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Tag: Bitcoin

The Highest and Best Use for Blockchain Technology

earthshot2The hallmark of a great society is the ability to capitalize it’s needs, not it’s arbitrage opportunities.  The Highest and Best Use for Blockchain Technology must be to reduce the cost of capital by decentralizing risk, not necessarily money…yet

Blockchain technology carries a promise of great opportunity, efficiency, and fairness in business operations and governance for an entire struggling planet. If that is true, then Blockchain technology should be integrated broadly and uniformly across society and within as many existing institutions as possible. If that is true, then Blockchain development should not be the exclusive domain of a single sector, such as banking. Nor should Blockchain development reflect priorities of highest ROI from VC start-ups. Likewise, purely Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) may carry the risk of operating in an extralegal sector without legal recourse, thereby increasing net volatility, not decreasing it.

A different track is required.

The primary objective of Blockchain technology must be to reduce the cost of capital by decentralizing risk, not necessarily money. The highest and best use for blockchain technology is therefore insurance, not necessarily banking. In doing so, blockchain innovation can then be applied broadly, evenly, and intentionally across the economy. This makes sense because when building anything complex or important, one logical piece needs to go in front of the next logical piece regardless of it’s individual ROI, because the collective ROI is the true basis of valuation. If people tried to build an airplane in the same manner we are now trying to build decentralized economics, a few may benefit, but an air transportation system, as a whole, would be tragically constrained.

We have seen this before.

Many of the issues currently propping up the narrative to the Blockchain phenomenon were also present during the time of this author’s participation in the NAFTA negotiations. Anyone who was around in the early 1990’s may remember the mantra of modern globalization was that decentralized markets were good and centralized markets were bad. The mathematics supporting the efficiency of free trade models such as the Theory of Comparative Advantage were, and still are, bullet proof. So what happened?

Unfortunately, decentralized markets were administered unevenly, disproportionately, and only partially insurable, at best. The act of trying to control a decentralized market eliminated many of the benefits of having one. Today, we face a similar peril, except we are playing with a far more powerful technology promising exponential efficiency, or exponential deficiency. Don’t let the pundits fool you. It can go either way.

The difference today is that we also have the knowledge, foresight, a technological tool kit, and profound responsibility to get it right this time.

Let’s begin.

The place to start developing blockchain technology is through a consortium of Insurance and Professional Engineering institutions for the creation of relevant infrastructure and the physical derivatives upon which everyone utterly depends. This includes renewable energy, clean air, safe water, transportation systems, health and welfare, housing, building systems, computer networks, etc. After all, bitcoins aren’t worth a whole lot when the power goes down.

Infrastructure projects, and all their beneficiary derivatives, require financial institutions that can bridge the capitalization gap between the inception of a project and revenue from the project. This period of time is rife with peril because the “money and title” precedes the delivery of the physical asset. The cost of capital is directly proportional to the risk associated with project delivery. Wherever the insurance industry is capable of pooling project risks, the cost of capital will fall precipitously. The insurance industry is therefore an imperative component to this objective. Banking is relatively simple, accounts can be cleared with a placeholder currency; a token, if you will.

Herein lie both the challenge and the opportunity facing Insurance and Engineering institutions related to Blockchain Technology:

First, as with all new technology, we need to recognize that society will reorganize itself around Blockchain Technology. We need to provide hundreds of millions of entrepreneurs and citizens the support systems with which to do so.

Second, if each component part of the blockchain system is insurable, so too should the entire system. We need to insure and reinsure each individual components of a blockchain business system(s) in order to lower its cost of capital.

Finally, once insurable, each component part of the new economy will have the same cost of capital as any other part. The relative value of an investment will therefore be ordered in time — the most important and valuable piece is the one that goes next in the critical path. This is how things get built.

Taken together, Insurance and Engineering are sufficiently disintermediated from short-term objectives and are ideally suited for the long game. Together, they can bridge the capitalization gap upon which everyone can then cross. They provide outcomes in the physical world that are essential to everyone. Together, they can deliver the projects that are most important — the ones that come next as we navigate our critical path into the future.

Introducing Intrinsic Coin

From Wiktionary: INTRINSIC

Untitled

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 allocate your productivity and mine.  The true intrinsic value of money resides in the social, creative, and intellectual capacity of people who design, maintain, and support those factors of production.

Early cryptocurrencies solve only part of this problem by providing a indelible ledger and medium of exchange. But true money must store (represent) human productivity, otherwise people would not be willing to be productive in exchange for it. To reconcile these shortcomings, The Ingenesist Project (TIP) is building a new class of cryptocurrency with the defining characteristic of storing and exchanging social, creative, and intellectual value intrinsically, i.e., within the currency itself.

By integrating a Curiosumé layer with an efficient and robust blockchain backbone, people can exchange a currency that represents the intrinsic value of their own productivity in collaboration with that from their community.  Curiosumé converts the résumé into cryptography that allows people to control their own identity as “smart keys” where they can interact with each other using “smart contracts” on a “smart blockchain” such as Bitshares and others.

It is well known that the value of a nation’s currency is backed by the productivity of its citizens. The same is true for states, communities, and even individual persons. Money must have intrinsic value. There really is no way around this except by developing an Intrinsic Coin with these specific characteristics.  This already works on a small scale with community currencies and in co-ops. The challenge now is to scale broadly it to a point of voluntary generalized reciprocity.

Introducing Intrinsic Coin solves this problem by decentralizing productivity of a community prior to the exchange, not after.  This allows people to take control of their identities and the market place for their social, creative, and intellectual capital. From decentralizing so-called ‘human resources’, to putting a tollbooth on big data, to hedging debt instruments, the implications of an Intrinsic Coin are sweeping and vast.

There is no shortage of work that needs to be done, but there is increasingly scarce money to pay for it. There are abundant social, creative, and intellectual assets in people that are not articulated in any traditional accounting system.  If we can create that accounting system, we’ll be able to tap into a ground swell of hugely productive makers who are misallocated in their jobs and careers by the silos they are placed in … or excluded from.

People need a new form of money that they can trade among their selves which helps them find each other and represent their true unadulterated productivity. They need a decentralized ledger and a local exchange. This is where the promise of blockchain technology started. This is where Intrinsic Coin will serve.

The Ingenesist Project Team is comprised of multi-disciplinary experts in Engineering, Insurance, Banking, Philanthropy, and Blockchain Development. Interested partners and financial technology media are encouraged to contact the Ingenesist Project at http://www.ingenesist.com

References: Curiosumé – Reorganizing In the Era of Social Capitalism

 

Bitcoin Protocol Future Currency Impact On The Engineering Profession

Beginning with the failure of the NAFTA Mutual Recognition of Professional Engineers followed by an introduction to modern cryptocurrencies, this seminal presentation specifies a future where engineering knowledge represented by a virtual asset may store true intrinsic value.

This presentation was filmed at the 2015 National Society of Professional Engineers Annual Conference, Advanced Leadership Track, July 16, 2015 in Seattle Washington. Daniel Robles, PE, MIB is the founder of Coengineers, PLLC and The Ingenesist Project

Abstract

The Bitcoin Protocol And The Future Currency Impact On The Engineering Profession

In a Wall Street Journal essay, two authors wrote, “The digital currency known as bitcoin is only six years old, and many of its critics are already declaring it dead. But such dire predictions miss a far more important point: Whether bitcoin survives or not, the technology underlying it is here to stay.” This session will cover what digital currency means for the engineering profession.

