So far I have not yet encountered any concept which is not trivial. This means I am progressing. In my experience things are either trivial or impossible. Our job is to break down impossible tasks until they become trivial 🙂
One of the things I cherish from my youth are the days when I would be immersed in Point and click adventure games: Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones, Monkey Island or Loom, Sierra’s Kings’ Quest or Leisure Suit Larry…
If I won the lottery tomorrow I would retire to learn how to create these wonderful worlds, to immerse the players in my adventurous story 🙂
Yesterday I learnt how to set up scummvm in my retropie and load Monkey Island. I want to be a pirate! 😀
Now that you have your node set up and you have established a few channels you can start routing payments. You can see my node here I have opened three channels for now, and with it I am able to route payments anywhere.
You can set up a tippin.me account to receive tips in satoshis. It creates a custodial lighning wallet where people can send you tips. You can send me some satoshis at https://tippin.me/@Rogeman (as of today 1 satoshi equals 0.00003416 Euros, so don’t be shy, if you go wild and send 1,000 satoshis it will be 3 cents of a euro 😉 )
To send a tip to tippin.me you need to use the payinvoice command, instead of the sendpayment command as you won’t have an invoice and you can send any amount you want.
Once you’ve created the invoice you can send the pay_req to the payer (in the above example lnbc1u1pw8a7u6pp5lxa8l4dshc7hdrpf4223kj3pt6n7xufnaw6pl4d86sjw0xq4280qdqqcqzysxqypr9qfrglxdwv8jdc9xlsyatugwztdvsn89y4hmlm2mgds5wyl9k3c963uk66zhntp6940yxpfz5fa0au9mcg4c0sfc77eg589fmpnjhcs6gp49ghuh)
Others can send you money with the sendpayment command by paying your invoice
With your lightning network node you can send payments which are:
Borderless: The internet knows no boundaries, it has no borders, you can as seamlessly send payments within your country, your continent, your planet, or your solar system. In the future we may need to send money to mars!
Anonymous: Since payments are routed via a mesh of nodes which can’t see the whole end to end payment route, payments are anonymous. This is different to on-chain bitcoin payments, which are only pseudo-anonymous and can be tracked to you.
Instantaneous: Once you start playing with lnd you will see that it takes less than a second to route a payment. This is mindblowing if you think about it. Internet packets are being communicated throughout the planet, from one internet provider to another, from one router to another, from one lnd node to another, until they reach their destination.
Low cost: The nodes (yours as well) set the fees they want to charge to route payments. The route chosen is always the cheapest one so this incentivises nodes to reduce the fees. Sending payments over the lightning network costs cents of euro equivalent in satoshis.
World scale: Lightning is capable of millions to billions of transactions per second across the network. Visa, which is currently the benchmark can transfer less than 2,000 transactions per second.
One problem lightning network has is that you can only send or receive as much money as you have route bandwidth for, this means that if you want to be able to receive payments worth 500 Euro, you need to have channels open worth 500 Euro. This can be pretty expensive for high value payments. Due to this constraint the lightning network can work very well for low value payments, like buying a coffee, and not so well for high value payments like buying a house. In any case high value payments can be done directly using the bitcoin blockchain without using the lightning network layer and are usually not done in high volumes. (Maybe a third layer protocol could be used to spit large payments into groups of smaller ones similarly how tcp over ip is capable of splitting large packets of information into smaller ones and guarantee order and completeness, you could split a payment of 1000 satoshis into two payments of 500)
This is the future of how robots will pay each other.
lnd is written in go. First we install the go compiler.
mkdir -p $HOME/src
git clone https://go.googlesource.com/go
git checkout go1.12
add the following to your $HOME/.bashrc
Once go is working we install lnd
go get -d github.com/lightningnetwork/lnd
make && make install
In order for lnd to communicate with your bitcoind process you need to configure zmq in your bitcoin.conf (if you followed my previous post you will have compiled bitcoind with zmq support).
if you are on testnet you can get some free satoshis (a.k.a. sats) by googling lightning network testnet faucet (here’s one). Once you have sent some money to your lnd wallet you can check your balance.
lighning network is a mesh of point to point nodes, so let’s connect to some nodes in the network. You can find nodes to connect to here https://1ml.com for mainnet and https://1ml.com/testnet/ for testnet.
