Author: Charles Miller

Bitcoin embraces reality at the CoinGeek Week Conference

Bitcoin embraces reality at the CoinGeek Week Conference

“It’s time for Bitcoin to grow up”, said Jimmy Nyguyen in his opening remarks at the CoinGeek Week conference. That set the tone for the next three days and 30 or so presentations.

The hash war between Bitcoin ABC and SV had played out. It was fierce – and had changed the world for the combatants in just a couple of short weeks. But Jimmy, and Calvin Ayre, who introduced the conference, were confident that their team – including CoinGeek, nChain and SVPool – are now in a great place from which to build for the future around Bitcoin SV.

Since the conference was held just ahead of the tenth anniversary of the first transaction on the Bitcoin blockchain, the sense of growing up and moving on to the next chapter had an extra resonance. As to what the way forward would look like, Craig Wright came on stage later that morning and captured it in his first words: “OK, it’s really, really simple: we need transaction volume.”

During the rest of the conference at London’s Mermaid Theatre, the path to more transactions, of more kinds, was explained through a kaleidoscope of big visions and inspiring implementations that are already up and running.

Bitcoin embraces reality at the CoinGeek Week Conference

One theme that jumped out was the sense that crypto is starting to work with the grain of the world as it exists – rather than trying to build a parallel universe. Just three examples: Elizabeth White announced a debit card that uses crypto and has Mastercard as a partner. Stephan Nilsson is building a supply chain ID system that works on the blockchain alongside SAP – a global data management giant.

And CentBee’s Angus Brown talked about how his wallet was part of a recent initiative with the (very real) bar chain Brewdog. Again, it was a question of working with the world as it is: “bank cards are not going away tomorrow,” said Angus. So CentBee “needs to feel like a payment card, but better.” The experience with giving people wallets to buy beer a few minutes later produced an “I get it” reaction: “it’s not Lambos, it’s just beer”.

That kind of ordinariness and familiarity is one of the aims of Ryan X. Charles’ Moneybutton. It’s designed to integrate with any online site, with an endless array of possible functions – starting with money. As Ryan put it, we’re “making payments as easy as the Facebook Like button”. Crucially, Moneybutton is “just an interface for you to use the power of the blockchain”. The end user sees money in the currency they’re familiar with – pounds, dollars or whatever. So if you want to leave a tip, you don’t need to know what it is in Bitcoin: that side of the transaction is all behind the scenes.

Talking of working with the real world, what could be more real that using the power of crypto mining to grow vegetables? Or drying, er, human waste to turn it into fuel. That’s what’s happening just outside Montreal, courtesy of BlockchainDomes. The idea is that the heat generated during the mining process shouldn’t be wasted. Is this the start of a green crypto movement?

Summing up at the end of day two, Jimmy Nyguyen reminded his audience that technical solutions are just part of the work in crypto. Alongside that, “a business-minded, real world approach is important”.

Embracing reality – that’s what crypto is doing today. Now please fasten your seatbelts for day three of the conference, whose theme is The Future.

Bitcoin embraces reality at the CoinGeek Week Conference

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Crypto is the road to economic freedom

As the crypto economy develops, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs to provide services at all stages of the business process. Daniel Lipshitz, an Israeli startup founder, spotted a niche and has built a company around it. It’s just part of a bigger vision Daniel has for what a crypto economy could bring to the world.

GAP600 covers the short period between a transaction being completed and it being added immutably to the blockchain. During that time, there’s a small, theoretical risk of something going wrong and money being lost. GAP600 covers that risk, just like an insurer covers more conventional business or personal risks.

Before he started his business, Daniel was working for a website security company that provided DDoS mitigation (distributed denial-of-service), including to some crypto exchanges. He noticed how fast the exchanges were growing and that led him to find out about this new sector. He thought about “how I could add value to the ecosystem” and came up with the idea for GAP600, which served its first client in 2016.

“In the crypto space, service needs to be first class and better than anything else out there,” says Daniel. Part of that is about speed. “If you’re an exchange or a payment provider or a wallet, you need to be providing instant gratification, instant customer service.” GAP600 helps with that.

“Money is an extremely sensitive subject for everyone. Nobody wants to lose one dollar,” Daniel says. And that means crypto doesn’t need to look any further for its killer app: “the killer app is money. That is the massive use case. It’s just an absolute, ubiquitous aspect of our lives.”

