Vancouver, B.C. — The Vanbex Group and the Blockchain@UBC group at the University of British Columbia are pleased to announce the formation of a partnership centered on Vanbex’s Genisys software and Blockchain@UBC’s research in archival science and distributed-ledger technology.
“We’re delighted to partner with Vanbex on research into decentralized, trustworthy recordkeeping on the blockchain to prevent fraud and protect against tampering,” said Dr. Victoria Lemieux, associate professor of archival science at UBC.
Collaboration with Vanbex aligns with Blockchain@UBC’s role of encouraging multidisciplinary research on blockchain and distributed-ledger technology while forging closer ties between industry and academia,said Lemieux, who leads Blockchain@UBC. Blockchain refers to is the technology that forms the backbone of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
“Blockchain technology is now being used for a wide range of applications beyond digital currencies to protect privacy in industries such as healthcare, finance and logistics,” Lemieux said. “In a way it is a rediscovery of archival science — the science of creating and keeping trustworthy records over the long-term.”
Vancouver-based Vanbex’s Genisys project promises to change how financial institutions transfer money, moving from a wire-based service to blockchain technology improves both speed and security, said Kevin Hobbs, Vanbex Group’s chief executive officer.
Research with Blockchain@UBC will help Vanbex to employ leading-edge research related to compliance data and identity verification,he said.
“Archival bonds are something that we knew we needed to build into Genisys, but we never knew there was a word for it or let alone global standards until we met Dr. Lemieux,” Hobbs said.
About Vanbex Group
Vanbex Group is a professional services and strategic consulting firm that specializes in all aspects of the blockchain industry. Established in 2013 to better tell the story of digital currency and blockchain-based companies, Vanbex has since evolved into a blockchain-based products and advisory services firm.
Blockchain@UBC is addressing the need for large-scale multidisciplinary research on blockchain and distributed-ledger technology and the need for greater collaboration between industry and academia. Established in 2016, the organization is led by Dr. Victoria Lemieux, associate professor, archival science, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Dr. Victoria Lemieux
At 1:00am PT (March 1, 2017) Ubitquity recorded the first property in Canada onto the blockchain. This was handled by its parallel recordkeeping platform (private alpha v1.1). The recorded property is a residential address in Vancouver, British Columbia. While the company understands this isn't legally recognized, it is the first step towards that as it continues to build relationships with industry players, and align its efforts with partners like Blockchain@UBC, MIT CRE, along with Title and Local Municipalities in the US and worldwide. The first recorded property ownership transfer on the [Bitcoin] blockchain was June 2016 in Norfolk, Virginia, USA by Ubiquity partner and REALTOR @marina (Marina Reznik) also via Ubitquity.
WHAT’S OUR STATUS?
Following the January 26th Strategic Planning Workshop for Blockchain@UBC (see previous blogpost here), after only two weeks I am pleased to report that we have already made great strides towards realizing our collective vision for training and research on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.
With support from two of our founding partners Kickstart Community Ventures (Jason Butcher) and Human Data Commons (Scott Nelson, Chelsea Palmer and Rochelle Fairfield), on February 1, we were able to submit our first grant proposal – a SSHRC Connection Grant – in support of the IEEE ICCCN Workshop on Privacy, Security, Trust and Blockchain Technologies. This collaboration and initial cash and in-kind contributions of $7,500 from our partners lays the foundation to host a networking event for our industry, community and academic partners, which will take place after the workshop on August 3.
We will also be organizing and delivering a series of 12 training/mentoring sessions for a select cohort of students leading up to a “Blockathon” that will take place on August 4. I am delighted that our partners Blockchain Intelligence Group (Shone Anstay and Lance Morginn) and the team at PROOF (Bruce McManus, Karen Lam, Casey Shannon and Virginia Chen) have also offered to contribute to the organization and delivery of the Blockathon and associated training.
