Victoria Lemieux: “Blockchain success will depend on cross-sectoral collaboration”

Victoria Lemieux was recently interviewd by Carlos Coredor of Good Rebels. Good Rebels is dedicated to human centred organisations and improving the relationships companies have with their customers, employees and wider society.

Here's an extract from the article: 

"We have titled our research as “Blockchain: building trust”. How would you define Blockchain in a nutshell?

I like that definition. Being an academic, I’m closer to studying how others define blockchain than defining it myself. As such, I’m leading an international effort to develop a Blockchain Terminology Database. We have a team from Canada, Croatia and Japan working on gathering definitions from various sources, such as white papers, government reports and the industry press, which we hope will represent various viewpoints on key terms and concepts as the basis for eventually discussing and agreeing how these terms should be defined by the international community. . . ."

The full article appears in English here: https://www.goodrebels.com/victoria-lemieux-blockchain-success-will-depend-on-cross-sectoral-collaboration/

and en Espanol acqui: https://www.goodrebels.com/es/victoria-lemieux-exito-blockchain-dependera-la-colaboracion-intersectorial/

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"Trusting Records: Is Blockchain Technology the Answer" wins 2017 Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper Award

Dr. Victoria Lemieux's  paper “Trusting records: is Blockchain technology the answer?” published in Records Management Journa , 26(2): 2016 has won the 2017 Emerald Literati Outstanding Paper Award (see, http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/literati/awards.htm?year=2017&journal=rmj).  

The paper explores the value of Blockchain technology as a solution to creating and preserving trustworthy digital records, presenting some of the limitations, risks and opportunities of the approach. The results of the analysis suggest that Blockchain technology can be used to address issues associated with information integrity in the present and near term, assuming proper security architecture and infrastructure management controls.  It does not, however, guarantee reliability of information in the first place, and would have several limitations as a long-term solution for maintaining trustworthy digital records.  Future research is required to move beyond current limitations.

The Emerald Literati Awards are decided by the editorial board of each journal. More information on the selection process can be found here. http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/authors/pdf/Choosing%20the%20winners%20of%20the%20Outstanding%20Paper%20Awards.pdf.  The Records Management Journal provides research and contemporary practice on the people, process and systems/technology aspects of managing records and information in organizations. This spans records/information creation and capture, organization and access, preservation and disposal, systems design, information governance and risk. RMJ is unique in that it is the only international journal devoted to records management which is not exclusive to a professional society or association. Contributions from different, interdisciplinary perspectives are encouraged in the form of research papers, case studies and viewpoints.

 

 

 

 

 

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Terminology Database for Blockchain Technology

As a new technology, blockchain technology is constantly in a state of flux. And that is even before we have decided which blockchain we are referring to, be it Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or any of the others. And then we are confronted with the question of what to call it. As the story goes, the banking fraternity showed interest in the technology but did not want to acknowledge the Bitcoin origin, so they called it the blockchain. More recently, even the word “blockchain” has been seen as too risky, so it has been called “distributed ledger technology” (DLT).

I bring this up so that I can set, in sharp relief, the difficulty of defining the elements that contribute to the Bitcoin and Ethereum builds, which is a research project that I have been working on recently. To help with this challenge, a team, led by Dr Vicki Lemieux of UBC, with support from colleagues at the University of Zagreb, and now also a growing number of participants around the world, have come together to compile a database of blockchain terms. This team consists of not only academics but also database developers, bitcoin enthusiasts, and archival and information science researchers. Full disclosure, I am one of those researchers.

What sets our project apart from other work aimed at defining blockchain terminology is our recognition of the different communities of interest involved in this technical space, A number of these communities hold the strong views about how the term blockchain and associated terms should be defined,  often linked to core values and use cases for the technology. We respect these diverse views and think that documenting terminological differences is an essential step in converging on international standard definitions from a place that acknowledges a broad range of perspectives. Our approach also ensures that the provenance of each definition is carefully documented so that we can trace them back to their most authoritative source.  This will make sure that the origins of definitions are transparent, and all contributors are acknowledged for helping to build this open source blockchain resource. 

