New Industry Event in New York

Because of all the information that floats around the media surrounding Bitcoin, there is a new conference in which industry leaders meet to discuss the no-nonsense practical uses and applications of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology. Will you be there?

Post-trade financial services giant DTCC has announced it is to host a blockchain event next month in New York City.

Called the Blockchain Symposium, the day-long event will explore the business applications of blockchain technology for financial market infrastructures and the industry.

The firm told CoinDesk in an email:

“The aim of the program is to cut through the hype, discuss collaboration and use cases, and imagine what innovations the future may bring.”

The 29th March event will feature Blythe Masters, CEO of blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings, and J Christopher Giancarlo, Commissioner at the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The news follows DTCC’s release of a report that, while recommending industry stakeholders experiment with blockchain implementations, cautioned against the growing hype surrounding the technology.

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United Nations Talks Blockchain

The United Nations is a large diplomatic organization that allows world leaders to meet and discuss reform policies that better lives for all citizens globally. It is no surprise that the delegates of the United Nations have now discussed blockchain technology and how it could be used to assist other countries in many other humanitarian efforts. Check out a bit of this white paper that was discussed at the UN. 

More and more high profile financial and political institutions are taking notice of the blockchain technology of distributed ledgers, starting internal investigations and issuing position papers.

In January, Bitcoin Magazine reported that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a paper titled “Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations” at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Similar papers have been issued by other mainstream institutions.

The RAND Corporation, an influential global policy think tank with strong U.S. defense and homeland security ties, released a report titled “National Security Implications of Virtual Currency.” A recent report issued by the U.K. Government Office for Science, titled “Distributed ledger technology: beyond block chain,” explores how distributed ledger technology can revolutionize public policies and advocates the use of blockchains for a variety of public services.

A recent working paper released by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), titled “How Can Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology Play a Role in Building Social and Solidarity Finance?,” explores the potential of distributed ledgers to help create a global world order fairer and more sustainable than the current one, and wonders  how blockchain technology can be harnessed for community empowerment and solidarity-based finance.

The UNRISD is an autonomous research institute within the U.N. system that undertakes multidisciplinary research and policy analysis on the social dimensions of contemporary development issues. The author of the UNRISD paper, Brett Scott, is an independent researcher and consultant on alternative finance and financial reform. Scott is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money.

According to Scott, it’s important to test the potential of Bitcoin and blockchain technology for building truly empowering social and solidarity-based finance.

“This paper provides a primer on the basics of Bitcoin and discusses the existent narratives about the technology’s potential to facilitate remittances, financial inclusion, cooperative structures and even micro-insurance systems,” says Scott. “It also flags up potential points of concern and conflict, such as the tech-from-above ‘solutionism’ and conservative libertarian political dynamics of some of the technology start-up community that surrounds Bitcoin. As a way of contrast the paper considers ‘blockchain 2.0’ technologies with more overtly communitarian ideals and their potential for creating ‘cooperation at scale.'”

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What are DApps?

Apps are decentralized applications. Bitcoin is an example of a DApp. There are so many possibilities that applications which fall into this category can completely revolutionize. What does it mean to be decentralized? What are the qualifications? Check out this wonderful in-depth look at a prediction of the future of decentralized applications. 

From socializing to hailing a cab to finding our way around, there’s an app to help. Now, there is a new and improved model that is revolutionizing the way we build scalable applications called a DApp, or decentralized application. 

David Johnston, CEO of the DApp Fund, predicts in his white paper that “decentralized applications will someday surpass the world’s largest software corporations in utility, user-base, and network valuation due to their superior incentivization structure, flexibility, transparency, resiliency and distributed nature.” 

What Is a DApp?

A DApp has four characteristics. It must be open source, with all changes made by a majority consensus of the user base. Data must be stored on a public blockchain to avoid a central point of failure. There must be a cryptographic token, referred to as an App Coin, to access the application, and these tokens must be issued according to a standard cryptographic algorithm acting as a proof of the value to nodes that contribute to the application.

Bitcoin is an example of a DApp, as it is an open-source token and uses the blockchain, a peer-to-peer and public distributed ledger, to form a trustless system. In fact, Bitcoin is the most popular DApp, as it simplifies many aspects of the traditional financial system, such as transferring money across the world. 

Another application of a DApp is something built as a protocol that uses another blockchain and its own token to function. An example is the Omni Protocol, which “is a protocol built as a layer over Bitcoin that allows you to generate, send, trade, redeem, pay dividends to and make bets with tokens representing any kind of asset,” said Patrick Dugan, who’s a board member of the project, in an interview with

Alternatively, a DApp can be built as an extension to the program. For example the SAFE Network, a peer-to-peer storage network, uses “safecoins” to operate the network. With the SAFE Network, decentralized applications are ensured complete data security, and there are projects such as SAFEpress, similar to WordPress, for the SAFE Network, to help people develop on the Network.

Imagine a DApp becoming the computer operating system (OSX or Windows), the programs used on the system (Photoshop, Dropbox), or specialized software that uses the programs, such as a blog that integrates Dropbox. Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible with this new type of application.

Can App Coins Have Value?

David Johnston and team define App Coins in another white paper as “tokens that are native to Decentralized applications that have a digital token associated with their use or monetization.” 

Tokens can also be developed to behave in a way that Bitcoin cannot, at least for the time being. A Javascript-based programming library called Solidity and another Python-based library called Serpentallow decentralized applications to be built on Ethereum. 

In addition, networks can choose to operate exclusively with their network’s coin, such as the safecoin that powers the SAFE Network. Doing anything on the SAFE Network requires safecoins, and developing on the SAFE Network provides additional value to developers. 

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