The Atlanta Blockchain Conference Notes

conference
notes

#1

Hey All,

I’m sharing my notes from The Atlanta Blockchain Conference today.

Here’s the schedule for the day:

TL/DR: Feel free to read the notes for every session below but I’ve compiled this retro for highlights:

The Atlanta Blockchain Conference Retro

Top Takeaways:
Bitcoin is here to stay and it’s only getting bigger

Jeffery Tucker

  • "Monetary reform is impossible so long as money is controlled by a ruling class who will make decisions in their own best interests.”
  • The source of value of bitcoin is the blockchain itself and the usability of that blockchain
  • A system of documenting ownership claims is the oldest need of humanity and the primary value of blockchain

Michael B. Casey

  • The growth of adoption of Bitcoin and therefore bitcoin price is following an S-Curve of Technological Adoption, which is itself characterized by fractally repeating, exponentially increasing Gartner Hype Cycles.
  • We’re still at innovators stage / maybe beginning of early adopters phase
  • We will continue to see cycles but the amount of growth left is huge!

Real use cases for blockchain technology

  • Tierion is using blockchain to create an insurance claims processing system using blockchain to verify timestamps
  • Tierion is also working with Phillips auditing healthcare processes and create verifiable medical records and data
  • Dominode is creating verified identity solutions for regulated industries
  • Storj is creating decentralized storage and used a token sale to raise working capital

Opportunities for women in the industry
Women in Blockchain panel featured great examples of women making significant impact in the space

  • Consensus gathering is a female strength - lean into that strength as it is a fundamental element of blockchain technology
  • Blockchain technology/decentralization allows all voices to be heard and represented

Challenges
Value of Bitcoin ATMs

  • I always assumed the value of Bitcoin ATMs was the ability to anonymously convert fiat to crypto
  • As Coinbase and others make it easier to instantly convert fiat to crypto, I’m not sure ATM’s provide a compelling value for the higher fees they charge
  • Am I missing something here? Never used a Bitcoin ATM so I get that I may need to try it out to fully understand.

Risks of Open Bazaar

  • I appreciate the commitment to the ideological stance that all markets should be completely open, free and unregulated
  • People inevitably use these exchanges to sell drugs, weapons or other materials that put them at risk for prosecution
  • The personal risk to put this idea into action would personally keep me out of this space but I admire Brian Hoffman and others for being willing to take a stand for their convictions

Tax implications of crypto investing/trading/mining

  • IRS guidance is still unclear
  • Burden is on the taxpayer to keep records
  • The prudent choice is to pay what is owed - the downside of underpaying tax is potentially costly - $ and/or jail
  • It’s really not that complicated but consulting a CPA or lawyer is recommended

Overall - Great day!
I’m more encouraged than ever that there is a bright future for blockchain technology. We’re still at the early stage and there is much work to be done before it’s mainstream. It’s not too late to get onboard, make an impact on the future and earn benefits as an investor, employee or entrepreneur.


What / where are you today (whatcha working on)?
#2

Hey, I see our own @Peter_Rehm on there as a presenter!!! Enjoy the day, excited to hear the updates.


#3

Session 1
Jeffrey Tucker


https://twitter.com/jeffreyatucker

Outline
1.History of money/blockchain
2.Blockchain meets the oldest human need we have
3.The threats we face going forward

1.History of money/blockchain
Post-Napoleonic wars - 1810 to WW1 - greatest economic growth in the human history - growth of middle class
The nature and function of money
Gold - single standard
National monies but they were just names for the same thing
There were competing currencies in the US but the dollar became the prevailing standard - linked to gold - gold standard

2 Theories of Money emerged
The state theory of money - value comes from the power/stability of governance - taxation/authority/control, etc
The market theory - people barter with each other / values rise and fall based on supply/demand - monies are created by value ascribed to items
kids naturally trade
black markets - recent example of gallons of Tide being used as store of value
prison trading

The original value of money comes from practical use - direct exchange to indirect exchange - must have useful value first, then become valued intrinsically

Characteristics of currency
Useful
Divisible
Portable
Scarcity

By the late 19th century - all governments decided that gold was the standard
In the early 20th century - the state theory of money overtook and central banks were formed - left the gold standard - governments could print as much money as they desired
WW1 - financed by government money - would not have been possible if it had to be paid for with taxes
Extreme Inflation
After WW2 - New Deal - Phoenix - new money - left gold standard
Many innovations in payment types but no innovations money - credit cards only available to few people initially, USD, EURO, VISA, MasterCard - money vs payments - no one was really considering tying money and payments together

During the 1970s - tension with banking and money - reform proposals - fixed supply of money, return to gold standard, etc
Infinite debates but the stakeholders of the system will always regulate toward their own interests
We might have the best plan but we don’t have access to make the changes needed’
Monetary reform is impossible so long as money is controlled by a ruling class who will make decisions in their own best interests.

