Every December going back to 2004, I’ve done an end-of-year review of the top Internet technology trends. As a source for this year’s review, I’m using the nearly fifty weekly columns I’ve written over the course of 2018. They’re a good indicator of what I’ve focused on during the year, and what has defined this year in terms of online technology.
A solid analysis of much of tech this past year. I’ve also noticed a slowing of the blockchain story this year and his statement “Perhaps the technology will yet prove useful, but the crypto community has a lot of work to do before that happens – not the least in re-focusing on product, rather than price.” is right on target.
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Just the other day I was reading about third party plugins that injected code that allowed websites to mine for bitcoin in the background. Now publications are actively doing this in the background as a means of making money? In addition to the silliness of the bitcoin part, this just sounds like poor editorial judgment all around.
The possibility of a windfall lures many who see themselves in a financial rut.
This is just painful to read and feels all too much like a Ponzi scheme gone wrong. Sadly, the reportage doesn’t take a direct stance, so some are more likely to read this and think that it’s an actual investment scheme to be dabbled with. If it were a realistic currency, then having a relatively constant value would be a key feature.
I came across this from Paul Krugman’s tweet which is all too apt:
The ‘creator’ of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is the world’s most elusive billionaire. Very few people outside of the Department of Homeland Security know Satoshi’s real name. In fact, DHS will not publicly confirm that even THEY know the billionaire’s identity. Satoshi has taken great care to keep his identity secret employing the latest encryption and obfuscation methods in his communications. Despite these efforts (according to my source at the DHS) Satoshi Nakamoto gave investigators the only tool they needed to find him — his own words.
Using stylometry one is able to compare texts to determine authorship of a particular work. Throughout the years Satoshi wrote thousands of posts and emails and most of which are publicly available. According to my source, the NSA was able to the use the ‘writer invariant’ method of stylometry to compare Satoshi’s ‘known’ writings with trillions of writing samples from people across the globe. By taking Satoshi’s texts and finding the 50 most common words, the NSA was able to break down his text into 5,000 word chunks and analyse each to find the frequency of those 50 words. This would result in a unique 50-number identifier for each chunk. The NSA then placed each of these numbers into a 50-dimensional space and flatten them into a plane using principal components analysis. The result is a ‘fingerprint’ for anything written by Satoshi that could easily be compared to any other writing.
The article itself is dubious and unsourced and borders a bit on conspiracy theory, but the underlying concept about stylometry and its implications to privacy will be interesting to many. Naturally, it’s not much new.
Interestingly it didn't stand for digital currency, but a more familiar liquid one.
In the cold opening of Cheers, Season 9, Episode 23 “Carla Loves Clavin” aired on March 21, 1991, Norm Peterson (portrayed by George Wendt) invents the original definition of what would ultimately be adopted as the iconic symbol for Bitcoin. Interestingly at the time it didn’t stand for digital currency, but a more familiar liquid one.
Norm: Okay Rebecca. Um. Here’s the deal, I’ll paint the whole office including woodwork, and uh, it’ll run you 400. Rebecca: 400 bucks sounds reasonable. Norm: Oh no, that’s 400 beers, the B with the slanty line through it, it’s kinda my own special currency.
The first generation of the digital revolution brought us the Internet of information. The second generation—powered by blockchain technology—is bringing us the Internet of value: a new, distributed platform that can help us reshape the world of business and transform the old order of human affairs for the better.
Blockchain is the ingeniously simple, revolutionary protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamperproof public ledger of value. Though it’s the technology that drives bitcoin and other digital currencies, the underlying framework has the potential to go far beyond these and record virtually everything of value to humankind, from birth and death certificates to insurance claims and even votes.
Perhaps not necessarily this particular book which appears to be on the overview side, but sometime this year I’d like to delve more deeply into the concept of blockchain and the tech behind it.