Where Bitcoin and Banking Collide

Where Bitcoin and Banking Collide

Noelle Acheson is a 10-year veteran of company analysis, corporate finance and fund management, and is a member of CoinDesk’s product team. The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered exclusively to our subscribers. A relatively quiet and traditionally isolated market is about to set a precedent that could change the blockchain sector. Last week, CoinDesk met with a group of representatives from some of Japan’s blockchain startups and enterprise players. Conversation revolved around the upcoming regulation of cryptocurrencies, and the impact it would have on industry business models. The consensus seemed to be that the new rules (a requirement to get a license from the Financial Services Agency,...

3 Smart Contract Misconceptions Explored

3 Smart Contract Misconceptions Explored

Olivier Rikken is manager, public speaker and thought leader on digital disruption, blockchain and business process management at Axveco, a boutique consultancy firm headquartered in Amsterdam.  In this CoinDesk opinion article, Rikken outlines three common mistakes newcomers make when seeking to leverage blockchain-based smart contract technology. One of the most promising developments in blockchain is the idea of smart contracts. First detailed by cryptographer Nick Szabo in his 1994 paper “Smart Contracts”, Szabo describes the concept as “a computerized transaction protocol that executes the terms of a contract”. Today, the rise of the ethereum blockchain facilitates the easy development and deployment of this concept in a public...

EU Lawmakers Propose to Ban Geo-Blocking of Digital Currency Users

A European Parliament committee has proposed new measures that would prevent location-based discrimination against consumers in the economic bloc, including users of digital currencies. The proposal, authored by the European Union Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, targets so-called ‘geo-blocking’, or prejudice against consumers on the internet based on their location. According to the lawmakers, geo-blocking is seen of the last obstacles to obtaining a cohesive European digital common market, known as the Digital Single Market. The draft document states: “The Commission should assess whether to provide the legal framework that allows, subject to the freedom of contract principle, the protection of undertakings and consumers when...

Sustainable Development Through Bitcoin

Sustainable Development Through Bitcoin

A. Hannan Ismail is senior adviser for south-south and triangular cooperation at the United Nations. He has spent 25 years in government relations and public policy advisory, corporate strategy, and project management. Further, he has expertise in the field of microfinance. In this opinion piece, Ismail looks at how bitcoin could drive the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed to improve the prospects of everyone on the planet.  “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” said one Winston Churchill. To set things straight from the beginning, I don’t have a bust of the former British Prime Minister in my office. For one thing, he was rather off on his views of Mahatma Gandhi, the most influential British subject of the 20th Century. The reason that...

Bitcoin Hash Functions Explained

Bitcoin Hash Functions Explained

Anyone with an interest in bitcoin will have heard the phrase ‘cryptographic hash function’ at some time or other. But what exactly does it mean, and how is it connected to cryptocurrency? Hash functions are an essential part of, not only of the bitcoin protocol, but of information security as a whole. In the following article we’ll take a look at some simple examples of how they work, with a simple demonstration, too. What’s a hash function? In the abstract, a hash function is a mathematical process that takes input data of any size, performs an operation on it, and returns output data of a fixed size. In a more concrete example, this can be used to take a sequence of letters of any length as input – what we call a string – and return a...