Blockchain newsletter

My curated recommended articles on blockchain.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly.

There are five key areas that need to be addressed to make the next generation of blockchain products and services more user friendly. By Ward Oosterlijnck, Creative Technologist, Portable.
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Explaining crypto is hard, explaining crypto in simple words is harder. Explaining Zero Knowledge Proof to a child? Easy! So here you go — ZKP explained with some Halloween candy.
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Odds are you’ve heard about the Ethereum blockchain, whether or not you know what it is. It’s been in the news a lot lately, including the cover of some major magazines, but reading those articles can be like gibberish if you don’t have a foundation for what exactly Ethereum is.
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This text was produced by Zero Knowledge, a podcast hosted by Anna Rose and Fredrik Harryson, which explores the decentralised technology that will power the emerging Web3 and the community building it.
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This is the first part of many (we hope) articles about Ethereum 2.0 as we get closer to its release. Serenity or Ethereum 2.
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IPFS, a distributed filesystem, offers a more decentralised way of storing and delivering web assets. This article explores how to integrate IPFS with React by fetching content from an IPFS gateway…
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In the previous article, we began exploring the technique of building an Ethereum smart contract DApp using Angular NgRx. In this post series, we will dive into a more complicated and interesting case of a Solidity smart contract named FleaMarket.
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During the next two to three years, all major ERP and CRM vendors will offer blockchain capabilities as an add-on feature for their software and SaaS products, according to a new report from Gartner.
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You’ve probably heard IPFS referred to as the permanent web, or the immutable web. This is a big idea… an immutable store of all the world’s information. It all ties back to the idea of content addressing, which we’ve talked about before on this blog.
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Opera, a leading web browser, announced today the integration for Bitcoin and Tron wallets directly in its browser. This follows the integration of an Ethereum crypto wallet and dapp support last year.
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American blockchain entrepreneur Rhett Creighton estimated that over $4 billion is being spent on Bitcoin mining each year. How did Creighton work this out? He estimated that Bitcoin mining uses 55 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy per year and costs 7.5 cents per hour.
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from MIT Technology Review
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Headquarters of the Internet Archive, home of the Decentralized Web conferences (Wikimedia Commons). Lots of tech projects these days, especially crypto-networks, aspire to decentralization. Or their evangelists say they do, because they feel they need to.
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Headquarters of the Internet Archive, home of the Decentralized Web conferences (Wikimedia Commons). Lots of tech projects these days, especially crypto-networks, aspire to decentralization. Or their evangelists say they do, because they feel they need to.
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Privacy-focused web browser Brave has seen a 1,200 percent increase in verified publishers using its Brave Rewards program since July last year. This includes sites like the Washington Post, LadBible and, of course, Decrypt.
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I recently re-read Eric Raymond’s classic 1997 essay on open source development, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.” It’s a compelling look at what happens when you allow a broad group of “all-comers” to participate in the development of a software project.
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People — and by people I mean non-journalists here, normals — have some pretty wild misconceptions about how reporters and editors do their work.
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So you’ve spent twelve hours drafting, editing and refining your Earth-shattering press release. It’s big news: your Quorum-powered non-custodial BSV wallet has just passed muster with a top Chechnyan regulator. Wen moon? Soon, for sure.
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Today, as part of Crypto Week 2019, we are excited to announce Cloudflare's Ethereum Gateway, where you can interact with the Ethereum network without installing any additional software on your computer. This is another tool in Cloudflare’s Distributed Web Gateway tool set.
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Facebook succeeded in at least one part of its new digital currency grand plan: Get a spotlight. Regulators in both the United States and Europe are already pushing for strong oversight - in one case, Rep.
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Facebook is finally ready to reveal details about its cryptocurrency codenamed Libra.
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Croatia successfully executed the first formal blockchain-based vote during UBIK's yearly assembly. UBIK is Croatia's self regulating blockchain and cryptocurrency organization. The vote was registered on Croatia's Lisinski Testnet.
