Docker cheat sheet

Another year, another 🙂 This year I’ve binge watched Altered Carbon, and katakoda’s Docker training, below is my cheat sheet for future reference.

  1. docker search java
    1. search for a docker image (java in this case)
  2. running a docker image
    1. docker run -d openjdk
      1. run detached (-d) the openjdk docker
    2. docker run -d –name redisHostPort -p 6379:6379 redis:latest
      1. –name creates a user friendly name for your running docker
      2. -p <machine host-port:container-port> exposes docker image port in the host port
      3. redis:latest is the docker image:the version
    3. docker run -d –name redisDynamic -p 6379 redis:latest
      1. -p 6379 assigns a random host port
    4. docker port redisDynamic 6379
      1. shows to which host ip:port is docker running image redisDynamic’s port 6379 is assigned
    5. docker run -d –name redisMapped -v /opt/docker/data/redis:/data redis
      1. -v host-path:docker-path maps a docker path to a host path in order to persist data
    6. docker run -it ubuntu bash
      1. -it runs an interactive docker image.
      2. you can run a specific command on the docker image (bash)
    7. docker run -d –name my-production-running-app -e NODE_ENV=production -p 3000:3000 my-nodejs-app
      1. -e VARIABLE=value sets an environment variable in the running container
  3. How to run a command inside a running container
    1. docker exec -d ubuntu_bash touch /tmp/execWorks
  4. How to create docker data volumes
    1. Create a new container to start it afterwards (instead of running it directly) this is useful mainly to create data storage dockers and use them from other images.
    2. docker create -v /data –name dataContainer ubuntu
    3. docker run –rm –volumes-from dataContainer ubuntu ls -la /data
    4. docker cp config.conf dataContainer:/config/
      1. copies file from the host to the docker container
    5. to move data containers from one machine to another you can export/import them to .tar
      1. docker export dataContainer > dataContainer.tar
      2. docker import dataContainer.tar
      3. docker import
  5. How to create a network between containers
    1. docker network create backend-network
      1. creates a network to which we can attach containers. Docker sets a dns server in ip and all connected containers use it by docker adding it to resolv.conf on each container
    2. docker network connect frontend-network redis
      1. connects a container to a network
    3. docker network connect –alias db frontend-network2 redis
      1. –alias <alias_name> creates an alias for the network name
    4. docker network ls
      1. shows all networks
    5. docker network inspect frontend-network
      1. shows all containers connected to a network and their ip addresses
    6. docker network disconnect frontend-network redis
      1. disconnect a container from a network
    7. docker run -d –name=redis –net=backend-network redis
      1. launches a redis container linked to the network backend-network.
  6. Building a docker image
    1. docker build -t webserver-image:v1 .
      1. -t <image name:tag> is used to give a name and version to the image.
      2. in the . directory you need to create a file called Dockerfile with yaml notation
    2. .dockerignore
      1. echo passwords.txt >> .dockerignore
        1. all fine names included into file .dockerignore will be ignored when building the image
    3. Dockerfile
      1. FROM nginx:alpine
        1. uses nginx:alpine as base for this docker image
      2. COPY . /usr/share/nginx/html
        1. copies from the host to the image
      3. FROM node:7-alpine
      4. RUN mkdir -p /src/app
        1. RUN’s command inside the docker image
      5. WORKDIR /src/app
        1. set the working directory in the docker image
      6. EXPOSE 3000
        1. EXPOSEs the port from the docker image to a random port in the host system
      7. CMD [ “npm”, “start” ]
        1. runs a command in the docker image you can add parameters as items of the array
      8. ONBUILD COPY . /usr/src/app
        1. onbuild commands won’t be executed until the built image is used as a base image
    4. docker images
      1. returns a list of images installed in the host system
  7. removing a docker image
    1. docker container ls -a
      1. lists all containers (running or not)
    2. docker container rm < CONTAINER ID>
      1. removes the container
    3. docker rmi hello-world
      1. removes image hello-world
  8. docker ps
    1. show docker processes
  9. docker inspect openjdk
    1. show details of running docker
  10. docker logs openjdk
    1. shows logs for running docker

100+ C-Level insights from Moneyconf

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:

