Bitcoin Part 2

In my previous post ‘Paypal is to Ebay what Bitcoin is to the dark-net’  I discussed the both positive and negative uses and potentials of cryptocurrencies for the future. This post will delve further into exisiting research surrounding cryptocurrencies and what will eventually become an extension of the digital artefact conducted by previous student of university subject BCM325 (Future Cultures) @eddiesmedia, which can be found here.

Bitcoin was first conceived by an anonymous person/people called Satoshi Nakamoto (the true identity of which remains unknown) in 2008 through the paper ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’. It describes an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof (the art of communication via coded messages) allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party (Nakamoto, 2008, p1).

Much of the existing literature on cryptocurrencies focuses on the how of bitcoin. Technologist and computer scientist, Andreas Antonopoulos’s book ‘The Internet of Money’ (2016) focuses on the why. Antonopoulos makes very big claims such as “Bitcoin is the most important technological invention in computer science of the last 20 years” (Dahlen, 2017). Antonopoulos explains that Bitcoin was made for the internet age, he compares it to credit cards and the deeply flawed nature of companies storing their customer’s credit card information, making it vulnerable to hackers. Bitcoin is completely decentralised and Antonopolous makes the claim that because the Bitcoin network is distributed, “it is immune to mass theft and data breaches” (Dahlen, 2017).

But still there are risks involved with creating a ‘wallet’ and trading and investing in cryptocurrencies. E-currencies are inherently volatile, their value routinely spikes and plummets much more frequently than widely used currencies, making investing a gamble.  It is because of this instability and threats to the Bitcoin community such as inevitable bugs and accidents, that Kroll, Davey and Felten (2013) argue the Bitcoin system will require mechanisms for governance and that such governance is already emerging, which will eventually lend itself to influence by government regulators. It is known that Bitcoins are used to facilitate a significant trade in illegal goods on the dark web, an anonymous online marketplace that has over $8 million in monthly sales (Kroll, 2013, p.2.).

ledger-nano-s-fold-large
A bitcoin ‘wallet’ also known as a ledger to store assets on. 

 

There has been multiple suggestions of how to regulate virtual currencies such as Kevin Tu’s paper ‘Rethinking Virtual Currency Regulation in the Bitcoin Age’ (2015) which notes it is nothing new for regulation to lag behind the rapid growth of a new technology. Tu divulges that current efforts such as that in the United States are taking a limited approach to the treatment of virtual currencies under existing legislation and believes a new cohesive framework for regulating cryptocurrencies must be forged. However, Low (2017) discusses the prospects of trying to regulate something that is an obscure asset, in other words there is no tangible property. It seems inevitable that the question of what private law rights a bitcoin holder has over his bitcoins will eventually have to be answered.

In March 2018, Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange announced it would be moving its headquarters to Malta with Malta trying to position itself as a ‘crypto-friendly’ country. With this, Malta has taken the step to establish the Malta Digital Innovation Authority, given the task of regulating the crypto markets as well as attracting more investors into the country. Similarly, Bermuda has proposed a bill, the Initial Coin Offerings Act, that will require businesses facilitating the sale of or providing services relating to cryptocurrencies to collect and retain key information about their customers. New regulations in Australia make it mandatory, as of April 3rd, for digital currency exchanges to “report suspicious activity to AUSTRAC, maintain certain records for at least seven years and verify the activities of their customers” (Munro, 2018) in an effort to counteract money laundering and terrorism financing (NewsBTC, 2018). Nolan Bauerle, head of research at CoinDesk, notes that the new regulations officially bring cryptocurrency exchanges in line with banks and other responsible financial service providers. But Brian Kelly explains in his 2015 book, ‘The Bitcoin Big Bang’, that “Bitcoin was created to remove third parties from the financial system, whether they are government agencies or money centre banks” (Kelly, 2015, p. 139). Regulating, in many ways, is counter productive to Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision. Whilst these agencies have the ability to declare digital currencies illegal, as China and South Korea have done, Kelly admits that any type of regulation, “will be an implicit nod of legitimacy” (Kelly, 2015, p.140).