“Decentralization” is a term being applied to platforms that use the Blockchain Protocol pioneered by Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin.  As a cryptographic currency, Bitcoin remains problematic.  However, as an algorithmic protocol, blockchain technology will enable society to cheaply perform common business processes that are now controlled by institutions such as banks, insurance companies, corporations, government, etc.  Today, rapidly emerging platforms are under development to bring “smart contracts” (algorithms based on blockchain technology) into the mainstream.  

An important and essential variant of smart contracts is called an “Adjudicated Smart Contract” that requires an independent 3rd party adjudicator that would “flip the switch” on algorithmic agreements in finance, insurance, and decisions of governance.  There is a staggering opportunity ahead for the engineering profession to position itself for the role of the adjudicator in a wide variety of important and high value transactions.  The caveat is that we too must change the way that we organize ourselves.   

This presentation, Decentralizing the Engineering Profession, begins with the failure of the NAFTA MRD followed by an introduction to blockchain technologies, and ending with specifications on how our profession can jump to the top of the value chain in the era of Social Capitalism – if, and only if, [the engineering profession] can choose to change. 

Bitcoin Protocol Impact on the Engineering Profession

I will be delivering a very serious presentation at the Nation Society of Professional Engineers Annual Conference on July 2015 in Seattle.  My point will be crystal clear. Money must represent human productivity. Period. The base layer of any economy is a nation’s infrastructure.  As such, any new Cryptocurrency MUST be associated with the engineering domain otherwise it is equal to any other financial derivative whose value is also ultimately dependent on the value of engineered infrastructure.

It’s time to stop the poetry and time start building a civilization we can all be proud of.  It is time to build Curiosumé

Bitcoin Protocol Impact on the Engineering Profession

Abstract: 

The Bitcoin Protocol and Future Currency Impact on the Engineering Profession

In a Wall Street Journal essay, two authors wrote, “The digital currency known as bitcoin is only six years old, and many of its critics are already declaring it dead. But such dire predictions miss a far more important point: Whether bitcoin survives or not, the technology underlying it is here to stay.” This session will cover what digital currency means for the engineering profession.

“Decentralization” is a term being applied to platforms that use the Blockchain Protocol pioneered by Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin.  As a cryptographic currency, Bitcoin remains problematic.  However, as an algorithmic protocol, blockchain technology will enable society to cheaply perform common business processes that are now controlled by institutions such as banks, insurance companies, corporations, government, etc.  Today, rapidly emerging platforms are under development to bring “smart contracts” (algorithms based on blockchain technology) into the mainstream.  

An important and essential variant of smart contracts is called an “Adjudicated Smart Contract” that requires an independent 3rd party adjudicator that would “flip the switch” on algorithmic agreements in finance, insurance, and decisions of governance.  There is a staggering opportunity ahead for the engineering profession to position itself for the role of the adjudicator in a wide variety of important and high value transactions.  The caveat is that we too must change the way that we organize ourselves.   

This presentation, Decentralizing the Engineering Profession, begins with the failure of the NAFTA MRD followed by an introduction to blockchain technologies, and ending with specifications on how our profession can jump to the top of the value chain in the era of Social Capitalism – if, and only if, [the engineering profession] can choose to change.  

Date:

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Start Time: 3:15 pm
End Time: 4:15 pm
Number of PDHs: 1
Speaker: Dan Robles, P.E.
REF:

Bitcoin Protocol Impact on the Engineering Profession

Bitcoin is Already a Derivative

derivativeMany a Bitcoin company executive seeks a way to hedge the balance sheet risk of their business.  It would be useful to have a liquid (ostensibly, dollar backed) futures and options exchange market that would provide hedging opportunities for speculators while providing much needed price stability.  It sounds like Bitcoin is already a derivative.

What is a Derivative:

In the most basic definition, a derivative is something whose value is derived from the value of something else. Derivatives have no intrinsic value in and of themselves. Their value is based on the expected future price movements of the underlying asset.

Bitcoin is Already a Derivative

A bitcoin does not have an intrinsic value in and of itself, rather, the value of a Bitcoin is derived from the value of all the glorious things you can do with Bitcoin which cannot be done without Bitcoin.  Indeed this value is significant: bitcoin adoption promises to eliminate the gatekeepers of banking, insurance, law, and even governance.

Hey wait, Aren’t all those gatekeepers derivatives too!!!

Bankers, insurance brokers, lawyers and politicians do not have any intrinsic value in and of themselves either.  They produce nothing intrinsically edible, healing, nor comforting for anyone.  Like Bitcoin, the value of banks and insurance companies and legislators is derived from all the things that you can do with them which cannot be done with out them. These include capitalizing seed or machinery for growing food, or constructing a home or factory for increasing human productivity, or providing a salary to a teacher or doctor (in the conspicuous absence of a currency not of the gatekeeper’s design).

What isn’t a derivative?

The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the building that keep us warm and dry, the machinery that transports us and makes us healthy and the teachers that show us how to do useful things are NOT derivatives.  They have intrinsic value in and of themselves.

What is an Integral?

In mathematics an integral is the a function of which a given function is the derivative.  Creating an integral is the reverse of creating a derivative. That is the direction we should be headed in.

For example, integral of a teacher may be the school building within which everyone gathers.  As such, the value of the teacher can be derived from the change in value of the building that keeps everyone warm and dry during their lessons.  The integral of the food we eat is the machinery that allows the farmer to be more efficient.  In this case, the value of the food (nutritional) is derived from the quality of the farming practiced that created it.

The Opposite of a Derivative is an Integral.

When all is said and done and we’ve followed the integral to its origin, we will always find an Ingenesist. An Ingenesist is someone who invents, creates, designs, envisions, and brings forward into reality something that supports the health, welfare, and safety of people and environment.  Those are the only intrinsic values that truly exist.  Seriously, what else is there?

So when the financial world is contemplating derivatives of derivatives of derivatives of derivatives, we are contemplating the integrals of the integrals of the integrals.  Bitcoin is already a derivative. Ingenesist is already an integral.

The Future Is Common Knowledge

Common Knowledge

Image Credit

Few people recognize the true economic potential of Wikipedia. Obviously, Wikipedia is an important resource for individuals and profit making companies.  It would take Billions of dollars to recreate it from scratch. But the true value of Wikipedia does not end here.

Wikipedia is a really huge set of interconnecting nodes – a massive dynamic database in the commons. When two points are connected, the magnitude and direction of the resulting line provides information about the data and proximity to other data.  Wikipedia is a venerable roadmap of connections between significant people, places, things, and ideas. Not unlike the Facebook social graph, Wikipedia in aggregate is a knowledge graph of humanity.  It is therefore as perfect a representation of humanity because it was created by humanity.

