Consensus 2018 Report

 

The buzz at Consensus, the blockchain industry’s conference of the year, held at the Midtown Hilton in New York, was in evidence long before you even got to the hotel. Even JFK’s notoriously stern Passport Control officials were put at ease upon hearing that the purpose of my trip was a blockchain conference. “So you’re a bitcoin guy?” Well I suppose I am…

Perhaps the event is a microcosm of the industry itself. If the number of attendees hasn’t quite risen parabolically since the inaugural 400-person edition in 2015, the 8,500 in attendance this year certainly reflects the frenzied mass-market appeal that blockchain and cryptocurrency has come to command.

This new wave of latest recruits – and there’s no escaping the fact that this is the category in which I find myself – still have to prove themselves in the school-yard which has been the traditional domain of the original Bitcoiners. If institutions and non-native blockchain corporates are to be welcomed into the gang, more evidence of their ability to contribute to the broader adoption of the technology will be needed.

“I’m not interested in Bitcoin but there is huge potential in the underlying blockchain technology” is the maxim that the traditionalists are challenging. Have we yet to see a better use case of blockchain technology than Nakamoto’s original digital currency? 

This all played out semi-dramatically in an exchange between Joe Lubin, the founder of the Ethereum startup studio Consensys, and  Jimmy Song, a Bitcoin maximalist and partner at Blockchain Capital on Day 1 during a conversation about decentralized app store ‘Clovyr’. Song cited an “insurmountable disconnect between centralized enterprises and decentralized applications” and dismissed companies that are sprinkling “magical blockchain dust” in the name of innovation. Lubin returned the challenge with a bet of “any amount of bitcoin” that five years in the future, the blockchain space will include some number of applications – perhaps five – that have earned a yet-to-be-defined number of users.

What was clear from the heated on-stage debate is that the world is watching in anticipation of real traction in the space.

Other highlights in an action-packed 3 days included:-

  • FedEx CEO Fred Smith revealing his company’s initiative to leverage blockchain because of its ability to add trust and create new chains of custody in the $50 Trillion  shipping and logistics industry.
  • Deloitte offering a snippet from their forthcoming executive survey which found that 74 percent of large companies across seven countries see a “compelling business case” for blockchain technology.
  • Shapeshift Founder, Erik Voorhees, raising serious concerns about overly-bureaucratic regulations  that are stifling innovation in New York (although the same could be said of big cities across the western world which are losing projects to more liberal innovation hubs like Singapore and Switzerland).
  • And in a standing-room-only crescendo to the event, the ever-popular founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, expressing his hope that bitcoin would become the internet’s native currency.

Away from the headline acts, there was the opportunity to touch base with some of the well-known players in the cryptosphere to check-in on how they were progressing with their tech. Of the myriad stalls and pitches, I’d like to highlight two of the more creative ones… I’m not sure if it is a coincidence that both are alcohol-related!

Firstly, Vechain were on hand to demonstrate how their product addresses the issue of counterfeiting in the global wine trade. By scanning a QR code on the label, their Dapp can identify the provenance of each bottle providing a solution with obvious benefits to both consumers and manufacturers alike.

And with the perfect spot outside the main ballroom, the Civic stall was rarely quiet. The premise of their “Zero-knowledge” identity management  app was that a customer shouldn’t have to disclose their name and address as part of  proving their age when entering a club or buying a beer. A fridge full of free Budweiser was ample incentive for the conference attendees to put this solution to the test!

One of the simplest analogies that can be applied to the blockchain industry is that the race has not really started, we’re all just building our cars. Bitcoin is approaching its 10th anniversary as the undisputed front-runner and it’s going to take more than just “magical blockchain dust” for the non-financial use cases to gain the sort of meaningful traction that will inspire broader industry adoption.

 

 

 

Bitcoin Pizza Day AUS & NZ – 22nd May 2018

Tuesday May 22nd 2018 marks eight years since the first recorded monetary value of bitcoin was recorded.

10,000 Bitcoin was used to purchase 2 pizzas and a legend was born.

The year, Blockchain Australia along with numerous other groups around Australia (and New Zealand) gathered in pizza restaurants and pubs to buy a pizza (with cryptocurrency if possible) and celebrate the growth in this industry, and thank goodness that those same two pizzas now cost only a thousandth of a bitcoin.

Included in this collage are pictures of celebrations in Perth, Auckland (from the headquarters of our newest Corporate Member BNC, Tasmania, Brisbane and Sydney.

Bitcoin Pizza Day – 22nd May 2018

ATO Submission – Petition Active

Hello,

I just signed the petition, “Australian Taxation Office: Simpler and Fairer Taxation of Cryptocurrencies in Australia.” I think this is important. Some friends of mine put this submission together in answer to the A.T.O. calling for input from the general public on how to tax cryptocurrencies. I am grateful to them for the proactive effort they are giving to try and steer forthcoming taxation laws on cryptocurrencies to a fair and workable footing.

Will you sign it too?

I believe this petition needs to be spread and I ask you to pass it to everyone you can. It would be particularly helpful if it could also be introduced to other blockchain groups around the country.

Here’s the link to both the submission and the petition:

https://www.change.org/p/australian-taxation-office-simpler-and-fairer-taxation-of-cryptocurrencies-in-australia?utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_signer_receipt&utm_campaign=triggered&share_context=signature_receipt&recruiter=871762357

Thanks.

Yours Sincerely,

Scott Burow
Sunshine Coast Blockchain Group

Monthly Brisbane Bitcoin Meetup

Our monthly Bitcoin Cash meetup in Fortitude Valley Brisbane is on tonight at 6:30pm!

Brendan Lee will be talking about announcements and projects that was released at Satoshi’s Vision in Tokyo, Japan.

Myself Liam O’Luachra will be talking about the difference between open source and proprietary software and why you should use a open source wallet.

Special Guest Steve Shadders whom is one of the lead developers at nChain will be talking about decentralised development.

At the end we will demonstrate how to use your Bitcoin Cash wallet and give out free BCH!

It will be hosted at River City Labs.

For more information please visit http://meetu.ps/e/DS9Ws/DDTl2/d If you plan on coming please RSVP yes.

Funded by The Bitcoin Cash Foundation.

Email address is changing to ProtonMail!

Blockchain Australia, like most of our members, values using secure protocols such as PGP email and supporting vendors that take crypto payments.

The board has decided to drop Gmail and use ProtonMail for all emails.  Those who have a ProtonMail address will be able to send encrypted email out of the box.

The email address is of course blockchainaustralia [at] protonmail.com. We will start to reconfigure all our email aliases to this address.