Our team has been working on this since January 2017 and we are pleased to announce that our terminology database can be accessed at this link: http://arstweb.clayton.edu/interlex/blockchain/`. 

Earlier in April, Dr Lemieux submitted our database as the one of the Canadian contributions to the work of ISO TC307 at its inaugural meeting in Sydney, Australia. It was acknowledged that Canada’s contribution on terminology was the most comprehensive and many participants applauded the Canadian delegation’s approach to this project. On May 3, the committee put forward Dr Lemieux as a nominee to become international project leader. We are grateful for this recognition of the value of our terminology database to the development of the ISO standard as a whole. 

We invite you to review our terminology database, let us know what you think, and suggest new definitions, or revised versions of existing terms.  

 

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A SUCCESSFUL WINE AND CHEESE NIGHT FOR BLOCKCHAIN@UBC

On Thursday April 13, Blockchain@UBC hosted another Wine and Cheese evening where we networked at our adopted HQ at the Forestry Sciences Centre, UBC. It was a chance for our supporters and members to come together to catch up or to discuss the latest events and to build new partnerships. I was pleased to see some new faces appear who I hope will come to our subsequent workshops and become supporters of our emerging knowledge platform.

We were delighted to host Joni Brennan, President of the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) to come and speak with us about their digital identification projects. Digital ID is one of the major areas where blockchain technology can help to democratize digital identity. So, we were very grateful to Joni in giving us a comprehensive picture of DIACC’s research. Blockchain@UBC looks forward to supporting DIACC’s work.

We know that Vancouver has a vibrant blockchain community. We are pleased to be able to host events that bring Vancouver’s diverse blockchain network together. We would like to thank the following Blockchain@UBC members for helping to our evening the success that it was:

Shone Anstey, Blockchain Intelligence Group

Steve Booth, BlackDuck Software

Joni Brennan, DIACC

Jason Butcher, Kickstartventures.ca

Arthur Chen, UBC

Lisa Cheng, Vanbex

Calvin Chu, UBC

Andrew Csinger, Interspect

MaRie Eagar, Digital Futures

MaNie Eagar, Digital Futures

Peter Van Garderen, Information Management Consultant

Mary Lou Hardy, Attaverse

Kevin Hobbs, Vanbex

Darra Hofman, PhD candidate at SLAIS, UBC

Indra Adrian Jonklaas, Frontier Foundry

Steve Kim, Stormbrain

Vicki Lemieux, SLAIS, UBC

Clark Lim, Acuere Consulting

Boris Mann, Frontier Foundry

Tony Mayer, Attaverse

Lance Morginn, Blockchain Intelligence Group

Nathaniel Payne, Finning International

Peter Rizun, Bitcoin Unlimited

Steve Thompson, Blockchain@UBC

Hudhaifah Zahid, Bitcoin Club, UBC

 

 

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STICK A FORK IN IT! DEBATE ON BITCOIN’S SCALING FUTURE, 1 April 2017

On April 1, the folks at DCTRL had a meet-up to discuss the facts and implications of the Bitcoin fork. We all learned a lot from this meeting. The range of knowledge varied from those that were new to Bitcoin and were interested in what the contention over the fork was about (most of us in the room), those that had deeper technical knowledge of Bitcoin and wanted to find out what would be the best course of action and those who are well invested in Bitcoin and were looking for advice on whether they needed to do anything to protect their investment.

The stakeholders in this fork are:

·      Miners – they find, or “mine”, the blocks by solving a cryptographic puzzle. Miners can also run full nodes.

·      Full nodes – computers around the world that confirm that the solution to the cryptographic puzzle is correct and relay it across the rest of the network. They add the block to the blockchain record.

·      Light nodes – computers around the world that only relay the full nodes’ confirmations that a block is correct. They do not mine or confirm blocks.

