Regulation, Blockchain and Smart Contracts – with Nerushka Bowan

Nerushka Bowan is the summary of how the world has changed. As a trained laywer, she brings a fresh, practical experience to the world of emerging technology. She focuses on technology, law and a new way of doing things.
 
She has a strong focus on education and helping people understand the current shifts. Nerushka lectures on Blockchain for the Blockchain Academy. The current courses are evolving as fast of the Blockchain. Nerushka outlines how they are working on developing the depth of her area of focus.
 
Nerushka has recently launched a new created approach called L.I.T.T. This stands for law, innovation, technology and tomorrow. And thats about sums up the focus of this conversation.
 
I enjoyed digging to smart contracts and how they look going forward. A smart contract is a piece of self executing code that sits on top of the blockchain. And, as we know, this is still early stages technology and there is a lot will happen going forward.
 
We chat about how the legal fraternity is changing and the challenges that they are facing. The big challenge is law firms charge by the hour – most of which can be automated through new technology and AI. The model has to move to a value based approach. It’s a bigger picture than blockchain.
 
 
 
 

TWTF 30 – Blockchain Deep Dive – With Aatish Ramkaran

We carry on the deep dive into Blockchain with Aatish Ramkaran. Aatish is the blockchain lead for Nedbank, co-founder of Blockchain Entrepreneurs Club South Africa and beard enthusiast! Aatish has been making waves in the Blockchain space. He gave an excellent keynote at the Blockchain Africa Conference and has been very busy with his recent … Read moreTWTF 30 – Blockchain Deep Dive – With Aatish Ramkaran

TWTF29 – SA Blockchain Technology and Cryptoassets – with Tanya Knowles

In this podcast we sit down and have a chat to Tanya Knowles. Tanya is the Managing Executive, Fractal Solutions. This is the Strate Innovation Lab that specialises in blockchain technology and cryptoassets. We wanted to catch up and see how the Strate Blockchain was progressing. We had previously chatted with Monica Singer, Strate’s ex … Read moreTWTF29 – SA Blockchain Technology and Cryptoassets – with Tanya Knowles

T:WTF 016 – Ripples CTO, Stefan Thomas on Ripple and the Internet of Value

Stefan Thomas is the CTO of Ripple. In this podcast we deep dive into what Ripple is, the pain that they are solving and their focus on the Internet of Value through Interledger.


The Pain That Ripple is Solving

In his words here is what Ripple is all about:

When you send money or move money around the world these days wire you have no idea what happened to it. You have no visibility of it and it costs a lot. A LOT!

Ripple set out to fix this problem.

Ripple’s focus is on transparency, lowering the cost, and increasing the speed of transfer. In more practical terms, what Ripple is doing it to make sending money around a lot less of a headache!

Banks, Blockchain and What It All Means

Of course, you cannot talk about money without talking about banks. Stefan gave some great insights into why banks are looking at the blockchain as a solution.

Alternative financial services are potentially a banks biggest challenge. These startups have no baggage. They are super agile and free of bad ways of doing things. They create cultures that designed to capture a banks customers.

To help solve this challenge Ripple has created an alternative banking technology. It can help a bank create a better customer experience and stay ahead of the unseen competition.

Disruption of the Old. Welcome the New

Of course, no conversation is complete without talking about disruption. Andrew Keys Podcast digs nicely into this. But back to Stefan!

The internet as we know it exploded thanks to Interoperability.

One of the payments world bigger limitations is the lack of interoperability. This changes when I can move money between different format and system. Everything opens up and get redefined.

Defining Ripple

Released Ripple in 2012. Ripple’s goal is to enable “secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions. Irrespective of any size and no chargebacks.

Ripple supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value. A good example can include frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.

Ripple core is based on a shared and public database or ledger. This uses a consensus process that allows for payments, exchanges, and remittance in a distributed process.

