A Bitcoin Talk in Costa Rica

I finished 2014 with so many great experiences in Argentina that the final outcome of educating and assisting in the Bitcoin adoption there didn’t disappoint me.

In the town I was living in after the year — Villa La Angostura, Neuquen (in the Patagonia) — I had one business adopter, one new bitcoin holder from Buenos Aires, and lots of experience in dealing with skepticism. But the town I lived in was not typical to the norm of that country. It was much slower to change.

During my year there, I wrote an article entitled "Using Bitcoin in Patagonia" for the LTB network, I did an interview with John Barrett on Bitcoins & Gravy, I translated the Spanish section for BC TIP, and even wrote an app review for the Multi Currency Bitcoin POS Android app. I had a quick voice meeting with Adam B. Levine about starting an LTB network Spanish section, and writers even began contacting me to help produce content for it.

What I didn’t expect was that a "tico" (Costa Rican) would contact me and ask whether I wanted to give a Bitcoin talk in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. I was already going to visit Costa Rica on my way up from South America as I headed to Canada. I accepted the invitation.

Before leaving the South, however, I headed to Gualeguaychu in the Northeast of Argentina, the most famous carnival town in the country. I had one last business there that was interested in hearing more about Bitcoin, a lumber business called La Forestal.

Dany Alos, a volunteer at a small group called Giras Bitcoiners, connected with me before I arrived. The group made their way through the town educating people. They volunteer their efforts going to different towns in different provinces and giving talks on the potential power of Bitcoin for the country and the world. If you’re looking to sponsor a Bitcoin cause in Argentina that only looks for donations to help cover the transportation costs, I recommend checking them out.

Back to the business I met with, it went well. But I realized finally that, just like the network layers we don’t see when communicating on the internet, I was one of the layers in the Bitcoin adoption process. I may not see businesses adopt, and even less see their potential success in using it. But I am part of that process.

After crossing the country once, I did so again heading West, but this time I crossed over the Andes and into Santiago, Chile. There’s an insane markup on flight tickets leaving Buenos Aires. Not so from Santiago. I stayed only a few days and even missed a Mycelium trader who wanted to buy bitcoins from me. But I was just hours from my flight departure and had no need for Chilean pesos anymore.

Just before my flight, I emailed my tico contact, Rodrigo, letting him know that all was still a go on the Bitcoin talk. While I was in flight, my contact was busy organizing it. Once I landed and got to the Pacific coast, I went looking for internet.

Rodrigo had already been hard at work organizing the conference and titled it "Bitcoin €“ Experiences and Applications in Argentina.€ The talk would be the first on Bitcoin in Costa Rica, presented in the "Club de Union." The Club de Union is located in the middle of downtown, between some offices and the main Costa Rican banks. The "Club de Investigaciones Tecnologicas" (Technological Investigation Club) would attend and the talk would be broadcast live as well.

Getting to the conference required me to travel from the Pacific Coast, where I reside, to the center of the country, where the capital is located. Edenia Sistemas sponsored my talk and graciously paid for all my travel costs. The company is top notch. It was the first to accept bitcoins in Costa Rica, and also one of the first to do so in Latin America. They were looking for alternative forms of payment when their main credit card transaction handler failed them due to a misunderstanding. Rodrigo studied the new technology and became an early acceptor and adopter. He was going to give the first presentation at the talk and explain how the Bitcoin blockchain works.

I was to show up at 7:30 on Wednesday, January 21. I was picked up the day before and slept in a beautiful B&B so as to begin on time. The Club de Union building is old and not without its own history. Upon entering one of the halls, I found myself by an audience who was waiting to hear what we had to say. Even some central bankers showed up.

Breakfast was served with fresh fruits and staple foods such as rice and beans. This was quite the reception. I was impressed. It was a great way to give my first talk. My first language is English, but I was giving my talk in Spanish, meaning it was challenging all around for me.

Rodrigo went first, explaining the blockchain in detail, and he did a great job in contrasting the technical with the philosophical. I proceeded with an introduction and then gave five points that I learned while presenting bitcoins to the town in Argentina. I contrasted them with the five steps I went through while trying to help people there learn and adopt the new international currency.

Below, I have translated the main points and a few side ones of the talk I gave. However, Spanish speakers can listen to the whole thing on YouTube. The camera was static, so sometimes we disappear out of frame. The audio isn’t always clear. The battery ran out during my talk, which you will notice at one point. And all I showed on the screen were scenic pictures of where I lived, which helped visually with my talk. In any case, it’s a recorded piece of history. Now you can view if you want. My talk begins at 1:15:30.

As I head to Canada next to continue my efforts to help people better understand and, where necessary, adopt this new technology, I leave Costa Rica with a more "pura vida" (pure life).

Introduction

  • Explaining why Bitcoin works, without explaining how it works, is like a pilot trying to explain why a plane flies, without explaining the laws of aerodynamics.
  • The first step in having any chance to change something begins with the permission you give yourself to listen with an open mind, even if you’re skeptical about the subject. It is better that you are skeptical because, just like a real scientist, you’re testing a theory, like pounding a hammer onto a new metal to see if it’ll break. Since the genesis of Bitcoin, programmers, hackers, and people globally, such as the media, are still trying to hammer the protocol to see where the hole is. But after more than five years, it continues solid.
  • I invite you to listen with enthusiasm, and with the intention not to stop here today with what you hear, but go and continue learning even more from other resources.
  • The exchange site Mt. Gox fell after the last battle, and we don’t really know yet what happened. But it did teach me after studying the blockchain that Bitcoin was solid. The protocol did not fail; the company did.
  • In Argentina, I discovered that I learned more from the people than the people learned from me. My experience where I lived was not a reflection on what was happening in the whole country, but it helps us to understand how ordinary people react to the idea of Bitcoin.