·      Wallets – clients that store the user’s private keys to access Bitcoin addresses and spend your bitcoin balance.

·      Exchanges – bourses within which bitcoins are traded with fiat currency.

·      Bitcoin Core (BTC) – the team of developers that has been running the Bitcoin network since its inception in January 2009. Full nodes run Core’s software in order to validate transactions and blocks.

·      Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU) – a breakaway team of developers that advocate for a large expansion in block sizes, to a maximum of 32Mb, in order to resolve the scaling issue. They regard expansion to the block size as the best way of sidestepping a hard fork.

Here is a summary of the discussion:

Intro

Cryptocurrency, though virtual, is real in the sense that there is mining power behind it and that it is scarce. The nodes validate the rules of the network, so far Bitcoin Core has written those rules. The wallets look at the headers of the blockchain and determine from the headers that enough proof-of-work has been done and that it is running the correct chain.

Bitcoin Unlimited responses to some objections

Alex Millar and Taylor Singleton-Fookes presented the discussion and represented the interests of Bitcon Core. Also present was Dr Peter Rizen, Chief Scientist at Bitcoin Unlimited.

BTC: If the blockchain becomes too big (it will grow more rapidly under BTU), it will become too expensive to run a full node.

BTU: The rapidly-growing chain will not be a problem for BTU users as they will only need to validate their own transactions. So, there will be no further need for full nodes to validate all transactions and fewer users will need to run a full node.

BTC: Bitcoin, so far, has supported two main features. It is a payment platform and it is censorship-resistant. However, should it fork, BTC prefers the censorship-resistant feature.

BTU: With the cost of running a node falling, the decentralized element of Bitcoin becomes more important. Most businesses and universities will still be able to afford to run nodes on BTU.

BTC: The miners’ interests are based on the fees remaining on-chain.

BTU: Unlimited will not prompt a hard fork so there will be no disruption to the fees. Any dispossessed miners can seek legal redress.

BTC: Disagreed with bringing in the courts. The presence of law courts will be antithetical to the ethos of Bitcoin.

BTU: Those miners that have switched to BTU have stated that the block size is irrelevant to reaching consensus. They will follow the proof-of-work algorithm regardless of how large the block will be. BTU broadens the consensus rules.

BTC: BU will give too much power to miners.

BTU: Countered by saying that BTC was gravitating away from Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision of “genetic diversity”. Whether you increase the block sizes or not, the miners are already powerful.

BTC: The BU solution will lead to further block size increases in the future.

BTU: No, it won’t. The nodes and miners grow the network symbiotically. Growth of that type will not require 32Mb+ sizes.

Critiques on Bitcoin Core solutions

BTC advocates for a soft fork as the means to address the block size issue. It proposes the implementation of segregated witness (SegWit) which will discard the signature data from the transaction file. BTC says that SegWit will ease the implementation of off-chains or sidechains, such as Lightning, thereafter.

SegWit (segregated witness) is a soft fork in that it condenses the rules. It is also a tangential solution to the scaling issue but it does increase malleability.

SegWit is ready to be deployed. However, the BTC developers relied on miners to enable it. Miners held back for two reasons:

·      Concerns that the malleability of SegWit would weaken the security of BTC;

·      The trend for transaction fees is rising due to the growing bottleneck of unmined transactions… a result of 1Mb block sizes. Miners were concerned they may not realise those higher fees on SegWit.

Recent bugs with Bitcoin Unlimited’s code

Two factors behind the attack on BU nodes were discussed here:

1.     Unlimited has a new development team and also new processes. It has taken time for Unlimited to raise the quality of their code.

2.     Unlimited initially opened up their source code. However, it was attacked.

Two bugs allowed the take down of a number of BU nodes. So, BU went closed source and published only binary code. It allowed for BU to release a new patch that would not get attacked.

BU released one implementation for one bug.

Lightning Network

Lightning is at the centre of the debate about off-chains. Lightning uses Bitcoin transactions as a smart contract.