Getting Into The Payments World

Stefan shares his motivation to fix a very broken payment system. As he points out – it was a seemingly impossible problem for one person to fix. The release of Bitcoin changed that. The door opened where individuals could have a massive impact. This lead Stefan to Ripple.

Africa integration into Ripple

Ripple has a very strong Asia Middle East and has yet to penetrate into Africa. Stefan makes the point that Africa is a very different market. You don’t go blindly into a new market. To penetrate the African market you need to build a presence here with local insights.

There is a way to go. But we have no doubt that with the with speed the world is moving at this won’t take long.

Interoperability, Interledger and The Internet of Value

TheInterledger conversation got us very excited.

Interledger is about move value around. It is currently working to create a generic protocol so you can move money without any pain or hassle.

But the next step is moving value around. This will allow you to convert one thing of value to another. You will be able to build any kind of app that relies on moving value on top of this protocol. Stefan calls this exchange of value “the internet of value”.

The difference to Ripple goal, to be a global settlement network. A platform to allow anyone to transfer money in any currency to any currency in a matter of seconds.

We dig deep into the world of Micro-payments and building an internet of value.

Enjoy

 

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

T:WTF 015 – Why Self Sovereign Identity Is The Real Game Changer

All the people that Pelle Braendgaard talks shit about are now contacting him! This gave us a good laugh but there is a very good reason why. Its called Self Sovereign identity.

Pelle is a Dane, living in Nicaragua, where he is heading up the Consensys office. He is busy working on building uPort a decentralized identity platform at ConsenSys

uPort is an Open Identity System for the Decentralized Web. And this is a very big deal.

Andrew Keys talks about 3 foundational aspects of his podcast. Self Sovereign Identity is the first of those 3 aspects. If you have not heard it – go here: Why The Blockchain Will Disrupt Everything.


So Why Is Self Sovereign Identity So Important?

The word Sovereign means that you have an identity that you are in charge of. You are you and no one else can be you. We have all heard the horror stories about identity fraud!

U-Port is a new kind of identity system where they are trying to go back and like look at what identity and how you turn it into Self Sovereign Identity. This is something that should be under your control.

In traditional Identity systems, this has been under a 3rd part control. As an example, the government will issue you with an ID card.

Yet this is not the big issue about identity. The big issue is about the claims made against an Identity. It is very easy for me to make claims about you, and, you for me. This has a huge impact on how we live, work and play, every day! Self Sovereign Identity starts to solve this problem.

The Banks Dark Net

Another area that Pelle spoke to us about is the Dark Net of Banks.

Banks run international networks like Swift, MasterCard, Visa and so on. They work by having an identity system on top of it and acts as an access control layer.

No-one really knows what actually happens inside there, which is why Pelle calls it the real darknet. It is not transparent, and control sits with these identity silos.

Pelle goes into great detail around this issue and what these silos are and how they operate in the podcasts.

A Decentralised Self Sovereign Identity

Pelle is working with the decentralized identity Foundation. They are busy finalising the standard for a decentralised ID. A kind of DNS for your DNA! Or in blockchain terms – a hash of your DNA! As you listen to Pelle, you will see this is early days for Self Sovereign Identity.

Applications That Are Solvable With U-Port

The potential solutions that come from Self Sovereign Identity are massive. The belief is that apps are going to be more and more important for doing real transactions. This is one of the first problems U-Port is working on.

The identity system will work with Ethereum. They will enable Etherium apps to use the identity infrastructure. Yet, all the actual storage of identity data is off-chain.

U-Port will get the information that will be the signature of statements that you make. Or that other people make about you.

This opens up your personal reputation management based on what you do. As Brett says, your reputation is your brand’s identity.

At the moment you get a very one-sided framework through the current silos. Take a bank as an example. They are picking what they track and they will be missing most of the relevant info that could is traceable.

The Financial Markets

Taking the idea of the bank as a silo. What happens if we open up the idea of Self Sovereign Identity into the financial markets.