What I learned While Introducing Bitcoin in Argentina

  1. The financial problems of the country will not be resolved with a new currency such as Bitcoin until we first change the way we resolve the problems:
    • If someone doesn’t think they need it, they aren’t going to give it a shot.
    • It’s a matter of perspective, not of the quantity of information. Generally, one’s perspective changes when one’s needs change.
    • It’s okay, because when people are ready to make a new change, the currency and the technology will be ready for their use.
  2. The warranty that this technology offers is written in the protocol, but the guarantees we seek when we use Bitcoin … do not exist.
    • Learning how to use this new technology guarantees that we can use it safer, and with more confidence. But the guarantee of services that we’re used to having — in which a third party, such as an administrator who can reset a password, or a bank that can return a stolen sum — does not exist in the Bitcoin protocol.
    • Learning how Bitcoin offers written guarantees within the protocol helps us know how to use it. For example, we can use multisig.
    • We’re moving from an architecture that trusts others to solve our dilemmas, to taking responsibility and educating ourselves about how to do.
  3. An interesting consequence of Bitcoin in Argentina is that it is helping to release the huge potential of the minds and the rich resources there.
    • There are many Argentine programmers, and even Buenos Aires has a building with several companies dedicated to the growing Bitcoin services.
    • While there’s a slow adoption in that country, there is a concentration of passion for Bitcoin that is accumulating there.
  4. Another positive consequence is that in general, for the adopters of this new money, they understand that it’s not only a way to hedge against the Argentine peso, but it’s also as a new way to transact with the world.
    • The opportunity to accept Bitcoin for international business is great, because the risk for the seller is zero, and this bypasses the currency controls (like with the dollar).
  5. Learning from others helps with understanding. But by teaching, you’re understanding more yourself.
    • I finished (and passed) my final exam this week on the Introduction to Digital Currencies MOOC course that the University of Nicosia offers for free. It is the first course for the Master of Science in Digital Currencies. It’s a very good course. I recommend it to those who really want to know more and learn in a more official manner and with an objective perspective.
    • The value of Bitcoin does not come only in regards to what you can exchange it for, but also in why you’re using it.
    • Half of the world does not yet have access to a bank account or a method to convey their value in this world. You don’t have to replace your method of accepting payments. Just give an alternative as well. It’s a way to build the bridge half way to connect with the rest of the world.

In Closing

I’ll close my talk with some thoughts.

All those supporting Bitcoin are really supporting something bigger, consciously or not. Bitcoin has more to do with global consensus, rather than only the use of one of its applications (such as currency).

Every time we use it, we’re trying to use a new form of communication For those of us who use Bitcoin, we’re voting with each transaction on whether this is a better way. We’re participating in the evolution of a revolution that will bear fruit not only to the Bitcoin network, but more importantly, to the people who use it.

Keep learning from various channels and thinking critically about it as you read both sides of opinions on this new technology. Remember that the way you educate yourself, not how much, will help you even more than what the Bitcoin blockchain technology can bring you. That’s what we need in order to do be a better human, a better family, a better community, and a better country for a better world.

Be like a child. Do not lose the "want" to learn and don’t be afraid to try new things. Thank you for your attention. Do you have any questions (readers of this article as well)?


Source: LTB Network Blog Posts

Merged Folding

Merged Folding

Written by the FoldingCoin Inc Team

On February 5th, 2015 FoldingCoin Inc. is introducing Merged Folding to our platform. This allows other cryptocurrency projects to partner with FoldingCoin, sharing our distribution platform in combination with the LTB asset distributor. These projects can distribute based on the Folding@home (FAH) folding work performed by their members. Please go to http://foldingcoin.net/ for complete details if you are not familiar with FoldingCoin (FLDC.XCP).

So why should a token or Altcoin distribute their tokens on the FoldingCoin platform rather then have their own blockchain?

To answer this, lets get an understanding of how grid computing is measured

There are two common forms of computational measurements that are used in grid computing:

  • Hash – A hash function is any function that can be used to map digital data of arbitrary size to digital data of fixed size, with slight differences in input data producing very big differences in output data. This is what most blockchains use in the crypto world. ASIC Miners perform hashes at an astronomical rate.
  • FLOPS – In computing, FLOPS (FLoating-point Operations Per Second) is a measure of computer performance, useful in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating-point calculations. This is what is used in grid computing platforms such as Folding@home or SETI@home. There are currently no economical ASICs for FLOPS for scientific and medical grid computing. CPUs and GPUs are still the preferred and most affordable method.

There is no direct translation from one to another, but a common consensus, for the sake of comparison, is that 1 hash is equivalent to 12,700 FLOPS. The FAH grid computing network has 46 PetaFLOPS and is known as the world’s most powerful computing network outside of the Bitcoin mining network.

So how much computational power was put into early bitcoin mining with PCs?

At the time before ASICs and FPGAs started hitting the market in December 2012, the Hash rate of the Bitcoin network was at 26 terahashes from mostly GPU and CPU power. Based on a rough comparison (12.7 petaflops = 1 terahash) the computational power in legacy mining equipment is:

26 terahash * 12.7 petaflops = 330 petaflops

Imagine if that power was harnessed for molecular protein folding. Most of this power was redirected to altcoin mining after the SHA ASICs came out, since there was no profit motive for folding. FoldingCoin looks to bring a profit motive for people to fold proteins by distributing FLDC along with other Counterparty tokens.

