Aleks Svetski of Amber on Crypto Clothesline

Don’t Be That Guy Dismissing Bitcoin

In our highly stimulating and f*ck-peppered chat with Aleks Svetski of GetAmber.io this week, we navigated the JPM coin recently issued by JP Morgan bank and the mass-adoption waters of Bitcoin and how best to get the people to even give a shit… GetAmber is a micropayments’ system where, using a simple app installed on your phone connected to your bank account, you can opt to round up everyday payments like buying a coffee, or buying a beer or paying for your groceries, and elect to have the small change difference between your purchase and the nearest dollar, go into your Amber-based Bitcoin account. Head to www.getamber.io to find out more.

Where can you find Aleks? Twitter & Linkedin: @AleksSvetski Medium & hacker Noon: @AleksandarSvetski
Check out all our interviews on the Crypto Clothesline Podcast HERE.

Blockchain Australia ICO Working Group

What’s Happening?

The Australian Government’s the Treasury department has opened, on 31 January 2019, a consultation period for Initial Coin Offerings. In a consultation period the department usually provides a paper outlining the issues or proposed laws, they are seeking to resolve or put in place. The general public are then given the chance to respond to these questions or comment on the proposed laws, usually in terms of how the incoming laws or policies may impact their businesses.

With our hundreds of Blockchain Australia members we want all your voices to be heard. Let’s hear from you, of how you want to see Australia champion ICO policy for Australian businesses.

We are putting together an ICO Working Group in which we will seek responses from all our members collectively and put forward a response of the key issues, on our members behalf.

The Issues Paper sets out the context behind the key proposed consultation questions. If you or your business would like to participate and respond to the questions for comment, you can fill in our form here and we will take it from there. We would need you to fill in your response to us no later then 15 February 2019. This will allow us ample time to review all our responses from our members. Then we will collate and put forward a submission of the key industry issues from Blockchain Australia to the Treasury, before the close of submissions on 28 February 2019.

Consultation Questions

These following are the key questions the Treasury department have put open for discussion in the consultation Issues Paper.

When completing the form, you do not need to answer all questions. You may chose to answer only those of relevance or interest to you. When answering on behalf of your businesses, please provide the impact of the policy on your business and you may even provide examples to us as well. This is so we can have an understanding of what the challenges are for you.

Definitions and Token Categories

1.1. What is the clearest way to define ICOs and different categories of tokens?

Drivers of the ICO Market

2.1. What is the effect and importance of secondary trading in the ICO market?

2.2. What will be the key drivers of the ICO market going forward?

Opportunities and Risks

3.1. How can ICOs contribute to innovation that is socially and economically valuable?

3.2. What do ICOs offer that existing funding mechanisms do not?

3.3. Are there other opportunities for consumers, industry or the economy that ICOs offer?

3.4. How important are ICOs to Australia’s capability to being a global leader in FinTech?

3.5. Are there other risks associated with ICOs that policymakers and regulators should be aware of?

Regulatory Frameworks in Australia

4.1. Is there ICO activity that may be outside the current regulatory framework for financial products and services that should be brought inside?

4.2. Do current regulatory frameworks enable ICOs and the creation of a legitimate ICO market? If not, why and how could the regulatory framework be changed to support the ICO market?

4.3. What, if any, adjustments to the existing regulatory frameworks would better address the risks posed by ICOs?

4.4. What role could a code of conduct play in building confidence in the ICO industry? Should any such code of conduct be subject to regulator approval?

4.5. Are there other measures that could be taken to promote a well-functioning ICO market in Australia?

Tax Treatment of ICOs

5.1. Does the current tax treatment pose any impediments for issuers in undertaking capital raising activities through ICOs? If so, how?

5.2. Is the tax treatment of tokens appropriate for token holders?

5.3. Is there a need for changes to be made to the current tax treatment? If yes, what is the justification for these changes?

Next Steps

To submit your answers to the consultation questions, fill out our form here no later than the 15 February 2019 and we will handle the rest.

We may be in contact with you as a part of our ICO Working Group, if we have further follow up questions for you, that may help to bolster our Blockchain Australia submission.

Not a member, but you would like to be a part of our ICO Working Group? You can join us and hundreds of other members making a difference here.

If you need to reach out to us, you can contact us on our dedicated ICO Working Group email ico@bitcoin.asn.au or on our Official Blockchain Australia Telegram.

