Why Is It So Hard to Run a Bitcoin Exchange?

One of the chronic features of the Bitcoin landscape is that Bitcoin exchanges screw up and fail, starting with Mt. Gox. There's nothing conceptually very hard about running an exchange, so what's the problem? The first problem is that Bitcoin and other blockchains are by design completely unforgiving. If there is a bug in your software which lets people steal coins, too bad, nothing to be done. more

Bitcoin Domain Names Become Popular - and Attract Disputes

Cryptocurrencies (such as Bitcoin) are all the rage -- so, naturally, related domain name disputes are, too. The wild fluctuations in cryptocurrency prices (Bitcoin hit a low of close to $6,000 this week, after reaching an all-time high of more than $19,000 only two months ago, and less than $1,000 a year ago) have attracted speculators, regulators and now even cybersquatters. more

What Do Bitcoin, Cloud Computing and the New gTLDs All Have in Common?

I am a student of life, learning one hard lesson at a time. In fact, I actually dropped out of my last year of college to start a tech company in a new space called the internet. I was an entrepreneur running an online service prior to the advent of the world wide web in 1992, back when Pine, Usenet, and Gopher ruled the information superhighway. Over the last 25 years, I have learned a great deal about technology adoption cycles by launching six internet companies, each at the forefront of a new technology wave. more

Bitcoin: The Andromeda Strain of Computer Science Research

Everyone knows about Bitcoin. Opinions are divided: it's either a huge bubble, best suited for buying tulip bulbs, or, as one Twitter rather hyperbolically expressed it, "the most important application of cryptography in human history". I personally am in the bubble camp, but I think there's another lesson here, on the difference between science and engineering. Bitcoin and the blockchain are interesting ideas that escaped the laboratory without proper engineering - and it shows. Let's start with the upside. more

The Great Forking Bitcoins of China

Let's say I'm with the Chinese government and decide that I am tired of people evading currency controls and money laundering using Bitcoin. So we adjust the Great Firewall of China to block port 8333. We also add some proxies that allow some uncleared transactions from outside to flow into Chinese networks but not the other way and keep track of which ones we let through. Since a large fraction of the miners are inside China, and all of the hard currency exchanges are outside, this will cause a pretty serious fork. more

Blockchain Technology Can Solve Some of Africa's Problems

Lately, the word blockchain is gaining a lot of attention from businesses, investors and governments, especially around how it could transform how we do business today. As the world looks up to Blockchain technology for radical transformations in many industries and sectors, I want to take a look at how it could help governance in Africa.
The African continent is plagued with corruption, bad governance, mismanagement and lack of accountability. more

The Top 10 .Brand Moments of 2017

Each year in December, I sit down and take a moment to reflect on how the .brands space has progressed in the previous 12 months. Most folks will understand that starting a movement to create the next evolution of the internet with 'digital superbrands' was a little slow at first. Slowly but surely, that has started to change and especially in 2016, it really felt like people were starting to 'get it' -- both in terms of brands themselves, and the media and consumers. more

Why Bitcoin Will Not Solve the Caribbean's Financial Inclusion Woes

There's a deluge of hype around Bitcoin and blockchain technologies right now, and policymakers and regulators in the Caribbean are doing their best to wrap their heads around the advantages and disadvantages of this virtual currency. Similar questions are being contemplated in the ICTs for development (ICT4D) community, taking into account that electronic money (e-money) platforms such as Safaricom's M-PESA have essentially solved the financial inclusion quandary for millions of people in Kenya. more

The Great Domain Correction of 2017?

There were only 1.8 million registered .com names when I joined the NSI (Network Solutions) Marketing Team in the summer of 1998. ICANN was formed just a few months later. By the time we were acquired by Verisign in June of 2000 there were roughly 14 million names in the .com database. I recall predictions that one day there would be 100 million registered .com names. Some thought that was a craaaazy number and wanted to know what we were smoking. more

Breaking the Mold: Reclassifying Over a Billion .XYZ Domains for Alternative Uses

Three years ago, my team and I launched .xyz with the mission of bringing competition, choice, and innovation on the internet. .xyz was probably the only domain extension that had no built-in meaning, included very few domains priced at a premium, and relied on low margins and high volume. We brought with it the message that .xyz was for every website, everywhere. And instead of targeting one vertical, we connected with the next generation of internet users... more

Kelly's Case Updated: A Need for Further DNS Registrar Industry (Self-)Regulation

After ten hectic days, the young Clemson civil engineer turned MBA entrepreneur -- who turned a passion for helping equestrians care for their horses into a website enterprise -- had the domain, and its IPR returned to HorseDVM LLC. Ultimately, however, it was the registrant who realized the registrar had wrongfully sold him the domain and the unfairness of what had occurred, who facilitated the return. The culpable registrar ultimately did nothing but unfailingly support its auction subsidiary's sale... more

Blockchain of Things Goes Global at ITU-T Dubai Meeting

Today, one of the world's largest Internet companies, Alibaba, together with a compelling array of other providers, vendors, and government bodies for the first time called for a visionary multilateral technical and operational "framework for a Blockchain of Things." The exceptionally thorough and comprehensive 23-page document, SG20-C.008, was submitted into the upcoming ITU-T SG20 Internet of Things (IoT) Study Group meeting at Dubai, 13j23 March -- the first group gathering in the organization's new 2017-2020 study period. more

An Internet for Identity

In World of Ends, Doc Searls and Dave Weinberger enumerate the Internet's three virtues: 1. No one owns it. 2. Everyone can use it. 3. Anyone can improve it. ... Online services and interactions are being held back by the lack of identity systems that have the same virtues as the Internet. This post describes what we can expect from an Internet for identity. more

Analysis of the Global Telecoms Industry In 2016

The telecoms industry represents one of the most dynamic sectors in the world. Only 25 years ago 90% of all activities took place via telephone calls over fixed telephone lines. Now, within the broader ICT industry, telecoms is underpinning all of the new developments in relation to the digital, sharing and interconnected economies. It facilitates new social and economic developments in all sectors such as e-health, e-education, e-business, smart grids, smart cities, e-government, and so on. more

Are Blockchains the Solution to Financing Smart Cities?

One of the most difficult elements in the development of smart cities is how to finance them. Local government doesn't have the money for it and while state and federal governments might have more money to spend there is no way that their current tax funds could pay for even a fraction of the investments that are needed. Indeed the reality is that in order to create a smart city... massive up-front investments are needed. more

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