You can change everything. your ability to get a loan or financial service gets redefined. Imagine tracking the full spectrum of an identity that’s linked to reputation.

The world of Privacy and The Monetisation of You!

Facebook takes your data and monetises it. It’s a real and massive issue. Stop and think about it.

Facebook is making billions of dollars off their community. Yet they giving nothing back to anyone!

Imagine if I could choose to allow a platform, like Facebook, access to my data. I can start monetising my own wants, needs, and preferences. Given that in many countries people live off a $1 a day, this has a huge impact.

The Self Sovereign Identity Rabbit Hole

In this podcast, we chatted about the different application. The more you look at this, the bigger you realise the need for Self Sovereign Identity is. The application is broad: Real-time voting; land management; the daily management of our taxes etc.

Go listen – it’s quite disruptive thinking!

More About Pelle Braendgaard

Pelle Braendgaard is the Engineering Lead at uPort with more than 20 years experience working with internet technologies in Europe, the US and Latin America. He has worked with a diverse group of services from being Alta Vista’s first web master to investment banking in Deutsche Bank, consumer banking in BRF Kredit to developing secure communication platforms for doctors at Doximity. As an entrepreneur he has worked in early crypto currency startups CorpFlow in the Caribbean and Verax Pay in Latin America. Previously working on bringing Bitcoin to consumers and merchants in Africa with Kipochi.

Pelle’s presentation at the blockchain conference he looked at uPort as a decentralised digital identity system. With it people control and own their own identities, interact with blockchain applications and share only what they want.

The platform is designed in an open way, that allows communities around the world to use it to model and define what an identity means to them.

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

T:WTF 014 – Sonya Kuhnel talks to us about Blockchain Africa Conference

The Blockchain Africa conference would not happen without the motivation and effort of Sonya Kuhnel!

In this podcast, we have a chat to Sonya how she got into the blockchain, and how she set up the Blockchain Africa Conference.


We talk about its growth, where it has come from and what lies ahead.

We also want to say a big thanks to Sonya for having the WTF team. We appreciate the access to a bunch of crazy, amazing, passionate people who are changing the world. We walked away from the experience inspired and enthusiastic about the future of blockchain.

The Blockchain Academy

The Blockchain Africa Conference is supported by The Blockchain Academy. If you want to learn how to build and apply the blockchain, please go and have a look at their website: http://blockchainacademy.co.za/.

T:WTF 013 – Elizabeth Rossiello and The BitPesa Hustle

Elizabeth is the Founder and Ceo and BitPesa. And the one message that came through found and clear was Hustle.
 


Building a blockchain based business does not have a business model. It’s new and groundbreaking. And you have to break down new doors and new ways of doing things.
 
Elizabeth deep fives into BitPesa. She gave us a great overview of the challenges that she faced getting Bitpesa going. She also talks to us about where she is taking the business.

But What Is BitPesa?

BitPesa is a Foreign Exchange and Payment platform. They focus on what’s known as a Frontier Market.
 
A Frontier Market is a type of developing country. It that’s more developed than the least developing countries. But is too small to be generally considered an emerging market.
 
BitPesa was the first company in the world to connect bitcoin to mobile money. This happened in 2013, originally in Kenya. In 2015 BitPesa received a license from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. They now facilitate payments directly into G20 currencies.
 
This kind of growth requires hustle, hard work, clear focus and an amazing team that makes this happen.

The problem that BitPesa is Solving

Trading in African currencies makes it difficult to do business in Africa. BitPessa is a B2B platform and they offer a hybrid model of traditional and crypto- trading. They focus on making it a lot easier to do business in African currencies by increasing liquidity and reducing the cost.
 
This allows businesses to take control of their payments at a lower cost and greater speed. This includes paying staff, to suppliers or service providers or to collect monies from African customers.