Venture capitalists could see this as an opportunity to invest in the creation of economic sized Anton Supercomputer, which is an ASIC molecular protein simulating machine that can fold more efficiently than standard computing hardware. This very thing happened to Bitcoin mining when it became exponentially profitable: venture capitalists invested in the creation of ASIC miners to compute SHA256 at a more efficient rate than standard computing hardware.

The value of Merged Folding

Value in earning tokens as a bonus – Coins and tokens can have a hard time in gaining mining adoption as many are not worth much, maybe only a satoshi or two. Few miners will mine something that does not provide an immediate return, as most are in it for the profit and not necessarily the coin itself. Being on the FoldingCoin platform allows tokens to distribute to an already established folding community to receive its tokens. And should the token fail, the folders will not mind, because they are still receiving FLDC and other future assets by folding.

Value for helping small startup coins – Devs of smaller startup coins spend most of their time trying to maintain a blockchain. Updating and securing a blockchain is a full time job should you want your coin to succeed. Many have neat ideas of having a coin used for something other than pumping and dumping. Will they all succeed? That depends on the dedication of the development team. But what our platform will empower is the ability for tokens not to have to maintain a blockchain anymore. Time can be focused now solely on the mission of creating a token with a use and to start working on features as well. They can now be more directly involved in their tokens community rather than QT wallet and source code.

  • Other traditional altcoins having issues with hashing power or blockchain maintenance could make the move to Counterparty to harness our Folders’ participation. These coins could hold their own burns, or we could help with a burn to exchange the original altcoin with the new Counterparty token.

  • Many out there have great ideas for a coin, but don’t want to deal with the wild west of altcoin mining. This gives them the ability to get their coin out there without having to worry about things like difficulty fluctuation and blockchain security updates. They will grow with Counterparty and their distribution will continue with folding power.

Value for crypto – Miners are constantly mining different coins. All sorts of crypto-switching programs can retarget mining equipment every 10 minutes at the most profitable coin. Then instant sell outs for bitcoin occur as the miners just want an immediate profit. This is not a system in which a coin can become established. Many miners probably don’t even know what they are mining the majority of the time. Since folding requires FLOPS not hashes, it is very hard to switch back and forth between the two. Also the FAH client is only partially open sourced, so coding something that would make the FAH client stop, so mining could begin, is currently impractical for the average Miner.

Value for miners – Receiving more than one coin is a dream come true for a miner. If you had a single platform that allowed you to receive many coins, that could be even better. With FLDC being the flagship token, all participants will receive this token from us regardless of the success or failure of other tokens on our platform. This allows miners (now also folders) to receive many coins that they can sit on.

Value for mining cost – If you have ever mined (with CPU or GPUs), you are aware that hashing takes a drastic amount of energy and cooling in order to keep the chips from roasting. Folding@home and FLOPS do not nearly get this hot. About half the electricity is necessary, since a different kind of computing cycle is used — one that is not trying to brute-force a hash. In many cases, cooling systems may not even be required for folding.

How does FoldingCoin Inc. plan to allow other coins to use this platform?

James Sewell, the lead developer at FoldingCoin Inc, has restructured our calculation platform to allow other Counterparty assets to be distributed using our system in combination with the Let’s Talk Bitcoin distribution platform.

This will allow other Counterparty asset developers to distribute their token to participants via a mining-like activity. This does not change the way one receives tokens in the sense that they still use CPUs and GPUs, but rather it allows the development team to focus on token applications, economics, and redirecting energy used in blockchain hashing towards more societally beneficial activities.

See our comparison between traditional mined altcoins and FoldingCoin for more details.

FoldingCoin Distribution Method

FoldingCoin Inc. uses PHP code running on a commercial hosting provider to calculate how many FLDC tokens to award to each folder. The code is open sourced on github. For more details on the distribution method, please visit our distribution page. Here are the basic two steps to start folding and earn tokens:

And that’s it! Since FAH has been developed for almost 15 years, the process is as simple as installing a simple program. Unlike mining programs that can be very confusing for the non technical person, FAH makes it simple for anyone to begin folding. To receive tokens on the FLDC platform, you simply need to make your FAH donor name one of the following:

  1. Folders wishing to receive FLDC on any FAH team should use this format for their donor name:€œusername_FLDC_[CounterwalletAddress]€

  2. Folders wishing to receive only FLDC and the selected token use the prefix€œusername_COINSYMBOL_[CounterwalletAddress]€

  3. Folders wishing to receive every token on the platform should use the prefix€œusername_ALL_[CounterwalletAddress]€

The First Merged Folding Tokens

SCOTCOIN – Scotcoins motivation is to empower the Scottish people with an alternative digital currency opportunity, which may be used as a medium of exchange, should the need or wish arise.

POWC – Powcoin is looking to become the cryptocurrency for the comicbook world.

Contact us with your project

Dev teams looking to use our system will maintain control over all aspects of their token. We just provide the means to distribute. We could customize the following features:

  • Daily, weekly, or monthly distributions (we could get more precise as well if needed)
  • Amount of token to distribute per payout
  • If a reduction happens in your payouts per day, simply let us know and it can be easily changed
  • Statistics on your folding participants

If you like the sound of this and have a project that uses a Counterparty asset but are not sure how to distribute, please contact us, we would love to get you started. For completed information please visit the merged folding page on our website.