  1. 20 million SME in the USA don’t accept electronic payments today @thefriley @Square CFO
  2. 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
  3. “When we work with the banks it is slow going…” @thefriley @Square CFO
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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 @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  8. Blockchain is a force for universal disintermediation. Intermediaries will be right-sized as to how much value they extract from a transaction. @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  9. com disintermediation for music. Civil, fake news control. Data storage, heavy conputation, kwh… all is being disintermediated @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  10. Web 3.0 will bring native digital money, greater security, trusted transactions, decentralised storage, bandwidth, heavy compute… @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  11. Bullshit sharing economy (uber, lyft, airbnb…) vs. actual sharing economy will happen thanks to ethereum smart contracts with networked business models @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  12. Siloed infrastructure is moving towards collaborative, distributed infrastructures. Enterprise ethereum alliance has over 500 members building this shared infrastructure @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Volatility if xrp is lower in two minutes than the mexican peso over two days. @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
  16. The real utility of blockchain hasn’t happened yet. This is the reason for the big volatility. @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
  17. In 20 years payments will be invisible, inexpensive, and seamlesss. Similar to opening a webpage today @JoelKatz Chief Cryptographer at Ripple
  18. 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
  19. ICOs enable financial inclusion. Access to capital for any enterpreneur in a third world country. This is groundbreaking. @jeffpulver
  20. It’ll be possible for the underbanked to receive loans peer to peer without a bank Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
  21. Blockchain will bring more chain than the internet did. It’s a bigger disruption than the internet was Patrick Byrne @OverstockCEO
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. Bitcoin offers decentralised trust. Censorship resistant. There is an intrinsic value in this. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
  26. 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
  27. The bitcoin blockchain is extremely secure. Hacks have happened in the perifery infrastructure. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
  28. Usdtether has counterparty risk. If the assets backing it are seized the value would drop. @DavidFBailey CEO at BTC Media
  29. 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
  30. Ethereum helps build better business models. This scares incumbents at first. @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  31. R3 is running out of gas. They built a blockchain-like infrastructure. @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  32. 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
  33. There is space for many crypto projects. Dash and ethereum can coexist and interoperate. @ethereumJoseph @fernando
  34. Forks are good, it allows for better systems to compete. @ethereumJoseph Consensys Founder
  35. Layer two tech (lightning network) has problems of its own. @fernando Dash CMO
  36. The spark of crypto is still alive and growing thanks to it becoming a reality @fernando Dash CMO
  37. Switzerland is welcoming for ICOs due to their liberal approach to financial innovation @OlgaFeldmeier Smartvalor CEO
  38. In the us there is no clarity on ICOs whereas in switzerland the guidelines are clear and they are welcoming. @ShapeShiftCOO
  39. Different cryptotokens need to be regulated differently we need to understand what they are. @ShapeShiftCOO
  40. Security dealer licenses, banking licenses, money transfer licenses… the regulator needs to simplify @OlgaFeldmeier Smartvalor CEO
  41. The business models for crypto are new. The industry needs to self-regulate with oversight from authorities. Regulator needs to empower the industry players. @OlgaFeldmeier Smartvalor CEO
  42. Digital pictures of cats are not securities. Regulators are struggling to understand how crypto works. @ShapeShiftCOO
  43. Legacy regulation does not catch the bad actors. They are able to evade it anyway. It impedes the good actors and does not allow for fast advance. @ShapeShiftCOO
  44. $300bn market cap on ICO. Bitcoin 38%. @edithyeung Partner at 500Startups
  45. 10 Things to Look for in a Token Project @edithyeung Partner at 500Startups
  46. 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
  47. Bitcoin solves the problem of making uncensorable inconfiscable money @ToneVays Derivatives Trader.
  48. 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
  49. Bitstamp found a regulatory home in luxembourg @nejc_kodric Bitstamp CEO
  50. We started targeting banks. But we realised they were moving too slow so we had to change the strategy. @marcusswanepoel Luno CEO
  51. The biggest struggle is bridging the legacy banking system with the crypto system. Banks are slow and sometimes hostile. @bitstamp @nejc_kodric Bitstamp CEO
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. Ledger is working on Ledgerboard saas solution for enterprise investors who want to manage cryptocurrencies. @EricLarch Ledger CEO