But for Daniel, there’s more to crypto than simply making the world more efficient. He also believes there’s an idealistic side to the revolution. He references the economist Friedrich Hayek, a 1974 Nobel prize winner, whose ideas about “denationalised” money have been taken up by crypto enthusiasts to explain how crypto could contribute to economic freedom.

“When you look at the statistics, the more free an economy is, the less chance of poverty. It’s about progress, it’s about quality of life, it’s about stability and happiness – and can lead to global peace. These are lofty and ridiculous terms, but that’s what it is.”

To hear more from Daniel, listen to our CoinGeek Conversation with him – the second of our new podcast series:

Daniel Lipshitz will be talking on November 29 at the CoinGeek Week Conference in London.

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Lambos for cryptos: that was just act one of Elizabeth White’s ambitions

Elizabeth White has a big announcement to make during her appearance at the CoinGeek Week Conference. She’s not giving much away in advance, but promises that “it’s a ground-breaking innovation that brings cryptocurrency to the real world in a way that you can use every day – across the whole range of retailers and services.”

And it’ll further the aims of her crypto retailer The White Company, which she founded only last year. “We provide a service …how to convert your crypto holdings into something that you actually like – like a Lamborghini.”

Speaking from her office in New York, Elizabeth said that those mythical Lamborghinis, so beloved of crypto traders, are very real in her world. She’s already sold an amazing 41 of them in exchange for crypto, along with a collection of other luxury items worth $150 million in old money.

You might imagine those sales will often involve some complex cross-border transactions, but Elizabeth says most of her customers want to buy things that are sourced in their own countries. “I really don’t see it as people just wanting to buy a Rolls Royce in the States so they don’t have to buy it in their own state and claim tax wherever – because you still have to title everything, you still have to let the government know what’s going on.”

One of the main attractions of The White Company for crypto millionaires was because it used to be slow to get crypto converted to fiat through an exchange: if you wanted to get $300,000 out in a day, “you’d be sitting there for months …paying fees every time and having to report every little detail about where the transactions were coming from.”

The White Company provided a solution: “it was a lot easier for people to say ‘I have $300,000 worth of crypto, can you exchange this into a car?’. The answer is ‘yes we can do it that day’.”

And by setting an immediate price, the buyer isn’t subject to changes because of the volatility of crypto, “so we were able to create real time trades, real time amounts, not keep going back and forth with them.”

Elizabeth isn’t worried about the falling value of cryptocurrencies since the start of the year. “There were a lot of uneducated purchases made in the market that were just based on gut. The ‘free money’ thing doesn’t last forever.” She’s similarly level-headed about the flurry of new coins, launched with ICOs: “you can’t just trust that because it’s a coin it’s going to go somewhere just because other coins have gone somewhere. A lot of things don’t need blockchain – they just don’t.” The bottom line is “I think it should teach people that they should actually research …before investing, just like they do with anything else.”

While she is a realist – “I don’t think cryptocurrency was made just to make people wealthy from nothing” – Elizabeth is also a long-term optimist: “I think there is a true use case for it. And the case might not even be seen for the next five years.”

But we don’t have to wait five years for important developments in crypto. Back to her big announcement at the conference, Elizabeth told me “if you want to entice people to come along, you can tell them we’re giving everyone a free ******.”

Sorry folks – you’ll just have to be there to find out what that is.

Elizabeth White will be speaking on Building a Two Sided Network on November 29 at the CoinGeek Week Conference in London.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

In three previous posts, I have recorded my newbie experiences in crypto:

 – Setting up a wallet
 – Converting pounds to crypto in an exchange
 – Moving the money from the exchange to my wallet

Now we find out whether the whole thing has been worth it: I’m going to try to buy something.

My Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is burning a hole in my virtual pocket. I want to buy something. I Google for suggestions and come across something called the Bitcoin Superstore.

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I’m really not sure about it. The business is registered in Florida and has only been going since January – but I decide to give it a go.

When you click on Purchase Now at the top of the page, you find that Bitcoin Superstore doesn’t actually have any products. It buys them for you from other retailers, including Amazon. You’re invited to browse on a retailer’s website and copy the web address of the item you want into a box on the Bitcoin Superstore page.