For example, let’s connect to firstname.lastname@example.org:9735
now we can route payments through this node to any node in the lightning network. For example if you live in USA you can order a dominoes pizza. Let’s draw in satoshis.place my twitter handle (@Rogeman) (all-in cost 7675 sats, or 0,25 Euro. Totally worth it! :D)
Lightning network is a Layer 2 protocol that sits on top of the bitcoin/litecoin blockchain. It enables instant, low cost, anonymous payments by routing payments through point to point channels in a similar way to what the correspondent banking system uses today to transfer fiat currency.
you will need libzmq3 in order for the lighning node to communicate with your bitcoin node, so we need to install libzmq3-dev
sudo apt install libzmq3-dev
now we configure and install the node
sudo make install
bitcoind is installed! 🙂 now we need to create a config file and create an rpc user and password so you can communicate with your bicoind node
#This command will give you the user and password you will need to include in your bitcoin.conf
String to be appended to bitcoin.conf:
Your password: 34ZofsEbG95rWITDv8w03crrzIYBioGAKfMqDq1yY1A=
Let’s create a directory where all bitcoin data will be stored. Be warned that this directory will hold a copy of the whole bitcoin blockchain which is as of today 243 GB.
We will copy a bitcoin.conf file to the bitcoin data folder
now we edit the bitcoin.conf file, the following variables are important
#set testnet to 1 if you'd like to run a node for testing purposes not using real bitcoins.
#set daemon=1 to launch bitcoind as a daemon running in the background
#set rpcauth to the rpcuser you created earlier
We are set. Now we can start our bitcoind node with the following command. It could take one or two days to synchronise with the bitcoin blockchain.
now you can get an address where to deposit bitcoin in (you can buy these bitcoins in exchange for fiat currencies such as Euros or Dollars in exchanges like kraken.com or blockchain.org) do not send real bitcoin to a testnet wallet, they will be lost. You can get free testnet bitcoins by googling testnet bitcoin faucet. Here’s one (link)
bitcoin-cli -datadir=/opt/bitcoin-data -rpcuser=roge -rpcpassword=34ZofsEbG95rWITDv8w03crrzIYBioGAKfMqDq1yY1A= getnewaddress
#This will return the new address where you can send bitcoin to
# the command will return something like 3NUvF2fvitxrU1fY43rCQivx9RtCgvXuEb
Once you have transferred bitcoins to your wallet you can see your balance
bitcoin-cli -datadir=/opt/bitcoin-data -rpcuser=roge -rpcpassword=34ZofsEbG95rWITDv8w03crrzIYBioGAKfMqDq1yY1A= getbalance
#This command will output your bitcoin balance
In order to transfer bitcoins to another address you first need to unlock your wallet for x seconds
Mongodb is extremely easy to start playing with, for free you can create a database cluster in the cloud with 512MB by registering in mongodb.com and getting a Mongodb atlas.
MongoDB Compass is a graphical client with which you can connect to your database and analyse your data. It analyses the data and gives you insights on the types of data, you can also filter just by selecting with your mouse the data you want to filter on in an intuitive way.
The CLI is the best way to power-query your data. below my cheat-sheet after completing the basic training course:
Shows the databases
Once within a database , shows the collections
With ordered:false, it does not stop when a duplicate _id key is found,
This month I returned to moneyconf, a yearly meeting of fintech enthusiasts. Apart from a pair of trendy LHoFT sunglasses I came back with a bunch of insights and inspiration to fuel me until next year.
