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Uber Airlines

by Dan Robles on January 5, 2016

Uber AirlinesAs the Uber/Lyft business model continues to hone its end-run around the heavily regulated taxi industry, many are now looking at the air transportation industry for vulnerability to Uberesque disruption. Enter Uber Airlines.

Long before social media, entrepreneurs have been trying to sell empty legs on private airplanes – almost 40% of all private jets fly empty as they return their pilots to base after dropping off their charge – and again for pick-up. Every few months I’d hear about some new start-up claiming to provide private jet service for the price of a commercial flight.  A few limited operations exist, but not many – and they can’t scale.

I spent about a decade in commercial aviation and later co-founded Social Flights, a jet-sharing service out of Nashville – we unsuccessfully tried to solve the same problem and learned a great deal in the process. I can say with great confidence that it is not possible to close the business case on Uber Airlines, YET.  A few more technologies need to be invented and maybe, just maybe, we’ll see an Uber Airlines achieve a scalable business model.

The aviation industry is heavily regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration. There are mountainous regulations pertaining every detail of the air transportation process; the aircraft, the crew, the passengers, weather, DHS, customs, scheduling, baggage, the airport, etc.  Aviation is many times more regulation dense than automobiles and the costs associated with air transportation are many times again higher than automobiles.   In order to make the economics work, an operator needs to be a commercial airline with scheduled service flying big jets between hub and spoke airports or they need to be a private on-demand charter operator. You can’t just stand on a street corner and hail Uber Airlines to anywhere.

There are three technologies that need to happen first:

  1. Next Generation Air Traffic Control. NextGen ATC refers to aircraft management technology that uses space-based GPS instead of ground-based radar to manage air traffic around airports. NG-ATC could literally light up 500 municipal airports and eventually up to 5000 small airports with all-weather service. Currently, only 30-40 major hubs can handle such operations.
  1. Curiosumé is a concept that we first developed at Social Flights, LLC for determining the probability that a certain number of people within a certain geographic area would all want to go to another geographic location within a certain window of time – and again in reverse, on the same day. The reason that we wanted to take this approach was an attempt to manage 5 sets of FAA regulations statistically instead trying to do so preemptively.
  1. Blockchain Technology would then provide the database technology which could handle all of the pilot qualifications, flight logs, aircraft maintenance logs, passenger manifest, inter-party payments, ground transportation, hotel reservations, etc. A set of rules and adjudicated contracts could be developed to manage the rest of the regulations.

With these technologies, we estimated that an Uber Airlines service would need a minimum of 2.5 million registered users located within 10 miles of 500 small NG-ATC airports (5000 per airport) in order to fill 6-8 seats on a private aircraft traveling in both directions to and from any one of the other 500 airports within an 8 hour period at least once per day. If this puzzle can be solved for small airplanes, it is only a matter of time before you could disintermediate large carriers as well.  That is how to solve this problem.

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Identity Verification On Blockchain

by Dan Robles on January 5, 2016

This Panel was formed at the Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on December 5, 2015 to unpack the issue of Identity verification on Blockchain.  One of the most powerful components of blockchain technology is the equal ability to disintermediate a person’s identity from their data, as to associate identity with a dataset. During this panel of experts, the lines were clearly formed around the notion of who “controls” identity and whether anonymity is considered as valid a form of identity in a transaction as full disclosure.

Dan Robles, PE – The Ingenesist Project (moderator),
Tim Swanson – R3
Paige Peterson – MaidSafe,
David Birch – Consult Hyperion,
Joyce Kim – Stellar.org

Background:

There can be no blockchain banking without verification of identity on blockchain.  While this may seem like an invasive requirement, it may also be considered a liberating requirement.  Billions of people are “unbanked” and cannot hold assets because there is no way to identify who owns what.  Where blockchain makes banking available to more people, so too must identity be verifiable among those people.

Even in the developed world, identity is deeply flawed.  Why would I need to show a driver’s license with address and driving record just to prove that I am old enough to buy a beer, or receive a senior’s discount at the movie theater?  Why can’t a person simply prove age, or prove driving ability, or prove residence, or identify any facet of trade without also revealing every other facet?  It is often such matters of identifications that can best secure privacy.

This brings to question who would maintain, manage, and / or control identifications.  Would it be a fully decentralized system or would it be a permissioned database system?  Would the identity institution be a bank or a private corporation, or a government or a decentralized organization?