Robert Ross – Founder

rross@foldingcoin.net, LTB account – @pooktwo

James Sewell – Lead Developer

jsewell@foldingcoin.net, LTB account – @FBSoulMan


All tips and earned LTBcoin from this article will go towards the development and distribution costs for FoldingCoin Inc.


Source: LTB Network Blog Posts

A Community of Bitcoin Tippers

Reddit.com is host to many diverse and fascinating subreddits, created and monitored by the community. The following article discusses one of my favorite subreddits.

My Introduction to BitTippers

My morning routine is to eat a bowl of cereal, make a cup of coffee, and sit and surf my favorite Bitcoin-related sites before work. It was one of these typical mornings sometime last year when I stumbled across a small subreddit called "BitTippers." There were only a handful of subscribers, but it intrigued me. I had discovered the wonder of ChangeTip about a month before and had quickly become obsessed with sending tips to charities, and mostly to strangers on Reddit! The concept of the BitTippers subreddit was to create giveaway contests where could people post comments and you could reward them with a couple of bits worth of Bitcoin via the ChangeTip bot. The BitTipper community was small, but comprised of Bitcoin fans with fun personalities and witty senses of humor.

- Image adapted from original work by Aaron Stidwell

I’ve been a redditor for five years and the BitTippers sub rapidly became my favorite hangout replacing the time I spent previously looking at /r/diy or /r/listentothis and even /r/bitcoin!The first task for any new BitTipper is to get some flair, and the initial tag you get is something like "NewGuy010115". The cool thing about the sub is that if and when you host your own Bitcoin giveaway, you get bumped up one level. It creates a nice culture of giving, combined with an element of competition!

The Basic Rules of the Community

BitTipper Rules: No begging posts. Please do not ask for tips. Keep it clean. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your granny to see.BitTippers welcomes you to enter some competitions and giveaways and hopefully you will be tipped some bits. But please remember without people tipping then this sub will soon die so please remember to make your own posts and share the bits with others. – BitTippers Community Rules

The founder of the sub goes by the handle "IvorBigHead." Mr. H, as I call him, managed to grow the community through hard work and some smart decision making, especially when it came to enforcing rules and a code of conduct. I had the recent pleasure of picking his brain about the creation of the community.

A Word from the Founder /u/IvorBigHead

BitTippers was a kind of dumb idea! I had been on reddit a while, somehow stumbled into /r/dogecoin and found I loved the friendliness of the place, the community was great, powered by tipping.Of course dogecoin led me to checkout /r/bitcoin but OMG that sub sucked!!! I was used to coins being a great new innovative idea, fun and excitement. /r/bitcoin was so serious and if you as so much mentioned dogecoin and tipping you were soon informed that dogecoin was full of kids throwing pennies at each other and that if you were going to tip it had to be a minimum of $1, $5 etc. Then I found changetip, not many sub’s back then lol, bashco was working on the CSS getting the upvote coin to flip, I got a couple tips :) Fun comes to Bitcoin !!One day for no other reason than I was a little bored, I created a subreddit and found it it was really easy. I started thinking about properly trying to set up a new sub.I wanted a sub that had the "fun" of the good old days of doge combined with a place were new guys could "easily" get some Bitcoin bits to experiment with.So BitTippers was created.To start with it was just me posting, I tried to do a couple a day. A few good people joined but it was not long before it became clear there was a big problem.The same problem doge had, alt accounts, bot accounts, people just commenting 1 word answers to everything marked "giveaway" without a single tip from them. I posted something about it in /r/bitcoin and one guy replied that "BitTippers would only survive for as long as I was prepared to give coin away" it made sense, I had to in courage people to tip, I had to remove the guys who continuly refused to tip. The flair system started :)Bittippers continues to grow, sometimes I do struggle to keep the posts approved and the Flair’s updated though, today is a perfect example, I still [have] not updated today’s flairs, they will have to wait until tonight!!Not sure what else to say :) – IvorBigHead

I also had the pleasure of chatting with one of the BitTippers community moderators, /u/Not-My-Real-Name-.

BitTippers Moderator /u/Not-My-Real-Name-

BitTippers is a pretty awesome part of reddit. One of my most memorable moments early on was a post by IvorBigHead about tea and biscuits. I€™ll let you read the exchange:http://www.reddit.com/r/BitTippers/comments/2inqas/a_dropped_biscuit/Not only did we have a nice exchange (and I won a few bits), but I went out, bought the tea and biscuits and tried them per his recommendations. It was good too!The big challenge is to come up with contests. The first few are always the hardest. What I have found is that the best/most fun challenges tend to be ones that come up spontaneously. The biggest reward for me is getting to know people I would otherwise never meet. There are some really great people who contribute to the sub.As a moderator it’s a pretty easy community to work with. IvorBigHead did a great job setting up the whole thing. Our biggest challenge is trying to prevent alt accounts from overrunning the sub and ruining it. Anytime money is involved people tend to get a little crazy. The €œflair€ plays a big part in that. If a user takes and takes but doesn’t give, they will end up on the wrong end of a ban notice.One of the biggest things that often gets overlooked by many is the technology behind the sub; Bitcoin and Changetip allows us to send money to people we have never met, with little security risk, anywhere in the world. That€™s mind boggling for someone who graduated from high school before email was a thing!Cheers! – NotMy

Each week there is a vote for BitTipper of the Week (BTOTW) and the community crowns a new king or queen. Sometimes there are community contributions of bits for the winner, but the amount varies from one week to the next. The wonderful Victoria Van Eyk from ChangeTip recently started sponsoring the weekly prize fund for the BitTipper of the Week contest, and the prize fund is now very respectable each week!

