INN recaps highlights from the recent Ethereum Classic Summit, which covered topics like offline messaging, robotics and ASIC mining.
At the Ethereum Classic Summit in Vancouver, British Columbia, a number of developers — the individuals who build virtual assets like ethereum (ETH) and ethereum classic (ETC) — gathered to discuss the challenges and developments taking place in the blockchain ecosystem.
Central to the ethos of the conference was maintaining decentralization and open-source software, in addition to an equal footing for all who are engaging and operating in this space.
While blockchain technology serves as a mechanism to build different use cases and applications on top of it, a number of speakers at the summit discussed the potential for utilizing blockchain in society.
Blockchain in mobile messaging
On the show’s first day last Thursday (October 3), Aidan Hyman, CEO of ChainSafe, discussed Ultra Light, a project ChainSafe is developing that leverages blockchain to enable mobile offline messaging.
“Really for me (mobile offline messaging) is one of the most exciting things in blockchain at the moment because it’s relevant beyond blockchain,” said Hyman. Ultra Light is a protocol that can transmit messages through Bluetooth via blockchain.
He went on to describe how this could be relevant under censored governments. “This is huge in terms of offline transactions, but even more important … look at what’s happening in Hong Kong right now,” he said. “Previously with the Umbrella Revolution, FireChat was the tool that was used for people to communicate into this.”
FireChat is a proprietary software that enables users to send messages without the use of the internet. Where FireChat was licensed, Ultra Light — in contrast — is available to anyone to use or build on top of, said Hyman.
“This, on the other hand, is just a protocol. Anyone can use it. Any blockchain can utilize this,” he said.
The impact of blockchain and robotics
Later that day, Yaz Khoury, director of developer relations at the Ethereum Classic Cooperative, discussed the importance of developers in the blockchain ecosystem. Noting the difficulty in quantifying the return on investment on a given blockchain platform, Khoury discussed the importance of discussions on Medium and Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) as well as overall conference sentiment on a given blockchain project’s viability.
He later discussed how the intersection of robotics and blockchain has the possibility for more development in the future. The major roadblock to this type of work is financing, he said.
Transparency behind blockchain mining
On the second day of the conference, Friday (October 4), Nishant Sharma, head of international PR and community relations at Bitmain Technologies, spoke about building trust in ASIC mining operations.
Bitmain Technologies creates bitcoin mining hardware in addition to running one of the largest bitcoin mining pools, called Antpool. It has been scrutinized for having a monopoly in mining bitcoin, essentially centralizing bitcoin mining and going against the very fundamentals that the community stands behind.
On how Bitmain had developed an ASIC boost, a mining technique that makes bitcoin mining more efficient, Sharma discussed how Bitmain hopes that the whole community can eventually benefit from this.
“We continue to adhere to the founding values of Bitmain and the founding values of bitcoin … which is the power of bitcoin to change the world and replace the financial system,” Sharma said.
Previously, Bitmain had been criticized for secretly using these ASIC boosts for its own mining operations, creating unfair advantages in the mining community.
In light of these controversies, Sharma said that since the launch of the ASIC boosts a few years ago, other mining manufacturers are applying them or their own variations of them for the mining process.
“Ultimately now everyone uses the same (efficiencies). Every mining pool and every manufacturer has an optimization technique,” he said.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.