I have a look on Amazon and decide to try this:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I paste the URL and the product name into the box on Bitcoin Superstore, as instructed:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

Now I’m asked to enter the price in US dollars. I find that the £5.99 converts into $7.92, so I put that under >Product Price. (I’m not sure what happens if you aren’t as honest as me about the dollar conversion figure.)

And here’s the summary of my order in dollars – with just $0.16 added in Taxes & Fees:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

Now Bitcoin Superstore converts the dollars to BCH and asks me to transfer them to it:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

When I confirm the order, Bitcoin Superstore comes up with a QR code that only lasts a few minutes, to show me its address, to send the money to:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I’m now using the Centbee wallet, so I open it on my phone:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

The opening screen is a choice between Receive, on the left, and Send, on the right. I press Send. Next, you have to decide how you want tell Centbee who to send the money to:

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

I choose the top option because I can just scan the QR code that Bitcoin Superstore has created. Now all I have to do is enter the amount in BCH and send the money to Bitcoin Superstore. Done.

Being a little cynical, I thought that would probably be the last I heard of the matter, and that someone in Florida, or someone with a hard-to-trace online connection to Florida would be the happy recipient of my hard-won BCH.

How wrong I was.

Less than 24 hours later, an Amazon package arrives on my doorstep. In it, the light bulb. Thank you Bitcoin Superstore – that’s great service!

My light-bulb moment: Bitcoin Cash works!

So was it a good deal? Well, as I write, the BCH I spent is worth £5.97, so the whole thing saved me two pence compared to what I would have paid on Amazon. It could have been up or down a bit depending on currency movements but the point is that it wasn’t substantially more expensive than the cost in pounds, even with the small Bitcoin Superstore fee included.

And as you get used to it, the basic process of payment is simple – not much more than the photographing of the QR code, and the pressing of Send.

As an idea, crypto isvery different. But anyone who’s grown up in the past few decades will have experienced a series of new technologies – email, websites, social media, smartphones – that were a little clunky when they started but which users have grown to appreciate while they improved, and which they now feel they couldn’t live without. Given its potential usefulness, it’ll be surprising if the same doesn’t happen to crypto.

And funnily enough, some other light bulbs that I ordered from Amazon in the normal way didn’t turn up and I have had to spend time trying to get a refund. Crypto works!

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Our mission for BCH: “Growing it, scaling it, expanding its usage – now!”

With the CoinGeek Week Conference coming up at the end of November, we asked nChain CEO Jimmy Nyguyen, one of the speakers, what attendees can expect from the three day event:

The Conference falls around the time of two Bitcoin anniversaries, the first being the publication of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original White Paper proposing Bitcoin in October 2008. For Jimmy, that makes for a special reason to encourage rapid and widespread adoption of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) now as “the electronic cash of the future”.

Jimmy admits there’s been “a slower path to scaling of the network than we’d like to see”. He believes that the solution is the raising of the default maximum block size on the blockchain and a return to the original vision of Satoshi Nakamoto – including the restoration of the specific instructions or “opcodes” set out by Satoshi:

You don’t need to understand coding or the blockchain to benefit from Bitcoin Cash in your business. The CoinGeek Week conference will offer practical advice to retailers and service providers to help them take their first steps in adopting crypto – and will hear from some inspiring pioneers who are already using it:

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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How BCH got Tokenized – by a team that’s only met each other once

James Belding only started working on Tokenized, the project that’s just won him a £5 million prize from CoinGeek, when he found he couldn’t take his business idea forward without it.

Tokenized is an open-source protocol that allows tokenization on the Bitcoin BCH blockchain. And that was exactly what CoinGeek was looking for in its competition.

James was an electrical engineer, working in the oil and gas industries in Australia when cryptocurrency caught his attention back in 2013. He was hooked – but it was only in November last year with the arrival of Bitcoin Cash that he decided to devote himself full time to understanding how crypto works and to try to “add something to it, to make it better”.