Finally, what is the core objective of an identity system?  Will it project the ability to access something? Would it quantify and qualify the potential to produce something?  Does identity pertain equally to the object of commerce and the objective of commerce?   To what degree does the security of identity impact the durability of ownership?

Blockchain technology and those who seek to apply it are all encountering the identity issue.  From Banks trying to comply with KYC/AML to engineering societies trying to identify the right knowledge assets to solve a particular problem, the question of identity management is a paramount consideration.  These are exciting times because the subject is so new.  Please sit back and enjoy this rare opportunity for such a diverse panel of experts to drill into an important subject that impacts us all.

 

 

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Introducing Quant

by Dan Robles on December 16, 2015

Introducing QuantWhat is Quant?

Quant is a digital token that represent human productivity. The total number of Quant that can be mined is 223.3 Trillion corresponding to the approximate dollar value of outstanding human productivity existing on December 15, 2015. This is the amount of future productivity that everyone in the world has committed to each other in the form of global debt obligations.

The flaw

What people may not fully understand is that human productivity is not stored in banks, corporate boardrooms, and governments – these institutions only maintain and control the ledger of future productivity, they are not the actual source of the productivity.

Rather, human productivity is stored and sourced in the combined education, experiences, talents, skills, health, community, passions, professions, careers, as well as works of engineering, artistic expression, and scientific achievements of humans. These are the actual stores and sources of human productivity.

Unfortunately for most people, it is very hard to see this distinction without a proper reference. Introducing Quant provides that reference unit of account.

Fixing the Flaw

Curiosumé represents a person’s talents, interests, and skills (i.e., future productivity) in a form of cryptography. In essence, fabricating smart keys that can open and close social contracts on blockchain. As a result, knowledge assets may become visible to an accounting system under the explicit control of the owner. Once built, Curiosumé will mine Quant from the “proofs-of-work” performed by real people solving real puzzles that maintain a real network. The Network will be able to allocate Quant using algorithms measuring fault tolerant network dynamics, thereby decentralizing production.

Building Curiosumé

The Ingenesist Project (TIP) has created the Quant Token on the Bitshares Blockchain.  TIP has issued to itself Q10,000,000 to be allocated to the development of Curiosumé.   All participants in the initial phase will be given a donation of Q100 per hour for helping build and disseminate Curiosumé to the public domain. Future levels, if founded, will re-value the earlier round on a ratio of 10:1

Introducing Quant as the internal token of the Curiosumé network will allow people to articulate knowledge assets in true decentralized corporations.

***

Disclaimer: Quant is not a currency nor is it meant to represent value or security in any entity.  Quant is akin to a game token where the challenge is to solve a puzzle to a public domain ledger. There will be leaderboards, level-ups, and player interaction similar to any role-play game. Quant may be sourced and sunk only within the intended open-source game that it portrays.  The whole “Global Debt” thing is part of the backstory, not some sort of political aspiration or commentary.  C’mon, this is supposed to be fun.  

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Zertify Zillow Zestimates On Blockchain

by Dan Robles on December 9, 2015

zertify zillow zestimate on blockchain Big Problem with Zillow Zestimates:

Perhaps the best example of metadata being imposed upon an unwary public is the “Zillow Zestimate”.  Zillow.com is a real estate website that aggregates public information and boldly publishes the value of your personal property while quietly disclaiming that invalidity of their own valuation.  In all fairness, RedFin.com and Trulia.com also provide similarly structured valuations of your most valuable asset with no physical verification. The slightest misrepresentation could cost the homeowner tens of thousands of dollars for which there is absolutely no recourse.

According to Homevisor.com: if your house (or a house you are looking to buy) has a Zestimate of $300,000 – there is almost a 25% chance that the house will sell for less than $240,000 or more than $360,000. That is a pretty wide margin of error. 

There must be a way to Zertify Zilliow Zestimates on blockchain

Implications:

The result is that responsible homeowners who have conscientiously maintained and improved their property at great expense of time and money may be punished in a market while those who neglected their properties may be overly rewarded.  Neither the buyer nor the seller has any way of inspecting comparable homes used by Zillow.  This causes market distortion that affects the buyer, the seller, and the community at large.

Root Cause:

Zillow, Trulia, and RedFin all scan from public data sources.  The problem is that there is no trusted public ledger where owners can register valuable improvements and amenities that may dramatically impact the value – and which lower the risk of owning a particular property.  If such a trusted ledger did exist, it is certain that data scrapers such as Zillow, Trulia, and RedFin would be happy to scrape the data at no marginal cost.