I am also pleased to be able to report that NeuSwyft Software Ltd has confirmed its commitment of $7,500 in support of a Mitacs Accelerate Grant.
In the coming week. I will be meeting with more of our partners and I hope to be able to report on even more positive developments.
My thanks to all of our partners for their great support and collaboration. We are off to a great start and on our way to creating excellent training and research opportunities for the future.
On Thursday January 26, we hosted a very successful workshop where we discussed the future strategy of the Blockchain@UBC platform. The report about the discussions will appear on this blog soon. So, this post is about the wine and cheese get-together that Blockchain@UBC had laid on for our guests at the MAGIC Lab here at UBC.
The whole effort was to bring together local businesses and UBC faculty to start a conversation about technology (blockchain technology to be exact) and what it can do for UBC and for British Columbia province. After an afternoon of making decisions and sounding each other out, it was nice to drop a gear that evening and start making friends and connections.
It is great that we have such a spacious forum, in the MAGIC Lab, where we have been holding our meetings and, as we saw on the evening, also serves as a great space for entertaining. This venue had lain abandoned for a couple of years but, now Blockchain@UBC has found a positive use for it as a forum for new ideas.
Blockchain@UBC is at the stage where it is defining what it is going to do, how to do it and with whom it will work. With the help of our guests from industry and faculty as well as from colleagues at the University-Industry Liaison Office and MITACS, we can build a consortium that can run blockchain projects and workshops.
Blockchain@UBC can certainly help Vancouver to promote itself as a magnet for businesses to operate in this new digital economy… as well as retain those that have been looking to relocate eastwards. So, our event was a modest beginning but it had great energy and I believe it will turn out to be a strong foundation for future growth and influence for Vancouver’s academic and commercial community.
We would like to thank the following people for taking part in making our day the success that it was:
Shone Anstay, Blockchain Intelligence Group
Karim Allibhai, Datawitness
Virendra Bhattad, NeuSwyft Software
Chris Bolton, Fiztech Club UBC
Jason Butcher, Kickstartventures.ca
Hasan Cavusoglu, Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business
Virginia Chen, Data Scientist, PROOF
Andrew Csinger, Public Key Infrastructure Entrepreneur
Chelsea Palmer, Executive Director, Human Data Commons Foundation
Scott Nelson, Chair, Human Data Commons Foundation
Rochelle Fairfield, Human Data Commons Foundation
Mary Lou Hardy, Attaverse
Hai Hoang, undergraduate UBC
Kevin Hobbs, Vanbex
Darra Hofman, PhD student at SLAIS, UBC
Kallie Hu, Undergraduate student, UBC
Mario Kasapi, University-Industry Liaison Office, UBC
Caleb Kwan, Undergraduate, UBC
Victoria Lemieux, Professor, SLAIS, UBC
Sang Mah, MITACS
Tony Mayer, Attaverse
Lance Morginn, Blockhain Intelligence Group
Scott Nelson, Human Data Commons
Raymond Ng, Professor, UBC; Chief Informatics Officer, PROOF; Director, Data Science Institute @UBC
Ning Nan, Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business
Rachel Pottinger, Professor, Computer Science, UBC
Marck David Seidel, UbC Sauder School of Business
Casey Shannon, Computational Biologist, PROOF
Steve Thompson, MLIS Student at SLAIS, UBC
Carson Woo, Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business
Nathan Wosnack, Equibit.org
Hudhaifah Zahid, undergraduate UBC
Our partners at PROOF will be hosting this year's 2017 Heart + Lung Health FEST. The program for this year is reflective of the depth and breath of our heart and lung community. The core of FEST will occur on Thursday, March 16 and Friday, March 17th, at Sheraton Wall Centre Vancouver. The international Air Quality Meeting will be delivered on Wednesday, March 15th, and both heart and lung major CME events occur on Saturday, March 18th. So, this is a great extravaganza!
