These Are Books About Blockchain

Here are books about blockchain recommended from Coinify.

1. Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos 

2. Blockchain: Blueprint for a New Economy by Melanie Swan 

3. Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott 

4. The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey  

5. The Science of the Blockchain by Roger Wattenhofer 

These five books as well as others provide a kind of blockchain primer but they do not touch on the main points of bockchain as we have described them in these last 20 articles.

The larger issue that has to be grappled with involves how blockchain is changing society in a fundamental way.

In fact most of the literature explains how blockchain is changing professions rather than industries. It is cutting out middlemen, and that changes the profession.

But to change the industry, blockchain would have to be applied at a deeper level. For instance blockchain would have to reduce or remove intellectual property rights to change the industry itself.

Why should intellectual property rights be removed? Because they were developed after the Gutenberg press to remove or reduce the flow of information.

Other reasons came later and were added on as way of justifying the real reason. When information is easily available, the whole society benefits.

For instance, Germany was less focused on intellectual property rights than England. As a result in the 1800s and 1900s, Germany developed faster and became more intellectually precocious.

This was one of the reasons for the first and second world wars. These wars were probably fought in part to reduce Germany and pull down its culture.

This is just one example of how blockchain is being used to change some areas of business but not others.

As time goes on, more fundamental issues will be attacked by blockchain and these issues will be part of a wider war. The war will continue and expand over time. It will probably go on for the better part of this century and has just begun.

Blockchain Holds More Major Changes Than Many Working in Fintech Understand

Blockchains and cryptocurrencies are changing the way the Net operates and how it disrupts normal business.

Nowhere is this more feasible than in finance. Much of what makes the Internet useful has some relationship to finance. But soon there will be even more and stronger relationships.

The internet’s layers took a long time to happen. Ethernet helped standardize the Internet.  The TCP/IP protocol routed packets of information between computers.  After that came http.

Now there are blockchains and cryptocurrencies.

Some blockchains are nothing but distributed databases that have been around for years. But other kinds of databases are truly disruptive. Right now top financial firms are making varying degrees of headway with various kinds of blockchain, some more innovative than others.

Cryptocurrency meanwhile is being funded more and more aggressively. Ripple, a (banking) cryptocurrency has attracted several hundred million dollars in start up investments.

Regulators could change the system by reconfiguring ways to achieve policy goals. Transparency is one of the keys to making such goals achievable. Whether that is a preferred outcome of blockchain is not yet ascertainable.

Blockchain has the ability to be transparent but many of the largest financial firms are not treating it that way.

They simply view blockchain as a new technology for delivery, like a CD-Rom. But this is very likely a misreading of the technology and how fundamental it is.

The problem with fintech generally is that those who run major corporations are fairly arrogant. They have seen many types of technology come and go. Why should blockchains and cryptocurrencies be any different.

But they are different. And many in finance currently give the changes lip service without believing in the evolutionary reality.

Yet most of the financial industry is made up of middlemen, and middlemen are on the chopping block when it comes to blockchain.

More than that, as blockchain makes a greater impact, the very corporations themselves may come under fire, as has been pointed out here in other articles.

Current gigantic corporations are only of such large size because of artificially induced growth courtesy of intellectual property rights, corporate personhood, regulation and central banking.

All four of these artificial elements are under fire now and as a result, corporations may well be involved in considerable retrenchment.

The real promise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies lies in its ability to make large entities smaller. Whether we are talking about corporations or nation states, blockchain-abetted Internet functionality will tend to reduce the largest entities into smaller pieces.

As these entities grow smaller, the largest among them will initially resist. But the new technology is being developed by those with an interest in making things smaller.

It is just like programmers today in the field. They are getting top dollar but few want to work for the current crop of large Wall Street firms. They would rather work for firms that are moving in the opposite direction and taking advantage of what modern fintech really has to offer.

In other words, Wall Street and banks can use a portion of blockchain to continue on the current course. But what is attractive about the technology is its truly revolutionary aspects. And these involve shattering the largest firms and nation states rather than building them up.

This is ultimately an argument between those who want a more global world and those whose globalism is built up naturally out of smaller pieces.

Like many arguments, this one may eventually grow very heated. There are indeed two sides to what is taking shape. Whether the war is hot or cold, it will inevitably be waged.

The rest of this century will see fintech and related technology as increasingly controversial. There is no way around it. The sides will inevitably collide and out of this collision something new will emerge.