Mass Encryption

One of the more effective ways to encrypt data is to hide it among other data. In fact, your personal knowledge graph, stripped of  personally identifiable information can be hidden – like a needle in a haystack – among the wikipedia knowledge graph.  Your knowledge graph can then extrapolated along the nodes, edges, and paths of Wikipedia to draw inferences, make decisions, or set priorities for yourself and your interaction with the community.  It’s like your own private Big Data engine that only you can see.

The idea behind Curiosumé is to develop that vehicle from which a person can interpret actionable information when they overlay a persona (or Proxy) of themselves on the Wikipedia commons.  When many people overlay their personas to the Public Wikipedia Haystack, they can specify criteria out of nodes and branches of the wikipedia knowledge graph to find each other, to work together, to learn and teach.

Enter Block Chain

Each owner holds a private key in a cryptographic vault to their proxy that they can share, rent, or retract from others. The Private key is the only way to associate the owner with their proxy and with the commons. Mutual private key exchange will define a market for intangible assets among owners of such assets.  This exchange device would be ideally suited for a cryptographic platform such as Maidsafe protocol or Bitcoin Protocol.

Connections, intersections, and resultant “vectors” will reveal patterns from which decisions can be made.  The future economy may include the exchange of private keys.

Level Playing Field

As long as proxies – or personas – are anonymized, it would be OK for everyone to have access to them in the commons.  In fact, the quantity and the quality of the personas in the commons for a community or location could underwrite the currency of that community.  Everyone would have the ability to test their persona in the public domain upon any market to reveal their greatest economic potential.  Such a community currency would have a relative value to other communities not unlike, say, Forex.

The community can even test their own combined personas against a host of scenario proxies such as job proxies, investment proxies, etc., all without committing personal information. However, when two or more parties engage in transaction and/or interface with a regulatory agency, they will need to reveal their private key in order for a transaction to pass a pre-established compliance proxy that is also comprised of nodes and branches in the commons.

The Art of War

It would be very difficulty for people to violate another person because they will need access to the other person’s private key as well as a change in the commons in order to formulate a deception. If they modify the commons, they will in fact reveal themselves as a transaction.   If a perpetrator can somehow change the other person’s proxy, then they will notify others connected to that proxy of that change. Further, the perpetrator may be unwittingly doing more harm to themselves than good in their own connection to other proxies when attacking a particular persona – any action, except the truthful action, could have implications that are unknowable.

As such, there is little incentive to cheat.

Cloud Wars  

As such, any disputes will be fought in the commons and not at each individual node where the world engages in wars, competition, and oppression today. Wars would be fought in the info commons rather than being shrouded in the fog of ground ops.

The Future of Common Knowledge

 The future of common knowledge is the “commons”.  If every person, corporation, or institution were to index to a commons based data source, we could all observe each other while maintaining our privacy.  Economic scenarios could be run without expending money.  Disputes could be handled in the cloud.  The maintenance of the commons could become a new form of governance.

Fueling The Decentralization Movement

I recently moderated a panel at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on December 2, 2014.  When I put this panel together, my intention was to make the distinction more intuitive between an economy based in tangible assets and an economy based in intangible assets.   Whether they realized it or not, this particular group of panelists provided early  characteristics of a “full stack” new economic architecture as we described in this early 2009 series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Here is the video of the conference panel.  Below that, are the questions that I had prepared for the group – most of which I did not need to ask.  This panel, in my opinion not only represents some of the most forward thinking people in the crypto-space but also the extremely important integration of applications that are arising in crypto-space.  That is the landmark condition that I am looking for, where applications integrate with each other.

Fueling The Decentralization Movement

 

Below is my prep sheet for the panel;

 

Dan: Welcome to Fueling The Decentralization Movement

 

How many people know what bitcoin is?

Are you familiar with decentralized applications beyond currency?

Would you know how to issue your own currency?

How many people are familiar with Ethereum?

Open: 1-2 minute introduction from each panelist

Q1; Sam. Please define Decentralized Applications (ref: whitepaper) and what you look for in an “investment grade” DApp.

Q2; Paige: Please expand definition of DApp to include non-block chain applications and discuss the off-BCP ways of accomplishing similar results.

Q3: Chris: Where does Ethereum fit in the DApps movement (now and in the next revision) that would facilitate DApp formation and integration.

Q4: Joel: Traditional VC are looking for 1000% on money. Banks lend at 10%, so obviously, there must be a whole lot happening between 10-1000%. What does that look like to you? How could we all release this potential.

Open: Suppose there is a spectrum where on one side, traditional bankers are the ledger holders and adjudicators conjure new money into existence. And on the other side, Bitcoin is a fully decentralized ledger and algorithm that brings new coins into existence. At some point, aren’t we trading one master for another or isn’t their some hybrid model that solves the problems of each? The goal it seems is to be judged as somewhat better than the banking system rather than somewhat less perfect than bitcoin. Do we have priorities s traight?

Open: What are people talking about in the Bitcoin Meetups and the Ethereum Meetups? What is the range of discussion and how viable are the ideas that people are bringing forward? What is the size and demographic of the meet up communities? What do they want to achieve? What are the resentments and where is the optimism?

Open; Nothing economic happens until two or more people get together to build something useful. Virtual goods are cool but something eventually has to touch the earth – to make something real. What can DApps do to bridge the virtual and the real? Stated in another way; when can I buy groceries with my altcoin?

Open: Bitcoin cryptographic “proof of work” creates a new coin and establishes order. The Fiat Banker’s “Proof of future productivity (debt)” also creates a new coin and established ownership. Assuming this to be a trust spectrum; how would “mining” be defined along this spectrum? Can adjudicated smart contracts serve as proof of work to mine coin into existence?

Open: Please describe differences between proof of work, proof of stake, proof of incentive, proof of resource, proof of performance and any number of proofs types. How interchangeable are they, what individual purposes do they serve? Can they combine to serve additional purposes?

Open: Do you believe that decentralization can reach a point where people become their own coin mined by themselves as they accumulate knowledge asset, collaboration, innovation capacity, i.e., representing their own productivity?

Open: What happens when the output of one DApp becomes the input to another forming a fault tolerant network or DApps? Ultimately this has to do with the convertibility of each other’s coins and ultimately convertibility with Fiat currency. What will these exchanges look like?

Open; I like to draw the distinction between classical economics and the New Value Movement. Classical economics posits merchant class allocation of land, labor, and capital for the ideal production of the things that society needs. The New Value movement is describing a decentralized allocation of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital for the ideal production of the things that society needs. Where are we on that spectrum and when do you believe that a big flip will happen between the two (if any)? Will it be gradual or sudden? What externalities are involved? Does one hedge the other? What are the possible worldwide implications of this?

 

 

Future Of Money Part 2

In 1801, Eli Whitney went before the US Congress with 10 working muskets. He proceeded to disassemble each of them, mix and scramble all the parts, then reassemble 10 muskets – all of them worked.  Prior to that day, most things were custom made by craftsmen using hand tools. Then, in a flash of geological time, the idea of interchangeable parts was released to the world – it would be impossible to put the idea back in its cage. Extraordinary levels of innovation followed as the industrial revolution was born.