Insights from moneyconf:
20 million SME in the USA don’t accept electronic payments today @thefriley@Square CFO
The finance part of fintech hasn’t been disrupted yet (as opposed to retail) there’s a lot of legacy just signing an nda can take 3months. @thefriley@Square CFO
The internet deserves a native currency (bitcoin) cashapp allows to seamlessly buy/sell bitcoin. Fiat has a lot of friction, a lot of value lost in sending money overseas. This shouldn’t be the case. I’m all in to disrupt that. @thefriley@Square CFO
I believe the way to get great decisions is to have diversity. If everyone agrees, someone is not thinking. Inclusion is needed for diversity to stay. Feminine role models in leadership inspire. Only 5% women in leadership, there is systemic bias @thefriley@Square CFO
If you only interview women you will be able to find a woman (surely in the whole world there will be one woman for the job) push your hr team to find them. @thefriley@Square CFO
The internet is broken. It has no digital identity construct. With blockchain we can have identity. Social context can attest they are a citizen. Zug in switzerland is an experiment on cryptovoting @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
Blockchain is a force for universal disintermediation. Intermediaries will be right-sized as to how much value they extract from a transaction. @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
com disintermediation for music. Civil, fake news control. Data storage, heavy conputation, kwh… all is being disintermediated @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
Web 3.0 will bring native digital money, greater security, trusted transactions, decentralised storage, bandwidth, heavy compute… @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
Bullshit sharing economy (uber, lyft, airbnb…) vs. actual sharing economy will happen thanks to ethereum smart contracts with networked business models @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
Siloed infrastructure is moving towards collaborative, distributed infrastructures. Enterprise ethereum alliance has over 500 members building this shared infrastructure @ethereumJosephConsensys Founder
We can imagine a dystopian world where we have no privacy. We can imagine a world where privacy is everywhere. Regulators have a big role on this. @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
Xrapid is a ripple product which exchanges usd for xrp. Xrp is sent to an exchange that takes mexican pesos. These xrp are then changed for pesos. This is done in under two minutes in a way which is cheaper and faster with current remmitance systems @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
Volatility if xrp is lower in two minutes than the mexican peso over two days. @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
The real utility of blockchain hasn’t happened yet. This is the reason for the big volatility. @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
In 20 years payments will be invisible, inexpensive, and seamlesss. Similar to opening a webpage today @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
Utility tokens are an aberration. If you are raising capital it’s a security. I’m surprised it took so long for the SEC to step in. Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
ICOs enable financial inclusion. Access to capital for any enterpreneur in a third world country. This is groundbreaking. @jeffpulver
It’ll be possible for the underbanked to receive loans peer to peer without a bank Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
Blockchain will bring more chain than the internet did. It’s a bigger disruption than the internet was Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
Formation of capital, central banking, cap markets, identity, supply chains,voting will be disrupted by blockchain. We will be able to give a collapsing economy a central bank as a service. Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
Regulators have good understanding of the blockchain revolution. It’s too late to stop it. In some countries the regulators work for the companies they should regulate. Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
Bitcoin’s been through 6 booms and busts. If you zoom out it doesn’t look like a bubble. There’s more and more widespread, infrastructure is growing. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
Bitcoin offers decentralised trust. Censorship resistant. There is an intrinsic value in this. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
Bitcoin either is or is not a store of value. If it is the upside is huge. Email is much bigger than the postal+fax industry. If bitcoin is not a store of value the value will be zero. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
The bitcoin blockchain is extremely secure. Hacks have happened in the perifery infrastructure. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
Usdtether has counterparty risk. If the assets backing it are seized the value would drop. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
If the price of bitcoin booms 10x or 100x, more people will spend more money on mining and the energy consumption of the bitcoin blockchain will go from 0.5% of the world consumption to maybe 10%. What then? @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
Master node in dash is a PoW algorithm. We have instant confirmations. Part of the block rewards go to treasury which can be used to pay for development. Stakeholders can vote on how the rewards get used. @fernando Dash CMO
Avalanche family. New consensus protocol that came out a month ago. Uses montecarlo polling sufficient times for the probability of an incorrect output is insignificant. @el33th4xor Professor at Cornell University
Bitcoin solves the problem of making uncensorable inconfiscable money @ToneVays Derivatives Trader.
fmwill have it’s own crypto. If you have a question fos someone you can offer a payment in crypto in exchange for a response @askfmio
Bitstamp found a regulatory home in luxembourg @nejc_kodric Bitstamp CEO
We started targeting banks. But we realised they were moving too slow so we had to change the strategy. @marcusswanepoel Luno CEO