CoinTelegraph Blockshow Asia Singapore

Blockshow Asia in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore with (L-R) Sheree Ip (Blockchain Australia), Dr Stephane Savanah (Chief Scientist, Obito.io), and Alex Medana (CEO, FinFabrik).

CoinTelegraph brought Blockshow Asia back to Singapore’s shores last week at Marina Bay Sands, with over 100 international speakers for the event. 

Board Member, Sheree Ip, was invited to host Cointelegraph BlockShow’s panel session “Where the Future Lies: Why Capital Markets Really Need Blockchain?”. On the panel was Dr Stephane Savanah, Chief Scientist at Obito.io, and Alex Medana, CEO of FinFabrik, Founding Board Member of FinTech Association of Hong Kong and Digital Economy Task Force of UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network. 

The panel session covered many discussions on both the technical and business fronts of using blockchain technology in capital markets, how the technology is key to improving the verification and efficiency in transactions, and how it can be applied across numerous different asset classes. Watch the first day here https://youtu.be/uY10df3rAdY.

The week long event opened with the Blockshow Asia conference over the two days, packed full of evening networking events. The two day conference was followed by “The Future of Token Economy” from SUSS (Singapore University of Social Sciences) event. The week was completed with an open day from all hubs, accelerators, and companies who opened their doors to attendees for panel session discussions in Singapore.

CoinTelegraph Blockshow Americas

Blockchain Australia Board Member, Sheree Ip, with Founder of BTCChina and Board Member of BTC Foundation, Bobby Lee.

Blockshow announced its new international conference in Las Vegas, USA this year, focused on government initiatives, insights on central banks, and the evolution of law and regulations. 

Board Member, Sheree Ip, was invited to speak at CoinTelegraph’s Blockshow America on the panel discussion “Does Blockchain Technology Really Define The Future of Real Estate?”. 

Alongside Mark Mueller-Eberstein (Investor, best-selling author), Ricky Ng (Chairman and Founder of IHT), Piper Moretti, CIPS (CEO of The Crypto Realty Group), and Luca Burlando (COO of Crypto Real Estate AG) the panel discussed whether blockchain defines the future of real estate using token technology, tokenization in the space, buying real estate with crypto, investments, consumer protection and more. Watch the full panel here: https://youtu.be/TE-9643EIdE 

The conference saw an array of speakers from Joanna Maska, CEO of Global Situation Room and former White House Director of Press Advance for President Barack Obama, Mike Butcher, editor at large at TechCrunch, Bobby Lee, Cofounder of BTCChina, Michael Bisping, former UFC Champion, to Dr Nouriel Roubini, Co-founder & former chairman of Roubini Global Economic – whose panel session sparked quiet the heated debate on “The Great Controversy: Blockchain As Seen From Major Institutions Perspective”. Watch the full panel here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JF0tJ_WqDhI

Child Abuse Content On The Blockchain & What It Means For Us

Mainstream media are at it again! They have some fantastic fodder this time to hype up the claim that everyone who has anything to do with Bitcoin automatically has child pornography on their computer, hence we will all be arrested and thrown in jail and bitcoin will be dead, again. We know this is not true, so, what are they actually talking about? I, personally am not a developer and so it never occurred to me that you could put more than just a transaction onto the blockchain but it turns out you can! After a bit of digging, contacting developers and reading mind-bending developer blogs on this subject I believe I can help break it down for us so we are more educated and more prepared when mainstream media throw more of this our way!

What does the article suggest?

A German research team have released a paper that revealed child abuse material on the blockchain. This could render it illegal to have the blockchain or mine bitcoin as having it on your computer pertains to having child abuse material in your possession.

 

Can you get images, files, and links onto the blockchain?

Short Answer: Yes. It can be quite expensive and it doesn’t happen as often as you think.

Long Answer: You can. I had no idea either don’t worry. It isn’t particularly easy but it is becoming easier. I spoke to an incredibly helpful blockchain developer from Brisbane this morning, Lucas Cullen, and he told me that this was raised in 2015 and he wrote a blog post about it. In the blog post he says:

“While this *could* be done, it is simply not practical.  The only way to store arbitrary data in a bitcoin transaction, is to use the OP_RETURN field.  This is currently limited to 80bytes.  Let’s say you want to store a 600 x 338 image, very small by today’s standards, less than 1mp.  Even with compression, the file size is 66 kilobytes or 66,000 bytes!
66,000 / 80 = 875 transactions required to send an image.  Also as bitcoin transactions are unordered, that payload would need to include some identifier to re-order the “image”.
At around 1 cent per transaction, it would cost $8 to send.  You would be better off sending via SMS or Twitter, at least the later is free and can hold 160bytes!”