Energy Flow

In the murky world of crypto-currencies, the financial instruments of tomorrow may not necessarily be assembled like they are today. The new applications of decentralized currency are modeled more like “energy” flows rather than individual units of account. Energy exists in many forms such as electrical energy, chemical energy, thermodynamic energy, kinetic energy, nuclear energy, etc., but the objective is always the same, to move something in the physical world – to create change. The value of crypto-currency is proportional to the magnitude of change it can induce.

Future Of Money Part 2

A generalized theory is emerging to define and specify decentralized applications (DApps). This makes them easier to identify, measure, and replicate. If ignored, these innovations have the potential to be extremely disruptive to the insurance industry. If adapted, they can greatly increase the efficiency, variety, precision, and granularity for insurance products of tomorrow.

Not unlike the dawn of the industrial revolution, there is an extraordinary level of innovation in crypto-currencies since the inception of Bitcoin. The objective of these efforts is to move something in computational space such as flipping a switch, verifying a data set, securing identity, establishing order, establishing ownership, verifying capacity, etc.   This may seem somewhat obscure until you realize that these “energies” can convert and combine in immeasurable combinations to form autonomous logic circuits – i.e. complex contracts.

Since all businesses are based on contracts that act upon some physical space, it is only a matter of time before crypto-contracts jump to the physical space as well. As David Johnson, CEO of DApps Fund (a venture capital firm for decentralized innovation) says; “Everything that can be decentralized will be decentralized”. Eli Whitney was said to have uttered similar sentiments.

The early manifestations of this phenomenon are called Decentralized Application (DApps); these are little computational engines that operate autonomously and whose output is determined by an algorithm. The resulting decisions are binary and final. There are three characteristics that an application must have in order to be classified as a DApps. As you read these conditions, note how different they are from a traditional corporate structure.

  1. The application must be completely open-source, it must operate Autonomously, with no entity controlling the majority of its tokens, and its data and records of operation must be cryptographically stored in a public, decentralized block chain.
  2. The application must generate tokens according to a standard algorithm or set of criteria. These tokens must be necessary for the use of the application and any contribution from users should be rewarded by payment in the application’s tokens.
  3. The application may adapt its protocol in response to proposed improvements and market feedback but all changes must be decided by majority consensus of its users.

Next, there are three classes of Decentralized Applications that align loosely to a familiar computer analogy:

  • A Type I DApp is analogous to a computer operating system such as Windows or the Mac OS X, etc.
  • A Type II DApp is analogous to a general-purpose software program such as Word, Excel, or iPhoto.
  • A Type III DApp is analogous to a specialized software solution like a mail merge, or an expense macro, or a blogging platform.

As such, we can expect that there will be a fewest type I DApps, more type II DApps and even more type III DApps.

The more direct definition of these three classes is as follows: 

  • Type I decentralized applications has its own block chain. Bitcoin is the most famous example of a type I decentralized application but there are others. 
  • Type II decentralized applications use the block chain of a type I decentralized application. Type II decentralized applications are protocols and have tokens that are necessary for their function. 
  • Type III decentralized applications use the protocol of a type II decentralized application. For example: A hypothetical Cloud Protocol that uses a type II DApp to issue ‘cloudcoins’ that can be used to buy cloud computing services would be an example of a type III decentralized application.

Taken together we have most, if not all, of the familiar components of governance and interdependencies without the layers of management that are associated with traditional corporations. As you absorb the analogy and definitions, consider how DApps can be nested, combined, and integrated with other DApps to emulate complex contracts.

One particularly interesting DApp that recently launched is called Counterparty . Counterparty is a Type II DApp that performs one single task extremely well.

Counterparty is a betting platform; or we can put it politely and call it an escrow platform. Two parties may enter into an agreement about the outcome of a future event such as a horse race or football game. Each player puts his or her money into an escrow account that is sealed prior to the race. After the results are registered, the DApp autonomously transfers the money from the combined account to the winner.

Now imagine 500 bettors putting their money into the escrow account prior to the contract event. Upon completion of the event, the money is automatically assigned by algorithm to the winners in pre-assigned proportions. It does not take too much imagination to see this as an insurance product, except without agents, executives, managers, office towers or cute little geckos.

Soon, marathon runners can pool health insurance more towards sprains and falls, and less toward heart disease. Mini-van moms can pool auto insurance for number of passengers rather than miles driven. Professionals can pool E&O insurance by peer review. In fact, any affinity group can accurately price the perils that they are also most capable to manage.  DApps are massively scalable; one application can serve infinite users.

The market size of binary betting (sports, insurance, coin toss, etc.) combined with complex betting (contracts for difference, hedging, options, etc.) is in the trillions of dollars. So while Counterparty has only one use case, the use case is massive.  Now imagine 100,000 DApps operating autonomously, combining and integrating into complex relationships – not unlike building a jigsaw puzzle.

There was once a time when craftsmen guilds were the most powerful organization in the republic. Many of us remember the days when labor was increasingly replaced by machinery. The time may be arriving where machinery can also replace management. The insurance industry must become familiar with this environment and have the wherewithal to reorganize itself, before someone else does it for them.

***

Come Join us At The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco, December 2, 2014 for my panel discussion on Fueling the Decentralization Movement.

Speakers:

Paige Peterson – Maidsafe

Sam Onat Yilmaz – Dapps Fund

Joel Dietz – Swarm.co

Christian Peel – Ethereum

Moderator: Dan Robles, The Ingenesist Project

Future Of Money – Not What You Think

Power of PeopleNever underestimate the ability of the human species to adapt to changes in its environment.

All humans are engineers. If there is too much friction in a system, they will fix it, or they will replace it. When banks add overdraft penalties, incur service fees, constrain capital, restrict mobility or compromise the public trust in any way, all those engineers will make a “correction.” Money, after all, is a social agreement.

Today, young people are encountering a financial game that they cannot win playing by the rules that are presented to them. The result should surprise no one – they will either not play the game, or they will change the rules. In fact, innovation in banking is happening at an astonishing rate; unfortunately, bankers are not necessarily doing it.

Because banking touches every part of our lives, so, too, will any innovation that occurs in the domain of banking.

Look at Bitcoin. It is more than just a cute new social app like Facebook or Twitter – it is a new idea called decentralization. If it is possible to decentralize banking, it would also be possible to decentralize everything; insurance, engineering, education, production (i.e., corporations), education, legislation and even governance. Nothing is immune from the next wave of Internet innovation that is bearing down — and right now, not tomorrow.

Because this is an insurance audience, allow me to mention that, the easiest (technically) and likely the first big innovation that will arise from the decentralization movement will be decentralization of insurance. With the advent of smart contract platforms such as Ethereum and Ripple Labs, people can form their own risk-sharing pools to cover a whole suite of perils now in the domain of insurance. (For the lawyers and politicians out there, it is also nearly trivial to set up voting, escrow, contract enforcement, etc., via the sort of block chain protocol that is the basis for Bitcoin.)

Last year, I published an article called “What if everyone was a BitCoin”? The core idea was that there are several problems with Bitcoin:

  • Concentration of wealth is worse than the dollar.
  • The proof of work that creates coin is trivial except for the fact that it is difficult.
  • The valuation was speculative.

Future Of Money – Not What You Think

Today, there are hundreds of companies forming, and being funded in the millions of dollars, that are investing in innovations that would create thousands, if not millions, of alt-coins with characteristics of Bitcoin, except iterated without the impracticalities of Bitcoin.