Until now - digital money

  • The Denationalization of Money is a 1976 book by Friedrich Hayek - Nobel Prize
    It can’t be improved from the center - it will be improved from the edge
    Create a new medium of exchange

The internet is a giant copying machine - think digital photography
Problem of double-spending - creating infinite units
Bitcoin seems like alchemy - transforming 1’s and 0’s into money?!

2.Blockchain meets the oldest human need we have
We must have a medium/system to exchange value
The source of value of bitcoin is the blockchain itself and the usability of that blockchain
Secure Peer to peer exchange that creates a record that does not change
A system of documenting ownership claims is the oldest need of humanity and the primary value of blockchain

3.The threats we face going forward
These systems have always relied on a central authority - which always led to its downfall - housing crash / bank crash - 2009
Throughout history institutions/governments want to steal us, rob us, take our ownership away
Bitcoin gives us a chance to overcome this fundamental problem in a way that has never been possible

Fun fact: Jeffery Tucker performed the first blockchain wedding - documented on the blockchain


#4

Tech Presentation
DriveChain - Paul Sztorc
http://www.drivechain.info/

  1. What are sidechains?
    1. Alt-chain
  2. Drivechain specifically - allows multiples blockschains to share the 21,000,000 bitcoins
    1. Bitcoin market dominance would equal 100% all the time
    2. Deletes the purpose for alt coins - don’t sell BTC to buy alts
    3. All value is concentrated in the winning coin
  3. Existing ingredients get us mostly to Drivechain
    1. Altcoins
    2. Embedded consensus
    3. Instant Atomic Cross-chain swaps
      Check out slides and demo on their website - http://www.drivechain.info/

#5

omg, keep these notes coming!!!


#6

Business Presentation
Brian Hoffman
Sept 2014 - Hired several years ago by government agency - looking to figure out their weaknesses and exploit any mistakes they were making
Job offer was rescinded when Wired magazine posted a tiny announcement about Open Bazaar and mentioned Brian
Open Bazaar - spiritual successor to the Silk Road - decentralized peer-to-peer marketplace where you can sell anything
Founded OB1 - venture capital firm to fund Open Bazaar

It cost him a job/career but opened new doors
It cost Charlie Schrem his freedom - jail time
Be prepared to take risks


#7

They should broadcast this on live tv. It’s a lot more important that most of the shit they air.


#8

Wayne Vaughan - Tierion


twitter - @waynevaughan
https://twitter.com/waynevaughan

Why can’t we put everything on the blockchain? voting, transactions, etc
It’s not possible at scale
At scale, you can link data to the blockchain
Chainpoint proof - verifies integrity and timestamp

2015
Ability to store 80 bytes of data - 1/2 a tweet
3-5 transactions per second

Real world use cases for Tierion
Made an insurance claims processing system using blockchain to verify timestamps
Phillips
Auditing healthcare process
Verifiable medical records and data

Distributed Health - First Blockchain Healthcare Conference
Hackathon - every winner used Tierion

Enhance your existing systems
*No need to rebuild everything on a blockchain
*connect your existing systems
*You stay in control of your data
*Proofs can be shared


#9

Yes! Looking forward to @Peter_Rehm 's presentation this afternoon!


#10

Shawn Wilkinson - Storj

Allows users to rent out the extra storage space they have on their computers and get paid for it
Focused on developers currently - developing tools/systems for them to manage storage/data

2013 - Introduced to bitcoin by a friend that was mining
People were renting out extra computer cycles to earn bitcoin
At the same time he was working on a project that required a lot of storage
He thought - why can’t we use blockchain technology for sharing storage - compensating users with tokens
2015 - decentralized dropbox - founded Storj labs - raised $500k in token sale
Instead of building dropbox clone they focus on developing tools for developers
$3M venture capital raised
$30M Token sale - was 3rd largest token sale at the time
Created the resources for them to grow and scale
Building integrations with existing platforms - filezilla integration

Storj is still not a profitable company - less than 1% of blockchain tech companies are actually profitable
If he had to start over, he would focus on scale - the entire blockchain space is struggling with scale


#11

Make sure to take a pic of @Peter_Rehm


#12

Im still waiting on is response about taxes lol!

