Linguist, Technologist, Author & Inventor
Recently two of my favorite libertarians Peter Schiff and Stefan Molyneux debated two currencies, the cryptographic currency bitcoin and gold. The interview pitted traditional banking and economic theory with new age open-source and distributed systems philosphy. While Stefan Molyneux presented well the tried and true arguments in favor of bitcoin, Schiff blended both world views to propose a new class of cryptographic money that is backed by more traditional value.
Molyneux comes out swinging by referencing a recently $6 million transaction made in bitcoin, and argues that bitcoin can make nearly instant and nearly free transactions, which gold cannot do. The drawback for now is that one can’t make long-term contracts because of volatility. For instance Yen or Euro aren’t perfectly stable but won’t be triple the price in a year.
One of Schiff’s most effective arguments was that their is no barrier to entry to starting a new crypto-currency, which could easily result in a currency backed by gold, silver, or oil. He rightly states that bitcoin itself isn’t backed by anything, and the price is essentially what people are willing to pay. Currently people use bitcoin because digital currency can be used to securely transfer money assets anywhere in the world.He imagines a bank in Hong Kong that holds gold reserves and maintains gold balances for their customers. The customers could issue their own cryptographic money that represents the gold stock, making them instantly tradable like bitcon yet backed by gold in a heavily-guarded fortress.
Ripple is a payment network that allows anyone to create their own cryptographically secure currency and issue it on the open market. In the example of the Hong Kong bank that wants to issue its own cryptographic gold tokens they would be able to use the existing Ripple infrastructure and open-source software rather that re-implementing a completely custom cryptography and money system. Each unit of currency they issue would be redeemable at the bank for a unit weight of gold. In order to build such a currency on top of the Ripple there are only a few concepts that the Hong Kong Bank would need to understand.
Currencies on the Ripple network represent IOUs, or credits issued by one user to another user. The holder of the currency extends a line of trust to the issuer of the currency, representing in this case that they trust the Hong Kong Gold Bank to redeem their gold money for physical gold upon request. Other examples of extending trust lines include trusting that a user who credits you with bitcoin IOUs will actually have those bitcoins available if you wish to redeem them.
Issuing a new currency on Ripple is simple and is explained in the Ripple wiki:
Ripple has no particular support for any of the 3 letter currencies. Ripple requires its users to agree on meaning of these codes. In particular, the person trusting or accepting a balance of a particular currency from an issuer, must agree to the issuer’s meaning. As result, any 3 letter code can be used for represent currencies on the Ripple network as long the involved parties agree.
Each customer of the Hong Kong Gold Bank would need a Ripple wallet in order to hold the gold-backed cryptographic tokens securely. In Ripple a user’s wallet is available anywhere in the world and the user has complete control of the currency units in their wallet. A user that holds Hong Kong Gold Bank money units would be able to send them to anyone on the network, or use the network to convert the money to another money of their choosing. They would also be able to submit bids/asks for their gold money against of other currencies.
In the Ripple system the Hong Kong Bank would serve the role of a “Gateway”, which is basically a normal user that issues balances of a currency and allows users to move digital money out to physical goods, or physical goods into the network as a digital representation of that commodity.
Currently I am looking to get native mobile + server projects for my team of four engineers in san francisco. What did you have in mind?
Hello, I would love to help. Can you describe in more detail exactly the messaging feature you would like to see implemented? Thanks for the guidance!
Strength of Character, Steadfastness of Purpose
I painted a large, framed banner with those words in big white letters and my favorite color purple in the background. I hung it on my wall in the new room in the apartment I rented beginning just after I started my third year of college in Austin. In two and a half years I had manage to attain senior status but had also been on academic probation once already. Many long minutes passed as I pondered the sentence, my new personal mantra, while I grappled with self-doubt and fear. Toward the end of high school I began dreaming of total freedom, from my family and school but probably from responsibility in general. After tasting freedom when I got my first car and as my curfew was liften I knew I wanted more. Though I had not given much though to what I would do once I was out of college I determined to make it be exactly what I want and assumed that given a degree from UT I would be in a position to freely choose from high-paying jobs in a fascinating company of my choice.