The members of the community are what make it so special. I ran a BitTippers giveaway to see what folks love the most about the sub. Here is a small selection of the many responses.

/u/StrikeouTX BitTipper Lev 24

I like the spirit of competition, the ability to share, and the influences gained from people all over the world in the atmosphere of a small community!

/u/drsjsmith BitTipper Lev 11

(I love) The camaraderie among the higher-level folks, and the welcome extended to newer BitTippers. Also, /u/ivorbighead’s combination of friendliness and no-nonsense attitude.

/u/velociralex BitTipper Lev 13 (aka Sherlock)

I love how accepted I feel in the community and how I actually have friends on here that I can talk to.

/u/dranalli23 BitTipper Lev 18

I like how we formed a community of giving, and hopefully inspire new people to not only do this online, but in everyday life as well.

/u/quiksaaand BitTipper Lev 1

It’s a fun sub that actually shows the good of people, it may not be alot of money given out but the act speaks volumes. It is also a great way for people new to bitcoin to get use the the use of the currency. For instance, from using changtip I set up my bitcoin wallet and have become more familiar with bitcoin.

/u/LightOneCandleBitTipper Lev 27 (and a bloody good fella)

It’s a small enough community that we (sort of) get to know one another, and it’s focused on generosity. I love the precise degree to which the mods are tough on people who don’t give back (not too tough, not too lenient.) I love seeing what interesting giveaways people come up with. (I only wish I were not out of ideas!) And I love the people who are here.

/u/xblux New Guy 17/12/14

This sub shows the generosity and fluffy hearts of humans all over the world with a good way to introduce BTC to everyone. I see many who created accounts in BTC just by coming in here accidentally.

I’m sure there are many communitys of Bitcoin tippers that have formed, just like /r/BitTippers, thanks to the "Love Button for the Internet" that ChangeTip has created, but I think it is also the special magic that IvorBigHead and his wonderful team of moderators has created that makes this little-known community of BitTippers so much fun!

Many thanks for reading. If you would like to join the BitTippers community, or just lurk, here is the link:

http://www.reddit.com/r/bittippers/

Cheers!

Martin


Source: LTB Network Blog Posts

Coinorado: Colorado's First Bitcoin Hackathon

I attended the University of Colorado Boulder Bitcoin Club’s official hackathon, Coin-orado, this past November. Over 50 participants, including many exciting Bitcoin personalities, gathered for the event. Here’s my recap.

Event Details

Coin-orado, Colorado€™s first officialBitcoin competition, took place on November 14th, 2014 in Boulder, Colorado. The 24-hour event, organized by club co-founder Broc Kanady — a senior majoring in Operations/Information Management — featured teams of students, professionals, and enthusiasts from the University of Colorado and surrounding community. Teams were tasked with creating a Bitcoin related project and presenting how it could be financed and brought to market. Prior to the event, student participants were introduced to Bitcoin concepts and resources via a series of workshops delivered by Kanady, Ian Ker-Seymer — the other club co-founder who is a senior studying computer science and psychology — and Dawson Botsford — a junior majoring in computer science.

Sponsors and Mentors

The event was made possible by sponsors including Chain, Blockchain, XBTeller, SoftLayer, and Zayo Group. Mentors from the Bitcoin field were also in attendance to support teams with their projects. One such mentor, Charly Hine (Product at Chain API) a UCB alum, aided teams in developing their applications utilizing the Chain API. Referring to Chain’s incentives for participation Hine stated:

We want people to build great things. Anything we can do to make things easier than they were for us when we started the company.

Results

Ten teams competed for a chance to earn prize packages, some of which included bitcoin. Judges included Phil Mayer (Bitcoin Entrepreneur and CEO of crowdsale.co), Charly Hines (Product at Chain), Stephen Mckasckill (CEO Amagi Metals), and Hannah Wonder (director at Zayo). After 24 hours of dedicated collaboration and development, three teams took home prizes:

  1. Kointrack – A multi-currency asset tracker
  2. BTC Chess – A chess program where players can place mid-game bitcoin bets between moves
  3. Bee Trap – A security feature that baits hackers with small amounts of bitcoin

Addition prizes of 1.5 bitcoin each were also awarded by XBTeller and Chain to teams addressing specific use-cases with their applications.

Growing University Presence

Coin-orado was run in affiliation with the non-profit organization College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN). CCN€™s website describes the organization as follows:

a hodgepodge of ‘Bitcoin Clubs’ at Stanford, MIT, and the University of Michigan [that formed] in early 2014 as a means to properly educate young people about the potential of this incredible new technology. The Network has since spread to every habitable continent, with well over 100 chapters, from Kenya to the Philippines, from middle schools to PhD programs.

In the spirit of distributed networks CCN provides organizations access to a pool of resources for use with their own communities. Although Coin-orado was Colorado€™s first Bitcoin hackathon, it is just one in a growing list of such events to take place across the globe. New York University also hosted a hackathon over the same weekend — another indicator of the growing trend of Bitcoin enthusiasm in collegiate communities.

This comes in wake of the recent 2014 Money 20/20 Conference in Las Vegas that, despite being open to project of all forms, saw over 40% of teams work on Bitcoin related applications. I believe such events may only be the tip of the spear for such activity in the future.

