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Elon Musk Wants Ethereum’s Best Applications. Vitalik Buterin Delivers 13

Elon Musk Wants Ethereum’s Best Applications. Vitalik Buterin Delivers 13

Elon Musk is getting deeper and deeper down the cryptocurrency habit hole. After yesterday’s mysterious tweet which read simply “Ethereum,” the Tesla chief then asked Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin for suggestions on what to develop on the blockchain platform.What should be developed on Ethereum?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 30, 2019Buterin responded with a list of 13 real-world use cases for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The list included everything from payments to insurance to new governance systems. Here’s Vitalik Buterin’s list in full.1. A globally accessible financial systemButerin highlights cryptocurrencies most obvious use case – financial infrastructure. The Ethereum founder suggested payments, a store of value, and insurance. Insurance might chime with the Tesla CEO who recently announced a new Tesla insurance program. My top picks (1):* A globally accessible financial system, including payments, store of value, also more advanced stuff like insurance https://t.co/AGoMt6r2wK* Identity: “sign in with Facebook” -> “sign in with an ethereum account, no intermediaries”. Also web of trust…— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 30, 20192. “Sign in with Ethereum” optionsButerin told Musk that Ethereum could be used to replace the ubiquitous “sign in with Facebook” option. He said it should be replaced with a “sign in with Ethereum” button to completely bypass intermediate companies.3. Secure and transparent registriesAside from financial applications, Ethereum can also be used to record data securely and with better transparency. (2)* All sorts of registries should publish on chain for security and easy verifiability, see my thread on this https://t.co/70yV7kinVb* Experimenting with new forms of human organizational structure, eg. @MolochDAO* All sorts of micropayment use cases via payment channels…— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 30, 20194. Experiment with new forms of governance and human organizationVitalik Buterin pointed to Moloch DAO – a “decentralized autonomous organization” pioneering a completely decentralized form of governance, executed by smart contracts.5. MicropaymentsBeyond the globally accessible financial system, Buterin highlights the power of micropayments specifically.6. Markets for personal data“For privacy preserving machine learning (you pay me X, I let you homomorphically execute function Y on my data that’s been attestated to by Z…)”7. Spam prevention in social networks(3)* Markets for personal data for privacy preserving machine learning (you pay me X, I let you homomorphically execute function Y on my data that’s been attestated to by Z…)* Cryptoeconomics for spam prevention in social networks https://t.co/06n0zGQYXP— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 30, 20198. Micropayment schemes for publishers of good contentButerin is likely referring to initiatives like Steem which rewards writers for creating content and Brave which aims to compensate publishers in place of advertising revenue.(4)* Cryptoeconomics / micropayment schemes to reward publishers of good content* Testing ground for new market designs, eg. frequent batch auctions, combinatorial auctions, automated market makers (eg. https://t.co/jaPhz1nQFr)* Stickers/badges https://t.co/reDBpbQ7uw— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 30, 20199. Testing grounds for new market designsThe Ethereum founder points to decentralized markets like uniswap.exchange and new ideas for auction markets.10. Charity stickers for donationsIn the past, Vitalik Buterin has promised to donate thousands. Ethereum could help develop branded stickers that acknowledge donations. The current cryptokitty drama is a good time to bring up the old idea of charity stickers. Donate 0.1/1/10/100 ETH to {{charity}}, get a branded sticker. As many ETH chat apps as possible (leeroy, status, etc) can “recognize” these stickers, and show them beside a user’s profile.— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) December 9, 201711. Peer to peer marketplaces for internet connections(5)* p2p marketplace for internet connections / incentivized mesh networks* Identity, reputation and credit systems for those that currently have few resources (eg. refugees)* Decentralized DNS alternatives (eg. https://t.co/aTRxfTlXpC)— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) April 30, 201912. Identity, reputation, and credit systemsSpecifically, identity systems for those without access to resources, such as refugees.13. Decentralized DNS alternativesDomain name servers are incredibly reliant on centralized systems. Decentralized alternatives like ens.domains and handshake are arguably more democratic and more secure.Elon Musk’s obsession with cryptocurrencyThis isn’t the first time Elon Musk has engaged with the crypto community on Twitter. He was ceremoniously appointed the CEO of Dogecoin before declaring the meme coin his favorite cryptocurrency.Dogecoin might be my fav cryptocurrency. It’s pretty cool.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 2, 2019Looks like you’re the CEO now @elonmusk, DM us where to email the access codes 😀 pic.twitter.com/xaftsRZ8MA— Dogecoin (@dogecoin) April 2, 2019Musk later retired his CEO title, changing his Twitter bio to “Former CEO of Dogecoin.”Elon Musk moves ETH price?Musk’s latest Twitter antics appear to have nudged the price of ETH up 3.25 percent in the last 24 hours. As EthHub developer Anthony Sassano pointed out, search interest in ethereum also shot up in the hours following Musk’s tweets.Google search trends the moment @elonmusk tweeted about Ethereum 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/en98HJBPL4— Anthony Sassano (@sassal0x) April 30, 2019It remains to be seen whether Elon Musk will tap the Ethereum blockchain for Tesla or SpaceX.
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Register Lecture: Hidden heroes of Alan Turing’s Enigma

Live code-breaking and beer A curse follows Enigma, the cryptography device deployed by Adolf Hitler’s military during the WWII to protect their Morse communications from the Allies. That curse? Invisibility. Alan Turing has – now – become intrinsically linked with cracking Enigma, a machine of fiendish complexity capable of 159 million, million, million (1.59×1020) settings…

Register Lecture: Hidden heroes of Alan Turing’s Enigma

Live code-breaking and beer

A curse follows Enigma, the cryptography device deployed by Adolf Hitler’s military during the WWII to protect their Morse communications from the Allies. That curse? Invisibility.