I approached college with the mentality that the degree was more important that the knowledge you attain while studying at a university thus I should take the shortest possible route to graduation. For me the shortcut strategy meant pursuing a degree in International Business because I could apply my placement credits from end-of-high-school exams to a variety of prerequisite courses like spanish, calculus, economics and english. The whole process was going to be rather painless but I would have to transfer to the business school after a year from my current status as an undeclared liberal arts student. No problem, I thought, all I need is 3.7 GPA in my first year of courses, which should all be theoretically easy and introductory. Because I had not been in the top 10% of my graduating class in high school but the top 12% I was by default relegated to the early-start program and only accepted in the college of liberal arts.
In the mean time as I planned to transfer to the business school my classes were a little more difficult that I anticipated. To make things worse I joined the Longhorn Marching Band in the fall of my first year which was a gigantic weekly commitment in the fall semester. I ended up with a 3.4 GPA at the end of the year and unable to transfer to the business school I decided to adopt the major with the next shortest path to graduation, economics.
I had taken an advanced economics class in high school and placed out of the full introductory year of coursework. My understanding was so advanced because I had been studying monetary theory and economics from the austian school perspective of economics. The austrian perspective is closely associated with advocates of low or no government and total individual freedom. Over the previous three years I had become a junkie of electoral politics and what has become known in general as the “libery movement”. I followed obsessively the campaign of Ron Paul for president and perused hundreds of essays and books on politics, history, and economics. The politics of human freedom had become over the years an integral part of my personal though process and experience. After seeing Ron Paul delight a raving crowd of five thousand packed in the university’s south mall, I determined to dedicate my life to the advancement of individual freedom, prosperity, and peace for as many people possible.
Unfortunately electoral politics becomes depressing when one realizes how fake most election coverage in disinformation is. Studying the endless history of congresses, courts and presidents consistently breaking oauths and shrinking political freedom evinces in me at least feelings of hopelessness, that individuals cannot have an effect on politics. And electoral politics as it delivers consistently disappointing results began to make me angry. I was upset that more people couldn’t see what I saw. In reality they were all trying to scrape by with the few tools they knew, but I was at a point where I didn’t have to work for my livelihood and I had almost endless time to dedicate to the study of abstract philosophy and to clamor about politics and that state of society. Upon seeing that I was powerless to make people care about my cause I began to rebel against society in general, specifically against the structure around my life.
In my first semetser in economics I was unfortunately near the end of registration and was left with the only upper-division economics course left being Marxist theory. Loudly voicing my discontent withg everyone who would listen, but registering for the class nonetheless. When it came time for me to procrastinate and not work hard on the assignments it was easy to blame the registration system for forcing me to take Marxism 101. The reality was that I was trying to game the system into graduating early and didn’t want to wait my turn for classes nor did I want to learn the material or even care about doing well in the class.
At the same time I moved into my first house with four other friends, finally out of the on-campus dormitory. Content to let my parents continue to pay for my life I indulged myself in the highest level of freedom yet. A psychidellic epiphany told me that the purpose of life is to do exactly what makes you happy, and that I should pursue only those activities which I absolutely wanted to do. My newly formed mentality led to a lot of days in the park playing frisbee, getting stoned, reading philosophy, debating with friends and working out. Over the previous ten years I had become increasingly overweight to the point where I was 235 pounds. The entire time I was obsessed with my weight and looks but continued to gain weight, unwilling to put in the research on nutrition and work at the gym. My body tormented my psche and was a general cause of malaise for years. Realizing I needed to acheive exactly what I wanted I decided to love my body rather than hate it. I set out to finally work hard and lost fifty pounds. I ran, swam, lifted weights and cut out sugar. I didn’t eat nearly enough and in fact manage to lost all the weight down to one hundred eighty pounds.