The Next Generation

On a personal note, I left the Coin-orado event with a true sense of optimism for the future of Bitcoin and blockchain innovation. Seeing the capabilities, energy, and enthusiasm of future professionals creating Bitcoin applications provided perspective to the potential scale of development. Bitcoin is a movement that is gaining momentum amongst students and young professionals.

Given that blockchain technology has only existed since 2009, it comes as little surprise that the emergence of Bitcoin related clubs at universities is only a recent phenomenon. Given the current small scale, the potential impact such clubs may ultimately have on the collective Bitcoin ecosystem may be significant:

We see our mission as going beyond just the University of Colorado. Its about bringing the greater Boulder community together to educate everyone on Bitcoin. —Broc Kanady

Our goal is to dispel the myths surrounding Bitcoin and raise awareness about €˜Bitcoin the technology€™. We want to make people aware that Bitcoin can be used for more then just sending money to a friend. —Ian Ker-Seymer

With these kinds of leaders coming into their own, it leaves little doubt that innovation and education pertaining to blockchain technology are just getting started.


Jackson Xia, undergraduate at CU-Boulder, covered the event. His video-recap can be viewed on youtube.


Source: LTB Network Blog Posts

Support P2P Connects Us, Get LTBcoin

Recently, I set up a Patreon campaign for the P2P Connects Us podcast. For those who aren’t familiar with Patreon, it’s a unique crowdfunding platform for content creators. People who enjoy the content that a creator produces (“patrons”) can pledge a certain amount of money, which is then charged to the patron’s credit/debit card or PayPal account each time a new piece of content is released. So if someone pledges $5, then each time the creator released a new piece of content, they will be charged for $5. This system is a great way to supplement the ad income that many online content creators rely on, and with enough pledges, could actually replace ad income altogether.

For people who want to advertise on the show, P2P Connects Us has already experimented with selling ad tokens using the (now deprecated) LTB Auction tool and is currently accepting sponsor donations and advertising offers through the new LTB Network Sponsorship page. But for listeners who just want to support the show and help me keep the lights on, so far the only donation option has been the BTC tipping address included in the show notes of each episode. With Patreon, there’s now an option for people who want to use Paypal or plastic to give small, recurring donations each time a new episode of P2P Connects Us is released.

To show my appreciation for those who make a pledge to the P2P Connects Us Patreon campaign, I’ve decided to give all patrons the opportunity to share in the LTBcoin distribution I receive every week. I’m setting aside 20% of the LTBcoin I receive and distributing it proportionally to everyone who pledges $1 or more to the P2P Connects Us Patreon campaign. All a patron has to do after they make a pledge is send me a private message in the LTB forum or through the contact page on my website, including a Counterwallet address and a link to a screenshot of the receipt from Patreon (since they do not show me the email address of people who make pledges). Then I will add you to the list of people eligible for an LTBcoin distribution proportional to your pledge – the more you pledge, the more LTBcoin you are eligible to receive!

Lately my share of the weekly LTBcoin distributions has been between 100K – 200K LTBcoin. So for example, if my distribution for a given week is 100,000 LTBcoin, then 20,000 LTBcoin would be set aside for the Patreon distribution. If a patron pledged $5 out of a total of $100 in pledges, then they would be eligible for a 1000 LTBcoin distribution, or 5% of the 20,000 LTBcoin set aside for Patreon contributors that week. After each distribution, I’ll be posting a full accounting in the P2P Connects Us thread in the LTB forum showing how many LTBcoin I received in the distribution, how much was set aside for patrons, how much money the owner of a Counterwallet address has pledged, and how many LTBcoin they will receive. To protect privacy, the identity of patrons will be represented in the public accounting by their Counterwallet address. Since all of the distributions happen on the block chain, all accounting will be fully transparent and everyone will be able to verify that they’re getting the right amount of coins.

Simple enough? You can learn more about LTBcoin at ltbcoin.com, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section below, send a private message through the LTB forum, or send a message through the contact page on my website.

 

Big thanks to all current and future patrons of the P2P Connects Us Patreon campaign!


Source: LTB Network Blog Posts

Open Shot 2.0 in Action

The video below was made using the latest version of Open Shot, a video editor for Linux. As I am no programmer, nor a professional editor, Open Shot is a great tool to have in your Linux software repertoire, as it offers easy video editing, with video transitions, compositing etc., as well as audio editing. Open Shot 2.0 UI is very intuitive as you can see from the screenshots below. Open Shot 2.0 is relatively lightweight, and should run on lesser-specced Linux boxes as well.

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The flying part: A Bombardier CRJ-700 enroute from Toronto to New York, leveling off at 10,000ft doing 330 knots, or 380 mph.

2013/14 MacBook Pro: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Arch Linux. That is my baby with which I begin my day, and end it. So, how does a guy like me, get a shot with a girl like you, I mean, MacBook Pro? Walk to an Apple Store, drop $2k (minimum) and  suck up on the Apple juice? Well, yes.

After a week with the ‘Pro, I can understand (mostly) where the 2,000 of my hard-earned-dollars went. It is a glorious machine indeed, I must admit. Screen, superb. Keyboard, on par, if not better than the T-lineup from Lenovo. Weight? The same as my ’09 Alienware M11X. Yes, 12 inches of Alien-goodness from the previous decade weighs the same as 15+ inches of today. And the ‘Pro has less flex, better battery etc. Thank Zeus for engineers and tech progress!

