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CoinGeek Conversations

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CoinGeek Conversations is a weekly podcast update on the thriving BitcoinSV ecosystem - for beginners as well as those already deeply immersed in it. CoinGeek's Charles Miller meets entrepreneurs, technologists and businesspeople to ask about their work and their visions for the future. You don't need to be an expert in computer science or business studies. But you do need an appetite to learn about the most exciting new technology of our time.
89 Episodes
Kompany provides advanced solutions to financial institutions and corporations on identity verification. It offers a quick and efficient way to do business verification. With this being a legal requirement for global businesses, Kompany have positioned themselves as the go to company, on a global scale. Having previously built up the verification system for the UK's Companies House, Kompany CTO and co-founder Peter Bainbridge-Clayton is well versed on the processes. Peter sat down with CoinGeek’s Natalie Mason to talk about his company’s journey, how it fits in perfectly on the blockchain and why they are moving forward on Bitcoin SV over other chains. So why did Kompany opt for blockchain? “Blockchain is good on proof” Peter says. “When you look at legal intricacies this [Blockchain] is the best way of doing it, it’s the only way that guarantees it can’t be gamed.” Kompany assures their customers that they are capable of proving to regulators that these “checks” were carried out. He points out, “the last thing customers want is to be fined for not doing checks and not being able to prove they did it.” Like many start-ups, Kompany had to undergo several phases before it can catapult to success. In its initial stages, Kompany used Ethereum for its reputable smart contracts, as Peter explains, but Ethereum’s speed capacity was a drawback. Its slow speed would refrain Kompany from responding to its customers instantaneously. This led Kompany to try faster chains like Hyperledger. Granted it proved faster than Ethereum for Kompany’s needs, Hyperledger is on a private chain and that was an issue and not quite the right model. Finally, nChain introduced Peter to Bitcoin SV. This ushered-in an opportunity for Peter to learn about BSV blockchain capabilities. At present, he is convinced that BSV is the right fit for Kompany. “BSV has everything we wanted- speed, consensus, cost, built-in time stamp and native token” he says. “We built a marketplace for this kind of information so that information becomes tokenized and can be traded.” Kompany will undergo some finishing touches before it is implemented. Its plan, to have a fully on chain request response system. It’s a promising agenda and is definitely one worth looking out for. To know more about Peter Bainbridge-Clayton and how Kompany is building a valid use-case on the blockchain, checkout this episode of CoinGeek Conversations.     
If you’re interested in Dr Craig Wright, and want to find out more about him, there’s no better place to go than It’s a website devoted to all things Craig and Satoshi-related and includes a chronological list of more than 400 of Craig Wright’s publications, pictures of his academic certificates and videos of his interviews and presentations.So who is Ramon Quesada and why has he assembled this incredible collection of Craigobilia? That question is answered in this week’s CoinGeek Conversations, where Ramon explains his project and how he felt he needed to know more about Dr Wright when he heard of all the controversies surrounding him.Ramon admits that it’s taken him “some years” to collect all the information on his site, although he only made it public in 2020. It all started with the emergence of BCH in 2017. Suddenly Ramon was aware of “somebody who says he was Satoshi Nakamoto. It was Craig Wright”. Ramon was already interested in BTC, but Wright’s claims presented him with a dilemma: “I got angry because I didn't have enough knowledge to make a decision. So I said to myself, you have to learn, you have to study ...because you have to be on one of the two sides”. Ramon was born in Cuba and emigrated to France before moving to Valencia, Spain, where he now lives. He started a Facebook group called Bitcoin Valencia in 2013 and then the Bitcoin Association of Valencia in 2015. He isn’t a technologist, but worked for various businesses, including becoming part owner of Coin Telegraph in Spain from 2016 to 2017 For Ramon, the possibilities of Bitcoin have an idealistic side: “I come from Cuba. I have seen how some under-developed countries are not helping to grow their economies. So also I saw Bitcoin could maybe help this difference between the first world and the third world.”But it’s not all altruism for Ramon. He says that when he is finally able to make a decision about Dr Wright, based on all his research, he will be investing his money in Bitcoin: “yes - I am investing my life.” All your worldly goods will be invested in Bitcoin? “Yes ...It's like any anybody in their field, they do the research and they bet for that.”Ramon has never met Craig Wright, but would like to do so (“yes, sure, of course”). So what would he ask Dr Wright if he had the chance? “I don't know. I have a lot of things to ask him, a lot!” But for all the many videos and documents on his website, Ramon is not expected to ever get to the end of his investigations of Dr Wright: “I know that there are a lot of things, neither you, me, nobody are going to know because he doesn't like to show all what he has.” 