  55. PSD2 is making banks reassess their technical infrastructure. There is an opportunity there. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
  56. 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
  57. Psd2 increases the surface open to hacker attack. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
  58. Psd2 opens the opportunity for collaboration/acquisition of fintechs. This brings innovation to banks. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
  59. 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
  60. Banks have to move from years long IT projects to months, weeks, or even days. Cabannes @SocieteGenerale Deputy CEO
  61. We have to digitize, cleanse, secure, redesign data in big banks @RWandhofer Global Head of Regulatory Strategy at Citigroup
  62. 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
  63. Millenials care about the experience. Cashless is more intuitive for them. @ceouaeexchange CEO at UAE exchange
  64. In africa most people have cellphones, and few have bank accounts. @ceouaeexchange CEO at UAE exchange
  65. Security issues could pose threats towards cashless societies. Nathan Gill @Verifone Head of Solutions
  66. 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
  67. Bitcoin fulfills aristotle’s 4 conditions for sound money @maxkeiser CIO Heisenberg Capital
  68. The banking system as we know it will not exist in the next 10-50 years. @maxkeiser CIO Heisenberg Capital
  69. Ireland aspires to be the main tech hub for europe. @campaignforleo Prime minister of Ireland
  70. This year, the Irish central bank will start a fintech innovation hub. @campaignforleo Prime minister of Ireland
  71. Credit karma has 80 million users in usa. Helping millenials find financial instruments @kennethlin Founder of Credit Karma
  72. 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
  73. Worldremit helps the unbanked send and receive money via mobile phone @Ismail_WR Worldremit CEO
  74. 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
  75. We use financial tools every day. The underbanked live in a cash world and don’t have access to these tools. @MichaelSchlein Accion CEO
  76. 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
  77. Blockchain can make a difference for cheap remittances without going through the slow and expensive bank based system @Ismail_WR Worldremit CEO
  78. 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
  79. Accounting. Insurance. Corporate and commercial law. Voting and governance. Record keeping. These will be transformed by the blockchain. @jerallaire Circle CEO
  80. Crypto tokens can be currencies, commodities, and securities. @jerallaire Circle CEO
  81. Stablecoins tether, usd coin, maker, basis can enable settlement without volatility risk @jerallaire Circle CEO
  82. Crypto securities represent some rules based financial contract. @jerallaire Circle CEO
  83. 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
  84. 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
  85. Fiat stablecoins are mandatory for this to work. We need to control the volatility. @jerallaire Circle CEO
  86. Sharing value globally in the same way we can share information. Cheap. Fast. Easy. Fundamental economic integration. @jerallaire Circle CEO
  87. In China a lot of merchants don’t accept cash any more. Visa, wechat, alipay, but no cash. @AlainFalys Chairman Yoyo Wallet
  88. 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
  89. 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
  90. 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
  91. Remittances are unfairly expensive. @cwinesLondon Founder at WorldRemit
  92. 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
  93. Customer demand for cryprocurrency trading has massively exploded. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
  94. Traditional markets are too regulated with too many entry barriers. Crypto markets are the wild west, trial and error. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
  95. You can’t expect to make 40x on all of your investments, right? But you are 27 so you do @yoniassia CEO at eToro
  96. I’m optimistic. In 20 years any financial asset and central bank money will be tokenised in a blockchain. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
  97. Bitcoin has the brand awareness of cocacola. @yoniassia CEO at eToro
  98. 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
  99. 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
  100. Governments want to enable startups because they will enable job creation and GDP growth. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
  101. Stripe wants to level the playing field allowing any startup to send and receive cross border payments. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
  102. Availability of developer resources is according to nielsen the biggest constraint for companies. @chughesjohnson COO at Stripe
  103. 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
  104. 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
  105. 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
  106. 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
  107. Chinese people leave china for hongkong, malta, japan, san francisco… to avoid chinese regulatory blocking and continue their blockchain projects. @edithyeung Partner at 500Startups
  108. 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.