He wanted to start a business to help people use blockchain to set up smart contracts. And he wanted to do it on the Bitcoin BCH blockchain, which he believed had the most potential. But he found there wasn’t a way to add contracts to BCH: “I was getting a bit frustrated, thinking ‘surely someone’s going to come up with this’ … but no-one did. So I started designing it myself”.
James put his own money into the project, assembling a group of four colleagues with a wide range of skills, from the technical to the legal. The team, spread around Australia and Singapore, have only met in person once, at his home. But they’ve worked together successfully to create Tokenized, which he believes can transform BCH into “a sort of a commercial Internet on which all commerce is done”.

He sees Tokenized as having a value far beyond any help it will give to his own fledgling business: “I think that a really important part of Bitcoin unleashing its value to the world is that it becomes used for all sorts of data.”

Tokenized offers protocols for over 40 separate kinds of contract, with all the necessary legal parameters specified. That’s meant he and his team have had to study commercial law, and now have lawyers combing through their work, making sure it’s all watertight.

Tokenized is not just for big financial or legal contracts: it could be something as ordinary as selling movie tickets. It’s a “structured template so that everyone involved in tokenized transactions knows what to expect.” It guides you to fill in the information that’s required in order for a contract to be valid. “I want to make it easy enough that anyone can do it and anyone can benefit from it.”

Now James’ original business idea can move forward “to take the value that’s in this protocol and bring it to market.” And he isn’t worried that competitors could also use Tokenized to create businesses to compete with his own. He says he welcomes anyone wanting to make use of Tokenized: “I think everyone’s going to do great in this space if we can make Bitcoin Cash what it can be. And everyone who’s involved in these early days is going to do very well.”

CoinGeek is celebrating James’ success by inviting him to speak at the CoinGeek Week Conference at the end of November. He’s bringing his whole team to London – so there’ll be a great chance to celebrate their win together. No doubt they’ll be raising a glass as they meet in person for the second time.

The first version of Tokenized will be released on November 13. James will be speaking on The Future of Commerce at the CoinGeek Week Conference on November 29.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Dr. Craig Wright: Money is just the start of my Bitcoin vision

Ahead of the CoinGeek Week Conference in London in November, Dr. Craig Wright, chief scientist at the research company nChain, told us what his message will be to the conference:

Dr Wright isn’t afraid to think big and has the skills and means to turn his ambitions into reality. Tech ambitions don’t come much bigger than his determination to “change everything that you’ve ever known”:

Don’t expect the revolution to happen overnight. Comparing the development and adoption of crypto technologies with that of the Internet, Dr. Wright says that we’re still at the equivalent of 1997/98, the days of the ‘dot com boom’ – when people thought they were worth a billion dollars just because they’d founded an internet business. In the same way, says Dr. Wright, new buzzwords are today being bandied around by people who don’t understand what they mean:

To help realise his vision, Dr. Wright has initiated the public Bitcoin BCH mining pool SVPool (Satoshi Vision Pool) which runs nChain’s Bitcoin SV, the new full node implementation of Bitcoin BCH. Dr. Wright sees this as a way to fulfil the original vision for Bitcoin to deliver sound money by giving power to miners rather than developers:

Dr. Wright will be speaking at the CoinGeek Week Conference on Application Developers Day (28 November) and on the final day of the conference (30 November), when his address is titled Global Commerce as a Platform.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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My third step in BCH: moving crypto to a wallet

The story so far: I’ve set up a wallet with Bitcoin.com. And then I used the Coinbase exchange to convert some pounds into cryptocurrency, in the form of Bitcoin BCH.

For my next trick, I’m going to attempt to move the crypto from the exchange into my Bitcoin.com wallet, so that I’m ready to spend it.

I’m starting where I left off last time, in the Coinbase account on my laptop. Clicking on Accounts at the top of the page takes me to a screen with a list of currencies. The only one with any money in is BCH – the £20 I transferred to it last time.

My third step in BCH: moving crypto to a wallet

I’m trying to move the money into my Bitcoin.com wallet, from where I’ll be able to spend it. I click on Send and get to this:

My third step in BCH: moving crypto to a wallet

I need fill in the Recipient box with an address that will tell Coinbase where I want the money sent to, so I go to my phone and open my Bitcoin.com account – which will be the recipient:

My third step in BCH: moving crypto to a wallet

I click Receive and am shown a QR code. Tapping it copies the long code underneath the QR image to my clipboard. This is my Public Key – the crypto equivalent of an email address, a way of telling people where they can send me money.