Disruption of Professions Is Not Enough; Music Itself Must Be Disrupted

The music industry is troubled and unwilling to change. Only the must successful musicians get paid.

Companies like troubled SoundCloud are in crisis.  As are artists’ bottom lines. Thanks to Spotify we know artists get a fraction of a cent per stream. And YouTube can be even worse.

How to change? Blockchain may offer an answer. In practical terms, a blockchain lets individuals connect and transact ‘peer to peer.’

Blockchain offers the possibility of making transactions in real time instead of on paper.  And a licensee can used a smart contract, circumventing weeks of paperwork.

Blockchain allows artists to do without heavy bureaucratic models to collect royalties.

On the other hand, there are those who say that the royalty model itself is all wrong.

Until very recently music was not royalty heavy, Many musicians made money by playing at live events and selling records at those same events.

There are other problems with the royalty model as well. It tends to reward a few artists, but there is much speculation that those artists are actively working to make music more generic and less unique.

One man claimed years ago that he was at a big meeting where it was announced that rap would be the next big music, complete with low slung jeans and constant bad language.

In other words, the kind of music that is popular is picked in advance and it not merely an outgrowth of people’s tastes.

The royalty system plays into all of this. It establishes a certain kind of music and then only lets in those young people willing to do that kind of music.

The music becomes part of a larger entity that includes movies as well – and is designed to lead people in a certain direction.

That direction is for the most away from presentations that utilize the best practices and instead make use of worse ones.

Royalties, paid mostly to a few, cement this system and make sure it persists. Without royalties, music would be freer and would escape from the thumb of just a few big record labels.

The problem with royalties and music is part of a larger problem that we have tried to present in these articles. The whole thrust of blockchain right now is to reinforce the status quo.

Sure, blockchain is a disruptor, but only of professions not of industries. People accept that royalties and patents are part of business, even though they have only been in vogue for about 100 years.

Just because something is seen as a standard practice does not mean it is good or right. Royalties must be enforced with dramatic efforts and technologies. Surely something that is so expensive and reliant on government force is not necessarily right.

The over-reliance on courts for patents, royalties, etc. should make us aware we are going down the wrong track.

If someone want to enforce a “right,” they should do so themselves, not rely on a  court to do it for them. And they should use their own money, not money from taxpayers.

The free market should be dominant, not an extraordinarily complex and often futile court system that usually only rewards a  few at the expense of the rest.

It may sound odd now, but over the coming years there may well be a good deal of pushback against patents and royalties.

Information should be as free or costly as private enterprise can make it. But it should be negotiated by governments and courts as it is today.

Changes may be coming.

Pollution Can Be Disrupted by Free Markets

China’s cities are covered by a blanket of pollution. People wear masks and put rolled up paper in windows to keep houses airtight.

The pollution in China comes from the nation’s march toward modernity.  But a China “Blue Sky” program allows people to check on air and water from 9,000 companies. Public pressure on these companies, wrestles them toward reducing pollution.

Air pollution monitoring is one such solution. There are sensors  including personal  and wearables devices can create a mesh that utilizes such devices.

In a mesh, each node gives data to the network. The mesh helps create a blockchain that sets up a distributed ledger. Sensors take action to supply data to the ledger. The data is ultimately public, and unchangeable.

Here’s a model of how it works:

First, air pollution sensors  market data to a blockchain.

Second  companies purchase real-time data involved with serious pollution.

Third, the government punishes polluters.

Blockchain technology will track pollution and polluting plants.

Large scale punishments will develop emission control. Clean energy will be the substitute. Government can then encourage an open market for industry,

Over time, competition will build clean energy and lower costs.

A cleaner product will become more affordable, and add to clean energy. This will help us protect the environment.

Of course, some would reject the idea that government should be the motivating force in environmental protection.

A libertarian approach would substitute free markets for government. The punishments being suggested would come in the form of competition.

Likely companies that offered cleaner fuel within a competitive price structure would be more popular. Over time they will win out.

 

The Disruption of Private Money Extends to the Religious Past

States like Sumer generated money via temples. Temple authorities supposedly kept savings for people and as records permitted.

It was an industrial-religious effort that supposedly continued and expanded as Sumer did. In fact, people also gave up their hunter-gatherer existence as time progressed, and not just in Sumer. It was an association of  systems that defended a spiritual center.