With all my happiness from my new body and personal freedom I spent way more time focusing on non-school-related life improvements while neglecting the courses for which my parents were paying four thousand dollars each semester. I made consistent C average grades during the first semester of my second year and my parents began be be unsettled. My dad told me that he would only pay for the classes in which I received an A grade. Shit! Until now my plan had been to just pass and quickly get a degree but now apparently I was to commit three or four times more effort per week to classes. All the improvements I had made and had been working on might have to go on hold. I determined to get As nonetheless from then on. I was terrified of what would happen if I didn’t get the grades I needed. My entire livelihood was provided by my parents and if I didn’t maintain perfect scores my house and education were in jeopardy. I absolutely would not accept a scenario where I had to work full-time to pay for my own college. My mom did that and managed to work here way through college but it tool seven years! Without ad degree I though my life of freedom and happiness that had seemed so certain before would be impossible.
Full panic mode set in when my first set of exam results came back the following semester. I was failing most of my classes and in many cases an A was mathematically unattainable even at that point. I was so incredibly stressed about my grades as it seemed that my happy life would soon come crashing down when my parents discovered my poor performance. When they asked that semester about my scores I lied, trying foolishly to maintain the illusion as much as possible, both to them and to perhaps delude myself. I failed two courses that semester and my overall grades were so low that I was put on academic probation. The letter from the college announcing my probabtion arrived at my paretns’ house to much excitement on their part. They were pissed that I lied about my grades and demanded that I register for summer school at once. Since I had not received As my dad said I would have to pay for the next year’s tuition myself and he would refund the cost if I got all As. I asked to borrow the money but was rejected so rather than take time off to work at ten dollars and hour save for tuition I took out a student loan.
As a teenager I was determined to never obtain a credit card for fear of too much high-interest debt on my hands. Studying monetary economics I understoon the debilitating effects of debt on the growth or sustainability of an economy or budget. Borrowing money to pay for college in which I had little interest was unsettling at times and disgusting at others. Rather than simply taking my loan and finishing my last three semesters in peace, I set out to gain justice somehow. I did research on the growing and seemingly unsustainable levels of student debt in the united states and drew strong correlations between the debt levels and the record unemployment of the current depression.
Though I only sporadically participated in required school activities I was busy starting the Austin Economics Club at UT and attending the Libertarian Longhorns meetings regularly. I used those groups as an outlet for my research on student debt and unemployment. I paid close attention to the disparity between the skills that college graduates have and the ones that are required to actually do the work of building a modern economy. I was particularly upset by how much the media, the governemtn, schools, familites and communities pushed a college degree even to the point of recommended tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. It depressed me to realize that most people simply do not analyze the actual cost of college education versus the real benefits it provides. After speaking with graduates in liberal arts who were working sadly in uninspiring environments for less than mediocre pay and reading about countless similar scenarios around the country and world I despaired that my own degree would be worthless or at least not worth nearly as much as I had hoped.
Given my future degree would be of potentially little assistance in providing for my satisfaction I set out to make my way as an entrepreneur. My study of economics taught me that wealth is created by entrepreneurs who risk their own capital and consume less than they produce over time. I began to read books on starting business and was most intrigued by web-based business models. I read a book called “The Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferris that proposed a model for automated internet-based businesses targeted to a specific niche market. Starting a business on the web piqued my interest most because of the seemingly low cost. I would not have to rent equipment or store space and all of my manufactuing and production could be outsourced. All I had to do was come up with a niche market which I was uniquely qualified to serve and create a product that dramatically enhanced their lives. At that point my market would theoretically be begging to pay me top dollar for my product. For weeks I studied ads in magazines, newspapers and the internet to get a feel for what type of product I wanted to build and sell. I read magazines in fields to which I though I could relate: technology, business, liberty, politics, students, homosexuality. I realized that my perfect market is young people who want personal economic freedom, but it was seemingly impossible to figure out what unique product would enable them to realize such freedom. I too was having a very difficult time with my perceived lack of freedom from leaving school or disobeying my parents. I was struggling with how to build liberty for myself, and had no clue how to bring liberty to millions of others.