Solution:

An organization such as the National Society of Professional Engineers has sufficient authority to provide a blockchain based ledger where a licensed professional engineer could physically review major components of a property including structural, plumbing, electrical, envelope, energy efficiency, HVAC, Solar Installations, mold, corrosion, critical slope, tree liabilities, view amenities, etc., and formulate an annual cost of ownership statement (ACOS) over a standard period of time.  The licensed engineer will register the ACOS, along with recent remodeling permits filed with the city, on the NSPE blockchain where it may be accessed by Zillow, Redfin, Trulia, MLS, banks, insurance, and the public, etc.

Value Proposition:

The ACOS and the Professional Engineering condition assessment could be provided to owners for a flat fee or subscription fee with a ROI greater than 10:1. This means that viability threshold for engineering assessment is defined as adding more than 10,000 dollars to the average sales price of the property for every 1000 dollars that the homeowner spends on the engineering report.  Owners that don’t meet this minimum threshold would not benefit from an ACOS and could not be listed on the NSPE Registry.

Size of market:

Assuming that there are about 100 million private homes in the US.  The percentage of under-valued homes that would benefit from a 10:1 PE registry are characterized at over +1 standard deviation on a bell curve distribution and higher.  This is roughly equivalent to 14% of 100 million, or approximately 14 million properties.  If each of those spends a minimum of  $1000 dollars for assessments, the value of the market would exceed $1.4B dollars. According to Homevisor.com estimates, the market would bear an engineering cost of $6000 yielding a $60,000 ROI, or roughly a $10B dollar market.

Conclusion:

Such a blockchain would safeguard the health and welfare of people and property while increasing  the visibility of professional engineers as a public financial institution with real financial impact.  The NSPE data would reduce volatility in banking and insurance ledgers so that pricing becomes more efficient. Real Estate professionals, renovation contractors, and real estate appraisers would also benefit from the registry by delivering the right product to the right client at the right time. It will increase the demand for a retail professional engineering sector to defend the technical best interest of society.  It will signal high integrity rather than low integrity to the preventive maintenance market.  Most importantly, the homeowners who maintain their property and those who will buy those properties benefit from fair market assessment of property values at a far greater utility than the typical point-of-sale home inspection.

Notes:

  • The ideas presented here are the sole creation of the author and not meant to reflect the intentions or interests of the National Society of Professional Engineers, Zillow, or any other referenced entity. 
  • Zertify takes its name from a portmanteau between the word certify and the statistical z-test https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-test

Blockchain Technology and the Engineering Profession

December 7, 2015

Blockchain Technology and the Engineering Profession Blockchain protocol and technology is said by many to be among the greatest accomplishments of human intellect since the Internet.  Blockchain is the underlying technology to what is commonly known as Bitcoin, however, the technology is not exclusive to Bitcoin.  Swarms of innovators are working feverishly to design and […]

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NSPE Launches FinTech Task Force

November 5, 2015

The National Society of Professional Engineers has formed a task force to research and review blockchain applications aimed at the banking and insurance sectors for applicability and impacts to the engineering profession.  The task force is made up of 8 visionary engineers from within the membership.  Daniel Robles, PE (this author) was appointed to lead […]

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Municipal Governance On The Blockchain

October 13, 2015

As a member of the City of Edmonds Planning Board, I hear a lot about what the public wants and what they do not want from their local government.  As a seaside town, property values can be greatly impacted by water and mountain views.  As such, there is an incentive to remove trees blocking views. […]

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BidPool Adjudicated Smart Contract Game

October 12, 2015

Problem:  Many contractors say that their COGS (cost of goods sold) consumes 10-30% of their expenses. Obviously, this cost is passed on the customer.  Bidding can be made far more efficient with BidPool Adjudicated Smart Contract Gaming platform. For example: 5 contractors may spend $10K bidding on a 1 million dollar project that only one will win. […]

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Gun Control On The Blockchain

October 6, 2015

The following discussion related to Gun Control On The Blockchain is a thought-exercise only inspired by new and emerging technologies for decentralized self-governance and does not necessarily represent the opinion of the author. It is not intended to favor any single political position. it is not presented as a comprehensive solution to all scenarios. This article is intended to […]

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Introducing Intrinsic Coin

August 15, 2015

From Wiktionary: INTRINSIC Nothing economic can happen until two or more people get together and build something useful.  In a global human network that is facing global constraints, the core function of the economy must be to find each other.  This is made extremely difficult by the existing “factors of production” that now classify and […]

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