Surpluses came to a temple from sacrifices, but that didn’t mean the Gods would reciprocate. Performance was never guaranteed and came from, extra crops, military wins, etc.

This is known a the “temple-state hypothesis.” The risk itself became part of a larger behavioral codes supporting moderation and fertility. If the risk became overwhelming, the system was effectively recapitalized with additional money.

Blockchain systems are similar. The need fees to operate the system itself, not vast, wasteful amounts of capital. Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings, is reported as saying the following:

Generally, the reason why there are vested interests who need to, for example, earn the carry is because they’re operating a massively expensive infrastructure, without which the business would be completely unsupportable.

So the carry has to be there in order to justify the cost associated with inefficient process … So they will give up the carry in a nanosecond if they give up a more than proportionate amount of the costs. And it’s as simple as that.

In fact it is more complex. These days blockchain is put to work in a variety of formats. some double-permissioned, others  partially distributed.

But the more these blockchains resemble previous systems the more they regress. What makes blockchain appealing is gradually lost.

In the US, there are various systems that try to overcome what might be lost. The Mormon Church is a good example.

The Church is gradually porting over records to blockchain based systems. It is doing so successfully and with increasing efficiency and profitability.

As far as Sumer is concerned, there are arguments to be made that gold and silver was used as money long before the advent of that particular civilization.

In fact gold and silver – and even coins – may have been used thousands of years before Sumer. The Temple theory of money is just one more idea of how money came to pass.

Generally speaking, blockchain and  cryptocurrencies, as well, will be used by an increasing variety of industries. Many will not be so harsh as the financial industry which tends to use blockchain in a less innovative way.

Private money erupts irregularly. But now that is has provided an alternative to public money the chances are it will advance until it is a good deal more widespread.

Patents Will Surely Be Disrupted, Perhaps Starting With Clothes

Blockchain is basically being used by the clothing industry to make sure that people can tell that their purchases comes from a real brand and are not faked.

Blockchain will also allow customers to find out more about their clothing with their smart phones. If clothing companies allow their brands to be opened up, the possibilities are extensive.

A wealth of knowledge can be offered quickly and effectively. Blockchain can gain access to this information with extraordinary ease and without involving a third party.

It also doesn’t threaten security. And the information being obtained cannot be changed, adding to the level of trust.

Fashion, especially, uses uniqueness as a selling point. Every fashion item is unique in its own way. Customers are being told a story and a highly distributed network like Blockchain is a wonderful way to tell that story to large groups of people on an individual level.

The problem with the above involves intellectual property rights, among other issues. We have written about this before.

Why should the average person pay court costs so that large private and public companies can try to sue or put out of businesses those who copy them.

One can say they are protecting their brand but the brand is mostly a result of intellectual property rights to begin with.

What would happen if we did away with intellectual property rights? Well most large companies would basically collapse.

Companies like Facebook – which is entirely made up of patented information – would not exist anymore or not in the current manner.

If companies want to enforce such rights let it do the enforcement themselves. Why should others have to pay for it.

People say that without such enforcement nothing would get accomplished. That’s nonsense. Intellectual property rights barely existed in the US prior to the civil war. Yet everything from steam engines to various kinds of agricultural machinery were invented and used.

People will invent things and use them, property rights or not. They will invent such things because they are useful. Patents and intellectual property rights generally only benefit the largest companies for the most part.

At some point in the not-to-distant future, intellectual property rights will come under considerable challenge. It won’t be a moment too soon.

Blockchain and Electric Cars May Not Marry So Easily

If we can make payments for restaurants and shops with mobile phones, why not for parking, tolls,  etc.

That’s starting to happen now.

Swiss bank UBS is joining innogy SE and automotive technology company ZF to build blockchain eWallets for electric cars.

Car owners will be afford electric charging and many other services if they buy an eWallet. The eWallet can programmed for highway tolls and much else. The eWallet may even be able to pay for charging.

UBS was reported as saying  in a statement on the car eWallet project that “with the Internet of Things we will see in the future more and more devices enabled to autonomously pay for services. For UBS it is important to experiment and learn how we can support clients to manage and authorize their device payments.”

Given the way things are going we may soon be sharing electric vehicles and paying with e-payment systems. Cars will  use smartphones for various transactions.

Car insurance may not be what it is today. And streets will be less crowded because of electric vehicles, Global warming will be lessened as well. Self-driving cars and the blockchain will make significant changes. Or so it is predicted anyway.

Electric cars will get from point A to B by the most efficient route and will be available to users just the way cabs are today.