The entire concept of the web-based business I was to build revolved around a website where the brand is built and the core product is sold. Ferris reported that an adequate web site would cost between five and ten thousand dollars to create after all the iterations were finished. Whew! That was a lot of money but luckily I had taken out a hefty student loan to pay ofr a year and a half of university study. But My parents prudently ended my hopes of using the loan for a startup business of my own by not granting me direct access to the loan I myself took out. To say the least I was not happy with them but was fixed on my goal of starting a web business to become financially independent so I decided to learn to build the web site myslef. How hard could it be afer all to put up an ecommerce store?
A friend had previously recommended to me that I learn a web technology called ruby on rails and I would be able to get a job at his company. He said the current employee had only one year’s head start on me but I could definitely learn. He reported a shortage of programmers that understood the rails web app framework but I convinced myself at the time that I would have to study computer science in school before I could get a job using ruby on rails. In his book on web businesses Ferris mentions going to the annual ruby on rails conference to learn about web-based software and I presume to hire someone to build his web business using the rails web stack. Ferris’ endorsement was enough at the time to convince me to dedicate my time to learning to build a business by coding with ruby on rails. I figured that I would either build my buiness with rails or in the worst case scenario I get get a job programming with rails while I figured out my niche market and product.
According to my research of the market for web sites and web programmers I discovered that entry-level engineers with the “ruby onr rails” skill set make seventy thousand dollars on average. Holy Crap! So much money was surely enough to pay for my current life with a significant advancement for my personal freedom and standard of living. With that much money I would be finally free of my parents’ monetary constraints. I could buy my own health and car insurance, rent my own apartment and pay for groceries and entertainment to my heart’s content. What real liberty was in sight at last! Over the next year I built a series of web sites and apps as exercises to one day build my online business. I dedicated full-time hours to reading books on code and software design, as well as about the software indsutry and internet marketing. I barely attended class the following semester but was so delighted by my ever-expanding programming powers that I was hardly phased when I received several failing grades.
At first I was taken back by how little Icared about my failing grades, but knew I was doing the right thing in pursuing technology as the answer to my current and long-term financial problems. Soon that knowledge led me to discover at lat the product I was meant to sell to my fellow lovers of libery. I was to learn exactly how to build a career as a web software engineer and then I would turn around and teach others how to emulate my success. Though I had yet to actually attain the immense financial and social freedom provided by a software engineering job I understood the magnitude of such a transformation in my life and others’ would be incredible. My reasoning proposed a sizable profit by any consumer of a training program that enabled them to obtain a software job, with even a ten thousand dollar price tag paying for itself in less than three months employment.
Determined to teach other people how to make a living with ruby on rails and web software I intensified my own study and took on a series to small contracts to build prototype and first-state web applications. Though seveeal of those jobs were not very fruitful for either party I learned a lot about software development and made enough money to scrape by for a year as I learned programming. My goal during this period was to create a DVD set of instructional videos for students and/or their parents to help them understand how to get a software job as an alternative to ta college education. The DVDs were to cost about two hundred dollars, giving me a sizable profit as the per-unit cost of producing DVDs is quite low after initial outlays for time, software, and recording equitment.
Though I have not yet produced these DVDs my efforts have been steadfastly aligned to this purpose for the past two years. My desire to teach the world has grown even stronger as I succeeded in transitioning from a year of contract work to an excititing full year of salaried employment I am ever determined to bring the freedom of the software and technology world to as many people as possible. Over my journey in the web software world I have discovered and witnessed manifestations of freedom I had never even dreamed of. Computer technology has such potential for physically affecting the human condition in a positive direction and its progenitors and creators are awarded with massive wealth and personal freedom. Individual developers rule the software world and are often offered perks like remote working and unlmited vacation in exchange for their skills and enthusiasm for the company. Yes, I just said unlimited vacation, which companies have discovered often enables significantly greater programmer productivity.