Euskal Encounter inspiration

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


How to mine Ethereum

Mining ethereum is an easy 5 step process:

  1. Get a computer with a powerful GPU or two
  2. Get an ethereum wallet here
  3. Download geth from here and run it like this in a cmd window (because if you have a powerful GPU or two you use it for gaming, hence you have a windows machine)
    1. geth.exe -rpc
  4. Download ethminer from here and run it like this in different cmd window
    1. ethminer.exe -G
    2. The -G parameter instructs ethminer to use your GPU instead of your CPU, which will be orders of magnitude faster at mining.
  5. You are set, you should see something like thisethminer

Now for the bad part. I have two GTX 1080 TI and I am getting around 62 MH/s. This means my computer is capable of taking the Ethereum block we are trying to solve, add it a random string and calculate the hash of it to see if the first ten characters are zeroes and therefore win this block. 62 million times every second. 

62 million times per second sounds like a lot! I should have good chances of winning a block once in a while. Taking into account a new block is generated every 15 seconds, I should have good chances..

The problem is that the Ethereum network has a hash rate capacity of around 60TH/s, this means that the number of hashes the network produces every second are one million times bigger than the hashes my computer produces. This gives me a chance of winning of one in one million every 15 seconds. Taking into account that the reward for winning is 5 ETH (approx 1,150 EUR), I have 1/1,000,000 chance of winning 1,150 EUR every 15 seconds if I leave my computer mining.. this does not sound too promising.

Business Intelligence state of the art

Usually when we need to understand our business’ numbers, we open Microsoft Excel and start applying filters, pivot tables and charts to try to gain insight on what story our data are telling us.

It’s 2017, Isn’t there a better way to do this?

I think it must have been around 2014 when I first heard about Tableau. I immediately liked the tool’s proposal: Easy tool to analyse data in real time without needing to be an expert in SQL, Olap cubes, or any technology. It could take as input for data any number of excel sheets, csv files, or database sources and would immediately allow the user to move the data around, establish relationships between sets of data and start visualising. I’m a visual person, I need to see things in graphical form to understand them, so I really like this concept. In the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Feb 2017, the 3 top players in the BI space by completeness of vision and capacity of execution are Tableau, Microsoft, and Qlik who offer similar solutions for front end analytics.

One of the weak points that I see in Tableau’s proposal is that it only addresses the front end, the data analysis, but leaves the back end, the data model, the origin of data, for you to deal with. In the past I’ve worked on a few data warehousing projects where the immense complexity was in creating a data model which made sense from a business perspective and which could grow with the business’ future needs. Designing the data model wrong was similar to shooting yourself in the foot, as future needs could not be adapted, changes would require refactoring of the whole data model and of the downstream systems which read from this data model and maintenance of this data model would be expensive and complex. In all cases I experienced in the past, creating a data model was similar to creating a monster which would grow in unforeseen and inelegant ways getting more rigid and patchy as time went by.

A good example of a world class level attempt at creating a data model for the capital markets world is  ISDA’s (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) FPML (Financial Products Markup Language). The data model they have birthed is immensely complex, as could not be different when the goal is to be able to map any financial instrument. Any attempt at using FPML as inspiration for your data model promises a long and complex project.

Three weeks ago, I attended Moneyconf. There I saw a company called gooddata which offers an interesting model: They take care of your Business Intelligence needs as a service. You send them your data, they organise it and offer you a Tableau style front end tool to visualise it. This would take care of all data warehousing troubles.. however I have some concerns:

  1. How do they know all the ways you need to structure your data model?
  2. Does this scale well with big volumes of data?
  3. How do they manage confidential data? Imagine I have medical records to manage…
  4. Is the front end tool as complete as Tableau?


The BI world is very cool looking. It brings promise of granting better insights and fancy looking charts, but, is the price tag worth it when we can always just grab an excel and start applying filters, pivot tables and charts to understand the story our data are telling us?


Hyperledger, IBM’s vision for a corporate DLT

In 2008, the first Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) was created with Bitcoin. Immediately it became visible across industries that DLT technology could be very useful to transfer assets. As time passed, different implementations have come to light using the concept of the DLT which attempt to address different problems with different implementations of a similar idea.

One of these implementations is IBM’s Hyperledger. In late 2015, IBM partnered with 17 other companies:

  • Blockchain software vendors such as Digital Asset, or R3
  • Technology platform companies such as Intel, RedHat or VMWare
  • Financial services firms such as CME, DTCC, Deutsche Borse, Swift or JP Morgan
  • System integrators such as Accenture.

The Hyperledger project’s governance is chaired by Blythe Masters (Ex-JP Morgan Executive, CEO of Digital Asset) under the Linux Software foundation. This open governance allows the open source community to contribute to the project, read the source code, download it for free and use it to create new software.

The vision for Hyperledger is a tool for confidential asset transfers in an enterprise environment. These assets can be of any nature: Securities, gold, legal contracts, wills, patents, medical information… Key differences with other DLT solutions such as Ethereum, are that there is no cryptocurrency involved and that access to transaction information is restricted with access rights. Whereas in Ethereum every miner node has a copy of the whole blockchain and can access all the information of any transaction, in Hyperledger all information is encrypted, and only thanks to having the right access rights can you decrypt and access certain information. In a corporate environment this would be a mandatory requirement as you may want to give one client a 10% discount without all your clients knowing about this.