For example, MaidSafe was able to introduce a currency called Safecoin that provides a way to take unused computational capacity that members are willing to contribute and build a decentralized server network. This network encrypts data flowing through it, creating a secure and anonymous Internet. What happens to big data when people stop sharing the streams of information available on today’s Internet?

Further, innovations such as Curiosumé (by this author) could have wide-ranging implications on everything from education to corporate HR and factors of production – Curiosumé is an open-source development project designed to replace the resume as a means for describing one’s interests, skills and abilities; the tag line is, “Because the resume must die.”

Swarm.co allows individuals to invest time and money in decentralized innovations without banks, insurance, corporations, etc. A new generation of venture capitalists such as DApps Fund is already funding new startups in crypto-currencies and demonstrating high convertibility and liquidity.

Every month, thousands of people are coming together at Meet-up  (itself an earlier social innovation) to learn, teach and collaborate on open-source platforms such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, Ripple and many others. Every day, with each article warning of the dangers of Bitcoin, there is another article of an ex-CEO banker coming out strongly in favor of the financial innovation in the crypto space. What is certain is that every impression placed on the public regarding these new technologies is bad for the status quo for banking and insurance.

Resistance predictably comes from the public voice of banks and governments, which have the most invested in the way things are. This is not to say that they are bad and wrong, just that they have the greatest infrastructure in place to support the existing system. Changing their minds is like pushing electric cars against the tide of Big Oil; lines have been drawn in concrete.

What we are seeing is not a “revolution” with a central army in a field of battle; there is simply a natural progression happening fueled by rational efficiency and nothing else. But change is inevitable.

As with previous financial innovations, my guess is that some trader may discover that the true risk associated with a particular crypto-asset is less than what the risk-adjusted market valuation indicates it is. Then, a financial instrument will be developed to exploit the risk-arbitrage. Some readers may recall the saga of Michael Milken, who correctly observed that companies with low credit scores were in some cases less likely to fail than their risk valuations indicated. This led to the creation of junk bonds and, ultimately, the idea that risk valuations can be skirted. To Milken’s credit, the assumption held until greed set in (which is not the fault of the asset).

I believe something similar may or must happen in finance to spawn internal innovation. For example: the insurance industry does not necessarily care about risk per se; the industry cares mostly that the risk is priced correctly. Soon, the insurance industry may realize that the risk of assets backed in crypto-currencies is lessened because of increased liquidity, fewer restrictions and regulations and rapid convertibility and because they are underwritten by better fundamental assets than the dollar. The industry will develop financial instruments that exploit this risk arbitrage and profit considerably.

But if the insurance company does not innovate in this future form of value, then people will build their own instruments. These new ideas and the technologies will enables millions of entrepreneurs and billions of engineers to print their own money one social agreement at a time. My advice to the insurance industry is to get in, help out and adapt before your customers leave you behind.

(Editors note: You are invited to join the author at The Future of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco, Dec. 2, 2014, for his panel: Everything that Can Be Decentralized Will Be Decentralized.

The description is:

Much of our society today is based on centralized organizations that allocate our land, labor and money to create the things that we need. Today, we have an opportunity to specify and design any number of decentralized applications that also can produce all the things that society needs — except with stunning efficiency. This is a conversation about what is not only possible but is becoming increasingly probable. This group of speakers represent innovations that decentralize: data, venture capital, productivity, currency, contracts and knowledge — and that’s just the beginning.

The speakers are:

Paige Peterson – Maidsafe

Sam Onat Yilmaz – DApps Fund

Joel Dietz – Swarm.co

Christian Peel – Ethereum

Moderator: Dan Robles, The Ingenesist Project)

Proof of Work vs Proof of Performance

POW_POPProof-of-work (PoW) is a cryptographic technique introduced to a transaction which solves problems of fairness or abuse.  For example, a PoW would require a computer program to solve a simple puzzle before it can pass an email from sender to a receiver.  Someone who sends spam emails would be burdened with an computational costs greater than the possible benefit of sending spam.  A legitimate email from a single sender to a small packet of recipients would pass easily.

Proof-of-performance (PoP) refers to a condition where two parties enter into an agreement and a third party judges whether the conditions of the agreement are met.  Like an escrow account, the buyer puts the money into an account and the seller puts the title into an account.  If the conditions of the contract are met, a judge (adjudicator) flips the switch that completes the transfer.  If conditions are not met, the switch returns the money to the buyer and the title to the seller.

Proof of Work vs Proof of Performance

PoW and PoP are substantially different in many important ways.  For example, for POW the adjudicator is a computer program.  For PoP, the adjudicator is a person.  Ideally, the PoW is perfectly unbiased and cannot be corrupted for personal gain.  The PoP however, resembles the business model of most Brokers who can be biased, if not corruptible for individual gain.  Herein lies the promise of crypto currencies and so-called smart contracts that can be executed by computational algorithm rather than untrusted human agents.

On the other hand, PoW and PoP are conceptually similar is some ways as well.  In the Bitcoin protocol, for example, completing a PoW results in the issuance of a new coin.  Similarly PoP adjudicator is payed a fee or commission for validating the conditions of a contract.  The mother of all PoPs happens in the Banking System which literally issues new dollars into existence in the form of debt as a consequence of an adjudicated contract between a buyer and seller.

While the puzzles and context may differ, the consequence is the same – money is conjured into existence as a result of a humanly intensional transaction.  There really is nothing, except perhaps the deep training of an oppressed population, that says that a decentralized POP adjudicated by qualified and unbiased persona (disaggregated from the transaction) could not also result in the creation of new money.  This is exactly what Curiosumé proposes can be accomplished.

In the prior post; The Conjuring of Intangible Values,  The tangible value of a bridge connecting two cities and the intangible value of that same bridge are vastly different quantities.  Likewise, the tangible value of Bitcoin and the intangible value of Bitcoin are also vastly different different values for the same reason as the bridge between two cities.  If PoW = PoP could be assimilated in a single currency, we could build an economy whose currency is underwritten by the intangible value of infrastructure.

Ultimately, our planet would be the apex of infrastructure preservation, i.e., Humanity’s New Central Bank.

The Conjuring of Intangible Values

Conjure valueMy prior post “The Tale of Two Cities” demonstrates that the intangible social value conjured into existence by the bridge that connects two fair cities far exceeds the ‘tangible’ value of that bridge.  Yet, only the tangible value of the bridge is accounted for on a balance sheet such as GDP.

The Conjuring of Intangible Values

This may seem trivial until you observe that people are paid for their intangible assets (knowledge, creativity, and engineering calculations) as a percentage of the far lower number while the bankers, government, and corporate interests compensate themselves as a percentage of the far higher number.  The difference appears to be unaccounted for.

The Tail of Two Cities article concludes that the value that is conjured into existence by both the bridge and the fractional reserve system must be equal, by definition; otherwise the metaphorical breezeway that connects the two worlds would fall.