There are now Content Insertion Services that have popped up to actually help people easily put arbitrary metadata into the blockchain. Some of these services include CryptoGraffiti, Satoshi Uploader, and Apertus, just to name a few. I went onto CryptoGraffiti to have a look. The site says

“Bitcoin’s block chain is a decentralized database which main purpose is to secure and hold all Bitcoin transactions. It can be used to store other data too. CryptoGraffiti.info allows anyone to easily decode and read arbitrary messages saved into the block chain. No single entity has the power to alter or truncate these messages.
Millions of people using Bitcoin clients are storing the very same data on their computers. It is advisable to use this web service responsibly and with caution because all data saved into the block chain will remain there forever. CryptoGraffiti.info offers a functionality to encode custom messages as bitcoin addresses and import them to the wallet for storing text into block chain.”

Their homepage is a thread of what data people have put into the blockchain. It’s almost like accidentally going into a 4Chan thread that turns south pretty quickly, well, not that bad as yet, but super weird. A couple of messages that were either from time travelers or aliens, someone saying hello to a forensics team, a couple of valentines day posts, ads with links for other coins, a couple of memes, a couple of messages warning about mass media manipulation (duh) and a warning about Trezor having a back door. I personally didn’t want to scroll too far down into the abyss as I don’t want to see objectionable content but what I briefly scrolled through was quite harmless and not even a quarter as many posts as I expected. Why were there not many posts you ask? Because it costs money. Just like doing a normal transaction on the blockchain, you have to pay whatever the fee is at the time to have your data verified and recorded. This no doubt stops people from jumping on there and going crazy with stupid messages and images which can clog up the blockchain.

 

Are there images relating to child abuse on the blockchain?

Short Answer: Yes. A total of 2 transactions contain Child Abuse material. There are currently over 180,000 transactions per day.

Long Answer: Unfortunately, yes. Can I say with 100% certainty? No. I like verifying everything I put into this blog but this is one I cant chase down, I know I could find it if I wanted to verify it 100% for you, but I don’t want to see it and I don’t want to search it to that degree. So, how can I say ‘yes’ to this question? The paper that the ABC reference but do not link to, I managed to track down. It is titled “A Quantitative Analysis of the Impact of Arbitrary Blockchain Content on Bitcoin”. I will link to it here and in the references. They state

“Although most data originates from benign extensions to Bitcoin’s protocol, our analysis reveals more than 1600 files on the blockchain, over 99 % of which are texts or images. Among these files there is clearly objectionable content such as links to child pornography, which is distributed to all Bitcoin participants.”

Who paid for this study and why I don’t know. But if you have met the human race lately, you know there are some pretty terrible, devious and monstrous people out there that do these things. So, the likelihood of people putting child abuse pictures on there is pretty high. Sigh. I know. The silver lining on this was that there was not nearly as much objectional content on the blockchain as you would imagine.

“Bitcoin’s blockchain contains at least eight files with sexual content. While five files only show, describe, or link to mildly pornographic content, we consider the remaining three instances objectionable for almost all jurisdictions: Two of them are backups of link lists to child pornography, containing 274 links to websites, 142 of which refer to Tor hidden services. The remaining instance is an image depicting mild nudity of a young woman.”

To be clear two ‘transactions’ contain backup links of 274 links of child abuse content. There are currently over 180,000 transactions per day on the blockchain. I am not deeming these two transactions irrelevant, not at all. But shouldn’t the headlines be reading “Police Investigation Launched Into List Containing 274 Links to Child Abuse Material”? THAT, to me, is headline news. Why are these two transactions on a blockchain that has over 180,000 transactions per day even being reported to try and put the blockchain in a bad light? Isn’t just ONE link to child abuse material enough to launch an investigation into the origin of the child abuse content? I sure think it is.

 

Is Bitcoin’s blockchain the only online platform that has been tarnished by child abuse material?

Short Answer: No. Are you kidding? Do you have the internet on your computer? Its all at your fingertips.

Long Answer: No. Obv. There was a revealing article on Business Insider headlined “Content moderators for tech giants like Facebook and YouTube reveal what it’s like to sift through some of the most disturbing material on the internet”. It reported the tremendous psychological toll it took on the moderators and the staff turnover was reflective of the damage it did. Chatrooms are also used to pass on child abuse material. Alexander Anh Nguyen Tran was arrested in an Adelaide airport in possession of a hard drive with over 2000 illicit images on it, hence planes are used to move illicit material from one country to another. Pornography addicts are arrested regularly who search child abuse material on Google. You get the drift.