In the last year I have been fortunate enough to least a fantastic high-rise condo in down town austin, attended rails conference, flew to Las Vegas to attend the Amazon Web Services Conference at the Venetian Hotel, and worked remotely in San Francisco for two months while exploring its eclectic neighborhoods using AirBNB. All the time I was embeeded in a modern software development team that worked on products and features of apartments.com and auto.com. I was intimately involved in decisions for those web-based products and learned countless valuable lessons about web advertising and building a web business. On top of all of this I have sharpened my web programming skills and dramatically expanded my understanding of programming logic, databases, computers and software and the industries built on top of them. Interviewing and applying for new programming positions I am qualified for dozens of high-paying jobs in awesome cities like San Francisco, New York, Austin, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, and Los Angeles. After an incredible year of full-time experience, two years of contracting with rails, and three years using the technology I am finally confident I can turn around and teach what I have learned to the world. A few months back I began making programming tutorial how-to videos and releasing them online. At first I just made videos when a co-worker asked me to explain a concept I had been working on for a new feature. One wednesday I spent an hour teaching the office to build an app from scratch using the new technology. The video tutorial I posted on youtube started to attract viewers from around the world, with several comments about how well I distilled complicated topics and how much they enjoyed my teaching.
As I watched that video gain in popularity I released several other short tutorials and then decided to take my teaching to the next level by offering a hands-on training for web and mobile development. A few months prior I had started Zeiler Enterprises, LLC and built a web site advertising a web and mobile app internship program, with a sign up form at the bottom. Within a few weeks I had eight students interested and set a date for the first six week training to take place during winter break for the university students in Austin. I figured the internship would help me refine my teaching strategy and build an effective curriculum and in that regard it was a great success. Actually teaching the students wuch abstract concepts as are required for web programming when they have little prior knowledge was more difficult that I had anticipated and it took me several weeks to adjust my classroom style to best suite my students’ needs. Though the training, which took place several nights a weeek for two or three hours, did not achieve my original goal of deploying an app to the app store, the students learned a lot about web and mobile development nonetheless. They learned how to design and deploy a portfolio website and basic web app.
My goal for the internship was to train the students with enough knowledge of my web development process to contribute back to the company’s websites and help build and advance its training programs. To that end several intyerns have done paid work on Zenterp’s web sites. I released many of our lecture sessions on youtube and created targeted tutorials explaining to the students the various assignments they were to complete. My video tutorials continue to grow in popularity and they are currently receiving around one thousand monthly views. Though the internship was a success I realized many, many more times the videos, resources, assignments, and practices covering dozens more topics are required for students to properly understand the web ecosystem that is known as ruby on rails. I endeavor now to integrate all these required tools and technologies into a comprehensive guide to becomming a internet software developer, forming a cohesive and chronological plan for obtaining the skills for getting an engineering job.
Recently I have read about immersive training courses where students can go full or part time to learn specific technologies like ruby on rails or ios programming. Such classes are eight to twelve weeks long and are either taught in-person or performed over the internet. These long courses offer the advantage of touching on the myriad topics that comprise web development and enable the students to jumpstart their study of each individual topic. Ideally the training will either prepare you for a job programming or move your significantly forward on your path to one. Often experience is a function of time but such an immersive training experience taught by real professionals can greatly reduce the timeline to proficiency.
Previously I would have set out to charge money for access to such training materials of my own creation, but a recent book I read changed my perspective entiredly. I know that my true desire is to bring personal freedom to many people, especially the friends around me and I realized the easiest way to bring such prosperity about is to release all my training material for free on the internet. The freeness and openness of the web is so incredibly powerful that I know firmly in my heart I will be repaid thousands of times over for contributing freely to the advancement of human kind. All the programming tools I use were developed by other people who released their own work to be used freely by anyone. This “open-source” community is the engine behind the ruby on rails ecosystem itself and the system would not exist without the world-wide collaboration on free tools whose past analogs were once prohibitively expensive.
My ultimate goal is to create a free training course that can be completed in ten weeks given the user watches one or two of my training videos every day and follows up by completing the assignments in full. Although I know that in-person training is superior in many regards and can more easily be charged for, a public, free internet video course surely has vastly greater potential for helping move others along their journey to prosperity through technology. I am confident too that releasing my knowledge on the web will actually pay off financially. Regardless of how that plays out, my passion tells me to continue to serve my market with free training as long as I can. Eventually people will ask to pay for me in-depth, personalized training for which I will charge a handsome fee.