Some interesting projects going on in the corporate world using Hyperledger:

  • CLS is working on a payment netting service
  • DTCC is building a DLT based derivatives processing platform
  • Japanese Stock Exchange is testing DLT for trading environments
  • Walmart is building a platform with Hyperledger to track where a Pork chop came from in 7 minutes instead of the current 7 days
  • Digital Asset are building a tool that will leverage hyperledger to offer DLT to the financial services community.
  • Northern Trust has built a DLT for private equity

Currently there are hundreds of players in the DLT world, in my view the top 4 are R3 Corda, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Hyperledger. It is hard to tell who will come out ahead in the end, but Hyperledger is certainly worth keeping an eye on.



Bentham, Kant, and AI-driven cars

Imagine you are driving your car at 90kmh, and you realize the brakes are not working. 20 meters ahead of you, crossing the street, are five people who will inexorably die if you run them over. Looking to your right you see one person which is sitting in a terrace eating an ice cream. Your steering wheel is working well, so you could steer your car towards the terrace killing one person, but sparing the five.

What would you do? Most people would choose to kill the one person to spare the five. Sacrificing one life in order to save five seems the right thing to do.

Now imagine you are standing on a bridge overlooking the road. Down the road comes the brakeless car, and at the end of the road are five people who are about to die run over by this car.

You feel helpless to avert this disaster, until you notice, standing next to you on the bridge, a very heavy man. You could push him off the bridge, on to the track, into the path of the car. He would die, but the five people crossing the road would be saved. To make your job even more similar to the previous example, this man is standing on top of a trapdoor which you could open by turning a car-sized steering wheel to the right.

Would you push the unsuspecting fat man? Most people would find it terribly wrong to push the man onto the track. But this raises a moral puzzle: Why does the principle that seems right in the first case – sacrifice one live to save many – seem wrong in the second?

This example, taken from a beautifully taught Harvard online free course goes to explain how the consequentialist moral reasoning of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism (it is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong) does not hold under the scrutiny of Immanuel Kant’s Categorical moral reasoning (Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law).

After 11th May 1997,when IBM’s Deep Blue beat human champion Garry Kasparov, no human will ever again, beat AI at chess.

After 27th May 2017, when Google’s Alphago beat human champion Ke Jie, no human will ever again beat AI at Go.

Once AI driven cars are mainstream, no human will ever again be allowed to drive.

While a human driver has visibility of 120 degrees, an AI has 360 vision from the car, through connectivity could simultaneously have 360 vision from other neighbouring cars, from traffic cameras, or from satellites. Other AI senses could come into play which the human counterpart does not have, for example an AI car could have sonar, similar to bats echoing a signal to detect proximity. An AI could have real time knowledge of where every other car in a radius of 10 kilometres is, in what direction it’s headed, and if it has any technical issue.

Human drivers get road rage, get impatient when sitting in a traffic jam, try to stick their car’s nose in front to gain one inch if possible… all these human behaviours cause traffic jams, accidents and inefficiencies. A perfect AI driver will have none of these traits, and thanks to this, traffic jams will be greatly, if not totally, reduced.

Having a human drive in the future will be as rare as having a human clean the clothes today. I could do it, but why woud I? I have a washing machine for that.

One human problem, is what to tell the AI to do when faced with the example at the beginning of this story. Should an AI follow Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarian principles? Should it choose to kill one to save five? This is particularly dangerous if we will also want the AI to perform surgery, as in order to save 5 patients who needed a heart, a lung, a kidney, a liver, and a stomach, it could choose to kill and butcher a perfectly healthy patient which had just gone to have a regular check-up in order to get the needed organs.

In the brink of a new era, these classic, unresolved questions are more important than ever.