Alan Turing has – now – become intrinsically linked with cracking Enigma, a machine of fiendish complexity capable of 159 million, million, million (1.59×1020) settings that demanded the perfect marriage of mathematics and engineering to break. Turing’s work would blow open secrets that helped alter the war – for example, alerting the RAF to Luftwaffe raids during the Battle of Britain. And yet, Turing received little by way of the recognition he deserved for decades – quite the opposite, in fact.

But Turing is not the only one to have suffered Enigma’s curse of invisibility. Join The National Museum of Computing on June 26 for a special Register lecture journey back 80 years to the eve of the Second World War, to hear the stories of those behind Turing.

Hear about who provided a critical leg-up to the struggling English in cracking Enigma and who helped build the Bombe – the device to mechanise the mathematics of code breaking. Eight decades after the start of the War, TNMOC will go inside the pioneering work of the Polish General Staff Cipher Bureau in Warsaw and shine a light on the roles of Gordon Welchman and Doc Keen, the long-overlooked Bombe engineering team lead, at Bletchley. Together, they helped put code-breaking at Bletchley Park on an industrial footing.

Your guide for this crypto history trip will be Paul Kellar MBE, a leading member of the Bombe Rebuild project – based at TNMOC as a working tribute to those who contributed to breaking the Enigma.

Starring with Paul will be a working Enigma to help demonstrate “knowing your enemy” and illustrate how the Bombe could attack and break the Enigma on a daily basis. You will get the opportunity, too, to participate in a live code-cracking exercise with Checking Machine – the last stage in recovering the Key of the Day after the Bombe had found the crucial settings.

Join fellow Reg readers with the TNMOC crypto historians and their machines at the Rugby Tavern, 19 Great James St, London, WC1N 3ES. Doors open at 18:30 BST with Paul taking the mic at 19:00. An audience question-and-answer session will follow a break to re-charge mind and grey matter. Get your ticket here. ®

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Breaking Up Facebook ‘Won’t Be Enough,’ Says Morgan Stanley Boss. Here’s His Proposal.

Breaking Up Facebook ‘Won’t Be Enough,’ Says Morgan Stanley Boss. Here’s His Proposal.

New York City’s just-concluded “blockchain week” was palpably more subdued than it has been in years past. (Or maybe I was just not invited back to the parties after my 2018 travelogue.)
In any case, I took a brief break from the madness of the Fortune 500 issue close to drop by the Consensus conference, the week’s marquee event, where I moderated a security-themed panel on Monday. My panelists were Tom Glocer, the lead board director of Morgan Stanley and former chief executive of Thomson Reuters, and Nadav Zafrir, the CEO of startup foundry Team8 and former head of the Israeli Defense Forces’ Cyber Command and Unit 8200, Israel’s equivalent of the U.S.’s National Security Agency. (For a recording, see video No. 15 here.)

Below are some soundbites from our conversation. I asked Glocer about a post he had published in the fall on his excellent personal blog in which he pondered who, or what, should own people’s data. His response imagined a world in which people might own their own information and where they would, using individual digital wallets, license the rights to corporations.

Rather than the current situation where we just weren’t paying attention and Google and Facebook, etc., built up huge caches of our private information, you would have the choice to sell Google your search history in return for a micropayment. Or you would sell Apple your photos in return for a micropayment, etc. I think it’s an interesting way of turning the current model on its head. But we’re not going to get there without some very significant government intervention along the lines of the debate that’s been raging about Facebook. Tech alone won’t achieve this jiu-jitsu move.

Since he brought it up, I asked Glocer for his thoughts on breaking up Facebook.

Just breaking up Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp won’t be enough. Facebook has over 2.5 billion folks. If you really wanted to go after them, I think you would have to go deeper and essentially declare a date by which they’d have to erase all of the data they’ve achieved to date and start fresh with what I’d call an informed consent and maybe, yes, micropayments. There’s no intrinsic reason why it’s awful that [Facebook] owns Instagram and WhatsApp…. If Mark [Zuckerberg] came out and just declared that on June 30th of next year we’re going to wipe out our histories—here’s your chance to download your own, in case you want to keep it, and here are the new rules of the road that you get to explicitly opt into—I would leave all those companies in his world.

The audience tended to agree. When I asked them whether Facebook should get the Sherman Anti-Trust treatment, only about a third of the crowd raised their hands.

Facebook, through the malicious hijacking of its targeted marketing machinery, has greatly contributed to an erosion of faith in traditional institutions. Nadav Zafrir summed up the predicament well. When I asked him what is the most pressing, most frightening threat the world faces, he replied without hesitation.

In one word: Trust. We are now in a world where it’s very hard for us to trust the simple things that, as my generation grew up, we were accustomed to trusting—our democracies. Our voting systems…. The irony is that the blockchain has a great potential to offer that [trust], yet it has become synonymous almost with the opposite…. At the end of the day attackers are human. They’re ROI [return on investment]-driven. They’re not super-ninjas or super-humans. They have their limitations. They have their vulnerabilities…. It’s an asymmetric battle when the attackers only need to find one single point of failure in the whole system and it’s game over. Hence, if we take that single point of failure and distribute it in a way where attackers need to hack everybody simultaneously and get everybody’s consensus, we’re flipping the asymmetry and taking control of the situation.

Of course, retaking control of the situation is no simple task, even with the advent of blockchain technology. Zuckerberg is, for his part, exploring how he might reestablish the foundations of his media empire on the footing of blockchains, cryptography, and private messaging. With all the consumer backlash and heat from regulators, it will no doubt take expert jiu-jitsu to pull off.
May the groundwork commence.
A version of this article first appeared in Cyber Saturday, the weekend edition of Fortune’s tech newsletter Data Sheet. Sign up here.

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