Bitcoin suffers from a similar curse as The Tail of Two Cities.  The prevailing argument against the crypto-currency is that it has no intrinsic value.  I have personally argued that a currency must represent human productivity intrinsically or else no other human would be willing to work (be productive) in exchange for it.  An article by Paul Bohm “The Value Of Bitcoin is Decentralization” makes a good point that the intrinsic value of Bitcoin is based on the value conjured into existence by increased productivity to society by what can be accomplished with Bitcoin that otherwise would be impossible without Bitcoin.

So if the valuation of a bridge crossing the river and the valuation of Bitcoin crossing the broker both suffer the same curse that there is no accounting system for intangibles, wouldn’t it make sense to solve that problem first  – i.e., measure into existence the intangible value of the Ingenesist – and then release those millions of human intentions (bridges and Crypto-currencies, not withstanding), into the system of trade?  This is the problem that Curiosumé proposes to resolve.

I believe that we first need to solve the under-mining problem that there is no accounting system for intangible assets.  Only then can there be intrinsic value in the conservation of those assets

… then maybe none of this would seem so mysterious.

The Mother of All Hedge Funds

Money is supposed to represent human productivity; otherwise nobody would work for it (think about that for a second).

Today, money is created from future productivity in the form of debt;  when you take a loan, money is created out of thin air and posted as an asset on the banks ledger.  Unfortunately, the money required to pay interest is never created at all, which drives eternal scarcity.

What Happens Next:

Through the miracles of the fractional reserve system and high finance; money gets thrown into a blender where it is then divorced from the productivity of those who create it, and is converted to exotic financial instruments that bet for or against the future productivity of the future productivity of the future productivity, etc – in both Calculus and Finance, these are called derivatives.

Why does it still work?

So the question becomes; if money does not represent productivity, then why do people still work for it? Well, there is no other alternative to money as we know it.

Then came … and went … Bitcoin;

Bitcoin is all the rage because it behaved sort of like a currency – it had many of the desirable characteristics for the storage, exchange, and unit of account for value. But something about it didn’t sit right with society in general – most people aren’t willing to work in exchange for it.

Bitcoin has 3 fatal flaws:

  1. Bitcoin does not represent human productivity.
  2. The total available Bitcoins were highly concentrated among a very few people.
  3. Bitcoin are speculative in value.

Many words have been committed to these topics so I’ll leave a deeper understanding to the reader to research on their own.  However, we can now ask the question;

What if a virtual currency could be designed that does represent human productivity, is widely distributed among the users, and empowered by those who interact with it?

 

Consider an Engineering Backed Currency:

Let’s consider an engineering backed currency and the existing institution of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE)

 Condition 1: Engineering works increase human productivity in the form of roads, bridges, machinery, energy, clean water, sanitation, and generalized problem solving.  A currency backed by engineering would invariably be backed by human productivity thereby satisfying condition #1.

Condition 2:  Suppose that upon paying their 300 dollar dues to the National Society of Professional Engineers, the NSPE Knowledge Bank issues 3000 NSPE Bucks, a virtual currency, to the member so that any member can trade with any other member for the purposes of learning, teaching, and collaboration (don’t worry yet about the technical challenges of doing this).

If any member gets stuck on a project, or they need to understand new technologies, or are looking for complementary knowledge, they can compensate another engineer in the NSPE Technical Network using NSPE Bucks.  Young engineers can teach seniors about new tech, social media, hot mobile apps, and seniors can teach young engineers about nuances of engineering practice, etc., all in exchange for NSPE-Bucks.  NSPE bucks will become evenly distributed thereby satisfying condition #2.

 Condition 3: The NSPE Bucks act as a form of insurance.  If an engineer gets stuck on a project or needs a review of their work or intersects another discipline, they can get rapid and effective support across a vast network of knowledge assets in the profession.  An engineer may be empowered to interact with their peers and innovate in their careers knowing that the wisdom and experience of their peers is mutually accessible.  As such, condition number 3 is met.

Hold on to your seat – this last point will blow you away:

Innovation is the domain of engineering – the two words are synonymous.  People innovate today for the purpose of increasing productivity in the future.  Remember, debt is also a currency backed by future productivity.  Therefore, when you have two currencies that are backed by the EXACT same underlying asset, they are fully convertible on an open exchange.  So NSPE bucks can be easily converted back to dollars or simply traded broadly in a market.

The Mother of All Hedge Funds

As the dollar weakens in scarcity, the NSPE Buck will strengthen in abundance, value will be preserved in the works of engineering that are created. In fact, an engineering backed currency would hedge the dollar as it weaken in it’s ability to maintain infrastructure, build schools, solve climate problems, and provide for the safety health and welfare of people and property.

There is no shortage of work to do and there is no shortage of innovation – there is only a shortage of money.  If Banks can print money out of thin air, why can’t engineers?

 

 

 

 

What EVERY Engineer Must Know About Bitcoin

engineering-image-17A bitcoin (lowercase b), as a currency, has several flaws that will continue to limit its ability to replace money as we know it.  There are millions of words published on the subject, so I’ll leave it to the reader to assess arguments on both sides.  However, Bitcoin (upper case B) as a “protocol” for the transfer of value is an extremely important innovation that engineers must not ignore.  

The opportunities for the profession are sweeping and vast, but only if they take action and build this ecosystem their selves – it is so powerful, that others will gladly do it for them.   I will try to explain this opportunity in this short 1125 word article, but please feel free to contact me with in-depth questions.

The Block Chain Protocol

The Bitcoin protocol is a brilliant innovation that cannot be un-invented – it is here to stay and it will appear in many forms long after it sheds the “bitcoin” moniker.   Formally called the Block Chain protocol,  Bitcoin was designed to solve an age old problem of double spending a currency, specifically, a virtual currency.   A currency created on a computer can be easily copied by a computer and thus negates the real productivity that a currency is supposed to represent.   The same is still true for money – paper currency is becoming increasingly complex so that it cannot be easily copied, etc.

Today, there are vast institutions from banks, corporations, a legal system, prison system, and unfathomable volumes of legislation (all imposing respective brokerage fees) acting on the behalf of sanctifying the dollar.  However, volatility in these very institutions is what threatens the value of the dollar and all currencies upon which the World depends for very basic needs.  How well is this working, really?

So, What’s the big deal?

The stakes are high.  To invent a new secure and resilient means to rapidly transmit value can in one fell swoop eliminate the friction of the massive institutions on our economy, while also decreasing the volatility and economic friction imposed on society.   This is the reason behind the media hype, congressional hearings, declarations of nations, billionaire press conferences, etc.  They are all scared to death of the disruptive potential of this little beast.  Unfortunately, bitcoin has fallen victim to many of the same deficiencies that it proposes to correct.  But these will likely be corrected in the next iterations.   

The Train Leaves The Station

The backbone of the Bitcoin protocol is called the Block Chain.  There are now hundreds if not thousands of Block Chains in existence independent of Bitcoin.  Consider the Block Chain like going down to the train station.  At some predetermined time, a train arrives and the doors open.  Everyone piles into the train and after a predetermined amount of time, the doors close.  The corollary is that the doors cannot be opened for a predetermined amount of time and no changes, copies, or corruption can take place within that time stamp, no matter what.  Only when the train reaches the next location, the doors will open. Once the doors close for a second time, they never open again and a new block is formed.  Also, there is no way to retract this process, except by repeating it forward in a reverse transaction.     