A blockchain-based payment system will let users use cars without dealing with a third party. Costs will be deducted automatically.

Of course there are other perspectives too on electric cars and their increasing usage.

Two points pop up right away. For one thing, streets may not get any less crowded. In the past, efficiencies have simply allowed more cars on the road.

And global warming may not even be an issue. The government is actually paying for most of the studies that proclaim that global warming is here and getting more severe.

Electric cars themselves may not be the panacea that some make them out to be. For such reasons, among others, blockchain may not merge with electric cars as easily and efficiently as now being predicted.

The jury is still out.

Disrupting Language

Learning is hard to explain and we are reliant on so-called experts for information and data that could be manipulated.

Enter distributed consensus (blockchain), cryptocurrencies and smart contracts — technology that can be used to gain trust. Language may be one aspect of this.

How might this technology impact the world of language learning and teaching, and what might some of the issues be?

A lot of what we hear around blockchain is overheated but there practical ways technology can change the current structure.

1. The records that someone has achieved in a linguistic sense can be made generally available to universities and other institution. This information generated by blockchain would reduce the need for the central authority to hold records.

2. A unpermissioned grading system can be made available to all. This would be public information that would be generally held rather than specifically

3. A general schools database can offer grading and other items across schools that is available to all. Trust would be increased if the data was created and held via blockchain.

4. Blockchain can be used to ask for people to ‘invest’ in your education. In return you can promise them  participation in skills and knowledge as you obtain them.

5. Smart contracts can be set up to make contracts and their royalty models fairer.  Smart contracts can be focused on particular material rather than whole books and copies sold.

6. Smart contracts can also rework how the relationship between student and educator can change.  It means that the student can take classes in a variety of manners and contexts, many yet to be determined.

Some of the above is questionable of course, especially concerning intellectual property rights. We’ve brought this up in other articles.

The promise is that such rights will be pursued in new ways and sliced and diced in new permutations.

How much better it would be to reduce intellectual property rights and make more information free.

This is just one example of how the new technology is being used to strengthen and expand what is already in place, regardless of whether it is sensible or not.

Intellectual property rights are one example but there are others as well. The idea is to used technology to rethink what is available, not just to expand it.

If technology does not live up to its promise it is because it has merely reconfigured what is already there. Let us hope it does more.

Blockchain Disrupts Art But There Is Much More to Do

Can blockchain and related technology change how artists profit from their work. It is certainly possible.

Most artistic middlemen take chunks of profit from their various enterprises depending on how much profit there is overall.

At the highest levels there is usually a lot of profit to be had. The artist may grow wealthy at the various top levels, though this doesn’t extend to lower levels.

Now all that is changing.

For example, singer-songwriter Imogen Heap has led the way with Mycelia, a think-and-do-tank “to empower a fair, sustainable and vibrant music industry ecosystem involving all online music interaction services.”

The service uses blockchain a distributed ledger that is available in some incarnations to almost anyone who wants to participate.

By making information available to anyone, and standardize via numerous nodes, blockchain does away with the need to check private accounting. Everything can be out in the open and delivered without middlemen.

“A lot of untapped creative energy is wasted on the practicalities that living in a centralized paradigm foster,” writes Zach LeBeau, CEO of SingularDTV. He wants to decentralize entertainment and “realize a world that utilizes the greatest potential of every person.”

Smart contracts to can provide fair profit splitting without delays. Transparent blockchain ledgers can show everyone how a film is doing from beginning to end.

Consumers can see films for bitcoin and data analytics can tell who those consumers are so that right merchandisers, distributors, etc. can be attracted to the project.

Piracy protection can be enabled via infrastructure that allows artists to distribute their wares securely.

It is a whole new ecosystem that will enable artists to place themselves at the center of their own creations and profit accordingly.

Of course within this vision there are those who want even more disruption than the is currently being considered.

At the very heart of increasing disruption is the modern corporation itself, expanded in some cases into hugeness that is a direct result of judicial force.

Intellectual property rights, corporate personhood, central banking and regulations all rely on judicial force for implementation.

If they were done away with, corporations would be considerably smaller. The current corporate fascism that arises from too-large corporations working hand in hand with government would disappear.

In its place would come new ways of extending artistic projects and  profiting from them without claiming ownership and trying to enforce it through the courts.

A few hundred years ago there was really no such thing as copyright, nor even patents. Their stifling enforcement is the result of modern business methods. But modernity does not always bring progress.

