’s potential to create “a dynamic and efficient economy”.
A lack of bank participation makes the situation even more untenable, but according to the report, bitcoin technology may one day find a strong ally in the global banking sector. Owing to the need to update legacy money networks worldwide – and the possible erosion of their core services – banks may have little choice but to embrace bitcoin.
However, it’s likely that this shift will manifest in the utilization of the protocol itself rather than bitcoin or another digital currency. But this isn’t necessarily a problem for bitcoin, as Innopay itself notes in the report’s conclusion:
“The quest to find better ways to do transactions often leads to innovations that open up opportunities, like we have seen in other industries and with other technologies.”

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The line between fiat and cryptocurrency is getting fuzzier.

(BitcoinMagazine) The line between fiat and cryptocurrency is getting fuzzier. With the advent of Bitcoin 2.0 technology, we can now use cryptocurrency to exchange stocks, property, commodities, and even state-backed money. But if the whole point of cryptocurrency was to decentralize the financial system, what’s the point of a dollar-backed coin?

Dollar-backed digital coins have been attempted many times before. The Canadian government even tried to get in on the action, and unsurprisingly failed. Some claim that the first cryptocurrency to attempt this was Coinaaa, but this is technically incorrect. Coinaaa sells premined coins, and does invest a lot of the revenue in Norwegian krone, but their intention is to maintain a stable value independent of any state-backed currency. The company invests their earnings, and uses some of the money to buy back coins when the price drops, or sell coins when it rises.

The company promises 0% transaction fees, but at the cost of a centralized mining system. While this fails to represent actual kroner one could trade in a decentralized manner, it does serve as a great transactional currency. This is theoretically possible without having to rely on humans–decentralized autonomous software could do this by adjusting block rewards or destroying transaction fees in response to price fluctuations–but if they make the right investments, it functions for now.

Given the possible and existing options available, one might then wonder why Brock Pierce chose to introduce Realcoin, the first cryptocurrency backed by US dollars. Although they claim to hold US dollars in “conservative investments,” this probably means they’re doing the same thing Coinaaa is with your money. The major difference is that they aren’t trying to maintain a stable value: Realcoin claims they will maintain a fully-auditable 1-to-1 reserve of US dollars, which can be redeemed for their coins. This is all enabled by the Mastercoin protocol (Omni Layer) on the existing Bitcoin blockchain.

This will cause Realcoin to fluctuate with the value of the dollar, for better or for worse. It will inflate with time, as all fiat money does, meaning you won’t want to keep your savings in it–Bitcoin would be a better choice. A good transactional currency should be neither inflationary nor deflationary, so Coinaaa is clearly the superior choice for daily use; both will likely make their profit by trading and investing with your money, and require very similar amounts of trust.

Why, then, create Realcoin? Although the Coinaaa company will definitely hold some kroner, a Coinaaa will not represent the value of a Norwegian krone. This means that if you want to do FOREX trading involving Norwegian currency, you have no choice but to return to centralized exchanges. Even if you don’t want to hold or use kroner, there’s profit to be had in exchanging it.

Realcoin, therefore, represents an opportunity to speculate with fiat currency for the first time. If you have reason to believe its price will move for or against a digital currency on the market, now you can take advantage of that. Given that the Mastercoin protocol will almost certainly contain a decentralized exchange, Realcoin allows you to trade in US dollars without ever touching a traditional financial institution. The state is just like any other company, issuing money that you can choose to use–or not.

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A cashless society, in three years ATMs in all majot cities will accepting cryptocurrencies

The consumer financial services company based in North Palm Beach, Florida, Bankrate, predicts that within three years, ATMs in all major cities will accepting digital currencies such as bitcoin.

The report, which assesses the future functionalities likely to be provided by the ATMs of tomorrow, focuses on how mobile payment solutions will play a significant role in terms of the next generation of banking.

With ATMs becoming increasingly flexible when its comes to meeting the needs of customers, Senior Vice President Tom Ormseth of the Chicago-based bank holding company Wintrust Financial says that “banks now need to think like Google, they’ve got to quit being slow adopters.”

The ATMs of today now let you talk to a teller on video, make cash withdrawals via your smartphone, and in many cases let you withdrawal as littles a $1. In essence, the need for physically located banks are becoming less necessary with time, which is why many are saying that the ATMs of tomorrow could replace banks all together. A threat that the advent of bitcoin has only made greater.According to Jay Weber, vice president of debit and ATM product solutions at the Jacksonville, Fla ATMs have long been viewed as nothing more than a tool for withdrawing cash on the fly; however, he says that now, the technology is being driven by a younger, more tech-savvy demographic.

The emergence of cardless ATMs, for instance, which are starting to pop-up in major cities throughout the world thanks to the Chicago-based Wintrust Financial group, allow customers to withdrawal cash through your phone without the need for a physical debit card.

Working much like the emerging bitcoin ATMs, you simply request a withdrawal, then within eight seconds, your money is there waiting for you at your local ATM.