Looking back on my original motives for my transition from school to professional programming I am excited to see how much my intention over two years ago has played out and manifests itself in the current opportunities for growth with which I am presented. When I was frustrated with the stupidity and ineffectiveness of many college programs I set out to build my own path to success and then teach others to do the same. Now that I have actually succeeded in the former task I am thrilled to leap forward into the unknown, which is teahing and sharing and incubating knowledge of technology and software business. My intuition tells me that I am on the verge of creating in full the training material I dreamed up many months ago, and that continuing to pursue my purpose will yield an impressive incubator of exciting and innovative business organizations and technologies.
I have been presented with the opportunity to teach a full-time rails training course in Austin this summer and am seriously considering it. In fact such a training appears to be the ultimate opportunity to refine my curriculum and enhance the effectiveness of my teaching style. I have a good idea of all the technologies that need to be presented and am now engaged in the production of videos explaining each of them in detail. With the team of professors I will develop not only training class lectures and videos but real-world programming assignments and creative tasks to engage the students and facilitate collaboration on their projects.
My incredible journey is finally at a turning point which I have anticipated for years. I am thrilled to take the next step by spreading my knowledge as widely as possible and building a powerful organization of technologists and entrepreneurs capable of building the next generation of stunning software products.
Fri 10/4 - Sat 10/5
I first heard of this conference in its inception stage when hanging out with Michael Goldstein this spring when he told me he had been in talks with Jeffrey Tucker about a bitcoin conference. Amazingly until then I had not heard of any such events having taken place and was excited by the idea but skeptical that the bitcoin community and movement were mature enough to hold a full-blown conference dedicated exclusively to crypto-currencies. After hearing about the San Jose bitcoin convention in late spring some months afterward I became mildly obsessed with bitcoin, reading Peter Surda’s master’s thesis and delving deep into the bitcoin wiki and documentation. When one day I saw a post by Tucker about the bitcoin conference I immediately purchased my ticket and proceeded to alert everyone in the Crypto-Anarchy Club on Facebook to the event. I imagined that Goldstein was involved but become even more excited upon seeing that Daniel Krawisz and Bitstein would both be presenters. At once I was bewildered at how our anarchist-styled, austrian economics-oriented club had suddenly vaulted to a deep role in the bitcoin community.
Crypto-Currency Conference was to be unique among other crypto-currency events that were popping up (several per month around the world since april) in that it would feature Austrian Economic theories of money and banking on par with bitcoin, cryptography and mining themselves. After waiting for months october finally rolled around and I was on my way to Atlanta, almost too excited to cope. The conference itself was indeed fifty-fifty crypto-currency-related discussion and economic theory in the tradition of Mises, Menger, Rothbard and Hayek. The lectures given in the first half of saturday presented many of the traditional Austrian arguments one would find at other Mises-esque events but with a bitcoin flare. Audience members were treated to a comparison of Hayek’s private money theory with Rothbard’s one-hundred percent reserves theory with Mises’s regression theorem of money.
Doug French gave a compelling talk from a banker’s perspective on the idea of fractional-reserve banking in bitcoin and how it may be prohibitively difficult to get away with given the nature of bitcoin. Score one for sound money! Michael Goldstein gave an imaginatively stimulating presentation outlining visions for building on top of the bitcoin protocol and its underlying technologies. His talk was popular as many people I spoke with throughout the day were abuzz with concepts such as smart property being tied to a/the blockchain. Peter Surda interestingly argued that bitcoins are not actually property as such but only a distributed ledger, an idea which was fascinating to me. Indeed it would be a crime to trespass against one’s home or computer property to obtain their private key, but he proposed that to obtain the key through social engineering or clever trickery, thus enabling oneself to transfer all the wallet’s bitcoins to a separate address, is not theft in any legal sense.