GeoSpock is a Cambridge technology company with its roots in the city’s science research community.  CEO Richard Baker explained that his co-founder Steve Marsh was researching an area that appears to be very different from where GeoSpock is focussed today: “back in 2010, 2011, [Steve] was doing his PhD in computer engineering at Cambridge and he set about the challenge of building a supercomputer to emulate one second of human brain function.”What connects Steve’s research with GeoSpock’s current  interest in data from sources such as roads, traffic signals and supply chains is, as Richard puts it, “how you deal with extreme datasets”.The secret lies in creating a “parallel environment ...which is all about serial communication.” That allows the speeding up of access to data in large data stores, and to GeoSpock’s claim that whatever query is applied to the data they are working with, they will have an answer in less than a minute. Richard points out that people are no longer the biggest producers of data: that honour (or shame) is now claimed by machines. As devices connected to the Internet of Things generate more and more data, that creates new problems for technology, and society: “the challenge there is, as this data is pervasive, how do you harness it and how do you translate it into meaningful insights and into decisions ultimately?”GeoSpock’s software will allow the company to be working in an area that Richard believes can be described as “change for good”. The technology should work across a broad range of industries. Richard gives examples of the kinds of problems he’d hope to be solving: “how do we generate city environments that are good for citizens? How do you ensure that they are clean, that there's low CO2? How do you plan clean and efficient transport systems? How do those transport systems actually function?”So how does Bitcoin come into GeoSpock’s plan? And why did nChain recently announce its connection with the company as the lead partner in a $5.4m Series A investment round? Richard explains that while today, the company uses Amazon Web Services, he is planning a shift towards BSV, whose combined data storage and transaction opportunities could prove ideal in the future: “Why isn't Bitcoin SV, both in terms of protocol, but also in terms of what organizations like TAAL are doing, the alternative store? We really see a situation where today we're dealing with event information coming from sensors, but actually the next step is really dealing with the commercial transactions.”If the idea of an intimate connection between data and money seems unfamiliar, think again. Isn’t that what happens, in a very manual way, every time you fill up your car at a garage? Well, why not automate the process? “We should be able to plug in our car and our car settles for the amount of time that it's been on the charging station in a public space. That ultimately will become a machine to machine commercial transaction. And I think we see an opportunity here where Bitcoin SV becomes the digital ledger of choice for those types of transactions in the machine to machine economy.”
Why do journalists get complaints and abuse on social media just for mentioning Bitcoin SV?Eileen Brown writes about the tech scene for ZDNet, and says the BSV effect is quite unique in her experience: “when I wrote about the [BSV] Genesis protocol upgrade, the trolling I received on Twitter lasted for nearly three weeks, and I never had that before.”“What is it about Bitcoin SV that people hate so much?” Eileen asks. “They want to bully somebody like me into not attending [the CoinGeek conference], not writing about it. The trolling is amazingly vicious.”Eileen says that as a journalist she is neutral between different cryptocurrency camps and has deliberately never owned any crypto. Rather than being intimidated by the trolling, Eileen is just interested: “it's fascinating to watch, from a human perspective”.But when it comes to explaining the motives behind it, she is very clear: “somebody, or some group of people, are heavily financially invested in making certain that Bitcoin SV does not succeed.”Eileen has been trying out some of the BSV social media apps, and has noticed how differently they are making her behave: “it actually dramatically changed the way that I would post. I found I was less flippant. I was a lot more considered in the way that I posted. On Twetch, for example, if you post a 'like' or a 'rebranch' as it's called, it costs you money. So you're much more measured in what you decide to like”.On Powping, tipping is voluntary, which Eileen has also enjoyed: “I find that if I ask a question and somebody gives me a reasonably measured answer, I will tip an amount that I think is the value of the response that I've been given. And the nice thing about this particular platform is that it tells you the complete amount of money that particular post has earned, not just for the creator, but anybody that looks at anybody's posts can see the economy of that blog post was two dollars”.For all her enthusiasm, Eileen believes the revolution isn’t going to happen overnight: “I think it's going to take a while to change people's behavior. If you remember back to about 2007, 2008, when Facebook released itself onto the general public and took itself out of universities, one of Facebook’s key mantras was 'it's free and always will be'. So we have a whole generation of people who've grown up in this Freakonomics environment: everything's for free.” Eileen is impressed with BSV ideas about keeping a stable protocol for people to build on, so that the whole system isn’t “at the whim of some young person in his bedroom”. She compares it with the general adoption of HTTP for the Internet, over rivals like FTP, which still exist but are no longer widely used. Over the long term, Eileen is bullish about the prospects: “I think that in a few more years, once we've gone past the uncertainty and startup mentality of a lot of the Bitcoin SV projects, I think we'll start to get enterprise stability across the whole protocol.”  
Douglas Rushkoff has been following technology and media for more than 30 years - ever since, as a young theatre director, he decided he’d had enough of its elitist culture: “theatres started to feel very predictable ...I was really looking for something more participatory. Interactive. Unknown. Unpredictable.”It was the late 1980s, and there was a new medium that fitted the bill. “My strangest friends from college, the weirdest, most theatrical, Grateful-Dead-head, acid freak colleagues ended up moving out to the Bay Area and working for the likes of Intel and Apple and Silicon Graphics and Sun. And I really wanted to know, why would weird psychedelic people be making computers?”San Francisco, and Silicon Valley to its south, were experiencing a unique mixing of counter-culture with the technology and futurism of the US defence industries. Into this heady mix came an even more exciting ingredient: a place - or not a place - called cyberspace, which could be reached through something called the Internet: “the Internet seemed to be the way that human beings were going to connect up to one another in one giant Gaiain global brain and sort of realise planetary consciousness.”There are plenty of big hopes for a better future attached to the idea of Bitcoin. ‘Banking the unbanked’ is just the start of it. So does Douglas see echoes of his cyberpunk experiences in the hopes of today’s BSV community? He is polite, but frank: “I mean, yes and no. You know, in all honesty (long pause) I don't see ‘a better ledger’ as the solution to the problem”.But Douglas has taken on board the idea that BSV comes with a different agenda from the rest of the crypto world and that getting back to Satoshi’s original vision means BSV’s ambitions go far beyond currency speculation:  “What Bitcoin was for was not to get a few investors rich off an inflated token. What Bitcoin was for was to distribute the power of authentication globally so that money would be as cheap as we needed it to be at any moment, that money was here to really optimise our transactions - that what we were trying to do was increase the velocity of money, the readiness of capital to move into an almost superfluid economic state where anyone who needs capital at any moment, that vacuum is immediately filled by the capital they need to do the thing they need to do ...And that's beautiful. That's a beautiful thing.”Douglas’ latest book, and his podcast series, are called Team Human. They explore the intersection between technology and human values or, as the podcast website says, “grapples with complex issues of agency, social justice, and all those quirky non-binary corners of life”. As he puts it, “the possibility of these spaces is to engender a new sense of civic responsibility for one another”.With that focus, it’s not surprising that Douglas has reservations about some potential involvements of BSV in human interactions. Whilst he’s happy enough with the idea of blockchain as a better substitute for human trust than central authorities such as banks, he sees it as an interim solution. “it's one stage toward then moving into a world where we trust one another as humans, where we're involved with each other locally and we're not [requiring that] every bit of value that we exchange with each other has to be recorded”.He says he’s most excited about the use of blockchain technology for applications that enhance record-keeping and recall: “that, to my mind, that's what a good blockchain really is, where everything that's happened is retrievable, as if it just happened right now. It's a different way to live. It's a highly accountable world.”