In many ways, the future foreseen by technocratic visionaries focuses on extending the bounds of modern society, including all its shackles.

They ought to be designing technology that frees up people to use more of what they have abundantly and freely. Instead as we can see even above, technology is being used to constrain and deny,

It is being used to reinforce what we have now, even though what we have is the product of too-often destructive regulatory regime.

It could well be however that this is only a phase and that the real battle has yet to be joined by those who see the promise of a technology that is far greater even than what has been predicted.

In other words, the real battle has yet to be joined.

Blockchain to Disrupt Sports

It seems like bitcoin is increasingly popular, especially because it is worth over $1,000 as of this writing. But social media is invading business in numerous ways, including via blockchain and eventually via cryptocurrencies.

This article will focus to some degree on sports but blockchain is penetrating every aspect of business and promises to have a far-reaching effort on a variety of ventures.

If the present or recent past is any example, the Internet will become a very popular supporting platform. IBM, for instance, supposedly has 1,000 employees on blockchain-related activities and over $200 million involved.

A blockchain at its most basic is a general ledger available across numerous computers that updates spreadsheets at regular intervals. People can generate transactions but the blockchain is regularly updated and verified. Hackers cannot corrupt such a database.

This involves trust, too. People may end up doing without certain lawyers, brokers and others. For now, blockchain’s impact is not fully quantifiable but sooner or later blockchain will likely change the way transactions take place.

Blockchain is supported by cryptocurrencies and ethereum which supports a variety of cryptocurrencies. Bitcoins continued progress may be diminished because it is not built on an ethereum platform. But blockchain related currencies will benefit.

Generally speaking, blockchain decentralizes sharing. As a result, blockchain is applicable in a wide variety of industries. Crowdfunding, for instance, can be enhanced by blockchain as can elections whether they are governmental or industrial.

Distributed ledgers increase transparency and thus if you don’t trust a company you can look up its products online and perhaps trace them back to the initial farm.

Sports in particular can benefit from blockchain. Blockchain is becoming part of a sports environment in numerous ways around the world. Parties have not yet issued cryptocurrencies for particular sports but that will happen sooner or later. In the meantime, various kinds of technology are marrying themselves rapidly to sports.

For instance, a Taiwanese insurance company is constructing blockchain protocols to diminish coverage prices. The project is just beginning but has been tested. Bravelog is its name, and it is specially built for purposes of recording data.

Chris Tsai, is quoted as saying, “Bravelog, in the future, wants to become a complete sports ecosystem with ticketing, registration and payments services.” Some 349 people participated, including developer, Alex Liu, CEO of the Amis blockchain consortium.

Liu and the others gave personal biomaetic data to a blockchain using Bravelog linked to Microsoft’s Azure Platform.  The project is a large one as Fubon Life made $1.24bn in profit in 2016.

In fact, Fubon Life billed for for 64.5% of the parent company’s profits. Tsai thinks he can get even more money be incentivizing health behavior.

“We want to promote a healthy lifestyle,” Tsai said. “And with our study into blockchain we realized we can really accelerate the process – or make it possible.”

Even though it seems new, it is not. Companies like California-based Misfit are also providing such services – successfully – to companies like Oscar. Oscar customers wear devices which provides data  in return for a modest stipend.

According to Coindesk, “The crucial difference between these services and Bravelog is who owns the data.  As part of the event, participants had to create an identity, that if they chose, could go with them to another event with totally different hardware because they own the data. 

Liu  said:  “What we would like to see is a common protocol that [can be accessed by] multiple Misfits, or Misfit and its competitors, multiple insurance companies, and so on and so forth. And the central owner of that data, presumably should come back to the individual.” 

OTT is another group transferring content to online video. “Its current explosion is due to access since all platforms are into live streaming directly over the internet or mobile,” said Dana Golden, evp business development at Silver Chalice/120 Sports. “It’s trending because you can get great quality video on any device. Now more players like Amazon and SONY are getting into livestreaming.”

There’s also Rugbymeet, a vertical platform providing free and paid services based on the user. PRO (Club-Players-Coaches) and consumers are verified through a verification system available to the FIR (Italian Rugby Federation).

Rugby of course is not the only team sport that lends itself to such monetization. But rugby has all the elements necessary for a successful cybercurrency. Additionally it is very deep at a college level where such a cybercoin could work efficiently and quickly.