According to Frank Natoli, chief innovation officer at Diebold, the banking industry, once seen as a conservative sector is quickly moving ahead. He further predicts, that thanks to the emergence of mobile banking alternatives, using your smartphone to transact will become even more seamless.

Acording to Natoli:
“Within three years, ATMs in major cities also will accept alternative currencies like bitcoin […] a digital currency that exists only in cyberspace, [that] already is starting to get its own ATMs worldwide. And mobile transactions are more appealing to bitcoin users.”

Natoli tells Bankrate that these ATMs are going to play a major role in the next generation of banking, and according to him, will aid in the progression towards “branchless banks.”While Natoli points out that today’s ATMs can only do 70% percent of what a teller can do, he predicts that this is a void destined to be filled by the new waves of ATMs.

The incentives are all there, as on the banks behalf, the expense of running a physical network of branches can be virtually eliminated with the adoption of this new technology. According to the report:“As consumers increasingly bank on mobile devices and online, more branches will be shuttered, leaving ATMs to do more daily heavy lifting.”

As the senior analyst at Aite Group, David Albertazzi explains, “it’s about rethinking and redefining the branch network.”

As Wintrust’s Ormseth explains:
“These futuristic ATMs are destined to become bank must-haves. Better security measures such as voice recognition or even biometrics, where you can use your fingerprint to prove your identity, will become commonplace at ATMs too.”As for whats at stake, echoing Ormseth’s predictions, Maclyn Clouse, professor of finance at the University of Denver also believes that given the separation between new technology and old, banks, especially smaller local banks, could soon be left behind. “A lot of transactions will be done on the ATM, which big banks can roll out more profitably than smaller banks,” he told Bankrate.

What will the ATMs of tomorrow look like? According to Clouse — cashless.

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640px Digital broadcast standards

Kryptoradio: Connect to the bitcoin network from anywhere – even without the Internet!

What is Kryptoradio?

Kryptoradio is a bitcoin data transmission system that
  • transmits bitcoin transactions, blocks, and currency exchange data,
  • does all this in real-time,
  • uses terrestrial television (DVB-T) transmitters around the world.
  • Bitcoins in the air, literally speaking.
Any unidirectional digital transmission path with a sufficient error correction is suitable for this project. In addition to DVB-T there are many other possible ways to transmit Bitcoin stream like subcarriers of FM radio transmission, amateur radio, and DAB. They chose DVB-T for our pilot project because of its flexibility and wide support in most parts of the world, shown in blue in the map below (source: Wikipedia).


The primary motivators are
  • creating unprecedented devices and applications,
  • making the bitcoin network more resistant to attacks,
  • promoting bitcoin as a viable payment platform, and of course
  • because they can!
There has been many attempts to make bitcoin less dependent of the public Internet. For example Bitcoin core developer Greg Maxwell has advocated that. One approach is to use Tor network to hide bitcoin traffic from the public Internet. Unfortunately this does not make bitcoin more accessible to new users. The better approach is to go beyond Internet and use public infrastructure for broadcasting transactions of the bitcoin network.

“Alternative blockchain transports are critical to the success and survivability of the Bitcoin system.”

Bitcoin core developer – Greg Maxwell

This scheme makes it easy to construct affordable receivers that do not need mobile data connections in order to follow bitcoin traffic and to react to the received bitcoin payments. This would make it possible to build bitcoin counterpart for cash payment terminals, anything from a cash register to a coin operated self-service laundry. If the receiver application follows only transactions relevant to itself, it will be possible to build it using even an ARM microcontroller.
Also, it allows an alternative way to access the bitcoin network in cases where only a very low speed Internet connection is available. And, for all the tin foil hat wearers out there, this is a way to connect to bitcoin network without a trace! You only need online access when you want to make transactions yourself.
The data stream can contain other information, such as exchange rates between bitcoins and traditional currencies.

What happens next?

They have found a partner who is able to cover costs for the pilot stage. The pilot stage will start in 1st of September,
and last for 2 months. The broadcast area covers 95% of Finnish population, approximately 5 million
people. More information in the press release.
There is plan to start regular broadcasting soon after the pilot stage. A single month of broadcasting on current distribution area
including maintenance costs is about € 2000 per month (VAT included). They are currently looking for partners to that stage.
They have had a quick look at bitcoin crowdfunding. Our first impression is that the available platforms are not very good either
technologically or by the number of users. If someone has ideas how to collect funds for this project, please contact us!

How to contribute

In Finland they have this thing called Money Collection Act which means that it is not legal to ask money
without compensation. However, in this case the compensation is the radio broadcast.
All funds sent to the project’s bitcoin address will be used for covering regular broadcasting costs. If the project gets cancelled, all extra funds will be returned to their sending addresses. In addition to financial support you are welcome to join the team if you are capable of helping me with the software, to improve web pages, or anything else. Please contact them by e-mail.
You are also welcome to join #bitcoinradio IRC channel at FreeNode.

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