The biggest struggle is bridging the legacy banking system with the crypto system. Banks are slow and sometimes hostile. @bitstamp@nejc_kodric Bitstamp CEO
In 1980s we went from open outcry markets to electronic markets. Reducing friction and increasing velocity. Next step is the digital age of securities making it 24/7/365 worldwide. Get rid of paper certificates into the blockchain. Tokenize real assets. @APompliano Founder at Morgan Creek Digital Assets
In the future we’ll say: “I bought a share of apple”. The blockchain settlement part will be transparent. @APompliano Founder at Morgan Creek Digital Assets
Ledger is working on Ledgerboard saas solution for enterprise investors who want to manage cryptocurrencies. @EricLarch Ledger CEO
PSD2 is making banks reassess their technical infrastructure. There is an opportunity there. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
Psd2 gave banks a kick in the butt. Anyone can come along and access your clients data. This gave banks a wake up call and pushed them to colllaborate with the fintech echosystem @RWandhofer Global Head of Regulatory Strategy at Citigroup
Psd2 increases the surface open to hacker attack. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
Psd2 opens the opportunity for collaboration/acquisition of fintechs. This brings innovation to banks. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
Banks were reticent to psd2. Now it’s a given so it has been accepted. Psd2 will evolve banking into platforms. There will be competition with winners and losers. This will create a new ecosystem. @deBrouwerEBF Chief Policy Officer at European Banking Federation
Banks have to move from years long IT projects to months, weeks, or even days. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
We have to digitize, cleanse, secure, redesign data in big banks @RWandhofer Global Head of Regulatory Strategy at Citigroup
Non-cash payments are growing 82% in india in 2018. India has tripled digital payments in the last three years. @ceouaeexchange CEO at UAE exchange
Millenials care about the experience. Cashless is more intuitive for them. @ceouaeexchange CEO at UAE exchange
In africa most people have cellphones, and few have bank accounts. @ceouaeexchange CEO at UAE exchange
Security issues could pose threats towards cashless societies. Nathan Gill @Verifone Head of Solutions
The simple things that can scale are the things that will proliferate. Nfc works, qr code works. Retina scanning, vein scanning are sexy, but they are more complex. Nathan Gill @Verifone Head of Solutions
Bitcoin fulfills aristotle’s 4 conditions for sound money @maxkeiser CIO Heisenberg Capital
The banking system as we know it will not exist in the next 10-50 years. @maxkeiser CIO Heisenberg Capital
Ireland aspires to be the main tech hub for europe. @campaignforleo Prime minister of Ireland
This year, the Irish central bank will start a fintech innovation hub. @campaignforleo Prime minister of Ireland
Credit karma has 80 million users in usa. Helping millenials find financial instruments @kennethlin Founder of Credit Karma
Through autonomous finance we could give a way for financially illiterate people to make better financial decisions. Similar to the gps helping us reach our destination. @kennethlin Founder of Credit Karma
Worldremit helps the unbanked send and receive money via mobile phone @Ismail_WR Worldremit CEO
3bn (half of the world) people are invisible to the global financial system. Poor farmers get paid once a year with the harvest and don’t have a way to safely store their money. They need to walk for miles to pay an utility bill to keep the lights on @MichaelSchlein Accion CEO
We use financial tools every day. The underbanked live in a cash world and don’t have access to these tools. @MichaelSchlein Accion CEO
World bank’s report on financial inclusion focuses in bank accounts. There are many underbanked people which created an account and use it less than once a year (they received a government grant and cashed it out, they have an account but don’t use it) @MichaelSchlein Accion CEO
Blockchain can make a difference for cheap remittances without going through the slow and expensive bank based system @Ismail_WR Worldremit CEO
Blockchain is a fundamental new layer to the internet. It enables value exchange, governance and trust. Every fiduciary and record keeping industry will be affected by it. @jerallaire Circle CEO
Accounting. Insurance. Corporate and commercial law. Voting and governance. Record keeping. These will be transformed by the blockchain. @jerallaire Circle CEO
Crypto tokens can be currencies, commodities, and securities. @jerallaire Circle CEO
Stablecoins tether, usd coin, maker, basis can enable settlement without volatility risk @jerallaire Circle CEO
Crypto securities represent some rules based financial contract. @jerallaire Circle CEO
We are at the start of a “tokenisation of everything”. Bonds, fiat currency, insurance contracts, property tokens (land, houses, cars), decision tokens (votes, governance) @jerallaire Circle CEO
To realise the tokenisation of everything we need: 1) mature and scalable public blockchains. 2) fiat backed stablecoins. 3) mature marketplaces 4) regulatory clarity @jerallaire Circle CEO
Fiat stablecoins are mandatory for this to work. We need to control the volatility. @jerallaire Circle CEO
Sharing value globally in the same way we can share information. Cheap. Fast. Easy. Fundamental economic integration. @jerallaire Circle CEO
In China a lot of merchants don’t accept cash any more. Visa, wechat, alipay, but no cash. @AlainFalys Chairman Yoyo Wallet
I just came back from china. I was at a restaurant and some people just stood up and left, some walked to the cashier, some needed the waiter to charge. Everyone paying with the mobile phone. @AlainFalys Chairman Yoyo Wallet
We believe voice is the next frontier. Today 50bn/month searches are done by voice. Voice enables a natural experience. Giulio Montemagno. Director Europe @amazonpay
Mobile topping can be done worldwide in an unregulated way. I can send mobile balance to any phone in the world. This is a workaround for remittances. @MRding Executive Chairman at Ding
Remittances are unfairly expensive. @cwinesLondon Founder at WorldRemit