The man is busy indeed!!!


#13

I am also!! asdfasdf


#14

Women in Blockchain Panel

Sherry Duncan - dominode - digital identity for professionals in a regulated industry
https://dominode.com/
$1.3M seed funding round

Elizabeth - Ga State Entrepreneurship

Marie Antoinette Tichler - C2Legacy - asset/estate planning / also runs non-profit
https://coinreviews.io/marie-antoinette-tichler-c2legacy/

Nadine - Developer Evangelist at Storj

Blockchain is the technology but we need to focus on building apps that utilize the technology
People didn’t care about web technology until useful applications impacted their lives

Cut through hype - create quality content to inform people and allow them to form their own opinions
Educate - decouple the technology from speculation/investing
The message of crypto is much more powerful than pump/dump/next lambo
Sovereignty/Decentralization/Empowerment - these are powerful messages for all - opportunity for women specifically to represent these ideas - “empowerment to all nodes”
Stigma within parts of crypto community - lambo mentality, trolls, negativity against women

Example - Marie was part of organizing the Women’s March in DC. Example of decentralized organization. Only 20-30 women per state met in person prior to that day. They organized all details to show up in great numbers on that day.
Blockchain creates powerful opportunities for women - more accessible than ever before - encourage the women in your life to explore blockchain and get involved as they have interest/skills/opportunities

Nadine - shared experiences as female engineer - agrees that there is a lot of opportunity but she has seen opposition as well. Be prepared to face opposition and push through

Elizabeth - consensus gathering is a female strength - lean into that strength as it is a fundamental element of blockchain technology

What use cases are you excited about?
Voting - ability for all to vote, all votes to be counted and represented equally
Blockchain/decentralization/network theory as a level playing field for equality/diversity
Ability to hear all voices so that consensus can be reached


#15

Man i LOVE this!

More women getting involved means more growth in the cryptospace!!!

“Getting those digits” will now take on a new meaning!!


#16

Say hay to Mr. Lopp!


#17

Brandon Mintz
The Value of Bitcoin ATM’s during Bitcoins mainstream adoption
Bitcoin Depot

Surge in interest in Bitcoin

  • Media attention
  • Value surged in 2017 to $20k
  • Google searches
  • Active wallets

Only about 1% of US population actually owns bitcoin

4 Main Methods to Buy Bitcoin

  1. Peer to peer
    Localbitcoins.com
    1. Pros - anyone can buy or sell, Fast
    2. Cons - easy to get scammed, not very reliable, poor/non-existent customer support
  2. Exchange
    Coinbase.com
    1. Pros - Low Fees
    2. Cons - long verification times, bank account or credit card needed, poor/slow customer service
  3. Broker
    1. Pros - Somewhat quick, low fees
    2. Cons - Large minimum order size: $75k, wire is only payment method, bank account required
  4. Bitcoin ATM
    1. Pros - most convenient, no bank, card or financial account info required, use any wallet, call/sms/email customer support
    2. Cons - higher fees, cash only

The fees for a Bitcoin ATM may seem high but they may actually be lower compared to the true cost of using other methods

2125 BTMS worldwide - >75% in the US
Currently called “Bitcoin ATMs” but they are moving to be “Crypto ATMs” where you can buy multiple different currencies all at one unit

Security
Use 2 Factor Authentication
Recommends Google Authenticator
Authy - beware SMS porting
Your Phone Number being exposed may be more dangerous than your Social Security being exposed
Social Engineering plus basic info can lead to your number being ported
Call your phone carrier and add an additional PIN to your account - avoid your number being ported

Recommended Wallets
Airbitz; mobille wallet
https://airbitz.co/
Jaxx: alt coin wallet


Coinomi: alt coin wallet
https://coinomi.com/
Bitgo: web wallet - ability to set the fee

Verification checks at $1000 and $5000 - requires photo id


#18

Brian Hoffman - 101 Openbazaar

2013 - Silk Road - Collapsed/Shut Down

What if a decentralized open and free marketplace could be created?
Not just to sell guns/drugs/contraband
Libertarian ideal
Yes - it can be done - April 2014 - DarkMarket - uncensorable market
DarkWallet