I paste it into an email, send it to myself and open it on my laptop (just because it’s such a long code, this is a quick way to access it on my laptop (or I could have photographed the QR image with my laptop camera).

Now back on Coinbase (on the screen two up from here), I paste the long code into the Enter a BCH address box, choose to send $10 and press Continue at the bottom. Coinbase sends a verification code to my phone and I enter that on my laptop and Confirm.

It works! Bitcoin.com shows that I have money in my wallet:

My third step in BCH: moving crypto to a wallet

All that remains is to work out how to spend it. That’s for next time.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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My second step in Bitcoin BCH: Playing with real money

The story so far: I’ve downloaded a cryptocurrency wallet onto my phone, from Bitcoin.com, as I explained here. Now I want to turn some real money into crypto.

A friend has recommended Coinbase as an app that I could use to exchange real money (sorry, fiat money, as it’s called in the crypto world) into Bitcoin Cash (BCH)—which is the cryptocurrency that CoinGeek recommends.

I download Coinbase. It looks like this, and at the bottom of the screen, invites me to Sign Up.

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

Coinbase is a crypto exchange. So what’s the difference between an exchange and a wallet? Well, an exchange is like a bank, where you can buy and sell different currencies, whether crypto or fiat. You can keep money in an exchange, but a wallet is the easiest place from which to use crypto, whether for buying, transferring to someone else, or receiving someone else’s payment to you.

It’s like the difference between a bank and your physical wallet: you can keep money in both but for day to day spending, you use your wallet, not the bank.

Signing up to Coinbase is quite a faff. So much so that I transfer from my phone to the Coinbase website and do it on my laptop. As well as the usual passwords and personal details, you have to upload a couple of documents—passport, utility bill or credit card—and then they take a while to process them.

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

But a few minutes later Coinbase tells me we are in business:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

To convert some money to BCH, just as with any other kind of currency exchange, I have to transfer of funds to Coinbase. Here are the choices of where my money can be sent from:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

Although Coinbase recommends that I link up my bank account, I’m still taking baby steps, and so I choose to pay with a credit card. Not all cards will allow you to transfer into a crypto exchange, but I have one that does and so I enter its details, just like for any online purchase. Now I’m ready to buy some BCH. I start by entering $10:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

But then I spot that the Coinbase fee is about 10 per cent, so I go crazy and double my investment to $20, where the fee comes down to a still substantial 7.5 per cent. Here’s the deal:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

Somehow my dollar investment has been turned into pounds, but never mind: I press Buy now.

But there’s a problem: the price of BCH is so volatile that the exchange rate has changed even while I’m taking the above screenshot—and the deal is off:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

I try again, more quickly this time. The deal is marginally better for me than the one Coinbase rejected. I take a look at the changing price of BCH. It’s fallen against the dollar in the past few minutes, which is why I’ve been able to get a very slightly better rate:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

So now Coinbase is telling me that I’m the proud owner of some BCH. It cost me $26.30 and a couple of hours later, it’s worth $23.90 (but that includes the $1.50 fee to Coinbase). I can track its changing value on the site:

My second step in BCH: playing with real money

But, hey, I’m not here to speculate on currency price movements. I’m here to get money into my wallet. I need a strong cup of tea, so that’s for next time.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Make mine a double: How to get more from your mining

Cryptocurrency mining is all about performance—that is, getting maximum processing power (‘hash rate’) for every watt of energy used. Since that has a direct effect on profitability, just as ‘search engine optimizer’ was once a new job to help companies win attention on Google, now there are crypto optimizers too.

And they’re in great demand, according to Kristy-Leigh Mineham, an expert in the field. Speaking to me from Seattle, Washington, she explained that both the hardware and the software in a mining rig can be tweaked.

Working for many of the giants in the industry since 2010, Kristy-Leigh examines a rig and makes many small improvements that add up to better performance: “I’m good at looking for bottlenecks and smoothing them out—or removing them entirely,” she says.

The first job is to look at the software: “software optimization can occur at a number of levels—there’s the design level, which is all about your architecture—what hardware is the software working with? What language are you using? Then there’s the algorithmic level—my favorite—where it’s all about making the best use of the available hardware. You’d be surprised at how awful most implementations are.”