Bequant is a London-based financial business that describes itself as “a one stop solution for professional digital assets, investors and institutions.” Its founder and CEO George Zarya explained how the business offers a range of services, including prime brokerage, exchange, custody and fund administration, that mirror the way a more traditional financial services business. And yet Bequant works exclusively with cryptocurrencies, simplifying access to that market. “We’re trying to bring in more professionalism, a more established type of approach and apply it to this new emerging market,” George says.There’s an irony about trying to bridge the gap between the crypto business and the financial establishment because, as George says, Bitcoin began with the idea of decentralization “and removing the intermediaries from the whole cycle”.And yet Bequant is a kind of intermediary, for which George offers no apologies: “in the institutional world, the intermediaries play a very important role. That's why we feel that the prime brokerage solutions, the professional exchanges that aggregate source liquidity, brokers, liquidity providers - are very important to facilitate these functions.”But it’s not just a question of mirroring the structures that George knew from his previous work in more traditional financial institutions: this is a new field and there’s also the chance to introduce innovation that’s appropriate for the world of crypto:“We shaved off a lot of inefficiencies, if I can judge from my experience in the traditional space where we had an army of operations people, an army of onboarding people and a handful of IT guys sitting in the corner. Now things have changed tremendously: you have an army of IT guys and zero in operations. Everything is automated.”With offices in London and Malta, Bequant has been in business since early 2018 (although “it feels like a decade”, George says). It hasn’t been hard to attract experienced people from the City to join, and the staff now numbers about 35. They like the novelty of the new world of crypto: “I think that part of the reason why a lot of people move into the industry is the dynamics of the space. The traditional space is becoming utterly boring.”Bequant is a big business already, with the exchange having a monthly turnover of  “roughly eight hundred million to a billion” and volumes on the prime brokerage averaging more than a hundred million a day. “These numbers are maybe shocking,” George says, “but again, from the institutional perspective, it's a normal sort of size that your typical quantitative trading fund would generate.”When it comes to BSV, George is supportive of efforts to promote adoption through its scaling capacity and the ecosystem’s development: “adoption is one of the most important things for the industry, generally speaking. And we support any project that is working towards that goal and offers the tools to to build upon and grow the industry.” 
Recent news about the possibility of nano-payments on Bitcoin SV is inspiring ideas for a whole new field of applications. Calvin Ayre, founder of Ayre Group and CoinGeek, describes it as “commerce between machines”. Just as micro-transactions have, “this is going to create even more new business models”. The technology will take the ‘Internet of things’ to a whole new level through the application of smart contracts: “corporations most likely will own machines that will be conducting commerce with each other. So the value will eventually go back to the shareholders. But these little bits of business can be agreed in advance and then rolled out across little pieces of equipment scattered all over the globe. And then they can just start doing business with each other.”Until now, the billions of transactions between sensors, for instance, have either had no monetisation associated with them, or if they are monetized, it’s in big numbers and likely to be inaccurate. Nano-payments would change that: “this will optimize things and allow value to be tied to actual services, not estimates of them”.Calvin is more sceptical about other new ideas that are attracting attention at the moment. He’s not completely dismissive of all DeFi (decentralized finance) projects, “but of course, as always, the ones that actually do make sense would work better on BSV than these other platforms that don't scale.”But most of DeFi is to be avoided, Calvin warns: “for sure the majority of the people that are going to be trying to trot out some kind of a programme around this new marketing buzz around DeFi ...are going to have no interest in anything but a scam. So it's unfortunate that a lot of people are going to lose money.”As for central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), “every country in the world could actually operate their central bank currency on top of BSV - in addition to all the other stuff we can do.” The danger is that CBDCs will start to be established on different systems “and you'll get these siloed central bank digital currencies. And if the vision of how the world unfolds follows the course that we're predicting, then eventually that won't make sense - because they were using a technology that doesn't seamlessly integrate to the rest of the world.”Next week’s CoinGeek Live conference from New York and London, will be a great chance to take the temperature of the growing BSV ecosystem, with three days of presentations from the worlds of technology, finance and enterprise. So, does Calvin expect to see incremental growth across many different fronts, or is he waiting for a big breakthrough that will change everything? “I think what you find is that the momentum of the slow, incremental change is happening right now and it's going to continue to happen,” he says. “But every now and then, there's going to be a solar flare, something that's, like, coming out - because I know a few things that are being worked on that I think when they come out, people are going to go, ‘holy crap!’”