The protocol has a few more features that I’ll leave to the reader to research including a public ledger where all transactions are open for everyone to see; and the train gets infinitely long with each new opening.  The transactions are opened and sealed cryptograpically and incentives are in place that compensates exchanges (the station masters) and well as those who solve a cryptographic puzzle that creates and maintains the integrity of the public ledger (miners).  

Smart Contracts

Everyone knows that money and contracts are intimately related.  In fact, money is a contract.  A contract is defined as a meeting of the minds.  As such, where the Block Chain protocol can efficiently transmit “currency”, so too can it transmit contracts.  In fact, it is so effective for articulating contracts that it’s potential to do so far eclipses its ability to replace the existing fiat currencies.  But again, money and contracts are so closely related that even this becomes a grey area – both can exist within the Block Chain.  This is hugely significant.     

So what’s in it for the Engineering profession? 

There is a special type of contract that engineering societies such as the NSPE, ASME, IEEE, etc., should have a laser focus.  These are called Oracle Contracts; also known as adjudicated contracts, (except subject to scientific judgement rather than necessarily a judgement of law).  For example, a client would retain a contractor to build a structure or machinery.  They would deposit funds into an escrow account managed by “smart contract” in a block chain.  This means that the computer will flip the switches instead of an accountant, banker, or attorney.  At certain points in contract and “oracle” – a third party vetting mechanism – will verify that the conditions or performance of the agreement have been met, then they would flip a switch that releases the funds to the contractor or back to the client (or through a predetermined decision tree), depending on objective observation.  

It’s All About Efficiency

This is efficient for the contractor because they don’t have to worry about getting paid as long as they meet the conditions of the contract. The client does not need to worry about getting ripped off because they are assured that the conditions of their agreement will be met.  The system is efficient because high integrity is rewarded and there is little incentive to cheat which minimizes lawyers,  accountants, social dysfunction, and all manners of corruption in a public ledger that provides extraordinary analytics available for societal learning in the public domain. 

For the vast majority of projects, products, or policies in the United States and the world, a licensed professional engineer and related scientific bodies are the ONLY qualified Oracles that can be deployed to vet an astonishing variety of Smart Contracts.

Smart Contracts can be written for almost any transaction, but it is inherently an intangible transaction since a “meeting of the minds” is the true nature of the value that they articulate.  The implications of an abundant intangible economy vs. a scarce tangible economy are vast.  Silicon Valley is pumping millions of dollars into virtual currency start-ups like Ripple Labs while companies such as Ethereum  promise to make smart contracts on public ledger block chains as easy to build as dragging and dropping puzzle pieces into a web page.  This is here today – it is not a theory.

Banks, insurance companies, and attorneys will be the first to adopt smart contracts because they stand the most to lose by not doing so.  Meanwhile, engineers in the US and indeed the World are relegated to the contractor sweatshops or smothered under the weight of towering hierarchies. Tragedies such as the Oso landslide and global warming remind us of the absence of engineering oracles advocating for society and our planet.  It is imperative, now, that engineers embrace Block Chain Protocol Technologies and the deployment of Smart Contracts to elevate the profession to the top of the proverbial food chain before there someone else does it for them.       

Community Organization On The Block Chain

chain linkThe potential for articulating smart contracts between local business entities using the Block Chain Protocol (BCP) is truly staggering. While the BCP may not be ready for general population and would be largely unnecessary within a corporation, certain contract types and certain business structures may offer an excellent environment for widespread development. 

Cooperative businesses (Co-ops) may be the “more able” organization structure to introduce smart contracts because of specialized governance that allows for the pre-sale of goods and services for the purpose of general financing.  The pre-sale agreement may take the form of products, services, cash, or shares of future production.  For the purpose of this discussion, let’s consider “shares” as a community commercial currency between co-ops.

Block ChainCommunity Currency

The objective would be to circulate shares between co-ops as widespread and comprehensively as possible only converting back to dollars when necessary.  The incentive would be that shares, in many cases, may be exchanged tax-free as long as certain conditions are met.  Further, by eliminating transaction costs, speed and efficiency may be achieved without banks or double entry account reconciliation, until necessary for interacting with the end user.     

Most people are familiar with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) contracts from observing services such as Amazon.com, WalMart, or Zappos.com.  Electronic Data Exchange can be formally defined as the transfer of structured data, by agreed message standards, from one computer system to another without human intervention. Companies have used EDI since the mid-1990s to execute orders, renew inventory, warehousing, tracking, and even merchant banking.  The EDI acts primarily within the structure of the corporation and their contracted suppliers. 

The trick now, would be to use EDI protocols outside the construct of the corporation. The Block Chain protocol provides an important set of tools, which may allow organizations to interact with each other in a secure form of EDI that can be articulated among a community of integrated cooperatives. 

The 3 Building Blocks of Smart Contracts

There are 3 basic types of contract protocols that may be deployed through the Block Chain; these form the basis of smart contracts:

  1.  “Self-enforcing” protocol, which is like an electronic P2P handshake agreement that is fully activated between two parties.
  2.  “Mediated” contract that would include a third part intermediary such as an escrow or an oracle that would verify compliance with the agreement and pass the transaction between parties (or not).
  3. “Adjudicated contract” which places the oracle either in front of or behind the electronic handshake to filter or check transactions based on certain conditions.

An example given by Nick Szabo (reference article) would be that of, say, keys to an automobile where the owner could selectively allow access to family members but exclude other third parties.  There would be a backdoor to let in a creditor that is algorithmically switched on upon non-payment during a specific time (for repossession), or permanently switched off after the final payment is cleared.

The 3 Fundamental Particles of Cryptography:

Cryptographic keys that act in a variety of ways may activate each of these smart contract protocols.

  1. “Secret key” encryption, which is loosely analogous to common passwords that most people use.
  2. “Public key” encryption device acts like a one-way trap door that moves an agreement in only one direction.
  3. “— bit key generators” create keys that unlock transactions after a task is completed.

Controls: 

In order to duplicate the controls that large corporations hold over EDI processes, smart contract protocols should be structured in such a way as to make agreements:

  1. Robust against naive vandalism such as accounting errors,
  2. Robust against sophisticated, rational attack such as intentional fraud.

Cooperatives are quite adept at deciding how “shares” (thus, smart contracts) are activated using different types of authentication devices such as digital stamp, public signature, blind signatures, etc.  Likewise, “Privy Authentication” means that certain persons have the privilege of interacting with the contract.  Additionally, quorum control refers to a condition where a group of people may interact with the contract by election, threshold (like a kickstarter) or almost any quantitative function such as algorithm or time function.

