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devcon 1

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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Family to travel across the US, apending only Bitcoin

(CoinDesk) John Bush and Catherine Bleish began a road trip across the US with
their family of four this week, during which they will only spend
Beginning in San Marcos, Texas, they drove into
Washington on Friday, the first stop on the “Uncoinventional Living
Tour”, for the Bitcoin in the Beltway conference.
The self-dubbed Blush family will drive for four weeks and 4,400 miles, also stopping in Lancaster, New Hampshire for the 11th
annual Porcupine Freedom Festival and then to Kansas City, Missouri –
Bleish’s hometown – over the Independence Day holiday before returning
back to Texas.
They will shoot five episodes of their reality show “Sovereign Living” during their journey.

Fighting a different way

and Bleish are both grassroots activists that spent years fighting the
political system in the US. Each helped start local political action
committes that focused on constitutional activism, civil liberties and
anti-police state causes in their hometowns of Austin, Texas and Kansas
City, respectively.
Deciding to build a family brought them to the
realisation that they needed to change their lifestyle choices – opting
instead to look for ways of being self-sufficient and building
communities separate from government influence. Bush told CoinDesk:
started to think that if we really want to change the world to create a
more free society, the first thing we can do is to change the way we
live and start to live more free ourselves, and stop participating in
centralised or coercive institutions … Both of us began to realise that a
lot of work we were doing wasn’t making us more free. In fact, it was
just exhausting us and spending all our energy and our money and our

The Blush family farm

In aiming to get
off the grid, the family moved just outside of Austin, to start a farm
on which it produces its own food, provides its own source of water and
harvests its own alternative energy.
For the vision of their
lifestyle to be realised, they’ve set goals: to produce 50% of their own
food, store 50% of their own water, and reduce their dependency on the
central energy grid by 50%.
“That’s what the show’s all about,”
said Bush. “Trying to document and educate people about the values of
living a voluntary, natural life.”
Their show intends to document
their lives as they learn each day from their lifestyle, their
communities and themselves, as well as teach others how everyone can be
self-reliant and free from government influence – without fighting.
After they’ve wrapped filming for episodes five and six of “Sovereign
Living” they hope to be able to share it with the world through a media
streaming service like Netflix or Hulu.

Planning ahead

mentioned that this is the first time in their bitcoin experience where
they’ve had enough tools and resources to live on bitcoin alone, citing
platforms such as Gyft and eGifter, as well as the recent news by Expedia. Nevertheless, she emphasised the amount of effort it takes to plan a bitcoin-only itinerary:
hard, it’s taken a lot of pre-planning. I had to look at every single
stop along the way and see what gas stations they had to make sure that
we were buying the appropriate amount of gift cards for each gas
For example, she explained that driving to
the northeast of the country, she found Exonn gas stations at each stop,
but that on the drive back home there weren’t any – but there were BP
Despite the need to “really be on top of things” she
added: “I want the world to know that it is possible to travel the
country using bitcoin only. And it’s not only possible but you can do it
comfortably and take care of a family of four along the way.”
For the full itinerary and updates on the Blush family’s trip you can read their blog.
Image via “Coinboard

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The Rise of Cryptosponsorships


Dogecoin, the Internet meme turned cryptocurrency, has never had trouble gaining publicity. In January the Doge community sponsored the Jamaican bobsled team at the Sochi Olympics, then in March the Dogecoin subreddit sponsored NASCAR driver Josh Wise at Talladega Speedway. It was an idea, it seems, that has spawned a host of imitators.

It was recently announced that KARMA (formerly Karmacoin) will be sponsoring a 4L car in the 2015 RAID 4L Trophy.

For those who don’t know, this is an annual road race from France (this year the starting points are Paris in the north and Bordeaux in the south) down through Spain to Marrakesh, Morrocco. The race is only open to students aged 18 to 28, and they may only use Renault 4 cars. The teams have 10 days to make it from start to finish, over a course that includes 1,500 miles of harsh North African desert. Established in 1997 in Rennes, the 4L Trophy is mainly done to provide children with school supplies. This year an estimated 80 tons of school furniture was delivered by 2,648 students representing 1,324 teams from 1,460 colleges. With a market cap of less than $200K at the time of this writing, it is unclear if the KARMA team will be able to raise the funds necessary to participate in the race, With a volume of 50 billion KARMA in existence, it seems that they wish to compete with both doge and Reddcoin as the default tipping currency for the internet, so this could see the value rise as people buy KARMA to help sponsor the team.  

Image courtesy: abc.net.au

Another athlete being sponsored by crypto is Elsa Hammond who is attempting to row 2,400 miles across the Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii in the first Great Pacific Race. Consisting of soloists or teams up to four, there are no sails or motors allowed, making this is a grueling test of physical and mental stamina. To help offset the cost ($336,000) Ms. Hammond, the only European contestant in the race, is asking donors for $70 (42 Pounds Sterling) per mile. In exchange Hammond will add your special woman’s name to her boat. She has also secured a sponsorship from Ultracoin whose founder has promised “substantial” amounts of Ultracoin after the completion of the event. With Ultracoin set to peak at 100 million coins the term “substantial” could really be anything, so that will be interesting to watch.

At the time of this writing Ultracoin has a market cap of over $400,000 and sell for roughly $.03 each, so the sponsorship could be significant. This would definitely be a good thing for Hammond since she plans to donate to gender equality charity The Great Initiative, as well as the Plastic Oceans Foundation.


And finally we have Vertcoin Athlete, one of the more interesting variations on this theme. Colorado-based marathon runner Brandon Kurtz attempted to raise some Vertcoin to finance a trip to Germany to participate in a marathon there. He was able to raise 200 Vertcoin (~$200), which wouldn’t have covered airfare much less accomodations. Undaunted he has since decided to spur awareness by selling Vertcoin-themed merch making those who purchase the gear de facto ambassadors of both cryptocurrency in general, and Vertcoin in particular.
Kurtz doesn’t only want to sponsor himself, however. His initiative seeks to inspire more athletes to pick up the Vertcoin banner and spread the word even further, hopefully increasing not only awareness of Vertcoin, but the value as well. With a current market cap of $4 million, there is plenty of room for growth, and no reason to doubt that Vertcoin, one of the first ASIC-resistant altcoins, will continue to grow in popularity.

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