I do have some gripes though.

1) The ‘+’ (zoom?) button on windows doesn’t really maximize the window, but just makes it slightly bigger. You can go all-in full screen, but there’s no easy double-clicking the taskbar for maximizing window option. Really. Maximizing windows is not a Mac thing, or am I missing something here?

2) Window manager in general, in addition to the ‘+’ window button function. Aero-snap, or whatever you want to call it, a pretty basic function of modern window management, yet is missing. Windows has it. Linux, with its plethora of tiling window managers, in addition to the basic desktop environments, obviously has it. OS X? Not so much. Download “iSnap”? Sure. Works like a version 0.9-beta. Not exactly on par with Apple’s “it just works” experience. Maybe I’m missing something, again.

3) Chrome. Not really Apple’s fault I guess, but Chrome (and especially Chrome Canary), doesn’t feel very good on the MBPr. System heats up, occasionally gets all jerky, and sucks up on battery life. I know, all this is a known bug with Chrome’s Mac arm, but the Apple answer is to use Safari. Really. Really? FFS, that’s equivalent to using IE on Windows. Never. Again. Ever. Never. Ever.

4) Dual screen setup. I have a decent ASUS 30″ 1920×1200 IPS display that works very well on Arch + Gnome. Good resolution, painless setup with my Nvidia card. I know my new MBPr doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card (I’m cheap, $2,500 for a laptop? Nein, danke). While setting up an external/dual screen with any Apple laptop is a breeze, literally a plug-and-play, the 30″ display looks like poop with the MBP driving it. It could very well be a matter of the Intel Graphics having to do all the heavy lifting, and while usable for casual web browsing, I’m not going to do anything with a this kind of dual screen setup. The Mac settings do offer various options for scaling etc but in the end, it all looked liked like crap on the 30″ ASUS. I guess I can’t really blame the MBP for it, since the more expensive one with a dedicated graphics card is known for driving 2, if not 3 additional displays. But still…

5) App Store and Software/Package Management. While better than on Windows, by far one of the biggest issues I have with Macs and the Apple ecosystem is finding, downloading and installing software. When it comes to package management, OS X is a sort of a hybrid between Windows, with no real centralized location to find packages and applications, and Linux, where probably 90% of the packages, or in Arch Linux’s case, 100%, can be downloaded through repositories with a simple terminal download & install command. With my MBP, I can find some applications (most of them paid) in the App Store, which offers not much better user experience than the god-awful iTunes, or direct downloads from a developer’s website. Many of the cross-platform applications I use, e.g. VLC, GIMP, FileZilla etc., are not found in the App Store. The actual installation process of non-App-Store packages is not very intuitive either. Even less intuitive can be uninstalling said software, and while the “Apple approved” apps can be simply tossed in the trash (which is actually very nice way of uninstalling), some of the non-App-Store software seem like they can’t be uninstalled at all, until you read the “Read Me” file(s) (which is one way of saying RTFM, I guess).

But these complaints all pale compared to the main one. And no, I’m not revealing anything earth-shattering, this is all well-known by the Linux- and Apple-communities alike; where Linux-neckbeards will tell me “We told you so” and Apple-Starbuckees will scoff “Just deal with it, Steve will always be right”, here’s my main issue: while with Linux, especially with the Arch-kind, I create my own customized “happy place”, Apple expects, nay, forces, one to adjust to the one and only. It really doesn’t matter if there’s a better way of doing things, this is the Apple way, and we all shall conform.

So why would a Linux-guy like me, drop 2k on a Mac? Because I’m a tech-omnivore. Because I absolutely love the MBPr design, hardware, screen, the keyboard, the lot. Battery life, even with Chrome/Firefox with their bugs, is probably unrivaled by anything running Linux (maybe some Thinkpads with extended batteries?). And while I feel like an unwanted guest at an affluent psychopath’s home, I still like all things that involve precision-engineering, research, and in Apple’s case, the pursuit of perfection, even if it comes with the cost of choice. So, I shall make my MBPr work like a mofo, deliver where it needs, and when I need to get a fix of Linux, I can always retreat to the bliss of my Arch-workstation.

Live and let live.

Butterfly Labs Little Single, at 30GH/s

With the exponentially ever-increasing network difficulty, my Butterfly Labs Little Single bitcoin miner is barely keeping up. When I ordered the miner in early March of 2013, the estimated delivery time had been changed multiple times by Butterfly Labs. I was late in the game, I admit, but I was still shocked how long it actually took BFL to deliver the miner (mid-October). Now, instead of making a profit through mining bitcoin, I’ve had to adjust my expectation to just not taking a loss and trying to convince that even if I never make back the purchase price, I’ll still be supporting the bitcoin network.

The miner is running on Raspberry Pi with “Minepeon”, a modified (ARM-based) Arch Linux setup. Minepeon is a command-line-interface-only distro, purposely configured for bitcoin mining. It has cgminer as well as bfgminer software installed; once the OS is loaded onto Raspberry Pi’s SD-card, all one has to do is plug in the miner via USB, and let the system automagically take care of the rest. The mining software will automatically recognize the miner as a USB device, and once you have finished setting up your mining pool information, the miner will start hacking away — in my case at a steady 30 gigahashes per second, resulting currently at 0.15 BTC’s every few days

 

Replacement for Dreamweaver, say it ain’t so?

I admit, there’s probably no substitute for Adobe’s Dreamweaver, and yes yes, we should all be coding web pages with knuckles-raw vi or notepad++, and anything more than those two is just bloated, inefficient, yucky code.