T:WTF 012 – Marvin Colby talks about Social Impact & the blockchain

Marvin Coleby is an advocate for blockchain’s potential in emerging markets. He is building the first tokenised impact exchange (A blockchain  impact investment solution). The idea is to democratise private investments in emerging market companies. His core focus is on Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

We loved this conversation. Marvin shared a balanced and honest of view of where the blockchain is now. We looked at where the blockchain is going, and what the current challenges are. In the context that the blockchain will disrupt everything – this was important!

Given the huge excitement and obvious potential, Blockchain is still a new technology. We have a long way to go with it. It is something that we are still experimenting with it and we have a long way to go.


Blockchain: Efficiency vs Trust and Value

Efficiency vs trust and value are two ways to look at what Blockchain technology can give us.

Efficiency works in a system where trust already exists. This could be in the financial markets and governmental operations. A country like Sweden would be a good example.

Yet, when people do not trust the current conditions, the blockchain offers a solution. South Africa is a great example of this.

This becomes important given the value of decentralisation offers. The efficiency and trust a blockchain can create a more fair, equal society. Marvin also explains this in the context of Tokens, smart contract, and digital assets.

Whats Marvin Doing In South Africa?

Marvin is building the blockchain solution for impact investing. He wants to make it easy for people to invest to create impact. His vision is to create a world, where people are economically incentivize to achieve as much impact as possible.

Marvin believes that there’s a shift in the world happening. We are moving away from prioritising profit to more responsible practices. We also see consumers are demanding more accountability and the way we need to do things is evolving.

Impact investing provides a set of smart contracts that executes investment terms. This will be between an investment fund or investor and based on verifiable data. But this is not only about the investor. It is about internal performance and the way we measure and incentivize teams to perform.

Blockchain and IoT

Marvin makes the point that Blockchain is useless without IoT. IoT provides many of the data points that will verify and execute the smart contract. This is an important point and will be massive going forward.

Marvin also point out the 3 blockchain Waves as:

  1. Bitcoin was the first
  2. Etherium the second
  3. The third will be IoT blockchain based solutions.

Marvin goes into detail how these smart contracts work. He points out the value that they create and why they are so powerful. We used tax and the role of the taxpayer as an example.

Blockchains are Digitising Human Behavior

Marvin makes the fascinating point. Blockchains are the digitisation of human behavior. It provide’s the framework on how you build networks in a digital economy?

At the moment we are making a lot of assumptions. The hypothesis is that we will behave the same way in a digital economy as we do in a non-digital economy.

But we know this is not true. Humans are not robots. We don’t all respond to the same stimuli in the same way. You cannot predict how people from different cultures, countries, environments will behave.

We also talk the role of private and public blockchains, and the role decentralisation and the security behind both. We look at what tokens means and dig into the world of ICO’s. And the challenge of scale.

Marvin Background

He co-founded a blockchain venture studio. They led research and development initiatives for blockchain innovation. The focus was on emerging markets in real estate, capital markets and governance.

Prior to this, Marvin worked as a lawyer. He was part of the Venture Technology and Emerging Growth Companies group of Dentons. Dentons is the largest international law firm in the world.

Marvin also worked at the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization. He consults to governments on innovation strategies. He is an advocate for blockchain’s potential to create social impact.

Background noise

Apologies for a bit of background noise at the backend of the conversation. The caterers got excited about swapping out morning tea for lunch.

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

T:WTF 011 – Tricia Martinez and the first zero-fee money app

Digital Currencies in Emerging Markets for the Underserved

Access to digital currencies is a real issue! Too many people have suffered the lack of financial inclusion. This is due to high costs and limited infrastructure. In fact, the number is close to 3.5 billion consumers unbanked and underserved. This is the financial problem that Tricia Martinez and her team at Wala are trying to solve.

A Bit More About Tricia

She is a serial entrepreneur and behavioral economist. Solving this problem is the focus of her work and life’s mission. After moving from the US to work in Barclays Rise, she moved to Cape Town. As Tricia explains, in this interview it was a brilliant move and she is helping her win in solving this problem. Digital Currencies in Emerging Markets for the Underserved.  This is an important topic? Half the world’s population still operates outside the formal financial system. A number that is too high, thanks to high cost and limited accessibility.