 

Does this mean miners can see the child abuse content?

Short Answer: Yes. Everyone can see the content it doesn’t mean they will see it, but it will remain there on the blockchain forever.

Long Answer: Yes. Miners don’t tend to sit there watching every transaction and considering the child abuse material was contained in links it is highly unlikely they will click them. Miners are not there to muck around, they are there to make money and they certainly do not want to go clicking links that could contain malware and jeopardise their entire, expensive operation. I certainly hope members of the general public don’t go trawling the blockchain for random links to click either.

 

Will the blockchain be made illegal to have on your computer?

Short Answer: Unlikely.

Long Answer: Unlikely. Why? You have the YouTube app on your phone, no doubt there currently resides child abuse material on there that moderators are feverishly trying to remove and will you see it? Not necessarily. The blockchain has such a large and strong community now that such a benign accusation would not stick.

Is there any good to come from this?

Short Answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Yes, of course. There are a few silver linings here:
It has brought to light that you can put images, links, and text on the blockchain. Many, including myself, were ignorant of this.
Hopefully, these 274 links are handed over to the proper authorities and the links are swiftly broken.
It shows what ridiculous lengths mainstream media will go through to produce FUD.
It gives developers in the future the chance to innovate and safeguard against such instances.

 

By Casey Pyne
https://cryptotalk.net.au/

Follow on Twitter

Board members Vietnam Blockchain Week tour

Lucas Cullen

Lucas Cullen

The Inaugural Vietnam Blockchain Week 2018 held in Ho Chi Minh City on March 7-8, attracted over 2,000 attendees and experts. VBW2018 is the first major Blockchain conference in Vietnam and the region that acknowledge the transformation from the fourth industrial revolution, this high-profile event develops the key theme of empowering 4.0 technologies. 

Board member, Lucas Cullen, was invited to speak about blockchains on Microsoft Azure and ERC20 & ERC223 tokens.

Home

 

Blockchain Australia @ Linux Conf 2017

The Linux Conf 2017 has just wrapped up in the City of Hobart, Tasmania.

The Conference saw 3 days full of inspiring, educational, technical and conceptual discussions on a wide range of topics around Linux and the Open Source communities.

As the head of Blockchain Australia, an Australian based advocacy group charged with introducing and educating about the benefits of blockchain and bitcoin to a wide cross section of the community, it was a pleasure to make the trip to Hobart to do a short presentation outlining decentralisation and the role that blockchains can play in the process.

Being limited to 20mins, the presentation was a very high level view of several use cases where bitcoin/blockchain could add efficiencies to existing systems or create new systems that were previously impossible.

My presentation touched on bitcoin, Flux, smart contracts, among other things along with an interesting story about the island of Yap and the rai stones that are used as money. I my view, this was a precursor to the blockchain in the way they money was moved from individual to individual via a community meeting.

If you are interested in learning more or contributing to our efforts, please join our association either as an individual member or a corporate sponsor.

Adam Poulton

 

 

Blockchain Standards Roadmap Workshop

Australia will be hosting the worlds first International Blockchains Standards Meeting in Sydney, April 2017, on the formation of Standards around Blockchains and Digital Currencies.

Blockchain Australia Board Member Alan Tsen and Nick Addison from FinHaus Labs have been working on the submissions to date  and will be heading up the work in Australia and at the upcoming RoadMap Workshop on Feb 17th in Sydney.

The road mapping exercise is designed to identify key stakeholder issues and to develop a priority list of standards for development to support blockchain technology.

All relevant Australian stakeholders are invited to participate:
• Take the Blockchain Standards Roadmap Survey (closing date 10 February 2017)
• Attend the Blockchain Standards Roadmap Workshop (17 February 2017)

These activities will shape the Blockchain Standards Roadmap Recommendations Report to be released on 28 February 2017. The Blockchain Standards Roadmap will provide recommendations for Australia’s strategic leadership on International Blockchain Standards, by identifying issues and use cases, defining standards development work streams and developing a draft work program for consideration by the International Blockchain Standards committee ISO/TC 307.

The Standards Australia Survey of Blockchain/DLT closes in 2 days 

Please take the survey if you want to have your say on the  standards roadmap.