#Moneyconf – 65 insights from C-level fintech executives

This week I attended moneyconf, a very interesting conference where startups and incumbents meet to discuss the future of fintech. Here are some wisdom-pearls I took away from c-level executives of multimillion incumbent companies and startups:

  1. “We spend 2.5 billion euro per year on innovation, to run the bank and to change the bank” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  2. “You have to change from inside the bank” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  3. “The core has to be built by ourselves. If it’s available outside we buy it and we bring it into our systems” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  4. “We had a Ferrari, the big mistake was not to pay attention to the rest of things, drivers, roads…” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  5. “The most important thing to change for incumbents is having the right management. We had to mix digitals and bankers.” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  6. “We alone could not go, we needed the help of the fintech companies” Francisco González. President of Bbva
  7. “The disruption of AI has nothing to do with fintech, because the world is going to fundamentally change.” – Neal Cross Chief Innovation officer DBS Bank
  8. “85% of all customer service requests are handled by chatbots.” – Neal Cross Chief Innovation officer DBS Bank
  9. “At Mastercard we enable people to move from one department/country to another they want to learn, to grow” – Anne Cairns President of Mastercard.
  10. “Financial inclusion starts with giving people a digital identity” – Anne Cairns President of Mastercard.
  11. banks will realise they need to be on a public or at least semi public network. Peter Smith. Founder and CEO
  12. “the Bitcoin core vs bicoin unlimited issue can be worked around by the industry by moving to other tokens ” Peter Smith. Founder and CEO
  13. “disruption is helping companies raise capital, that’s the innovation I’m interested in, not doing step 9 in the banking settlement process” Peter Smith. Founder and CEO
  14. “ ECB, EIB, can stimulate the real economy by lending to small businesses through LendingCircle” Samir Desai, Founder and CEO of Lending Circle
  15. “We return about 6.5-7% a year on our loans. Investors have made ÂŁ120 million in net interest.” – Samir Desai, Founder and CEO of Lending Circle
  16. “The big thing now in Europe is PSD2. Banks will have to provide open API access to current accounts.” – Samir Desai, Founder and CEO of Lending Circle
  17. “P2P lending has proven to be resilient. Growth remains 60% even with Brexit” Samir Desai, Founder and CEO of Lending Circle
  18. “What banking will be in three years from now is not yet invented” Bernardo Sanchez Incera. Deputy CEO at Societe Generale.
  19. “Identity algorithms 20x safer than human.” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  20. “By 2025 the biggest bank will be a technology company, not a bank” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  21. “No human will be able to drive safer than a self-driving car. Decide on investments, build a car faster..” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  22. “The problem with banks is they think always in terms of iterating the branch model.” –Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  23. “We’re seeing banking embedded into other services now. That’s when it is most useful, solving real problems.” –Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  24. “A futurist is never being wrong today” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  25. “With etoro you can create an account in 60 seconds, fund it with your credit card and buy bitcoin.” Yoni Assia. Founder and CEO of EToro
  26. “EToro launches Crypto-currency CopyFund to provide a straightforward way to invest in both Bitcoin and Ethereum online” Yoni Assia. Founder and CEO of EToro
  27. “Many financial services still run on fortran and cobol since the 70’s. Blockchain gives an opportunity to rethink all” David Rutter. Founder and managing partner at R3
  28. “11.000 computer scientists at goldman sachs. The challenge is to build fast and secure applications” Joanne Hannaford. Partner at Goldman Sachs.
  29. “Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchain will be used in the background, the user will not know. E.g @abra @epifyJon Matonis. Founding Director at Bitcoin Foundation
  30. “Any idiot can lend a dollar, it’s getting paid back that’s tricky” Douglas Merrill. Zest Finance.
  31. “The car will pay for gas, the phone for calls and data thanks to IoT” Ivan Glazachev. Yandex Money.
  32. “There is a huge fight to be the fintech capital of the world” Taavet Hinrikus. CEO of TransferWise.