You can find here many other countries stance on cryptocurrencies.

worlds-largest-cryptocurrency-exchange-binance-moves-to-malta-with-prime-ministers-welcome
Joseph Muscat, Malta’s Prime Minister tweets ‘Welcome to Malta @binance’ 2018 

There is so much speculation, hype, confusion and prophesying surrounding cryptocurrencies that it is extremely hard for the average person to understand the risks, potential uses and history of cryptocurrencies. Whether bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies herald the future of money or if they remain a niche form of electronic money, there is no denying that they are having a significant impact on economies and regulators. My aim is to follow on from @eddiesmedia’s succinct library of quality literature, industry research and news media to educate people unfamiliar with the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and continue on learning the world of Bitcoin.

References

Dahlen, M ‘The Internet of Money (Volume One)’ Objective Standard: A journal of culture and politics, Volume 12 issue 4, 2018, p.97-100

Kelly, B, The Bitcoin Big Bang, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2015

Kroll, J & Davey, I & Felten, E ‘The economics of Bitcoin Mining, or Bitcoin in the Presence of Adversaries’, The Twelfth Workshop on the Economics of Information Security, Washington, DC, June 11-12, 2013 http://www.econinfosec.org/archive/weis2013/papers/KrollDaveyFeltenWEIS2013.pdf

Low, K ‘Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as property? Law, Innovation and Technology, 2017, pp.235-268

Nakamoto, S ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’, 2008, https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf viewed April 27 2018

 

Advertisements

‘Live Tweeting’ also known as, the most exhausting way to watch a film EVER

Never would I of imagined how difficult it would be to focus on the story line of a film, whilst producing thought provoking social commentary, and engaging with others at the same time….

200w
Source

Thank you Jimmy Fallon for that very accurate re-enactment of me trying to keep it together whilst live tweeting.

For the past seven weeks I have been engaging in the act of ‘live tweeting’, something I had never even really heard of before starting my current university subject BCM325, entitled ‘Future Cultures’. After some research I found that Game of Thrones (GOT) is a television series that has been live tweeted to death, here is a tremendously funny thread of T-Pain live tweeting his reactions to the finale of GOT.

So what is the purpose of live tweeting?

Canva explains that live tweeting an event or an experience should add on to the experience, not make it worse. This is much harder than it sounds. However, after live tweeting several sci-fi films, I believe I actually got a lot more out of the films and although it was challenging and at times I felt like I missed pivotal moments because I was too busy trying to think up an engaging tweet, it was worthwhile reading different peoples insights into films and aspects that I never would have picked up on.

So, without further ado, here is my attempt at ‘Live Tweeting’ from the past eight weeks…

Ghost In the Shell (1995) 

MV5BYWRiYjQyOGItNzQ1Mi00MGI1LWE3NjItNTg1ZDQwNjUwNDM2XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTAyODkwOQ@@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_
Source

First off was 1995 anime science fiction film Ghost In the Shell about a cyborg federal agent who hunts down a powerful hacker called ‘The Puppet Master’. These were my two most ‘successful’ tweets, with two likes each.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 1.30.47 pmScreen Shot 2018-04-24 at 1.31.11 pm

These were fairly short statements and in hindsight they don’t offer much in terms of inviting interaction with other people. However they reflect what I found most striking about this film, that is, the main character of ‘Motoko’ being a cybernetic human, her robot body is disconnected from her technologically wired brain, representing the idea of dualism.