Later we heard from the leaders of Bitpay and BitInstant, who offered a showcase of their products and BitInstant announced they are now fully compliant with us government regulation and expect to be back online in the next few months. Quite exciting! Lively discussion about government regulation ensued following the set, with several people speculating on a future fork in bitcoin as an inevitable consequence of the division between those who are in favor of increased regulatory pressure and certification, and those that favor a more laissez-faire strategy. The head of BitInstant was particularly concerned that the united states will fall behind the rest of the world if legislative and/or regulatory measures aren’t taken to permit crypto-currencies to take off. Interestingly he found that once his company was federally-compliant no bank would continue doing business with him. The chess match between traditional banking and crypto-currencies seems to be heating up.
Beyond the offical conference a marvelous party was held at the Bitpay offices in uptown Atlanta on friday night, and I was pumped to meet many of the company’s employees and learn about some of their projects in the pipeline. Overall the mix of people was more heavily loaded with political activists from the austrian school and lighter on bankers and money representatives that other bitcoin events I have attended in San Francisco. A latest incarnation of the Bitcoin ATM was very popular, which enabled attendees to convert dollars in cash into bitcoins. Also the infamous couple from Utah who are filming “Life on Bitcoin” gave a fascinating talk on their experience living exclusively on bitcoin! Their stories of having to drive ninety miles every weekend to buy gasoline from a store owner who would accept bitcoin, of convincing strangers to buy them cellular data plans in exchange for bitcoins, and of convincing and training restaurants to accept bitcoin by using a “bitmob” strategey were inspiring. Amazingly they have done so much to bring the currency to the mainstream that they affected many companies to begin accepting bitcoin, including a hotel-booking service with over three hundred thousand hotels worldwide. Wow! I can’t wait to see the feature film next spring.
Toward the end of the day there were several fascinating presentations by two founders of a company building products on top of the blockchain concept such as mineable names for easy use as bitcoin addresses to replace complicated hash strings. They proposed solutions using bitcoin’s cryptographic technologies to decentralize DNS and help eliminate the need for centralized public key infrastructure. In general attendees were behind the trends of open-source software and distributed computing and were somewhat skeptical of closed-source solutions.
I tried to get some business done too, showing off my bitcoin app that enables payments using Twitter usernames and social network authentication. Dozens of people gave me wonderful validation and advice, and I networked with members of BitAngels, an investment group geared toward products of mass bitcoin adoption to take the tool to the next level and spread the word throughout the community. Please stay tuned on the app front!
Bitcoin needs a ten-fold increase in the number and types of applications available for its ecosystem. In order to achieve this the people who are developing bitcoin-based solutions need to be recognized, promoted, and supported financially. For those applications that already use bitcoin there is a great need for quality assurance testing of the services themselves. For the open-source software behind bitcoin there has been enunciated a great need for unit and integration testing of the code itself.
I propose to build a resource where people can go and read about the people behind bitcoin, donate to them and their projects, and provide structured feedback to improve their solutions. If we go out and actually use the various bitcoin and crypto-currency-based solutions and provide intelligent reviews we can draw the attention of the bitcoin community as well as that of search engines.
To serve and support the creators of the bitcoin ecoystem and fund future bitcoin projects I propose to set up a site similar to kickstarter or defcadseed that is specifically for crypto-currency projects and which can only be funded by crypto-currencies, bitcoin in particular.
Experiments need to be done in the realm of making every-day transations in bitcoin. My goal is to set up an online grocery store, where users can browse my inventory and place orders. They can then come to me and pick up the groceries, either paying upon delivery or in advance when the order is placed online. San Francisco would be the first target city as it is my current home so I wouldneed to find other people in the area who want to buy groceries in bitcoin. Perhaps I could even fund the projects’ bootstrapping and initial supply of groceries with the bitcoin-only funding platform we build.
