In a nutshell: Ian Grigg’s Ricardian contracts and digital assets prehistory

In a nutshell: Ian Grigg’s Ricardian contracts and digital assets prehistory

I enjoyed listening to Episode 151 of the podcast “Epicenter” (previously “Epicenter Bitcoin”) featuring Ian Grigg, inventor of Ricardian Contracts and blogger at Financial Cryptography. Here are my notes – part transcription, with some edits. This one is a goldmine and covers many topics: bonds, contracts, cash, Chaumian e-cash, DigiCash, financial cryptography, Ricardian contracts, digital signatures, smart contracts, dispute resolution, Ethereum, triple entry book-keeping, oh my!

Misunderstandings and paraphrasing errors are entirely mine.

This gets fairly technical; if this is hard to follow, it may be helpful to read my introduction to smart contracts first.  Hmm, if it’s still hard to follow, also read about blockchains and bitcoin and Ethereum, and digital tokens.

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On KYC and blockchains


INTRODUCTION


It’s official: Blockchains for everything!

KYC is a challenge that blockchains are being thrown at (see here, here, here). The premise is “KYC is a headache and blockchains are trendy”. However there is rarely much detail on the problem and insight as to why a blockchain might or might not be a good idea. I aim to explore this use-case more fully in this post.

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The pros and cons of internal blockchains

I am often forwarded news articles of blockchain experiments run by banks or large companies, questioning “Why are they using a blockchain for this internal use-case?”.

Given that a blockchain is meant to replace a trusted external third party, or is meant to create trust between entities who don’t fully trust each other, an internal blockchain seems a contradiction in terms.

However, many of the publicly declared experiments, pilots and proof of concepts have focused on blockchains for internal use cases, ie a blockchain where there may be one or more nodes, but all under control of the same organisation, often within one department.

Although there has been much recent discussion about public (permissionless) vs private (permissioned) consortium blockchains, there has not been much debate on the virtues of internal blockchains.

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A gentle introduction to blockchain technology

A gentle introduction to blockchain technology

This article is a gentle introduction to blockchain technology and assumes minimal technical knowledge.  It attempts to describe what it is rather than why should I care, which is something for a future post.

Shorter companion pieces to this are:

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