  33. “Innovating to please ourselves vs innovating to please the customers” Yashish Dahiya. Founder and CEO at Policybazaar
  34. “People with +10y in the same company try to avoid the erosion. Younger folks see the disruption coming and want to ride it” Scott Walchek Founder and CEO of Trov
  35. “Innovation has to come from the top. Don’t do pilots. Anticipate your champions will move on. Appoint full time account mgmnt on both sides. Results will take time. Empower a steering committee with all stakeholders” Scott Walchek Founder and CEO of Trov
  36. “We are seeing and pushing a trend towards a cashless society” Rita Liu. Head of Alipay Europe, Middle East and Africa.
  37. “Payment technology has to be transparent, seamless” June Yee Felix. President of Verifone Europe.
  38. “In the past payment has been very complicated. People want to pay simply. Like Uber.” June Yee Felix. President of Verifone Europe.
  39. “San Francisco Venture Capital investment in fintech is double New York, which is double of all of Europe. 2 deals in China are bigger than San Francisco.” Sheel Mohnot Partner at 500Startups
  40. “EU regulatory sandox is a great idea we are pushing to get adopted in the US”  Sheel Mohnot Partner at 500Startups
  41. “Sharing of KYC information thanks to the blockchain can enable cross border payments in a regulated environment” David Thompson CTO at Western Union
  42. Western Union Reveals Pilot Coinbase Integration. David Thompson CTO at Western Union
  43. “Banks will do the back end, the Apples and Googles will do front end. As banks, we can’t prevent that happening.” – Anne Boden. CEO at Starling Bank
  44. “Trust comes from utility. I trust the bank because I can go to an ATM and get my money out. It works.” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  45. “70% of mobile payments in China are done by wechat and alipay, not by banks” Brett King, Founder and CEO of Moven
  46. “Banks will reduce their workforce 40% by 2025, but there are not enough AI people …yet” Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData
  47. “Machine intelligence is the last invention that humans will ever need to make” Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData
  48. “If banks figure out transparency and user experience they might reinvent themselves. But many won’t make it.” – Taavet Hinrikus. CEO of TransferWise.
  49. “The only bank branch that matters is the one we carry in our pockets.” – Taavet Hinrikus. CEO of TransferWise.
  50. “There is still no alternative to a bank to store your money. This will change” Taavet Hinrikus. CEO of TransferWise.
  51. “Currencies are like loyalty points with a standing army” David Birch, Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion
  52. “Sending money to your mother in the philipines will be free” Mike Laven CEO at Currency Cloud
  53. “Central banks, commercial banks, companies, criptography, communities will be 5 creators of currency in the future.” David Birch, Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion
  54. “The world is going to have a better way to send money between countries. This can be Bitcoin, Ethereum..” Mike Laven CEO at Currency Cloud
  55. “Our customers are spending 15-50hrs / year with their bank account online and only 1-2hrs in branch.” Derek White. Global head of customer solutions at Bbva
  56. “At Bbva we take selfie videos, share them across our google social network and teach each other” Derek White. Global head of customer solutions at Bbva
  57. If the developer understands how the problem is solved by the machine it’s not AI. That’s just rule based. AI is not taught the solution
  58. “Insurance underwriters, claims representatives, bank representatives, and financial analysts jobs will be replaced by robots” Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData
  59. “80% of work in Financial advisory, fraud detection, legal work, AML, customer services, Backoffice, will be done AI-first.” Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData
  60. “Mobile first is outdated. We are going to AI first” Roman Stanek, CEO of GoodData
  61. “India is leading the way in the path to financial inclusion. Universal ID. Removing cash..” Michael Schlein. CEO at Accion
  62. “Historically credit is only given to people who you have data on. Big data will bank the unbanked” Michael Schlein. CEO at Accion
  63. “The UK post brexit will be so busy negotiating banana import rules that they will have no time for fintech” David Birch, Director of Innovation at Consult Hyperion
  64. “The EU passport is quite cool, in USA you need to deal with different regulation per state” Taavet Hinrikus. CEO of TransferWise.