OpenBazaar started by forking DarkMarket

Open Source solution on GitHub

2.0 version released in November 2017

Why do we need decentralized markets?
Freedom - Marketplace is not controlled by corporation or government, rules are created by users
Privacy - no middleman means communications are only between pertinent parties
Community Driven - network grows and is innovated on by the community and not driven by revenue or profit targets

Power to the people
Powerful peer to peer network
Earn and spend bitcoin
Control your own business

Curated Content - collect businesses/products/service you like/promote

OpenBazaar token is launching in 2018

They have a good start but are looking to grow this year - feels similar to early amazon and eBay
It’s open and uncensored - it shows everything right now - “people sell some crazy shit!”
As people use the network, it will grow more intelligent and serve

What prevents OB1 from being shut down like Silk Road?
People find what they search for
Search modules are added by users to search different sources - reminds me of Kodi where multiple repositories are added

No platform fees - how do you make money?
Open Bazaar does not make money
OB1 (parent company) intends to make money - developing app to help merchants monetize their stores, making money at the edges


#19

Peter Rehm - Taxation of Blockchain-based Cryptocurrencies

The Pub’s own @Peter_Rehm had the unique challenge of presenting during the same time slot as Jameson Lopp but he rose to the occasion and brought a strong presentation guiding a great discussion on the tax implications of cryptocurrency.

LIFO (Last In First Out) - will it be an allowable basis for calculating gains?
IRS has not created a specific rule yet - LIFO applies to currencies but not yet to cryptocurrencies

This presentation applies only to 2017 and prior years - have not included changes for upcoming years’ tax laws

Types of Income:
Trading Gains
Mining
Exchanges for goods/services
Forks/airdrops
Employee payroll elections / contractors paid in crypto
Commenting/blogging/vlogging income

Income
Trading Gains and Losses
Sales proceeds less what it cost (initial coin cost + markup + fees)
Section 1031 (Like Kind Exchanges)
If you used this on previous tax returns, consider refiling - talk with CPA or Lawyer
Peer to peer transactions - localbitcoins.com transactions are reportable

Mining
Net income after all costs
Generally income from self employment (Schedule C) - Self Employment Taxes
It is taxable on the date of mining - keep your price documentation

Mining pools
Get paid for your hashing power/up time
You can select how often you get paid? (eg Goal/Time)

Where are you converting your mined crypto for something else?

Exchanges for Goods/Barter
Paying with bitcoin - eg Overstock or other retailer
You buy something. Coinbase or other intermediary will sell whatever BTC is required.
Up to you to determine the cost of bitcoin sold.
Using a Visa Bitcoin debit card
Different flavors
Some load converted BTC onto a $ denominated card there is a sale of all that bitcoin at one time
Some load BTC to care and BTC sale is incremental
Be careful, read the reviews and double read the legal disclosures. What flavor do you want?
You may receive a 1099 from your exchange partner. If not, ask them what recap information is available.

Forks/Airdrops
Ordinary income
Why not capital gains? Think of it as a stock dividend
Tax law precedent:


How to value
Trading value on the date of fork - example - the BTC to BCH fork traded $275 on the August 1 fork date
Be conservative and disclose
When is it taxable? in the year of the fork
https://airdropalert.com/
http://airdropalert.org/

Employee Payroll Elections / Contractors Paid in Crypto
The IRS value of the currency received is the value of the coins received as if purchased on the open market at that time

Commenting / Blogging / Vlogging Income
Detmerine the value of the currency at the time it was received
Counted as ordinary income

Expense Types
*Exchange markups/markdowns on purchase / sale / conversion
Keep good records

*Payments to others in crypto in excess of $600 FMV in a year must be reported to IRS by payor

*Scam/Ponzi/ICO theft losses - may be deductible - circumstances dictate amount and where it is deducted

Exempt transactions
Your initial cash investments and investment additions
transfers between exchanges without a sale occurring
Try to pay any transfer fees in cash. This will eliminate federal gain/loss accounting on that fee

Special Forms
IRS Form 8938
Treasury Department FBAR
https://www.irs.gov/businesses/comparison-of-form-8938-and-fbar-requirements

Pitfalls:
Penalties and Interest
Fraudulent returns
Incomplete or inaccuracy issues
Not filing the IRS Form 8938 or Treasury Department FBAR if required

Peter recommends using one of these tools to track your trading activity:
https://bitcoin.tax/
https://cointracking.info/

Try to tie your transaction log into any From 1099’s that you receive (for transactions over $600). Archive this analysis with your return preparation papers.


#20

Should havre been titled: “Taxation is Theft.”