A few weeks ago, we spoke to the co-founder and CEO of Centbee, Lorien Gamaroff, about a range of new services that are now available on the BSV wallet, allowing users to buy utilities and other products directly from well-known providers.This week, we’re showing a live demo of exactly that from the same recording session: how to buy prepaid mobile airtime using Centbee. Lorien is joined by Centbee marketing consultant Heidi Patmore, who has a personal example of just how useful the new services can be. Heidi explains that in South Africa, where Centbee is based, if you need to top up your prepaid electricity credit, it’s usually a question of using a banking app or visiting a local shop and paying at the till, in return for which, you’ll be given a code to enter into your electricity meter at home, to prove that you now have credit.So what happens if your banking app doesn’t work? That’s what Heidi discovered one evening:“A couple of nights ago my banking app went down. Now that’s the only way I usually buy electricity. And there was a bug at FNB [a big South African bank]. Everything went down, and my electricity started beeping at half past nine at night.”Thanks to the new services on Centbee, Heidi was able to prepay for her electricity with BSV. “Thanks Lorien for building that because I was able to top up my electricity. Otherwise I would have had to get in my car and drive somewhere at half past nine at night to try and somehow figure out how to buy electricity.”Heidi predicts this will be a game-changer for Centbee, and for BSV: “the convenience of this is going to be massive. People are going to start doing this. We’re going to shift consumer behaviour by having brought out this product.”Lorien is confident that electricity is just one example of what users want: “there's a big market for electricity, but there's also a big market for people like teenagers, for example, who right now, if they want to use Uber or they want to have a PlayStation subscription or something like that ...they have to go to their parents or whoever and get that transaction made. But I have noticed with my own son that he now has the ability to not only top up his data on his phone, but also to have a PlayStation subscription or or get an Uber ride without having to now phone me up and ask”.It’s a big step towards the much-discussed use of Bitcoin to serve the “unbanked”, as Lorien explained: “I think that this is going to open up a market that hasn't been accessible before. And I think that there will now be users that come on board. There's no statistics around those types of users, because they've always just been not part of the system. Now there's a digital payment system that they can easily be a part of.” 
How do you explain Bitcoin to a general audience? That was writer Liz Louw’s challenge as she set out to produce What is Bitcoin?, an ebook for the London-based Bitcoin investment company Bitstocks.Liz is not the first to confront the problem. She quotes Satoshi Nakamoto himself, who found that “writing a description for this thing for general audiences is bloody hard. There’s nothing to relate it to.” As a digital marketing and content strategist, writing about business was already one of Liz’s professional skills, but this job meant more to her than just another assignment. The book represents “the fruit of at least three years of research” and is not the kind of “impersonal, objective piece” that she is sometimes asked to turn out, she says.Liz decided to address the complexities of the subject by looking for narratives. So to help readers understand the principles of Bitcoin she went back to the story of Craig Wright’s work for casinos, before he wrote the White Paper as Satoshi Nakamoto. How could he solve the problem of making the gaming in online casinos auditable, and making players confident that the system was fair? The principles of Bitcoin were designed to answer those questions. Centrally, designing a system that was “open, public” was key to the solution: “its simplicity - that is the breakthrough”.When it came to maintaining the computer network behind Bitcoin, again, it is the principle of honesty that makes Satoshi’s system work: “the marvel of Satoshi’s creation is that it enforces honesty through an incentive scheme that makes it more worthwhile to play by the rules than to play dirty.”Having looked at the origins of Bitcoin and the way it works, Liz’s book ends with ideas about the future. She writes about Bitcoin enabling “the fourth industrial revolution” - the other three being, in order, machines powered by water and steam, electricity, electronics and information technology.In particular, Liz describes a grand vision of what the data-recording capabilities of Bitcoin will enable: “sooner or later, we will get to the stage where we can interact with computers with access to all of the data that humans have emitted throughout the entire history of humanity. Everything humanity has ever produced will be on the record, available for us to interact with.” Liz hints at some big announcements to come from Bitstocks that will build on this idea - a pivot from money to data, it seems. “We’re starting to refer to Gravity [Bitstock’s app] a data bank.” The buying and trading of Bitcoin, “that’s the first offering we have,” she says, “but there is much more being built behind the scenes.”