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In July 2016, Ethereum endured an early test of faith. The people behind the barely year-old blockchain had taken Bitcoin’s idea of decentralized money and run with it, building a digital landscape where users, based on a mutual trust in code, could interact and create applications.
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Plattsburgh, New York, perches on the shores of the vast Lake Champlain on the US-Canada border. It’s a small city – population less than 20,000 – with clapboard houses and an impressive city hall.
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Nothing brings change like a revolution. If successful, they disrupt the status quo and nothing is ever the same again. If they fail, they fail in catastrophe, with bodies swinging from the gallows.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the world’s biggest internet messaging companies are hoping to succeed where cryptocurrency start-ups have failed by introducing mainstream consumers to the alternative world of digital coins.
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Early last month, the security team at Coinbase noticed something strange going on in Ethereum Classic, one of the cryptocurrencies people can buy and sell using Coinbase’s popular exchange platform. Its blockchain, the history of all its transactions, was under attack.
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During my time as a Guardian journalist, the then Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, told me a story. Not long after launching the paper’s website, in 1999, the office began receiving cheques.
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A great user experience can make or break a business. Here are four ways to apply UX design principles to your blockchain project.
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Given the fact that all of Ethereum’s computations need to be reproduced on all the nodes in the network, Ethereum’s computing is inherently costly and inefficient.
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Important note: If you own more than $1,000 worth of cryptocurrency then you should definitely be using a hardware wallet instead of keeping coins on exchanges.  I recommend a Trezor which you can buy for €89 directly from their website.
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Blockchains are overhyped. There, I said it. From Sibos to Money20/20 to cover stories of The Economist and Euromoney, everyone seems to be climbing aboard the blockchain wagon.
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We are delighted to release Ivy Playground, a tool for designing, drafting, and testing smart contracts on a Chain blockchain network with Ivy, our high-level contract programming language.
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Each topic/meme/idea/goal has an associated token of value that is used to curate information inside it. Using Ethereum as a programmable, distributed, shared ledger, these groups can mint a token of value according to agreed upon rules without a centralized 3rd party being involved.
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This blog post is also available in paper format. Token-curated registries are increasingly common cryptosystems apparently applicable to solving problems in a number of domains. In this document we will provide a more formal but less-than-mathematical view of token-curated registries.
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My name is Adam Ludwin and I run a company called Chain. I have been working in and around the cryptocurrency market for several years. It’s easy to believe cryptocurrencies have no inherent value. Or that governments will crush them.
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This weekend I spent some time with my team looking into tooling and deployments particular to the Ethereum blockchain, and put together a little experiment: Forever on the Chain.
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How much should I sell my software for? How much should I sell this song for? How much is this e-book worth? This fundamental question is often asked about creators of non-rivalrous goods: goods where producing a copy of it are close to zero marginal cost.
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1. These are the minimally reformatted and slightly expanded notes for what would have been  a 15-minute presentation. 2. The presentation was meant to be followed by questions and form part of the introduction to a panel discussion.
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There’s no question that blockchain technology has enormous potential. Decentralized exchanges, prediction markets, and asset management platforms are just a few of the exciting applications being explored by blockchain developers.
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Solidity offers many high-level language abstractions, but these features make it hard to understand what’s really going on when my program is running. Reading the Solidity documentation still left me confused over very basic things.
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As developers, we like to believe in a consensus layer that takes care of all the hard distributed systems problems and lets us write applications. Miners live in the consensus layer, doing whatever it is miners do.
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The point of this writing is to explore the potential outcomes of using an ERC20 Bonded Curve Token (as per Simon de la Rouviere) or Liquid/Smart Token (as per Bancor) as the owner address of an ERC721 Non Fungible Token (NFT).
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Token Lexicon

