A Growing Interest in Bitcoin & the Blockchain

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Exciting technology and business personalities are exposing a wider audience to bitcoin. Experience in cryptography and blockchain technology are growing increasingly important for advising decision makers on crypto-currencies. These new faces come from diverse financial, business, and regulatory backgrounds. The Obama Administration’s newly appointed Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Edward Felten, has experience discussing the nuances of bitcoin in a public forum.

A Princeton professor and cryptography proponent, Edward Felten was appointed the White House’s Chief Technology Officer on May 11th, 2015. His research has led to many aspects of the Bitcoin protocol, with a focus on mining behavior and Game Theory. Published articles regarding crypto-currencies reflect Felten’s opinion on various digital currency topics:

  • In 2013, Felten co-authored a 20 page research paper exploring the economics of bitcoin mining. The paper examines a bug in an early bitcoin version, that caused a fork on March 2013, and the lessons that were learned. The detailed report examines the structure of the Bitcoin protocol and the effects of a 51% attack.
  • As the Director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, Felten published blog articles discussing the importance of cryptography and bitcoin.
  • Felten held the position of Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission. While at the FTC, Felten authored a report to congress urging to increase transparency in data collection. Additional papers co-authored by Felten show a wealth of knowledge on the topics of privacy, computer security, and technology law and policy.

Richard Branson’s Blockchain Summit on Necker Island

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Richard Branson hosted the Blockchain Summit last week to an audience of Bitcoin executives, columnists of popular media outlets, and financial advisers. Bitfury debuted a light bulb that mines bitcoin demonstrating alternative applications of the technology. Tweets indicate the event covered Property Rights, Elections, Digital Identities, and Internet of Things applications. At the end of the summit, Branson was dubbed an honorary member of the Digital Chamber of Commerce for his contribution to the Bitcoin community. As the sun set on the Blockchain Summit legislators finalized drafts for businesses using bitcoin and other digital currencies back in the United States.

Updates to Legislation Shows INTEREST in bitcoin BUSINESSES

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California, New Jersey, and New York released proposals regarding crypto-currency legislation, reigniting the debate of how much regulation is necessary in a decentralized environment. After many months of discussions and testimonies from various industries and experts, regulators are beginning to realize bitcoin’s innovative and disruptive potential. Conversations about bitcoin are shifting toward blockchain technology and many are trying to separate the two to create personal blockchain networks. The attention toward blockchain technology sheds light on misconceptions of bitcoin that still need addressing.

The value and confidence of the blockchain derives from the amount of verified transactions and the computing power of the bitcoin network. Each transaction validation expands the ledger and strengthens the value of bitcoin as a reward is given to miners performing validations. The amount of computing power required by the network increases over time as difficulty rises and the ledger expands. The limited supply of bitcoin also creates a growing incentive for miners to validate transactions.

The Bitcoin protocol hash-rate is approximately 336,000,000 GH/s. That amount of computing power can not be replicated to gain an overall consensus to manipulate the blockchain. Creating a new blockchain without bitcoin has higher risks of failure because the threshold of computing power to validate those transactions would be much lower. Financial markets see the strength of bitcoin and have created innovative uses of the technology using colored coins.

NASDAQ recognized the strengths of an immutable ledger, and are now testing a market to distribute colored coins for private equity. We are excited to see the new uses for the blockchain to create new markets across the world. The impact bitcoin has on those without banking services demonstrates the need to encourage these discussions and inform government bodies of the importance of promoting innovation.

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A Growing Interest in Bitcoin & the Blockchain