thoughts ...

Digital versus Electronic Finance

In the 90s, the UN thought a lot about e-commerce and the Internet. Unlike most, they had a place to start from.

(Warning: Hacked together reductionist allegorical history ahead.)

Blockchain Legal Enforceability Triad

Every agreement requires at least two utterances, an offer and an acceptance. That is the minimum requirement for a meeting of minds.

It is not necessary that these utterances are directed towards a specific party, but they do need to have a known origin. Ex. I can make an offer to sell my Mars bar to anyone, but someone accepting it cannot answer as humanity in general. They may answer to humanity in general, since this includes me.

Contracts are Chat Logs

Here is, in the author’s opinion, the simplest smart contract we can write in Solidity that has any use as an agreement or contract.

Tokens as Commodities, Not Money

A while ago I was in a group discussion about how to make gold a decentralised currency on the internet. Ultimately we couldn’t find a structure which accommodated decentralised issuance while remaining a fungible currency.

Privacy Angels

This is a proposed blockchain powered online privacy standard. It came from discussions I had with Simon Deane-Johns [our lawyer at Zopa and a contributor to the Midata initiative]. The nicer legal wording is to his credit; any design errors are to mine.

Blockchain Presentation @ 32C3

I gave a little talk on Ethereum at the Bitcoin Assembly at the Chaos Communication Conference in Hamburg this year. Mostly because I was surprised not to see it covered. Not sure about my delivery, but people asked questions afterwards so I guess I didn't do to badly :-)

Security Analysis for Start-up/Real Organisations

And it's not that frightening. The main reason to sit down and get a handle on your security is to stop worrying about it. Almost all attacks in real-life involve following a single weak seam through an organisation. Not zero-days, not brilliant ruses, no NSA, no black magic. Just twisting one small mistake into another. Take the HBGary hack from a few years ago. HBGary was a high-end security consultancy in contact with both the NSA and Interpol. One of the founders literally wrote the book on infecting Windows machines.

Galápagos Islands of P2P

Current P2P funding models show extreme vertical integration. A typical platform will internalise everything from marketing to settlement - and do so for both capital raisers and funders. There are several reasons to do this...

C&L Magazine - Payments Information in the Real World

C&L article

I'm now published in Computing & Law magazine. My article is Payments Information in the Real World: Peering through a Broken Text File - essentially a long whine about the state of global wire transfer networks.

Why so many P2P lending platforms? Why now?

There are many start-up financing platforms styling themselves as "social lending", "p2p lending" and so on. Always centred around an online loans exchange, some sort of specialised money transfer system, and, a perfectly accurate, emphasis on the "real people" on the other side of the loan. I've had a ring-side seat to some of this, and don't get me wrong it is on the most significant things happening in finance today, but I think some of the Facebook+Credit=Profit cheer-leading is muddled. P2P lending is not an asset class. It is a continuation of the way computer networks have been shifting bottlenecks in finance for over 30 years.


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