It can facilitate a network of payment channels especially for multisig transactions.

Lightning works on the game theory principle: if a participant in an off-chain payment channel does not broadcast to the blockchain at the right time, that participant loses his deposit.

There is a certain amount of scepticism about Lightning’s ability to roll back any micropayments that participants may wish to annul.

Bitcoin Unlimited’s assessment of Lightning and user-activated soft forks

Rizen was neutral about Lightning but expressed interest in how it will fare, especially should it come into play on the back of SegWit implementation.

Miners have signalled for larger blocks and also have been enthusiastic about Lightning.

Small transactions, such as pay-to-search and other micropayments, can work well on Lightning.

There was, then, discussion about user-activated soft forks. In such a fork, miners can start mining SegWit blocks on a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain should they choose to do so.

However, this was seen from the floor as being reckless. An exchange can choose to fork the blockchain. So, user-activated soft forks can allow those with leverage, such as the miners and exchanges, to consolidate their power over the Core network.

Some innovations that may ease the effects of the hard fork

It is possible to merge mine Unlimited and Core in a post-fork environment.

Core can use NLOCKTIME and RBF codes to switch between the Core fork and the Unlimited fork.

SegWit can make use of a slush pool.

It is also possible to orphan blocks from non-complying miners should the fork take place.

Closing thoughts

Adoption of Unlimited will distribute power unevenly, in favour of miners.

Miners are most interested in making money from mining. They will go with whichever fork yields the higher fees.

The short term favours Unlimited but the long term favours Core.

Millar and Singleton-Fookes felt that outside consultants advising on the fork will go against Bitcoin’s principle of reaching consensus internally.

Ultimately, we had a fatalistic frame of mind on which way Bitcoin will go, whether or not the hard fork takes place. It really is in the lap of the Bitcoin gods.

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… COMING UP AND HAPPENING NOW AT BLOCKCHAIN@UBC!!

 

Hello Friends. With the end of the Winter semester, I finally have some time (a small amount of time) to update you on some events that are upon us and coming into view.

IEEE BLOCKCHAIN SUMMIT

By the time this comes up on the blog, Blockchain@UBC would have taken part in a poster exhibition at the IEEE Blockchain Summit at the SFU Harbour Centre. This one-day conference took place on April 4 and it gave Vancouver’s blockchain community an opportunity to connect with academics and industry to discuss the future of this small but rapidly-growing network. We were rubbing shoulders with all tech firms great and small as we joined the global conversation about the future of all things distributed.

Blockchain@UBC exhibited at the conference. Steve Thompson and Darra Hofman presented a poster of their research from the “Blockchain Technology for Recordkeeping: Help or Hype?” paper. http://interparestrust.org/assets/public/dissemination/Lemieux-BlockchainTechnologyRecordkeeping-FinalReport.zip

The following day, Wednesday April 5, DCTRL hosted a BCSides social mixer. A chance for those people who couldn’t make it to the IEEE summit (surely not because of the $400 entry fee!). Some more info about this below:

https://www.picatic.com/VanBCSides2017

 

COINFEST VANCOUVER

On Friday April 7, Vancouver’s DCTRL will be hosting a venue of Coinfest, a global bitcoin hangout that showcases alternative finance, blockchain technology and decentralization. It promises to be an epic weekend where we can see just how far blockchain technology has proceeded over the last twelve months.

This from the Coinfest website:

Vancouver is the birthplace of CoinFest, and a pioneering city in Bitcoin adoption among merchants. Like in CoinFest 2016, it will serve as a center of global operations, but will also host some exciting local activities, as well.

CoinFest Vancouver will start at DCTRL on Friday morning in order to join the International Hangout, and will ink with Orange County, California later in the evening. There will also be cool demonstrations such as Bitcoin/blockchain games, miners, and a virtual reality block explorer.

On Saturday, we’ll go to a more mainstream tech incubator called the Tribe, which recently began accepting Bitcoin. There we’ll show them how crowdfunding is done the cryptocurrency way, then head back to DCTRL for further indoctrination.