A former technology analyst on Wall Street, John Pitts brings his experience of assessing Internet companies to making educated guesses about the prospects for Bitcoin SV and BTC. And he’s confident that it’s possible to make valuations based on the existing information: “it's my belief not only that you can, but if it cannot be valued, then it probably isn't anything.”In an article on CoinGeek, John worked through a series of calculations to assess the value of the BTC network and compared it with BSV. He started by taking transaction fees across the network as the ‘income’ of the network - equivalent to sales in assessing the value of a tech startup. With small blocks, and therefore limited potential for transaction fees, BTC comes off badly, with the whole network being worth as little as $45,000 according to John’s calculations.John is unapologetic: “that's about where I think BTC is going, which is effectively zero. And the reason for that is because BTC isn't using the most important thing about Bitcoin, which is the data, the information.”When it comes to BSV, it’s a different story, because the blocks will be much bigger: “if you adjust those numbers and you start using one gigabyte instead of one megabyte or you use one terabyte get very big numbers.”But John is cautious about predicting too much too soon for BSV: “these things take time. They always do. You know, it took Apple 40 years to get to a trillion dollar valuation. Maybe it doesn't take BSV that long because it's more important than what Apple has done. But the point is, it's going to take a lot longer than people think. However, the valuations can be astronomical for BSV. So there's good news and there's bad news.”John goes on to compare the value of data stored on BSV to the relative value of land and the buildings on them in a city. When the city prospers, land increases in value and that makes it worthwhile for real estate developers to replace smaller, cheaper buildings with new ones. In the same way, as the BSV network grows in value, with a limited supply of coins (21 million), data that’s not valued by its owner can be replaced by more valuable data, making better use of the ‘real estate’ on the coins.But John’s interest in BSV is not just theoretical, nor even just financial. He is also an app developer, with SLictionary (above) now available to users. It’s a BSV-powered dictionary, whose marketing describes it as the “biggest advancement in dictionaries since books”. The idea is to invite users to create competing definitions and upload photos and videos to help explain words too. Popular definitions will be rewarded with BSV. Although the user has to pay a small search fee, John says, the money “takes away all the bad entries and accentuates the good ones.” Unlike with Wikipedia, “people can’t spam it. People cannot manipulate it. I think that's the beauty of the whole thing.”At the moment, there are still thousands of words waiting to be defined on SLictionary. But for John, that’s not a problem. He’s in BSV for the long run, based on his research into the potential of the network. It worked when he made that kind of judgement on the young Now he’s getting the same kind of feeling about BSV, as he said in his article: “this is one of those times I’m betting my life, my good name, and even my children’s destiny on a set of research.”“Destiny” is still waiting to be defined on SLictionary.
For the final addition of Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations past, it had to be Dr. Craig Wright. Who better than the candid inventor, aka Satoshi Nakamoto, to set the Bitcoin story straight?  Let’s start with his explanation of what Bitcoin is and why it is not a cryptocurrency. As Craig puts it: “Cryptography is secret writing. Bitcoin is the exact opposite of that. Bitcoin is basically a public ledger. So, it’s designed to be private, but it doesn’t actually encrypt things. You can encrypt data and store it in the blockchain; but the difference here is, Bitcoin itself is a set of digital signatures, it’s a chain of evidence and it’s everything that those other systems that aim for an anonymous transfer is not.”Craig believes that Bitcoin will be widely used by world states, in time. But how do we get there? Craig lays out his idea of how governments will use Bitcoin technology to print traditional currencies.   The conversation also addresses Craig’s use of the term blockchain in the original white paper. Some have noted that the term did not appear at this crucial stage in the development of the Metanet. Craig answers, “If you look at the original code in the comments, ‘blockchain’ is used twice. Although it was block (space) chain”, noting how he used a space between the two words back then, as can be seen in much of his writing.   Another question that was asked regarding the early years: why was there no patent on the original Bitcoin? There appears to be a few reasons. “There’s no way to pseudonymously patent” says Craig, who goes on to note the high cost factor as well as another key reason “any software that is based on complex cryptographic algorithms: digital signatures, hashing… needs to be open source. People need to be able to find where the errors and vulnerabilities are.” Later on, in the interview, we learn how far his patent ambitions have come. Having filed several thousand already, Craig has a new goal: “by the time I finish I want to hit ten thousand.”   In looking at Craig’s colorful career, we get a glimpse of what might have guided the creation of Bitcoin. Laying out his own work motivations, Craig says, “it’s more about the world we want to live in. I don’t think it’s about altruism, I think we all have a duty and we all have to pay the cost of being in a world that we want to be honest and open.” Towards the end of the conversation, Craig conveys the ultimate purpose of Bitcoin: “Bitcoin, with a stable protocol, takes away power…” he says, “money is all about power and this is one of the things Bitcoin has done. It has removed that power. It will remove that power globally.  This timeless interview between Dr. Craig Wright and CoinGeek’s Charles Miller originally took place in 2019. Charles will be kicking off the 4th season of CoinGeek Conversations, next week, speaking to those who are propelling Bitcoin into its future.    
For the next few weeks, CoinGeek producer Natalie Mason is introducing her own Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations, giving us another chance to enjoy previous episodes of the podcast series. Natalie’s choice this week is Lise Li, discussing the opportunities for Bitcoin SV in China. Lise is the China Manager for the Bitcoin Association. She has worked in ecommerce and been Chief Operating Officer for a Bitcoin mining pool, but, most important, she believes in the potential of BSV in China.It’s partly a matter of culture. As a resident of Beijing, she says that when she’s had foreign friends visiting they are “shocked” to see that Chinese people will take only their phones when they go out. They don’t bother with wallets because they’ll be able to pay for everything with apps like Alipay and Wechat Pay. Whereas, in Europe, especially in Germany, she’s noticed that “everyone loves to pay in cash”. Their phone-friendly lifestyle will make the everyday use of Bitcoin less of a change for Chinese people. Besides, “the young generation accepts new things fast, and they love tech”. Whilst there are still regulatory restrictions slowing the development of Bitcoin in China - such as the ban on converting fiat currency into crypto - officialdom appears to be softening its attitude. The new Special Economic Zone announced this year for Shenzhen is to include plans for research on cryptocurrencies. Lise describes her job at the Bitcoin Association as one of “gathering pioneers” to share their expertise and experience with Bitcoin SV. She believes that BSV development in China is “a more active field” than in other countries - with many university students taking part in projects. And in terms of hardware, she says that “almost all” the manufacturers of mining equipment are in China. Lise predicts that data storage will be the most important use of BSV, more important even than its use as money. And although she is promoting BSV activities in China, her vision for the future is international, nothing less than to “build a globalised business ecosystem”. 