Blockchain@UBC partners will be particularly interested in the session "Can BlockChain Technology Transform the Use of Health Data? " to take place at 12:45pm on March 17.
Please send the attached flyer and agenda to all colleagues that might be interested in attending such that they can Register for this important event.
The abstract/poster submission deadline is Wednesday March 1.
On Friday, January 13, Dr Vicki Lemieux, Steve Thompson and Darra Hofman presented the new Blockchain@UBC knowledge platform to Faculty members of the UBC Sauder School of Business.
Our purpose was to showcase recent research and developments relating to blockchain technology at UBC. Professor Ning Nan and Professor Carson Woo, both research collaborators at Blockchain@UBC and based at the Management Information Systems division, introduced us to the rest of the Faculty and students present at the talk.
Vicki discussed her research relating to the application of archival science theories and principles in the evaluation and design of blockchain technology for recordkeeping applications.
Darra discussed the legal issues surrounding blockchain advocates’ claims that the technology’s code can replace existing legal frameworks, the “smart contract” that has become a key app for blockchain startups and the impact of its transjurisdictional nature on existing privacy law.
I spoke about my own experiences with the currency element of the blockchain and my current work at NeuSwyft Software in their investigation of viable use applications for Hyperledger (IBM’s distributed ledger fabric).
Finally, we then unveiled the blockchainubc.ca website and its planned projects and outreach to other departments at UBC.
Talk participants asked some great questions, and we even received a movie recommendation: Colossus, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064177/. Some questions centred around concern about ownership of information and the danger of allowing code to become too influential over traditional legal frameworks... which was where we got the Colossus reference!
We were delighted to hear that Ning is planning to run a class about the blockchain. I see so many opportunities to present our knowledge for other departments.
There was something of a bonus for us afterwards as we then met Alex Lee and Chris Bolton from the UBC Biztech Club. We see some great collaborations between the Biztech Club, Blockchain@UBC and the broader blockchain community in Vancouver.
On Friday December 9, I attended a small conference at the premises of Black Duck Software where I was speaking on behalf of their co-tenant, Neuswyft Software. I delivered a presentation about a new business-to-business network called Hyperledger on which Neuswyft plans to develop its knowledge. I was also there to tell them about UBC’s new blockchain knowledge platform, Blockchain@UBC and the exciting projects we plan to enact in 2017.
Neuswyft Software is a software solutions firm that advises businesses on their inventory management needs. It focuses particularly on the food and beverage industry, and the distribution and health sectors. The company has become interested in the potential of Hyperledger as a repository for blockchain-based transactions. Neuswyft has recognized that the technology offers enhanced security and reduced cost structures for supply chain management processes.
Over the holidays, I took the time out to read Hyperledger’s White Paper. It defines itself as a “protocol for business-to-business and business-to-customer transactions” and operates as a repository for blockchain-based projects. The Paper makes interesting points about Hyperledger’s position among blockchain applications. It states Hyperledger as an industry-ready blockchain, is a “distributed ledger (that) makes it easy to create cost-efficient business networks without requiring a central point of control” (p.2). Conversely to the original Bitcoin blockchain which is a permissionless network, Hyperledger is a permissioned ledger. Dwelling on Hyperledger’s stated comparison with the Bitcoin blockchain, it states (curiously) that the “…(Bitcoin) blockchain has fallen short of meeting the multitude of requirements inherent in the complex world of business transactions” (p.3). You could look at that comment from two perspectives: first, the Bitcoin blockchain is developing rapidly so it is possible that it will handle the complexities of financial transactions in the future; second, the fintech community sees in Hyperledger as a blockchain that can accommodate their legacy business systems such as inventory management. I wonder whether we are seeing a future conflict of interest between fintech and Bitcoin through an emerging contest between permissioned and permissionless blockchains.