More info here: https://www.meetup.com/bitcoinvan/events/237974269/

 

BLOCKCHAIN SUMMER INSTITUTE

Blockchain@UBC is all about learning and understanding distributed ledger technology.

So, our partners at Blockchain@UBC are pleased to offer a UBC Summer Training Institute on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger technologies.  The goal of the training institute is to provide upper undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline at UBC with advanced, specialized training in the blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. Topics to be covered are:

·      basic blockchain architecture,

·      privacy, security and trust and blockchains/DLTs,

·      emerging international standards and use cases,

·      technical knowledge on Bitcoin,

·      Ethereum and Hyperledger blockchain/DLTs, and

·      understanding of blockchain and DLTs in social, economic, legal and political contexts.

The training sessions will culminate in a one-day “blockathon” (on Friday, August 4) sponsored by the partners of Blockchain@UBC in which students will work as members of teams to design and prototype blockchain solutions for social good and community well-being.

Training will be delivered by academic and industry specialists in the topic areas to be covered, including local entrepreneurs, leading academics on the blockchain and DLT research, and expert developers. 

Students completing the programme will also be recognized at an Vancouver blockchain industry-sponsored event to be held on the evening of Aug. 4th.  Certificates of completion will be registered on chain, of course!

The whole learning process promises to be a lot of fun as this is a very young network and has a lot going on.

 

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Blockchain@UBC partner, UBITQUITY, working on Blockchain-Secured Platform for Real Estate Recordkeeping, Announces Historic Pilot with a Land Records Bureau in Brazil

Dover, Delaware, USA — April 5, 2017 — Ubitquity LLC, a Blockchain company offering a simple user experience for securely recording and tracking property deeds is pleased to announce historic news: a partnership with a Cartório de Registro de Imóveis [Real Estate Registry Office] in Brazil to create the first-ever pilot program for the region's official land records. This is a first for not only Brazil but for South America in an effort to help lower costs while greatly improving accuracy, security, and transparency.

 

Ubitquity LLC, with the power of distributed public ledger technology known as the blockchain, with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform will bring greater accuracy and immutability to property ownership data handled by the land records office.

 

“We are incredibly excited to announce our partnership with the land records bureau, a Cartório de Registro de Imóveis [Real Estate Registry Office] in Brazil. This partnership will help to demonstrate to government municipalities the power and benefits of using blockchain-powered recordkeeping,” says Ubitquity LLC Founder & President, Nathan Wosnack.

 

Ubitquity’s team will be closely working with Rafael Mezzari, from one of the Real Estate Registry Offices, to ensure cohesion and compliance with best practices and recording standards in his municipality.

 

“Keeping property records -- one of the most important documents a person holds -- on the blockchain is important in developing markets such as Brazil,” Ubitquity’s Wosnack continued. “The blockchain allows ownership and title disputes to be handled in a fair and transparent fashion, and serves as a backup in case the original is destroyed or misplaced.”

 

The pilot has started with adding public property record data for two regions: Pelotas and Morro Redondo.

 

Initially, a parallel platform will be built to replicate the existing legal structure of property ownership recording and transferring. In time, they anticipate creating a vastly superior system that incorporates blockchain technology for ultimate accuracy and security. The goal is to eventually replace the legacy system which has vulnerabilities due to its centralized, siloed nature. Beyond a pilot, Ubitquity’s platform has the potential to act as a catalyst to improve this essential government service for all people of Brazil.

 

About Ubitquity LLC

 

UBITQUITY, a blockchain-secured platform for real estate recordkeeping offers a simple user experience for securely recording, tracking property deeds and land records. The company is partnered with academia, municipalities, and title companies. A private alpha version of their platform is now available.