How Is Wala Solving The Digital Currencies Challenge?

Talking Digital Currencies on the WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast
Tricia Martinez from Wala with the #WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast team: @Brett_StClair & @michael_cowen

Tricia and her team use the best of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and tokenization. By creating Walla, Tricia and her team launched the Dalla token.  We all know how high the financial costs can be. We also know how much of a pain it can be.

This can be from the actual cost of accessing products and services; to deposit fees, or withdrawal fees, and payment fees. We have all felt this pain.  The bottom line is that anything a consumer wants to do and finance, they pay for it. This disincentivized participation in the system.

When Tricia and her team looked at this problem, they decided to create a platform that bridges that gap. Wala works between a bank and a consumer. To get a better understanding – in Tricia’s own words – listen up! Tricia goes into much more detail in the podcasts. And once you have finished you can find more info about Wala on their website or follow them on Twitter.


The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

 

T:WTF 010 – Lorien Gamaroff – Bitcoin Guru and Centbee Founder

You know the podcast has been good when the guest is the MC and is late for his own party! That was Lorien Gamaroff a Bitcoin and Bitcoin Wallet expert!

And boy did Brett and I laugh!

But What Makes Our Bitcoin Local Boy Not So Local?

Chatting with Lorien was a fountain of insight and info. By his own admission, he focuses on the crypto side of things. Why? Well, the idea that no central bank can control, manipulate and corrupt the currency is too big to ignore.

I agree. But Why?

Money is central to everything that we do. It is the oil that drives our economies. It is the current fuel that drives the economic growth. And it is the level that our governments use to control Monetary Policy.

You change how money work and the motivation behind money, and you change everything. As Monica Singer says; capitalism is defined by a ledger. And it’s why Andrew Keys says that the Blockchain will change everything.

A Few Lindens for A Few Bitcoin

Lorien shares a wonderful story about how he got hooked with his first bitcoin – when it was still less than a dollar. He built some solutions on Second Life. This earned him some Lindens and he had to go through a virtual adventure to swop them for Bitcoin. Go listen for more on this :).

The World’s Most Awesome Bitcoin Wallet

Lorien wanted to build the Bitcoin Wallet that he would want to use and founded @CentbeeWallet..

The core idea behind @CentbeeWallet Bring Bitcoin to Africa. It looks at moving the very real issue of remittance for African Markets and operates as a mobile money. It has some integrated features like gift card purchases.

Whats great is that @Centbee maintains an open-source Bitcoin Cash merchant payment system. This is for brick and mortar retailers.

How Satoshi Invested In The The Most Awesome Bitcoin Wallet!

Lorien also talks about the August split between Bitcoin core (the mainstream) – which is the BTC that you trade – and Bitcoin Cash. He’s behind Bitcoin Cash – which makes him a bit of a contrarian.

Lorien shares how he gets Craig Wright as an investor. Craig Wright, an Australian, came out a few years ago claiming to Satoshi. Of course, there are many who don’t believe this.

The Austrian School of Economics

Lorien also digs into the speculative nature of Bitcoin. He breaks down what it means and the economic model that it’s following. He shared a fascinating story about an Economist Cover story. It foretells a new currency in 2018.

Here is an image of the Economist Cover.

The blockchain use case vs the business case.

Lorien digs into the difference between use case √s the business case. This is a very important point and something to be considered. Lorien shares his reason why he sees digital currency as the most important element of the blockchain.

Something to ponder on!

The Blockchain Africa Conference

Blockchain Africa Conference
Blockchain Africa Conference

The WTF #ThinkDigital Podcast spent two days interviewing many of the groundbreaking speakers at the Blockchain Africa Conference (#BAC18). The big topic was inter-operability and how the blockchain is maturing.

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