How can Bitcoin serve 7bn people?

Visa transfers 2,000 transactions per second, whereas Bitcoin transfers 7 transactions per second. If bitcoin wants to establish itself as a currency that can be used daily by 7bn people worldwide it needs to scale up. What can to be done for Bitcoin to scale up its transaction processing volume?

  1. Do nothing. Since the popularity of Bitcoin is growing, the demand for transactions is growing. Since there is more demand than capacity, and the miners are processing first the transactions which offer a higher transaction fee, the cost of sending money with Bitcoin is going up. Currently an average bitcoin processing fee is 101,700 Satoshis, which is worth 2.5 USD. This means that paying for a cup of coffee with Bitcoin would cost another cup of coffee in payment fees. This also means that the backlog of unprocessed transactions is growing. At the time of writing this there are 507 unconfirmed transactions. At a rate of 7 transactions per second, if no more transactions are received, it will take 2.20 hours to confirm the backlog. Imagine having to wait 2.20 hours for your coffee payment to go through.. doing nothing does not seem like a viable option.
  2. Increase the block size. By design, Bitcoin generates one block every 10 minutes. This block can fit in as many transactions as possible as long as it’s size is below 1MB. One simple solution would be to increase this 1MB limit to 20MB for example. This would fit many more transactions per block, and the speed at which transactions are processed would increase. Bitcoin Improvement Proposal BIP100 describes this. The problem with this increase is that larger blocks would make full nodes more expensive to operate, which would decrease decentralisation as some nodes would no longer be able to bear the cost. A hard fork would be needed, risking splitting bitcoin in two cryptocurrencies, and all of this would not give a final solution, as the block size would need to increase periodically to support all the world’s future transactions. Off-chain transactions would be the only long-term solution.
  3. Use each block more efficiently. In December 2015, at the Hong Kong Bitcoin Scaling event, Pieter Wuille introduced the idea of Segregated Witness, a modification to bitcoin which would reduce the amount of information needed for each block. This freed-up space could be used to introduce more transactions per block. The advantage of this approach is that it can be done with a soft fork minimising the risk of splitting bitcoin into two cryptocurrencies.
  4. Minimise the number of on-chain transactions. Joseph Poon & Thaddeus Dryja wrote in January 2016 the Lightning network whitepaper. This would enable minimising the number of transactions that need to go into the blockchain by adding a layer on top which would create one to one payment channels. These payment channels which would be fully collateralised IOUs between counterparties would form a network with which a payment could be routed. This is similar to the concept that Ripple is using, which in turn is similar to the concept of correspondent banking.

A heated debate has split the Bitcoin community for the last year. Developers, miners, markets and users could not agree on how to solve the problem, as every option had risks.

At the Consensus 2017 Conference an agreement seems to have been found. The option agreed is to implement Segwit with a 2MB block. Although even after this middle ground has been found, heated debate goes on.


Hopefully the bitcoin community will be able to find a way to find consensus, not only in the blockchain, but also in the way to evolve in order to meet the challenges that will be found.


What is a Hard Fork? Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic

On 30th April 2016, a group of developers, mostly coming from, created the first Distributed Autonomous Organisation on the Ethereum network. They called it “The DAO”.

Through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), people could buy their DAO token. In 28 days, The DAO raised over 11 million Ether (ETH) which at the time was equivalent to $150m, making this the biggest crowdfunding in history. An ICO is a controversial way to raise money since it is unregulated and it gives buyers no ownership like equity shares would. Ownership of these DAO tokens would grant voting rights to decide what project to allocate the DAO’s capital to.

On 14th June, an attacker managed to take advantage of a bug in the way The DAO was coded and took 3.6m Ether into a child DAO, which had the same rules as the parent DAO, not allowing the attacker to retrieve the money during the first 28 days. The Ethereum foundation had 28 days to defuse this bomb. This created a big controversy in the cryptocurrencies world:

  1. The attacker argued that that money was rightfully his, since he had taken advantage of a “feature” of The DAO which allowed his action. In the smart contracts world code is law as the smart contract can be understood as a contract written in programming language.
  2. Part of the Ethereum community was in favour of letting the hacker take the money. They argued that things that happen on the blockchain should be immutable. And that modifying/censoring/corrupting the past would be a slippery slope which would open a door to do it again in the future for other reasons.
  3. The other Part of the community was against letting the hacker take the money. Their arguments were that the community could have the last word in these cases.

On 17th June Vitalik Buterin proposed a soft fork update in the Ethereum code, which would block the child DAO from allowing funds withdrawal. This would buy more time to decide what to do without the money disappearing. However, hours before its planned release, the developers detected that this would open the possibility for a denial-of-service attack. The update could not be released. The hard fork was the only way left. This hard fork would transfer all balance of the DAO to a new smart contract which would only allow the legitimate owners to withdraw. In order to decide whether to implement this hard fork or not, an online referendum was held where each Ether held gave right to one vote. The outcome of this referendum was in favour of the hard fork by 89% so the hard fork was implemented and a trigger was set in pace for it to activate when reaching block 1920000.

On 20th July, block 1920000 was reached in the Ethereum blockchain. The DAO Hack was reversed. However not all miners agreed to this and kept the previous version running, creating a new cryptocurrency called “Ethereum Classic” (ETC). Both blockchains are identical up to this block, on one, the DAO Hacker was unable to claim his prize, on the other he kept it. At the time  I had 200 ETH in my Kraken account, the day after I had 200 ETH and 200 ETC, their valuation in Euros was wildly different as the Market gave higher value to ETH than ETC.

A hard fork is a change in the blockchain protocol which is not backwards compatible. If all users agree to follow, then there is no issue, but  if some decide to stay and not accept the change, a new blockchain is created which will run in parallel and compete in the blockchain space against the original.