Message Boards Message Boards

16 Replies
7 Total Likes
View groups...
Share this post:

[WSG32] Daily Study Group: Blockchain: Exploring Blockchain Functionality

Hi Everyone! Our second Wolfram U daily study group on Blockchain Functionality begins on November 14 - 18, 2022.


Join myself @Steph Macurdy and @Leanne Ussher for an exploration into the world of blockchain ideas and ecosystems.

Over the five days, we will recap some of the fundamentals from the first study group, dive into blockchain Governance, explore the Oracle Problem, discuss Mutual Credit Currencies, and round out the week with relevant news topics. For this fifth day, please bring a topic you found interesting so we can discuss!

We encourage curiosity, exploration and a willingness to collaborate as we all learn about this new and innovative space together. Again, this is a basic introduction to blockchain, so no Wolfram Language knowledge is necessary as a prerequisite.

If you'd like to get started learning Wolfram Language, try our Elementary Introduction here!

Feel free to use this post as a way to collaborate and share ideas, materials and links to other information you find useful. I hope you'll join us!

enter image description here

POSTED BY: Steph Macurdy
16 Replies

Dave and Steph, Thank you for getting this information to me. Best regards

Christopher, there is an online introductory course Cryptography available at Wolfram-U:

The previous Daily Study group videos can be found in this Community Page. If you register at BigMarker, you can access the videos. I do have a link to the resource files with the notebooks, but I am not sure if I am allowed to share them here.

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

Thanks for sharing the info with Christopher, Dave. I will get a link to conveniently share the notebooks from last study group, if it's possible.

Again, here is the link to the previous blockchain study group, registration/login required to see the videos.

POSTED BY: Steph Macurdy

In the first talk, it was mentioned that there was a tutorial on Cryptography. Can you provide me with a link? Also do we have access to the webinar from the previous blockchain study group that was mentioned? Or at least a copy of the notebooks.

Thank you.

Thank you Leanne. I agree with you that Web3 technologies are relevant, but I am not optimistic about its decentralized future. The big question then becomes: are there any benefits of a centrally-governed blockchain model if it comes to that?

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

I think there are many benefits for governments to utilize blockchains, along with businesses, and civil society.

POSTED BY: Leanne Ussher

David, thank you for this stark outlook. I totally agree with you. I do think the aspirations of Web3 and the likelihood that we are entering a decentralized democratic economy or social order do seem fragile. But I don't think that this means that Web3 technologies and tools are irrelevant. There have always been reformers and rebels in existence and I don't think they will be pushed completely to the side. Rather, I think there will be a rich ecosystem of debate and experimentation. Maybe not dominating the debate or the outcomes, but still there nonetheless.

POSTED BY: Leanne Ussher

I think these kinds of reports by the media show how confused or intentionally misleading they are.

The FTX situation has n-o-t-h-i-n-g to do with crypto and everything to do with fraud at a centralized exchange.

Conflating the two, rather than highlighting reality, is imo standard operating procedure for the media over the last few decades.

POSTED BY: Steve Lockhart

Steph and I would love to hear everyone's position on blockchain and Web3. Where are we going?

Even though I am a strong proponent of the idea of decentralization, blockchain technologies, and token-based economics, I am not optimistic about the future of Web3. I think the concept will be short-lived. Long enough to get us into blockchain technology, but short enough to never deliver true decentralization.

The internet's open communication infrastructure, connecting our own personal devices, is being transformed into walled Big-Tech gardens of subscription-based centrally-controlled cloud-services we call Web2. Web3 will be what web1 one was: a transition to Web4: a centrally AI-controlled iteration of the internet with blockchain technologies and token-based economics.

This is why I am not optimistic: in an age of internet fraud, crypto laundering, data leaks, disinformation, state-sponsored data exfiltration and surveillance, there is a strong push for more centralized control, internet borders (splinter-net) and regulation. I don't expect the current financial institutions to relinquish their control over global finance, just because of a cypherpunk technology. Of course, more and more financial institutions are supportive of a digital currency, but they will use the confusion and ignorance of the public about a decentralized blockchain-based currency to their advantage i.e., to introduce a financial institution-controlled version of it. Democracies are struggling and even the global internet is under threat

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

I am interested in the media reports of crypto fraud and theft; I became inspired by Dariia Porechna's posts on crypto ransom by the DarkSide group:

Sleuthing DarkSide Crypto-Ransom Payments with the Wolfram Language—Wolfram Blog

DarkSide Update: The FBI Hacks the Hackers?—Wolfram Blog

Last year, I looked into a report of an unsophisticated blackmail email scam received by a nonprofit organization, asking for payment in crypto. I started to look into the scammer's transactions (using their wallet address). I discovered that the scam was very unsophisticated, however the scammer still managed to receive one payment through the Binance Exchange and moved the proceeds out to many Bitcoin addresses (that's where it became more complicated).

In my own sleuthing I learned that Blockchain technology offers something of a contradiction: on the one hand all transactions are open, even fraudulent ones, but it's pretty hard to make sense of them.

So for next Friday, I found these two posts on crypto theft: one is the recent FTX case and the other the Ronin Bridge case of April this year:

My question related to those posts is: How can crypto be regulated to prevent theft and anti-money laundering (AML) while keeping its decentralized nature?

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

As asked in today's Q&A session, what Bitcoin data source does TransactionData connect to?

It seems that e.g. the number of transactions in the Bitcoin TransactionData is not the same as the number reported in e.g. Bitcoin Explorer.

If you look at this Binance wallet address: 1NDyJtNTjmwk5xPNhjgAMu4HDHigtobu1s , you will find in TransactionData there are: 1198624 transactions:

 "Bitcoin" -> 
  "1NDyJtNTjmwk5xPNhjgAMu4HDHigtobu1s", "TotalTransactions"]

However, Bitcoin Explorer reports: 1,191,631 transactions.

Which transactions source is correct?

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

Hi David, we are looking into this. I see the same as you.

POSTED BY: Leanne Ussher
Posted 1 year ago

Hi Dave, our technician is continuing to check this, it's probably likely something wasn't updated on our end. Bitcoin Explorer is the correct answer.

POSTED BY: Updating Name

At the moment, I use the API to get more data from bitcoin. The number of transactions per BlockChainData Dataset in the Wolfram Language is capped and the process to get more is either slow or more complex than using the BTC API.

If Wolfram Research is using the same API, the total number of transactions can be retrieved with the "total_count". If the total number of transactions is off, then so is the total balance.

Bitcoin stores transaction date-times as UnixTime in UTC (GMT-0). Some times in the current BlockchainTransactionData seems off by one hour (as of writing, Nov 2022).

The date conversion in BlockchainTransactonData uses the user's current timezone, not the prevailing timezone offset that corresponds to the historic date.

When I use the BTC API, I convert them with this function I found with the help of this Community:

DateConvert[ux_Integer] := 
  TimeZone -> 
   TimeZoneOffset["America/Chicago", "GMT", FromUnixTime[ux]]]

Now all date-times are the same as reported by BTC Explorer.

POSTED BY: Dave Middleton

Looking forward to this new Daily Study Group from Wolfram Blockchain Labs! Participants are invited to bring a media story to discuss on Day 5 (Friday.) See details here.

POSTED BY: Jamie Peterson
Reply to this discussion
Community posts can be styled and formatted using the Markdown syntax.
Reply Preview
or Discard

Group Abstract Group Abstract