from Medium
This article is meant as a supplement to the Re-Fungible Token (RFT) article and any other writings on the topics contained here.
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Written by Elad Verbin and Al Esmail. Bitcoin-style cryptoeconomic incentive design is a new economic design paradigm, that has already achieved incredible results, creating the first widespread digital currency.
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As everyone in the Ethereum community knows, Gas is a necessary evil for the execution of smart contracts. If you specify too little, your transaction may not get picked up for processing in a timely manner — or, die in the middle of processing a smart contract action.
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Back in 1999, the file-sharing network Napster made it easy to share audio files (usually containing music) on a hybrid peer-to-peer network (“hybrid” because it used a central directory server).
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There’s no question that blockchain technology has enormous potential. Decentralized exchanges, prediction markets, and asset management platforms are just a few of the exciting applications being explored by blockchain developers.
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Ethics newsletter

My curated recommended articles on ethics and technology.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly .

Why should we believe any of the people responsible for the ongoing tech bubble when they claim what they’re doing has great benefit for humanity? Listening to them, you might think that rising inequality, rampant tax evasion, and ecological devastation are simply capitalism run amok.
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The scientists who make apps addictive

from The Economist 1843
In 1930, a psychologist at Harvard University called B.F. Skinner made a box and placed a hungry rat inside it. The box had a lever on one side. As the rat moved about it would accidentally knock the lever and, when it did so, a food pellet would drop into the box.
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If you work in software or design in 2016, you also work in politics. The inability of Facebook's user interface, until recently, to distinguish between real and fake news is the most blatant example.
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The European parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use and creation of robots and artificial intelligence, including a form of “electronic personhood” to ensure rights and responsibilities for the most capable AI.
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As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early on as you come to terms with the world around you. Something either feels fair or it doesn’t. But increasingly, algorithms have begun to arbitrate fairness for us.
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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the latest game from the company behind Pokémon Go, lets players harness the magic of their childhood to combat monsters and collect shimmering digital artifacts across their local neighborhoods.
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In July, Google admitted it has employees pounding the pavement in a variety of US cities, looking for people willing to sell their facial data for a $5 gift certificate to help improve the Pixel 4’s face unlock system.
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On Friday afternoon Chef CEO Barry Crist and CTO Corey Scobie sat down with TechCrunch to defend their contract with ICE after a firestorm on social media called for them to cut ties with the controversial agency.
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What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?
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Computing professionals' actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession.
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The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals.
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Developments in artificial intelligence and robotics are picking up pace.
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Technologists today wield a powerful tool. We are designing, prioritizing, and putting things out into the world, affecting people we have never met. We are on their wrists, in their laptops, in their pockets, and thus, in their heads.
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Mathematicians, computer engineers and scientists in related fields should take a Hippocratic oath to protect the public from powerful new technologies under development in laboratories and tech firms, a leading researcher has said.
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If I find another copy of the Blue Cover version of Hackers could I get you to autograph it again? The one I currently have was signed by you and Richard Stallman at LinuxWorld in 1999, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to burn or shred it.
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AI and brain-scanning technology could soon make it possible to reliably detect when people are lying. But do we really want to know? By We learn to lie as children, between the ages of two and five. By adulthood, we are prolific.
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The accusations figure in court documents in an age-discrimination case that IBM is facing, brought by Jonathan Langley, a former world program director and sales lead for IBM Bluemix, who filed a lawsuit last year after being laid off in 2017 when he was aged 59 years.  
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Tech companies are known for their generous employee perks: free snacks, nap pods, the now-obligatory office ping-pong table.
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How a small group of right-wing tech employees built a back channel straight to the nation’s capital. On Jan. 16, Republican lawmakers turned on one of the world’s biggest tech companies.
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The $47 billion Australian software company, which was founded in Sydney in 2002 and floated on the US stock market in 2015, says two-thirds of every performance review will now have nothing to do with job skills.
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It was a beautiful winter day in San Francisco, and Zoe was grooving to the soundtrack of the roller-skating musical Xanadu as she rode an e-scooter to work.
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Off-the-shelf object-recognition systems struggle, relatively speaking, to identify common items in hard-up homes in countries across Africa, Asia, and South America. The same software performs better at identifying stuff in richer households in Europe and North America.
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We All Work for Facebook