In this first live tweeting what I found most enjoyable was reading other peoples insights, I thought this was a particularly interesting observation of identifying the main character as both a woman and a robot with human concerns.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 2.19.09 pm

Westworld (1973) 

westworld-1973-poster
Source

In the second week of live tweeting we watched the original Westworld film that has now become a highly successful HBO tv series. This week I was more engaged in commenting and having conversations with other students using the #BCM325 hashtag. I found @silent_claire’s observation very interesting and wanted to expand on this notion of humans wanting to not only escape modern technology, but also their moral compasses in the simulation of Westworld. In tweet 2, a little bit of background research into a film can give you a whole different perspective into why film makers use certain language and symbolism to convey meaning, in this case the use of biblical references to exhibit the god complex the creators of Westworld have felt in bringing their creations to life.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 11.26.20 am
Tweet 1 Westworld 
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 11.27.39 am
Tweet 2 Westworld

 

 

 

 

 

Johnny Mnemonic (1995) 

johnny-main
Source 

After checking Johnny Mnemonic’s IMDB rating of 5.6/10 I was highly skeptical of the enjoyment our class would face for the next 2 hours, hence the first tweet as a reply to @CL_Moore. I think humour is one of the most important aspects of live tweeting, it adds so much enjoyment to the experience and I was beginning to notice that all the humorous tweets were attracting the most comments and likes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 11.45.13 amScreen Shot 2018-04-26 at 11.50.36 am

I also thought this was a very interesting conversation with @silent_claire about the use of waste land settings in so many popular dystopian films as many cinematic interpretations of the future are dismal, dark and polluted. It made me question what type of world the future will be and Claire’s reply of whether or not continued advances in technologies can co-exist with nature in the future is a very important question.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 12.01.41 pm

The Matrix (1999)

The_Matrix_Poster
Source 

My first observation when watching cyber punk film, The Matrix was tweet 1. Neo experiences a complete re-birth into the world of The Matrix, however at first I did not think of the reference to a womb and the linkage between technology and a literal human experience of birth. My classmate Ceren pointed out the reference to an umbilical cord and the womb, which made me think much more deeply about my initial observation. 

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.53.45 pm
Tweet 1 
Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.54.58 pm
Reply to Ceren

My third tweet is about the parallels between the characters, ‘The Agents’, who act as guardians within the computer generated world of The Matrix that label Neo as a ‘terrorist’. I interpreted this as being a reference to governments regulating the internet, in turn gathering huge amounts of information through surveillance to stop those they label hackers, scammers etc like Neo.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 1.20.02 pm
Tweet 3 

Robot and Frank (2012)

maxresdefault
Source

Is it immoral to give the often unwanted job of caring for the elderly to robots?. Live tweeting Robot & Frank made me reflect on whether or not such a delicate and personalised job such as care taking is a job that should become automated. The Robot in Robot & Frank shows the ability of a Robot to fill that void of human companionship for the elderly and compared to previous weeks, the film exhibited a much more positive dystopian world, not that dissimilar to current times. Here are my most successful tweets.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 1.15.57 pmScreen Shot 2018-04-26 at 1.16.14 pm

Black Mirror episode Hated In the Nation (Ep. 6 season 3)

hatednation-img
Source

Live tweeting Black Mirror episode Hated In the Nation was truly exhausting because there are so many subliminal messages and different technologies throughout this amazing episode. I think this was probably my favourite week in online tweeting as I was able to collate my thoughts into succinct tweets that captured more peoples attention, resulting in re-tweets. My tweets for this week mostly focused on issues of government surveillance and the effects of cyber bullying as this episode of Black Mirror so cleverly demonstrates.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 8.04.11 pmScreen Shot 2018-04-26 at 7.21.26 pmScreen Shot 2018-04-26 at 7.21.11 pm

Bladerunner (1982)

220px-Blade_Runner_poster
Source 

For our final week of live tweeting we watched Bladerunner (1982), I found myself again engaging in conversation about the dismal and dark setting being used for the film and the negative association this is giving to the future of technology and the environment. I was also particularly interested in the artificial eyes being used to distinguish between human and replicant and thought this was an observation that would add to other viewers experience of the film.

Screen Shot 2018-04-26 at 6.13.17 pmScreen Shot 2018-04-27 at 11.05.12 am

All in all I think what I learnt most from live tweeting is that reading others thoughts and collaborating on those thoughts add’s another layer to what would normally be a purely viewing experience. Live tweeting is almost the opposite to the norm of not talking during a film but is definitely a worth while exercise. I actually think I will miss coming to BCM325 on a Thursday ready to live tweet a science fiction film I have never seen before.