Still, as far as industry is concerned, Hyperledger is a welcome platform as it enables established industrial sectors to engage with blockchain technology in a way that is cost-effective and can speed up their transactions. However, they know that, in doing so, they run the risk of unintentionally endorsing disruptive technologies. The original Bitcoin blockchain technology has been billed as “disruptive” because it has developed without reference to corporate gatekeepers, such as investment banks and vested interest groups. Importantly, it utilizes a native asset i.e. Bitcoin, that is traded outside of the control of the banking system and is regarded as offering direct competition to fiat currencies that are under the banking system’s control. The challenge for the corporate world is to enjoy the commercial advantage of the underlying blockchain technology without unintentionally endorsing the native asset. As I see it, Hyperledger stands as an opportunity for industry and the corporate world, as a whole, to make that compromise.
Blockchain@UBC is UBC's flagship blockchain knowledge platform. The platform will write research about blockchain implementations and is already running a weekly meetup group where we are sharing ideas. We plan to run workshops and start new projects.
On Thursday January 26, we are marking Blockchain@UBC's first few steps by hosting a networking get-together with some wine and cheese.
Directions to the lab are as follows: Once you are inside the Forestry Science building walk to the rear (south-east) of the building by passing through the large open study area and up the stairs to the 2nd level student (“treetop”) lounge area. For room 2300A, the MAGIC Lab, turn left, pass through a double door and the lab is 1st on the right.
Tickets are available here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/blockchainubc-wine-n-cheese-tickets-31113027904
Our Partnership with real estate blockchain platform, Ubitquity, received attention in a recent article featured in Cryptocoin News. For more on this, read: https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ubitquity-ubc-blockchain/.
Real Estate Blockchain Platform Joins University of British Columbia Research Collaboration
"Marina Reznik, of Atlantic Sotheby’s International Realty & Partner with Ubitquity L.L.C., was the first to record a real estate transfer on the Bitcoin blockchain, using Colu’s Colored Coins open source protocol and Ubitquity’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. She is part of Ubitquity’s leadership team and is responsible for bridging the gap between the technical world and the physical world of people and properties." In her presentation Reznik mentions Ubitquity's partnership with Blockchain@UBC and notes that "blockchain adoption in real estate recordkeeping needs to be viewed as a long-term investment."
To view the presentation click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jpX8fvpGJ8.
July 31 -August 3, 2017, Vancouver, Canada
Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown
ICCCN is one of the leading international conferences for presenting novel ideas and fundamental advances in the fields of computer communications and networks. ICCCN serves to foster communication among researchers and practitioners with a common interest in improving computer communications and networking through scientific and technological innovation.
Paper submission deadline March 31, 2017
Notification April 28th
Camera ready copy due May 10, 2017.
More information on submissions: http://icccn.org/icccn17/call-for-papers/
Introduction to the Workshop
This year's ICCCN conference focuses on new challenges to trust, security and privacy brought about by rapid development and increasing complexity of computer communication and networking systems. The digital age has seen enormous change in how we create, communicate and keep recorded information. In the past twenty years, new information and communications technologies (ICTs), such as the Internet, have given us email, web content, social media, and the Cloud. The impact of these technologies, both positive and negative, has been far reaching in terms of privacy, security and trust.
Recently, another ICT innovation - blockchain technology - has dominated discussion of technological innovation. There is as yet no universally agreed definition of blockchain technology, but it is often described as a distributed ledger that maintains a continually growing list of publicly accessible records cryptographical secured from tampering and revision. The blockchain's key technical features include:
- Tracking of transition from one state to another, e.g., the ownership status of digital currency
- A distributed operating model, comprised of computers, called "nodes" in the network that arrive at an agreement about the validity of transactions (i.e., a distributed "consensus mechanism").
- Use of cryptographic hashes in the processing of transactions, which enables transparency without exposing content.
- Packaging of transactions into blocks (from which comes the name “blockchain”) chained in chronological order and distributed across every full node.