from Longreads
When I was a kid, in the pre-internet days of the 1980s, my screen time was all about Nickelodeon. My favorite show was “You Can’t Do That on Television.” It was a kind of sketch show; the most common punchline was a bucket of green slime being dropped on characters’ heads.
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Updated on April 19 at 1:28 p.m. ET. There has never been a town like the one San Francisco is becoming, a place where a single industry composed almost entirely of rich people thoroughly dominates the local economy.
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As creators of technology, we need to ask whether our progress is antagonistic to the place that we call home.
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The first time Bill was stopped and searched by police, he was standing outside a friend’s house in south London. “The police pulled up on us, three cars,” he says. “I asked them why they were searching us, and one said, ‘Because I want to’.” Bill was 11. That was nearly a decade ago.
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Plattsburgh, New York, perches on the shores of the vast Lake Champlain on the US-Canada border. It’s a small city – population less than 20,000 – with clapboard houses and an impressive city hall.
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Shelley Chang was working as a business analyst for a computer company in 2010 when she met Jason Ho through some mutual friends. Ho was tall and slender with a sly smile, and they hit it off right away. A computer programmer, Ho ran his own company from San Francisco. He also loved to travel.
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“Prison labor” is usually associated with physical work, but inmates at two prisons in Finland are doing a new type of labor: classifying data to train artificial intelligence algorithms for a startup.
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For all the many controversies around Facebook's mishandling of personal data, Google actually knows way more about most of us. The bottom line: Just how much Google knows depends to some degree on your privacy settings — and to a larger degree on which devices, products and services you use.
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This month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced yet another new direction for his famously bad-acting company. Now, he says, the platform once responsible for the Cambridge Analytica…
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On Monday, reports surfaced indicating what many MySpace users had long suspected: that MySpace had deleted a great deal of the content uploaded to the platform between 2003 and 2015.
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In an age of all-knowing algorithms, how do we choose not to know? After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German citizens were offered the chance to read the files kept on them by the Stasi, the much-feared Communist-era secret police service.
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Let me blunt up front: I think Google should launch a censored search engine in China (albeit with careful organizational boundaries).
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When broadcaster Sandi Toksvig was studying anthropology at university, one of her female professors held up a photograph of an antler bone with 28 markings on it. “This,” said the professor, “is alleged to be man’s first attempt at a calendar.
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We've written a paper arguing that long-term AI safety research needs social scientists to ensure AI alignment algorithms succeed when actual humans are involved.
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One of the big robotics storylines of 2018, at least in the mainstream press, was the arrival of multiple sex robots on the market.
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Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. The Handmaid’s Tale has done both. The Handmaid’s Tale has not been out of print since it was first published, back in 1985. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions.
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Those of us on the front lines of the gig economy were the first to spot and expose its flaws—two months after leaving Uber, I wrote a highly publicized account of my time there, describing the company’s toxic work environment in detail.
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The Ethics Of Persuasion

from Smashing Magazine
Nowadays, users are increasingly cautious of online and email scams, phishing attacks, and data breaches. This article provides food for thought for designers and developers to avoid crossing the ethical line to the dark side of persuasion. (This article is kindly sponsored by Adobe.
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Language newsletter

My curated recommended articles on linguistics, natural language processing and interactive fiction.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly .

Hungarian kids know, do you? English grammar, beloved by sticklers, is also feared by non-native speakers. Many of its idiosyncrasies can turn into traps even for the most confident users.
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AI and brain-scanning technology could soon make it possible to reliably detect when people are lying. But do we really want to know? By We learn to lie as children, between the ages of two and five. By adulthood, we are prolific.
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Chatbots and conversational computing present many contextual user experience challenges: humor, for example. And that’s before even considering if the content was funny to begin with. Luckily, we still have humans with interests in dramatic arts still around. For now.
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MIT student uses machine-learning to teach a machine how to compose sonnets. Machine learning was recently named as the force behind a potential cure for HIV, but now it’s a process that is also capable of more artistic endeavours. MIT PhD student J.
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Suggested Readings: Joakim Nivre. 2004. Incrementality in Deterministic Dependency Parsing. Workshop on Incremental Parsing. Danqi Chen and Christopher D. Manning. 2014. A Fast and Accurate Dependency Parser using Neural Networks. EMNLP 2014. Sandra Kübler, Ryan McDonald, Joakim Nivre. 2009.
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There’s something magical about Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). I still remember when I trained my first recurrent network for Image Captioning.
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Humans don’t start their thinking from scratch every second. As you read this essay, you understand each word based on your understanding of previous words. You don’t throw everything away and start thinking from scratch again. Your thoughts have persistence.
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In this project we will be teaching a neural network to translate from French to English. This is made possible by the simple but powerful idea of the sequence to sequence network, in which two recurrent neural networks work together to transform one sequence to another.
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I see this question a lot -- how to implement RNN sequence-to-sequence learning in Keras? Here is a short introduction. Note that this post assumes that you already have some experience with recurrent networks and Keras.
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Full-text links: Download: (license) Bookmark (what is this?) Title: Neural Text Generation: A Practical Guide Authors: Ziang Xie Abstract: Deep learning methods have recently achieved great empirical success on machine translation, dialogue response generation, summarization,
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The annual Interactive Fiction Competition is an institution that has endured for almost 20 years, with the goal of discovering each year’s best and brightest works in the world of text-based gaming.
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Writers in business contexts often appear clueless when using ampersands, and they frequently get ampersand usage wrong.  I see it every day in my commercial copy editing work. But &  and and have distinct functions, meanings, and uses.
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Perhaps the most surprising thing about “GamerGate,” the culture war that continues to rage within the world of video games, is the game that touched it off.
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Voice assistants are a part of everyday life, and they’re here to stay. Juniper Research recently released a report predicting that by 2023 there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use, tripling the estimated 2.5 billion voice assistants in use at the end of 2018.
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Smart speakers, those voice-activated devices that allow you to check the weather, play podcasts or order food delivery, are becoming more and more common in our homes.
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My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.
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If you were looking for someone to teach you how to become a better writer, you probably couldn't do any better than Steven Pinker. The famed Harvard linguist is the author of several bestsellers, and Bill Gates even called one of them his favorite book of all time.
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Earlier this month I was invited to give an evening lecture at the Typography Society of Austria (tga) in Vienna.
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from
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Chatbots, whether they be customer service agents or shopping assistants in an online store, have become commonplace amongst the way we interact with businesses.
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Mozilla crowdsources the largest dataset of human voices available for use, including 18 different languages, adding up to almost 1,400 hours of recorded voice data from more than 42,000 contributors.
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A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.
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Learn logistic regression with TensorFlow and Keras in this article by Armando Fandango, an inventor of AI empowered products by leveraging expertise in deep learning, machine learning, distributed computing, and computational methods.
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In late 2016, Gartner predicted that 30 percent of web browsing sessions would be done without a screen by 2020. Earlier the same year, Comscore had predicted that half of all searches would be voice searches by 2020.
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Millions are robbed of the power of speech by illness, injury or lifelong conditions. Can the creation of bespoke digital voices transform their ability to communicate? By Last November, Joe Morris, a 31-year-old film-maker from London, noticed a sore spot on his tongue.
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7 command-line tools for writers

from Opensource.com
For most people (especially non-techies), the act of writing means tapping out words using LibreOffice Writer or another GUI word processing application.
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SMOG

from Wikipedia
The SMOG grade is a measure of readability that estimates the years of education needed to understand a piece of writing. SMOG is an acronym for Simple Measure of Gobbledygook. The formula for calculating the SMOG grade was developed by G.
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The Flesch–Kincaid readability tests are readability tests designed to indicate how difficult a passage in English is to understand. There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.
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Coleman–Liau index

from Wikipedia
The Coleman–Liau index is a readability test designed by Meri Coleman and T. L. Liau to gauge the understandability of a text. Like the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning fog index, SMOG index, and Automated Readability Index, its output approximates the U.S.
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Gunning fog index

from Wikipedia
In linguistics, the Gunning fog index is a readability test for English writing. The index estimates the years of formal education a person needs to understand the text on the first reading.
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