Gdpr and blockchain don’t work together at all. Blockchain is immutable while gdpr requires user data to allow to be deleted. @DariaRippingale CEO at billpro
Customer demand for cryprocurrency trading has massively exploded. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
Traditional markets are too regulated with too many entry barriers. Crypto markets are the wild west, trial and error. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
You can’t expect to make 40x on all of your investments, right? But you are 27 so you do @yoniassia CEO at eToro
I’m optimistic. In 20 years any financial asset and central bank money will be tokenised in a blockchain. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
Bitcoin has the brand awareness of cocacola. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
Compliance protects the business to avoid risk. Learn to love the audits. Create a team that focuses on responding to audit and loves it. Jacqueline Molnar, Chief Compliance Officer at @WesternUnion
Fintech in europe is very exciting. In europe there is a lot of interest to increase the 5% of online payments. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
Governments want to enable startups because they will enable job creation and GDP growth. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
Stripe wants to level the playing field allowing any startup to send and receive cross border payments. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
Availability of developer resources is according to nielsen the biggest constraint for companies. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
Payments is extremely local. Regulation, banking, tradition … Stripe is trying to make it uniform globally for startups to sell worldwide seamlessly @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
1) find your product and focus on it full speed 2) If you don’t hire the right talent your company will not grow. 3) tempo. Keep the speed as you grow. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
The developer is increasingly the decision maker. The technical decisions you take are integral to your business strategy. Developers should be at the decision making table. If you treat them as a service they will leave. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
Before wechatpay and alipay people in china has no credit card. These services leapfrogged and today it’s difficult to be able to pay with cash in china. @edithyeung Partner at 500Startups
Chinese people leave china for hongkong, malta, japan, san francisco… to avoid chinese regulatory blocking and continue their blockchain projects. @edithyeung Partner at 500Startups
We have a process we follow whenever we open up in a new country. If the process does not work we tweak it. We are hungry. @NStoronsky CEO at Revolut.
Every year late July I attend the Euskal encounter. A meeting of over 8,000 computer enthusiasts who gather to share their passion. For me this is an opportunity to catch up with old friends and discuss our vision of the state of the industry and the future to come. I have seen it evolve over 25 years from the early days when it was a meeting of amiga demoscene fans to today where we have gigabit access to the internet, drone races and training of 10 year old future engineers who are helped to work together to build electric karts and race them.
Every year I obtain a few wisdom pearls that I take back with me and fuel my inspiration. These are the highlights I take with me this time as exciting material for investigation:
Bime is a competitor to Tableau, Qlik, microsoft powerBI, and gooddata in the Business Intelligence space. Setting up a demo is easy and free, and it looks like a powerful front end for end user data analysis.
Tmux is a program which allows you to, just opening one ssh connection to a linux server, split this terminal in as many windows as you like, allowing to split your workspace very flexibly and move fast thanks to keyboard shortcuts. It has similarities with screen.
Terraform allows you to automatically provision your architecture in the cloud. My good friend @ibannieto gave a demo on this for beginners and showed us how easy it is to provision from scratch several machines in the Amazon, Microsoft or Google clouds and how to deploy software on these machines automagically with just a few lines of code.
Awesome is a super lightweight linux window manager that allows to organise your desktop with very powerful keyboard shortcuts and taking up very litte resources. This is ideal when you are running linux on a 10 year old laptop with no resources to spare, as is my case in this occasion.
Google Data Flows is a google ETL service which can manage your data integration needs for real time and batch integration capable of managing massive amounts of data.
Data lakes are a way of storing massive amounts of data without the need for too much structure, allowing for future querying of this data. Hadoop is a data lake which allows for these massive amounts of data distributed amongst thousands of machines to be queried using simple programming models.
Fusion4energy is an exciting european project aiming to bring sustainable energy to the world by using nuclear fusion. Different to nuclear fision, fusion would cause no nuclear residue and would be a revolutionary source of clean energy. Fusion has already been achieved producing Megawatts of energy, the only problem being that it produced less energy than it consumed.
Reveal is a very cool software to create impacting presentations using html. It allows to integrate gifs, video, dynamic content, in a way that microsoft powerpoint can’t.
Drone racing was one of the new surprises of this year’s euskal encounter. The drivers wear headsets with which they see what their flying drone sees and they race at vertiginous speeds through an obstacle race aiming to be the fastest without crashing.
kidskitcar.org was for me the most inspiring of all. Maybe it’s due to my parenthood, but I was moved seeing the different teams of 10 year olds building their electric karts together. I find it crucial to inspire the future generations to take up the challenges of engineering. This way allows them to start easy and small in a fun and collaborative way.