Whine and Dime #0013


The patent system is a joke. I had the misfortune this week to review some alleged prior art for a patent. One of the review patents was this: 'Peer-to-peer security authentication protocol'.

As anyone who has ever had anything to do with patents will attest, patent language can be impenetrable, but my (admittedly legally ignorant) reading of this patent seems to indicate that it is trying to lock down the idea of salted password hashing.

How could a patent issued in 2007 get coverage of salted password hashing, a concept that predates this patent by at least 36 years?


As a holder a number of patents in the US and Australia, I have an interest in the workings of the patent system. However, this article entirely changed my views on it, and intellectual property more broadly.

Against intellectual property - Brian Martin

Well worth a read.

Industry News

Here’s some very bearish commentary on Apple Pay and Apple Watch: The Incredible Shrinking Apple. I am on the fence about Apple Watch (even tho’ I wear one every day), but I am sure that Apple's payments play is part of a very long game. Apple does not need to make money from payments and Apple Pay is just another “ecosystem feature” that makes iOS devices attractive. However, what will be interesting is how long banks keep playing with Apple if short-term uptake falls short. Banks are much less patient.

In contrast, here's some very bullish commentary on the blockchain from Goldman Sachs: 'The Blockchain can change... well everything'. And some more from R3 CEV: 'Global bank blockchain should be operating within a year'.

Here's a neat infographic via @obussmann that tries to frame "the disruption of blockchain on the financial services industry".

Is the creator of Bitcoin an unknown Australian genius? The Sydney Morning Herald seems to think so, after Craig Steven Wright had his North Sydney home raided by Federal Police. Apparently, the Herald is reporting that Craig has a few tax issues. Well, I guess you might have a few tax problems if you were sitting on potentially hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency. Lawn mowers, Hills Hoists, utes, and now Bitcoin. Who knew!? The Hacker News thread on Wright's outing has some fascinating extra info. The Guardian also has a few more details. This is a curious story. David Fincher is sharpening his pencil as we speak. But not everyone is convinced, of course. A respected Sydney security expert thinks not. Or in his words, "not a chance".

Microsoft's new blockchain-as-a-service is embracing Ripple. And here's what Microsoft has to say on the topic: Azure Blockchain as a Service update.

Australia's Commonwealth Bank has been working with blockchain tech for two years and is saying that blockchain may transform trade finance and share trading.

Continuing the theme of trying to understand the real threat facing traditional banks (legacy systems, anyone?), former Barlcay's CEO Antony Jenkins thinks that traditional banks are heading for an Uber moment. However, Currency Cloud CEO Mike Laven thinks it is worth drawing a distinction between market-share and mind-share. He goes on to make the point that 'mind-share does change consumer demand'.

It seems like Apple is having some difficulty persuading the large banks to sign up for Apple Pay in Australia. Reuters reports that 'In Australia, banks disrupt Apple with mobile payments power'. The banks are all-powerful down there, so this will be fascinating to watch. Is it a win for the Big4, or the start of another 'Docomo won't sell iPhones' story?

The NYT is reporting that Walmart is jumping into the (crowded) mobile payments business with a service called Walmart Pay. Walmart is certainly big enough to move the needle on this one, but QR codes? Really!?

Blog Posts

Worth Following

Nerding Out

  • Toshi - an open source Bitcoin node, written in Ruby (from CoinBase)