In my world though Dreamweaver has been a really useful tool. I like it’s clean UI, well integrated FTP site loading, as well as the “split view” and “live code” editors. But what to do when you don’t want to pay up, and/or you’d like to be free of expensive software and evil Microsoftesque corporations, like open-source free? Disclaimer: I must admit, my quest to remove the Microsoft shackles is, well, an ongoing quest as I still run Win 8 under VMWare’s Workstation (yes, it *does* perform better than VirtualBox, and yes, it is stable, at least on vanilla Kubuntu 12.10 linux kernel 3.5 I’m on right now).

So far I’ve tried Aptana Studio, Bluefish, Kompozer and most recently Eclipse, along with various souped-up text editors like gvim, cream, kate, gedit etc. Aptana Studio has been sort of my go-to so far, and performed ok on (K)ubuntu, but in the end it hasn’t provided me much more than Bluefish or Eclipse. Enter Bluegriffon, based on Mozilla’s Gecko, built with html5 and css3 in mind, a wysiwyg html editor. As a bare bones editor, it has a nice clean UI, very similar to what you find on Mozilla’s other products. Since I want some bling and pizzazz, I opted to buy, nay, *support*, the open source movement by shelling out ~$20 for “Live view” and “css Pro” add-ons (Mozilla’s FTP add-on is free), which turn out to be useful, but, alas, not transforming Bluegriffon into a Dreamweaver killer.

While I’ll be toying with on Kubuntu, it is also available on Linux’s greatest rivals, Windows & OSX (see what I did there?).

So far so good, I like Bluegriffon. While it will probably never be Dreamweaver, it’s simplicity and bare-bones-but-functional approach (with quite a few, albeit paid add-ons), it just maybe my OSS “equivalent” to the venerable Dreamweaver, a sort of OSS’s “this is all we have, plus the kitchen sink.” I know I’m giving it close hard look.

Beauty of (Arch)Linux

I’m kind of a sucker for “old” computing hardware. Not old as in 1980’s old, but old like about a decade old. I’ve always wanted to get my hands on some late 1990’s/early 2000’s laptops/PC’s to create a tinkerer’s Linux box, to see if I can bring the machine back to life, and make it usable for everyday use.

So now I’ve been presented with said opportunity. I’m currently working on a “donated” ThinkPad T22 (~900MHz, 384MB RAM, 32GB HDD @5400rpm) a friend used for her MBA class at UC Irvine — apparently it was a mandatory purchase for the school. Roughly a decade ago when this piece of IBM engineering was top-of-the-line, it made your wallet a wee bit lighter, we’ll call it by a solid $3,500 (Amazon has it currently at a more meager ~$120). Yeah. For a machine that spec-wise compares to a run-of-the-mill Android phone.

This machine came with Win XP Pro installed (not the original OS I presume), a docking station, DVD ROM swappable to a 1.44MB floppy disk reader — ah yes, old skool! —  and a PCMCIA wireless card. Apparently the ‘Pad (see what I did there) hadn’t been booted in the last 5 years, and was collecting dust in the garage. Other than a quick CMOS complaint, the laptop booted up fairly quickly, even in modern standards, and everything partied like it was 1999. Truly a remarkable machine! Keyboard feels solid, as does the whole frame. Besides a few very minor blemishes, the display looks crisp, and everything “just works” (see what I did there again).

So after 2 mins and 47 secs of XP fun and all, I was lounging on Arch Linux forums to figure out the what/how/when to put Arch Linux on this piece of IBM history.

Arch has changed the installation process from last time I was sweating the KISS principle. No more GUI/wizard installer, and I use the term “GUI” loosely here. If previously you could sort of “wing it” with the installer, now you must have the noob guide handy. All you’ll have is the terminal, with installation done through the terminal under chroot. Though the interface is more bare, the “flow” of installation is better, simpler and quicker than previously, at least IMO.

After a fairly straightforward 45 minutes of reading the manual and basic installation (a good 15 minutes was wasted on my part on partitioning, mainly deciding between, reading and figuring out, GPT vs cfdisk), it was time for elementary post installation setup, i.e. Xorg, choosing a DE/window manager, display manager etc. I was hesitant to put resource intensive DE’s like Gnome or KDE on the T22, so I compromised and went with the trusted Xfce. For a moment there I tinkered with Enlightenment DE/WM as it is modern, lightweight yet doesn’t give in on eye-candy, but in the end, Xfce is still my choice of lightweight DE.

So far so good. Using Slim display manager, boot takes ~45 secs. Desktop is snappy, Chromium is initially loaded up in just few seconds. ThinkPad’s trackball needed zero attention, no issues with graphics driver either. I’ve read suspend-to-RAM works pretty much OOB, as does CPU scaling. As this is all is WIP, I haven’t gotten yet to customizing the desktop, keyboard shortcuts, getting PCMCIA WiFi card running, network printing etc, so the laundry list does go on.

I frequently read about how Linux brings old hardware back to life, but only now this back-from-the-dead-with-Linux is beginning to slowly become a part of my everyday computing. I can honestly see this T22 replacing my Alienware M11X as the travel machine. As I carry my gear in an overnight rollaboard, I often fear having shit broken by rampers, or stolen when I leave the bag in crewrooms etc. Now, having a sub-$100, yet still bank-vault-solid and fully capable Linux laptop for the overnights might be exactly what the pilot ordered!

Wish me luck.