For the next few weeks, CoinGeek producer Natalie Mason is introducing her own Top Picks from CoinGeek Conversations, giving us another chance to enjoy previous episodes of the podcast series. Natalie’s choice this week is Jimmy Wales, talking about his phenomenally successful creation, Wikipedia. Jimmy spoke at CoinGeek’s London conference, where he reflected on what Bitcoin SV supporters have in common with the early proponents of a free, online encyclopedia - since Wikipedia’s feasibility was just as much of a challenge to conventional wisdom as the notion of a global Bitcoin economy is today.“I think that there's definitely parallels and there's differences as well. So one of the huge parallels has to do with the idea of decentralization generally,” Jimmy said. When you think of an accounting ledger, you might imagine that would involve “one big server somewhere with a big bank looking after it”. But with the design of Bitcoin, “we can do that in a completely new way, in a decentralized way, in public. That's pretty cool. That's pretty fascinating. And I think a lot of those kinds of vibes around decentralization are something that are held in common.”Jimmy is adamant that blockchain would not be a good idea for Wikipedia. That’s partly because he’s sceptical that there is a demand for a micropayments technology: “the consumers don't want it. They don't like it. It feels funny to them. One of the great things about, say, Netflix is you pay your monthly fee, which is quite nominal, really ...And there's something nice about that it's already paid for. And I just watch as much as I want. A lot of Amazon services could be implemented on a micropayment level because they've already got our credit cards. They can sum it all up and bill us at the end of the month for our usage on Kindle or something like this… It seems to me that by and large, consumers are sceptical of that model. It doesn't feel right to them.”For all that, Jimmy admits to being interested in Bitcoin technology and compares what’s happening to the kind of enthusiasm he saw around the open source movement: “I think that now the energy around blockchain and a lot of the people, they are quite optimistic people and they are looking for new innovative solutions. And I mean, this is the important thing, I'm known as a critic but one of the things that's really important here is to say, look, I find the technology fascinating. I mean, the whole idea of blockchain is just... I mean, when I first saw it and first understood, I was like, well, this is the first, like, really different idea I've seen in a long time. It's super-interesting.”
Welcome to Top Picks. Throughout the month of August, we will revisit past CoinGeek Conversations. With so many great interviews to choose from, our first Top Pick is Lawry Trevor-Deutsch, of United Corp, who has a greener way to mine Bitcoin.
The European Union takes an active interest in Bitcoin and blockchain, with multiple initiatives to study, encourage and, potentially, to regulate the sector. At the heart of this work is the European Commission’s Digital Innovation and Blockchain Unit, whose head is Pēteris Zilgalvis, a political scientist and lawyer and, quite recently, a visiting fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford where he wrote about fintech and blockchain.Pēteris is keen to stress that the Commission is not intent on regulating unless there is a clear reason to do so. The overall approach, he says, is that “first of all, we don't rush in”. The subject of Bitcoin and blockchain have been followed by officials within the European Commission for at least seven years, so “if it was ever true that 'if it moves, the European Commission regulates it', it hasn't.”So, “while ...we support investment and infrastructure, for instance, in artificial intelligence, blockchain, IOT, 5G, we're not going to have a regulation on blockchain - the same way we don't have a regulation on transistors or on servers or on other items of technology.” The focus will be at a higher level, in the applications working on blockchain, such as tokenization products. But again, the emphasis will be on waiting to be sure of what, if anything, is needed. In relation to smart contracts, for instance, “the question is still very open. Does anything need to be said about it legally? But we're asking, especially in the cases of small cross-border use across the 27 countries of the EU for instance, if there are problems that perhaps need to be addressed to ensure you don't have to have a different type of smart contract or a different registration in many different jurisdictions.”A more pro-active EU approach is seen in the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure, an initiative through which the EU member states are setting up their own blockchain network with “nodes at the country level, probably ministry level, eventually municipality and regional level. So hundreds and maybe even thousands of nodes.” With more than 30 nodes in the network initially, the project will be in deployment this year, starting with projects in a number of areas of interest to public service providers: “regtech, ...diploma certification and also self sovereign identity and audit document authentication and publication.”Another approach involves money from the European Investment Fund to back blockchain startups. This part of the fund is now worth 100m Euros, but will rise to 400m soon. It’s already backing Helios, a decentralised platform for building social media apps, for instance. Pēteris stresses that it won’t be him or other EU officials deciding which startups to support. Rather, the money “goes out to venture capitalists who make the choices with no interference from us”. He draws parallels with SBIR in the United States, the Small Business Innovation Research programme which has been funding research and development in small companies in the States since 1982. Being blockchain-agnostic, the EU is not able to back BSV specifically, of course. But what about, at least, the idea that a single blockchain, in principle, would deliver the best results for the ecosystem as a whole? “I think almost everyone agrees, whichever analysis you read, that there will be less blockchains than there are now or less blockchain pr