Since we have been working on 3D-printing and 3D modeling we should explore a continuation in that space. We never really launched a competent store for selling items from our 3D printer, so that could be a perfect place to start. Create meta titles and descriptions on our web pages and SEO content for the various objects we print. In fact I think we should choose three unique items, not necessarily the ones on the website currently, and promote them, discarding the rest. If it had to be one I suggest ‘topographic texas’ and/or ‘topographic california’, colorado, hawaii or any other state with interesting topography. Explain in the promotion that we are a couple of young, creative entrepreneurs who have been researching 3D printing and actually practicing on low-cost, cutting-edge printers and make it obvious that purchasing a sstate or object will support our operation and continued growth and research.
Twenty bucks for a topographic california model and a video of the print being made, including a stop-motion film and/or different degrees of fast-forwarding. Research the words on the google keyword search tool. Something with the state’s name and a key word like ‘3d’ or ‘model’, or ‘topographic’ or ‘printed’ where there is a small level of SEO competition, making adwords prices relatively cheap.
The web page should use WebGL to render the object in 3D in a way that users can easily interact with the object. I imagine an ipad or android app where a user can swipe through various items, select a state in 3d, see it and rotate it along x, y, and z with their fingers, and tap ‘purchase’ to buy one for themselves. Days or hours later when the item is finished printing the owner of the new topographic, three-dimensional state will be able to see videos of the printing. Eventually the interface should be the only interaction a human ever has to do withthe 3d printer. No more stupid, broken software with disgusting interfaces and a million configuration options. The most challenging part of using low-cost or homebrew printers is the complicated software required to make even the simplest of prints. Printing an object should be as simple as flicking through a gallery and tapping the item you want, then tapping ‘print’.
From watching a bunch of inspiring talks related to bitcoin and how cryptography can be used to build new semi-private systems and products I came up with a brilliant idea, which I hope someone has already realised and taken advantage of. If you know of this product already please tell me so I can use it!
The basic problem we are trying to solve is that of junk mail, physical mail that is. It seems that the vast majority of mail anyone receives is advertisements for useless products and credit card offers. The problem could be solved by removing the need for a permanent physical address, but then one would never be able to receive mail or deliveries, even from legitimate sources. When one provides their address to a service on the internet, for instance it is nearly impossible to ensure that that company or person does not fraudulently sell your address to a third party, thus enabling spam to reach your inbox and waste your time. Even if you do trust the third party to not sell your information, the party’s database integrity and security cannot be guaranteed.
The concept that the bitcoin people proposed was single-use bitcoin addresses, which I think could easily be adapted to be used for physical addresses. Imagine if all of your mail was delivered to a fullfillment warehouse using an anonymous address. For instance if I ordered a box of organic soap from a distributor in Oregon I would first log into my mail fullfilment company’s web site or app and generate a single-use address token code, which would be analogous to an apartment number for a traditional address. I could indicate that only Oregon Soap Company is allowed to send mail to this address, and they can only send one package for the life of the address.
Employing the mechanism of single-use custom addresses plus fullfillment would make it so that the merchant would never know your true address, or even your identity, and only the fullfillment center would know how to route the package to your actual physical address. Of course the fullfillment center would be prone to attacks by hackers but the market would probably provide high-security centers for a premium. If for some reason your temporary address was leaked to a third party, you would instantly know which party sold your information because the temporary address would be attached to that specific company and thus traceable to them. After that it would be simple to go to the blogosphere or the ‘media’ and broadcast a brand-damaging accusation of fraud against the perpitrator.
For an extra layer of security you could use multiply annonymising fullfillment centers to effectively hide your traces from the intermediate parties themselves, achieving a level of security and privacy heretofore not possible with the current system of physical package delivery. Warehouses could give the option of in-person package pickup so that one could ensure that even the warehousese themselves are never privy to your real address, or your true identity.
At the moment I have not the resources to pursue this idea and build a company, but my intuition says there is a large market for private mail fullfilment and if no person has yet provided such a service please do so yourself and save me the hastle! I would love to use such a service and promote it to my clients and partners so if you know of anyone doing this already please send a note along to firstname.lastname@example.org. What do you think, is there a hole in my logic and do you find such a proposal useful?