 

 

 

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Blockchain@UBC Founder, Victoria Lemieux, part of Canadian Delegation to meetings of ISO TC 307

Blockchain@UBC Founder, Victoria Lemieux, will be heading to Sydney, Australia for the inaugural meeting of the International Standards Organization's Technical Committee on Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. The meeting is scheduled to take place between April 3-6, 2017.

Dr. Lemieux will present on the work of her research team in building an international database on blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The terminology database may be accessed online here: http://arstweb.clayton.edu/interlex/blockchain/.

The research team has gathered definitions of a number of key terms related to the blockchain and distirbuted ledger technical landscape. The provenance of all definitions included in the database has been carefully tracked through citation and links to their original written sources.  

The project recognizes that many groups engaged in devleoping and using this technology define key terms quite differently, which has been impeded global discussion on standards. The project team therefore set out to capture diverse defintions at a first step in arriving at standard defintions for use in proposed ISO standards.

 

 

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The First property in Canada recorded onto the blockchain. Handled via the Ubitquity SaaS Platform.

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.

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Get Ready for the IEEE Blockchain Summit, April 4, Vancouver, Canada!

Presented at the IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering
April 4, 2017 – Vancouver, Canada

Blockchain is at a fever pitch starting to permeate many industries beyond Wall Street. This one-day Summit will provide a multi-discipline discussion around the progress of blockchain adoption into select industries, while addressing critical challenges and opportunities ahead for corporates to take into consideration as they make blockchain a top priority in 2017.

Innovative tech giants, cutting-edge start-ups, and researchers from the leading academic and advocacy institutions will share insight on the status of current usage studies, where new opportunities are surfacing, and critical questions and challenges that need to be addressed to move from proof of concept to real-world implementation.

WHAT’S OUR STATUS?

WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING SPEAKING TOPIC AND POSTER SUBMISSIONS

We are seeking innovators, experts, and researchers representing corporate, tech, start-ups and academia to showcase their work. To see full guidelines and submission form, https://fs27.formsite.com/dceruto/BlockchainSummitCFP/index.html.

 

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Blockchain@UBC Collaboration Off to a Great Start after Strategic Planning Workshop

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.

 

 

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Blockchain@UBC Wine and Cheese

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

Willson Cross

Andrew Csinger, Public Key Infrastructure Entrepreneur

Christopher Donville

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

Patrick Lin, 

Chris Linden

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

Gal Slomar

Steve Thompson, MLIS Student at SLAIS, UBC

Carson Woo, Professor, UBC Sauder School of Business

Nathan Wosnack, Equibit.org

Hudhaifah Zahid, undergraduate UBC

 

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Blockchain@UBC partner PROOF to host 2017 Heart + Lung Health FEST featuring a session on Blockchain Tech

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. 

http://fest.heartandlung.ca

 The abstract/poster submission deadline is Wednesday March 1.

http://fest.heartandlung.ca/about/posters/

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Presentation at the Sauder School of Business

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.

 

 

       
 

Darra Hofman

 
 
   

Steve Thompson

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Vicki Lemieux

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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On Hyperledger

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.

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Blockchain@UBC Wine and Cheese - Thursday, January 26, 5:30-7:30pm - See Invite Below

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

 

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Ubitquity Partner Marina Reznik discusses at BConference Abu Dhabi, UAE (Dec 8, 2016)


"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.

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Call for Papers - Workshop on Privacy, Security, Trust & Blockchain Technologies - 26th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks (ICCCN)

July 31 -August 3, 2017, Vancouver, Canada

Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown

http://www.icccn.org/icccn17/

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.

***Key Dates***

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

Program Chairs

  1. Dr. Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Program Committee Members

  1. Dr. Hasan Cavusoglu, Associate Professor, Sauder School of Business, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  2. Dr. Luciana Duranti, Professor, Archival Science, iSchool, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
  3. Dr. Barbara Endicott-Popovsky, Executive Director, Center for Information Assurance and Cybersecurity, University of Washington, USA
  4. Dr. Hrvoje Stancic, Associate Professor, Department of Information and Communication Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  5. 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.

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