It gets more technical, the deeper into the software you go: “At the source code level, you can go in and refactor the code all the way down to the compile and assembly level, where you take what the source code was translated into and make sure things didn’t get lost in translation. And if they did? Correct it by hand, in the machine’s native language.”

It’s like having a team of engineers working on a racing car at the pit-stop: Kristy-Leigh will go in with her digital wrenches and spanners, fixing problems. Hardware optimization is different. “In hardware, you’re limited by what you get from the factory. The best you can do is tune the frequency of each individual chip. In some cases, you can do circuit board modifications to increase stability and performance. Very rarely, you can replace the entire software layer that controls it.”

It’s a role Kristy-Leigh seems born for. From a young age, she say, she’s been breaking things in order to improve them. “I was mostly into video games early on. With a hex editor, you could see a live view of a video game’s memory and manipulate bytes in real time, which meant you could see the effects instantly. And you could also set breakpoints, which let you overwrite preprogrammed game logic. Video games taught me a ton about basic command lines, Boolean algebra, binary formats, networking basics, and even cryptography. I guess that means I’ve been a hacker from the start of my life—if you take the original definition,” she laughs.

Her love of secrets led to an interest in cryptography and from there, she was naturally drawn to the ideas behind the original Satoshi white paper when it was dropped into an online chat room she frequented. “I thought, here’s the kind of technology that’s really going to disrupt the world.”

Armed with her limited knowledge, Kristy-Leigh started mining Bitcoin—chasing high scores in hashrate rather than gaming points. When she’d maximized the hashrate numbers, she went into the source code, just as she’d done with video games: “I think I shaved a few instructions down into one—and then I was like ‘oh, hang on, that actually changed something. It’s faster now’. It was just like a video game. I was hooked.”

She started doing odd bits of contractor work under many pseudonyms, often getting paid in Bitcoin—in numbers that looked impressive but at the time amounted to cents. Of course, having a stake in Bitcoin at those values turned out to be a good investment, as long as you hung on to most of it. And yes, Kristy-Leigh admits, she did. It’s provided the initial investment for her own startup companies and worldwide travels.

Today, there’s growing demand for people who understand crypto technology as intimately as Kristy-Leigh does. “There are more and more coins out there, every day, and each of them requires fine-tuning and tweaking,” she says.

Kristy-Leigh is bullish about the long-term prospects for crypto and blockchain technology, but believes it will only come of age when it’s been embedded in three big sectors: banks, ecommerce, and gaming.

“Banks are easy—the promise of more efficient, cheaper transactions makes blockchain a natural. But the banks that are already pursuing it are less established than their more conservative counterparts.” Once a big bank in the States, Canada or the United Kingdom begins to adopt blockchain, Kristy-Leigh believes, it won’t affect the user experience but will be a big change behind the scenes, resulting in a sharp decrease in fees.

“Then, we’ve got ecommerce. When online retailers start to cut out the fees now charged for handling and transacting, we’re going to see the true power of blockchain hitting the biggest markets. And smart contracts will help retailers, too, with inventory and delivery tracking and with warranties and services. Smart contracts are going to revolutionize the retail space.”

Finally, perhaps more surprisingly, there’s gaming: “Gaming has become a critical part of everyday life for all ages. Every year more resources are put into cyber protection and anti-cheating mechanisms. If you could use the blockchain to track and verify virtual assets in an MMO [massive multiplayer online game], you’d cut down on a lot of unnecessary overhead and be able to track purchases and refute chargebacks in a pretty streamlined manner—instead of the current system that costs Apple alone millions of dollars each month.”

More stable cryptocurrency prices will help speed up adoption. Kristy-Leigh says their volatility has been like “stocks on steroids”, but notes that values are already less volatile than they have been. “We’ve got more historical data to play with now. We know that in the last financial quarter of the year, crypto prices swell. Christmas is a big facilitator of that.”

When it comes to the inevitable question about being a woman in the field, Kristy-Leigh laughs. “It’s never affected me,” she says. “The only people who ever cared about my gender were people who didn’t care about my code. In the space I come from, people only judge you from the quality of your commits*, not the quality of your… sorry, pardon my Australian!”

* In software development, a commit is the making permanent of a set of proposed changes.

Kristy-Leigh Mineham will be speaking at the CoinGeek Week Conference in London on Friday November 30, along with other industry leaders.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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