If Bitcoin SV succeeds in the way its developers and entrepreneurs hope, it will be the biggest change in technology infrastructure since the mass adoption of the Internet more than 20 years ago. But will ordinary users be open or resistant to that kind of change?Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Centre studies public attitudes to technology and has been responsible for more than 650 reports based on Pew surveys of people's online and Internet usage. So how does he see the prospects for Bitcoin and blockchain entering the mainstream? “We live in an environment where people's trust in each other and in institutions is declining, particularly in the developed world,” Rainie says, “and so blockchain has been held out as a really interesting alternative way to rebuild trust, using technology as the centrepiece of mediating interactions between people ...Some of the most interesting applications of blockchain are not about cryptocurrency, they're about trusted systems of documentation and smart contracts.”If that promise could attract users by mitigating their fears about trust, Rainie does not go so far as to suggest that technology could solve all the problems: “this can't just be done by technology. You can't flip a switch and all of a sudden trust is restored and systems operate beautifully. You need human actors to design those systems, monitor those systems, explain those systems.”In terms of mass adoption, Rainie says that it may not be a question of waiting for the ‘killer app’ that will act as a tipping point for wide acceptance of the technology: “it possibly won't be sort of a big bang moment where all of a sudden a critical mass of people are using it. And then the rest of the world says, 'oh, we've got to get on board'. It might be more evolutionary.”It could be that adoption will first happen at an industrial level - more ‘behind the scenes’ - in sectors like supply chain and the financial markets. Then, unlike the Internet, where users are aware of the technology, people may not even realise that they’re using blockchain: “there will be ways in which people's finances absolutely are underpinned by blockchain technology. There are ways in which their interactions with government agencies, when they want to get a national identity card for their newborn child - now, that's going to be probably a blockchain system. But if you ask them in a survey, 'are you a blockchain user?' they might not say yes.” If blockchain isn’t adopted by a ‘pull’ factor of attraction, it could be nudged forward by reservations about the tech giants, and the whole ‘surveillance capitalism’ model of targeted advertising and data collection. Pew’s latest research didn’t poll the public, but instead was one of a series of studies that Rainie has ordered as Director of Internet and Technology Research, soliciting views about the future of technology from almost 700 experts, whom the report describes at “'technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists”. The study found that the experts “very explicitly invoked how blockchain can be a restorative to people having confidence that their data were treated well and that their interactions with other people were being chronicled and mediated in a responsible way, that there were fewer opportunities for bad actors to step into the middle of the process.”In that respect then, Pew is reporting an optimistic view of the prospects for blockchain among a wide range of people who should be well placed to predict the future. On the other hand, it seems the experts themselves aren’t too confident about their own powers of prediction. Rainie investigated that in a previous study: “one of the things that we asked in years gone by was whether these experts
There’s been plenty of talk about how there should be blockchain solutions to the Covid crisis. Now, finally, there’s action. The Bayesian Group, a Toronto-based AI and blockchain-oriented markets analyst, is launching a token on the Bitcoin SV blockchain that will allow the monitoring of individuals’ self-reported health updates and offer ‘heat maps’ of localised virus outbreaks.Bayesian’s Eric Bernhard said that users would be invited to update their status daily with a simple message about how they were feeling which could be delivered over many different communications channels, including social media and texts. Then if “you're sitting at home and wondering whether or not you should go to the grocery store,” Bernhard explained, “you go check out the Covid token heat map and you can zoom into your area and know that the 3000 people around you have said, ‘I'm feeling OK’.”The idea is to make a forward-looking, preventative model - as opposed to Internet tracing apps which are retrospective, in that they start with someone who already has the virus and go back into their history to see who they have been in contact with. By putting individuals’ results on the blockchain, the Bayesian app will solve many of the problems around data ownership and privacy that limit the utility of other models. By working with a decentralized system, Bernhard says, “that means that nobody owns the data. There's no ownership”. And that allows that results to be shared, to the benefit of the whole population, as opposed to apps controlled by, say, the NHS or John Hopkins University, when “no one gets access to it except the people that are allowed access”.To make the app work globally, Bayesian is partnering with a wide range of organisations who will receive users’ health update messages. That could be via Twitter, Slack or through an email provider. Users are just asked to respond to a very simple question like “how are you feeling today?”. And to overcome language barriers, their answer can be given on a numeric scale. In developing countries, users can simply text their response on a feature phone. Initially, Bayesian will be subsidising the project by paying its blockchain transaction fees: “we want to contribute to the ecosystem of Covid data, because we think it’s beneficial.” Eventually, there might be income from corporations who could use the data to help with business decisions such as when to open stores, for instance. The Covid project hinges on the willingness of ordinary people to spend time sending it data. However simple it’s made, will people choose to participate? “Our challenge,” Bernhard says, ”is to communicate the benefits to people [by saying] ‘take five seconds while you're waiting. You have extra time because you're not commuting or you're on your walk ...just take five seconds, go into the same places that you already go and just make a quick status update. And that can help your entire community and protect your family, because the more information you know about the areas around you, the better it is for your family.”