Common electronic contracts (EDI’s) include the following (1): 

Administrative functions:

  • Product code and price catalogs
  • Catalog updates
  • Forecasts and plans
  • Deals and promotions
  • Statements

Pre-purchasing:

  • Requests for quote (& response)
  • Inventory inquiry/advice Purchasing
  • Purchase order & acknowledgment
  • Purchase order change & acknowledgment of change
  • Material release
  • Point of sale/inventory on hand Shipping and Receiving
  • Shipment status inquiry & response
  • Advance shipment notification
  • Bill of Lading
  • Freight bill Warehouse
  • Inventory inquiry & status
  • Shipping notice
  • Receipt confirmation
  • Shipment order
  • Shipment confirmation

Customs

  • Declaration
  • Release Billing and Paying
  • Invoice
  • Payment remittance
  • Credit and debit memos
  • Receipts

Conclusion:

The Boogie man of the Co-op movement is Big Box Corporate America such as WalMart and their digital siblings such as Amazon who provide consumption value often at the cost of community resilience.  Corporations have the resources to automate internal processes, suppliers, and labor.  Co-operatives, and localized producers in general, are at a severe disadvantage every time they must cross the transaction gap.  Large corporations can easily trade value within their systems paying taxes only when necessary.    

The knowledge and technology exists today for Cooperatives to accomplish the same thing using smart contracts and the Block Chain protocol.  To do so would create similar economies of scale with the added benefit of improving the distribution of wealth, manufacturing social capital, and storing value in resilient communities.  Further, crypto-currencies in general still suffer from that fatal flaw where they are not backed by any form of productivity.  To give the crypto-currencies a place to store value backed by community productivity would benefit all who anticipate such technologies.    

Primary reference for this article is from: Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks – Nick Szabo

 

 

 

 

The NWO On The Block Chain

frictionThe first line of Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper reads as follows: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”  The goal is achieved quite simply by removing three frictions to the exchange of value among people.  

The First Friction:

The Bitcoin protocol goes to great effort to foil the bad players and reward the good kids with game based incentives.  The probable cost of an attack is greater than the likely benefit of attempting to do so.  This wipes out the massive and hugely expensive vetting apparatus of verification, fraud investigators, audits, charge backs, legal claims, and courts. 

The Second Friction:

With the judicial use of cryptography, the BCP wipes out a colossal industry of third party brokerage activity that withholds information about transactions ostensibly in the name of trust, fairness, and privacy.

The Bitcoin Protocol Analogy

The most obvious Bitcoin analog is to Gold; everyone gets this.  Due to the economics of scarcity, miners have an incentive to expend resources in order to add more gold to circulation.  However, as the scarce resource becomes more expensive to extract, the incentive shifts to transaction fees as reward for participating in the digital value exchange.  

Transactions are abundant. There is potentially no limit to the amount of transactions that can take place.  Participating in a transaction today does not remove future transactions from the account balance.  In fact, transactions can be created by anyone at any time, and combined or subdivided in any number or ways.  

The Third Friction:

The social analogy should be crystal clear, if not prophetic.  As Consumption Capital becomes unsustainable, Abundance Capital will emerge as the primary generator of value creation between people.  As such, the strategy for success in the BCP era, is not in the domain of tangible consumption, it is in the domain of intangible transactions.  In other words, everything that we call “intangible” in the Era of Scarcity, becomes “tangible” in the Era of Abundance, and vice versa.  

The New Tangibles:

The tangibles assets of the post BCP era are knowledge, innovation, and wisdom of people and communities of people as an abundant and recurring resource.  The business methods of the post BCP era will require the promotion, exchange, and manifestation of knowledge, innovation, and wisdom among communities of people.

New Factors of Production:

Productivity is in the old economy meant increasing the amount of stuff that can be made a certain amount of time.  In the new, productivity will involve maximizing the interaction of people within a certain amount of time, where the largest denomination is a natural lifetime.  The World According to the BCP is the world that was meant to be, not the world that exists today.

Occupy BitCoin

occupy BTC picOccupy Wall Street had the effect of “measuring into existence” the 99% of people who subsidize the economic liberty of the top 1%. Now, with the BitCoin Protocol, the financial information gap between the 99% and the 1% is about to disappear. This is a fleeting moment in history and an opportunity that we must take for all it’s worth.

BitCoin, used as a currency, is a sideshow in comparison to the possibilities in the Block Chain Protocol (BCP) for frictionless transfer of ALL forms of value.  The best description that I’ve heard is that BitCoin is a “protocol for the synchronization of information”.   This feature alone – not the digital currency itself – is what will eventually doom brokers to a life of actually producing something of value for society.

The Block Chain Protocol can eliminate trillions of dollars in unnecessary friction from ANY transfer of value – not just money. But most importantly, the BCP provides a way to “measure into existence” human value attributes such as knowledge, innovation, and wisdom in a digital format and public repository.  Speculators are clearly not counting on 7 billion virtual currencies representing each individual contributor in an economy.  

People are Corporations

A well know politician once said “Corporations are people, my friend”. What he failed to realize, is that people could also be corporations.  The BCP allows everyone to equally access the right to become their own economic entity responding to real supply and demand for useful goods and services; raising money in a public stock market; holding individual IPOs; combining knowledge assets with others of their choosing; affixing contracts; time stamping tranactions; and issuing “BitShares” against future productivity as currency – all without any financial friction or corporate barriers whatsoever.   

The post-Dollar economy

Anyone with basic understanding of high-school mathematics can demonstrate how 50 Trillion Dollars in global debt, at compounding interest, can never be paid back.  This is an economic reality.  The question becomes, what kind of world do we want after the expiration of fiat currencies?  Will BitCoin, as a storage of value, amount to a convenient placeholder while the old financial system reboots anew in digital form, or is there a greater opportunity for humanity in mining BitShares?

When a currency enters hyperinflation, the results are characterized by the rapid and chaotic transfer of government (public) property to private holders – or vice versa. However, things could be very different with a third option that could actually advance civilization to a higher order.

In its nascent state, we describe this third option with terms like; The Commons, Open Source, Crowd Source, Crowd Fund, Social Capital, P2P, etc.  There are hundreds of thousands of start-ups and co-operatives (formal and informal) separately aiming down this path.  They need tools that help them integrate so that the output of one application becomes the input of the next application. The longer that they can operate outside of the fiat system (without reconversion to dollars), the greater they will fortify the next economic paradigm against unsecured currencies.

The End Game

Politicians have demonstrated their willingness and ability to bring the economy, and everyone’s associated assets, to the brink of collapse. This game survives only because the extractive 1% cannot build walls high enough to protect them against a complete financial meltdown. They still need food, clean water, electricity, medical care, education, civil services, transportation, and renewable energy … all the stuff produced by the 99%!

Suppose that the world were given the choice between a BitCoin, backed by nothing, and a BitShare backed by community productivity of all useful things?  The choice would be obvious thus creating the mother of all hedge funds resulting in the decentralization of value and power to the “The Commons” regulated by the open source technology of the Block Chain Protocol.    

Call to Action

We have a great opportunity ahead of us and only a few years to accomplish it before the BCP is compromised by decentralize money without also decentralizing all factors of production.  We simply can’t afford to let this go unanswered.   

We need to build the interfaces, the structures, application, and governance that will allow human “Intangibles” to become digital “tangibles”.  Only this will enable human flourishing over human extinguishing.  We need to turn our collective intelligence and computational horsepower to the epic task of mining BitShares, not necessarily BitCoins.

References:

How The Bitcoin Protocol Actually Works

Bitcoin Wiki – Contracts

True Value of Bitcoin – Stefan Molyneux

 

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