- More controversially, a cryptographic token like Bitcoin or Ether that represents actual value and is integral to incentivizing miners to participate in validating transactions and/or that is used to represent an asset.
Although these are the key features of blockchain technology, there are non-trivial variations among blockchain platforms (e.g., Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Hyperledge and others). These include underlying code, use of tokens, consensus mechanisms, whether permissionless or permissioned, whether public or private, and application layers, all of which will have implications for privacy, security and trust. This makes any generalizations about the technology a challenging proposition.
Since the launch of Bitcoin in 2009, which introduced the archetypal blockchain, innovation and investment in this technology has moved at a rapid pace. According to some sources In 2014 and 2015 alone, more than $1 billion of venture was invested into the emerging blockchain ecosystem, and the rate of investment is almost doubling annually.
Actual and proposed applications for blockchain technology are wide ranging, encompassing cryptocurrency, payment systems, clearing and settlement, securities trading, supply chain management, identity management, notarial services, the Internet of Things, land transfer and registration, health recordkeeping, voting, intellectual property management, and beyond. Some see no limit to the uses to which blockchain technology can be put to help solve societal and business problems. There are even predictions that the impact of this technology will be as far reaching as the Internet.
While blockchain technology does seem poised to be transformative in many respects, much of the discussion about its application until recently was quite uncritical. The relative absence of critical reflection, especially in regard to issues of privacy, security and trust and of establishing long-term authenticity of digital records as evidence of transactions, may have been due to a focus on innovation, and a desire to avoid stifling a fledgling technology with enormous potential. Recently, however, more critical reflection on the potential of the blockchain has emerged. Questions have emerged about governance of the blockchain, challenging the notion that it is truly decentralized. And, following the DAO exploit on the Ethereum blockchain in June of 2016 and the Hong-Kong Bitfinex Bitcoin exchange security breach in August of 2016, there has been greater critical reflection on blockchain security, information assurance, and risk management. For example, the Ethereum hard fork has raised questions about whether blockchains are truly immutable and free from external interference, while the amalgamation of mining power in the Bitcoin network raises concerns about the potential for attacks and manipulation of the historical blockchain record. These critical reflections provide evidence of a maturing of the technology and its developers, as blockchain is put to the test.
With some uses of blockchain technology reaching higher levels of maturity and implementation, need to design protocols and build systems that can preserve trust, security, and privacy at the same time without losing the quality of services and stifling innovation.
The goal of this workshop, therefore, is to bring together researchers, practitioners and solution developers in the fields of security, privacy, and trusted systems, especially those focused on blockchain technology. The workshop seeks novel contributions on algorithm and system design, implementation, evaluations and standards. Research topics covered will include, but not be restricted to the following:
- Anonymity, deanonymization and privacy in blockchain systems
- Provenance and trust in blockchain systems
- Trust models and trust management in blockchain systems
- Scalability and scalable services for blockchain systems
- New forms of blockchains and consensus mechanisms and their impact upon trust
- Cyber-infrastructures for blockchain systems
- Digital preservation of blockchain records for long-term authenticity
- Software quality and code verification in smart contracts and blockhchains
- Blockchain standards initiatives
- Application of analytics to blockchain, including text-mining, data-mining, sentiment analysis, network analysis for privacy, security and trust assessment
- Dr. Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Program Committee Members
- Dr. Hasan Cavusoglu, Associate Professor, Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- Dr. Luciana Duranti, Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
- Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Executive Director, Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, University of Washington, USA
- Dr. Hrvoje Stancic, Associate Professor, Department of Information and Communication Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
- Mr. Alan Wunsche, Founder, Blochchain Canada and Chair, Standards Council of Canada Mirror Committee TC 307 (Blockchain Standards)
Invited keynote speakers
We plan to invite keynote speakers and have a number of options; we will make a decision once the workshop is approved. We also plan to have a closing panel session with invited speakers, to highlight emerging trends and issues and identify next steps.