It’s been a busy couple of months for the gaming platform company Kronoverse. They received fresh investments from Persimmon Hill Ltd as well as a third investment from Calvin Ayre, founder of Ayre Group and CoinGeek. They are also set to announce the open beta date for their skill-based fighting game CryptoFights. David Case, Kronoverse’s Chief Architect, said that their platform will enable developers to build on the Bitcoin SV blockchain rather than the traditional networking layer of cloud servers. For gamers, it’s a new era of digital ownership of in-game assets and the chance to profit from trading items through a marketplace.  After two and a half years of research and development, building their flagship game CryptoFights, Kronoverse is fully utilising BSV’s software development capabilities: “I fell in love with blockchain and the whole concept of having these immutable ledgers,” said David. “That brings so much value to competitive gaming because you’re not relying on an authority of some company’s database to tell you what happens.” But why BSV over the other blockchains? It comes down to scalability. As with many developers, Kronoverse’s journey started on Ethereum. But the Ethereum main chain was “very slow and very expensive” and David found its Proof of Authority system (an algorithm that increases the speed at which transactions are validated) was unsatisfactory compared to the principle of Proof of Work which governs the BSV blockchain: “as you start building these other things that ride on top of it, well then you end up having to recreate the blockchain again.” “In Ethereum you have this concept of ‘every validator needs to process every transaction in the exact same order’ - which means that from a development standpoint you’re always single threaded.”  It was Bitcoin SV’s UTXO model which was the clincher. UTXOs (unspent transaction outputs) are processed continuously and are responsible for beginning and ending each transaction. “Rather than being single threaded you can be as multithreaded as there are different UTXOs in the database, so you can process billions of things at the same time” said David. That eliminates the speed limitations they experienced on other blockchains. As well as the fixed protocol, “the main killer feature on BSV that put it over the top, was opening up the opportune storage space. So, instead of having 200 bytes of data in one transaction, we can now put 100,000 bytes of data” allowing Kronoverse to put real, useful information on chain. In practical terms, that means each move a player takes in CryptoFights is permanently stored, publicly, on the blockchain. The source code to the game is also publicly available on the blockchain, which is revolutionary in eliminating in-game cheating. For gamers who purchase in-game items, the Kronoverse platform will allow true ownership of their gaming assets. In traditional centralized gaming, you never actually own the items that you purchase. For example, if there is a server issue or a gamer’s account is compromised or suspended, players risk losing their items. On the blockchain, purchased items will remain in a player’s control, even if they’re no longer playing a specific game, allowing them to trade or sell the items for profit. Kronoverse’s marketplace provides a space for trading gaming items but players can choose whether to use it or trade elsewhere. Understanding how to work on blockchain can seem like a different language for game developers, David said. But the Kronoverse platform unlocks the game developer experience on BSV. The platform provides developers with the tools to build their games on the blockchain by allowing them to use simple JavaScript without having to worry about blockchain technicalities.
In the first of two CoinGeek Conversations about gaming and Bitcoin SV, we talk to Gu Lu, the founder of Satoplay. Next week, we hear about Kronoverse from the company’s Chief Architect, David Case. Gu Lu is an entrepreneur with an impressive track record in the gaming industry, having worked as a game developer for more than a decade, for the likes of UBISoft, the French game publisher, and CCP Games, an Icelandic company. Since 2018, he’s been immersing himself in blockchain technology, and then, as he says “I found BSV, so I’m here. That’s it!”The idea behind his start-up, SatoPlay, named after Satoshi Nakamoto of course, is to develop games that are different from the existing betting and gambling businesses that are using blockchain technologies. “We want something more widely adopted,” he says, “more casual, more child-friendly. That’s why we don’t do betting or gambling. SatoPlay should be game-centric, not money-centric.”By making SatoPlay a platform, rather than releasing individual games, Gu Lu says he’ll be able to provide continuity for players, because they’ll be able to maintain their gaming records and resources on the platform even as particular games go in and out of popularity. Having initially experimented with EOS, Gu Lu is impressed by his BSV experience. Already transaction fees have fallen: “when we first used BSV transactions to save players’ game data on chain a few months ago, it cost us 1000 Satoshis per transaction. Now, with Merchant API, the cost is reduced to 50.”And he has high hopes for the Metanet as “a natural for structuring an expressive and flexible layout of a lot of game data.”As BSV develops, so will SatoPlay, with an ambition, eventually, to be creating open worlds as part of a “large scale, in-game virtual economy”. For that, Gu Lu will be drawing on some of his experience in the more conventional parts of the games industry, where he was a 3D game programmer and “happened to know some VR traits as well”. It’s still early days for SatoPlay, but Gu Lu already has his own in-house game tester - in the form of his nine-year old son. His feedback? “The games are enjoyable, but he doesn’t know how to use BSV.” And he already wants to create his own game for SatoPlay. 
So you want to take out a Netflix subscription, top up your phone’s pay-as-you-go credit, buy music or give someone Uber vouchers? Now you can open up your Centbee wallet and purchase all those products and more with BSV.It’s another step forward for the South African business co-founded by Lorien Gamaroff. Lorien explained that rather than trying to convince individual retailers to accept BSV, they realised they could “become a service provider ourselves ...if we actually bundled value added services directly into the wallet”. As a result, when you click on the Menu button on the Centbee home screen, the list that opens, containing all the usual wallet options like Send, Receive, and Transactions, also includes Buy. Pressing that reveals a list of mainstream services that you can spend money with through the wallet app. “So now what we've got,” says Lorien,”is a reason for somebody to have Bitcoin - and not just for speculation”.It’s a service that will have real practical value in Africa, where many people buy utilities with prepaid credit: “when you run out [of electricity], your meter will switch off and you'll have to go and purchase more electricity to top up”. That means finding a vendor, probably someone in a store or at a particular location, where you pay, and receive a pin code to enter on your meter at home. Of course, it could be a considerable journey, and stores aren’t always open. Now, instead, you can choose a certain value of electricity to buy through your Centbee wallet, and the wallet will return the pin code for you to enter on the meter. The secret to the range and depth of the businesses with which Centbee is integrated lies in the establishing of connections with service providers who already deal with multiple companies. “We didn't want to go and have to convince all the utilities across the country to sell us electricity for Bitcoin, or the mobile telcos, or all the other digital service providers like Google and Netflix. So what we have done is we've found partners that already have those integrations into those service providers. And we've got the relationship with those middlemen service providers.”Whilst Centbee has deep roots in Africa, for Lorien, the experience they are gaining there is just the first stage in a bigger plan: “We don't see ourselves just as a South and Southern African company. We do see ourselves as a global company. And now that we've worked out these models, we've managed to develop the technology and we also figured out what sorts of relationships are required to be able to roll these services out, we're certainly going to now look to expand into many other countries”
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