Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas

Head of education in RMIT's Blockchain Innovation Hub, Stuart is an established university learning and teaching leader, an experienced senior educator, and is an active researcher.

Location Australia

Activity

  • @UmarSuleimanUmar when we say "trustless" in the context of blockchain we mean (for example) that the we're no longer relying on 'trusted' intermediaries like banks, compliance officers, and others that a) check and recheck and b) are potential sources of error or even fraud, to endure that agreed transactions are executed correctly. Instead we rely on good...

  • Some DAOs are/will be emerging as more/less 'decentralised' than others, largely depending on the scale of membership and the models for incentives for new members to acquire and HODL governance tokens, especially in cross-platform and cross-chain settings. We'll be taking a deeper dive in a new course on DAOs to be released in Q1 2022!

  • Wrapped Bitcoin An ERC-20 token on Erthereum with bitcoin as an underlying. @JPLynch here's a pretty good 'wrap' (or rap, if you prefer :-) ) on wrapped BTC:...

  • @NoddyM "begs the question as to specifically which financial services it provides better access to", just as one example - think of remittances, which is a hugely important aspect of financial life in developing economies. Remittances have traditionally been done through wire services like Western Union and Moneygram but they are slow, commissions are high...

  • Lots of people have multiple wallets, often because there is no ONE wallet that can service every chain. But we are seeing more ability to use wallets across many chains so the need to track multiple wallets will be mitigated. Personally I prefer to keep as few as possible (down to 2 right now).

  • Metamask is very widely used but is only one of many (many, many) wallet options. It's used in the demo because it's relatively easy to deal with, Chris uses it himself and it operates well on a testnet. You should always do your own investigation to find a wallet platform that you're comfortable with.

  • @DavidWise many smart contracts make use of what we call 'oracles' - these can be feeds of share prices, or 'smart' meters in electricity, temperature and humidity sensors in smart packaging for perishable goods, even things like flight schedules for travel insurance contracts (imagine a smart contract for flight insurance cancellation that takes a flight data...

  • @PeterCzarnota most 'Smart Contracts' are more easily thought of in practical terms as self-executing transactions (so yes, automated rules)

  • Public blockchain: Anyone can join, transact, operate a node, become a miner, create new smart contracts, etc etc. The Bitcoin blockchain and the Ethereum blockchain are examples of "public" blockchains. Also called "permissionless" blockchains because you don't need anyone's permission to join. Private blockchain: also called "permissioned" blockchain,...

  • Hi Les, it's beyond the scope of this (short) course but one of the very important emerging applications of cryptocurrencies is in equity and access to financial services in developing economies where many people are 'unbanked', or the financial system is unreliable for various reasons. You might like to read up on Cambodia's 'Bakong' cryptocurrency program,...

  • Gas fees are paid in Ethereum's ETH but are denominated in 'gwei', a tiny fraction of ETH - each gwei is equal to 0.000000001 ETH. So instead of saying that your gas costs 0.000000001 ether, you can say your gas costs 1 gwei. (or in your transaction, 20,000 Gwei :-) )

  • Hi JP. Custody is an emerging issue and a super-important one. Many exchanges and apps offer custody services in various ways, but it's useful to think of your keys and wallets as working like the numbered swiss bank accounts we hear of in spy movies (and IRL). It's up to you to make sure that your keys are safely held, but in a way that's accessible to others...

  • We've found that 'learning by doing' is the best way to understand what's going on in blockchain (and even better if the 'doing' is in the safe environment of a testnet!)

  • More to come on liquidity pools in weeks 2 and 3

  • Fundamentally, yield farming isn't much different to investing in an interest bearing security or a term deposit, in that you invest a sum of money for an expected return. It's just about doing it differently, in lots of ways.

  • Yes, that's pretty much it.

  • More to come on that in the next weeks :-)

  • Gezim, it is fair to say that most jurisdictions (and their legal systems) are wrestling with how to deal with disputes and enforcement in smart contracts. A quick Google search on 'smart contract dispute resolution" will get you many law firms offering mediation services, so far not much has been tested in the courts or in the regulatory space. Here's a...

  • JP, It's correct that blockchain records are immutable, and append-only, which means they can only be added to and can't be (easily) changed retrospectively, but the analogy of a 'double entry' ledger as we understand it in accounting doesn't really hold up. Blockchain is rather a way of storing facts about something (metadata about an artwork, transactions in...

  • We need to draw a distinction between 'smart contract' and 'legal contract'. 'Smart Contracts' are usefully thought of as 'automated transactions'/ They might look and feel like contracts at law insofar as they are about agreements to do something (pay for and receive goods, or title to an asset for example), but it is still quite possible for a smart contract...

  • Hi JP. Bang on there - "smart contracts" are (at least so far) best suited to automating routine transactions and things like routine reporting. The compliance part (which is essentially about someone checking that what someone else did or said is correct, because of lack of trust) is a huge cost to the global economy and one that can be greatly reduced when...

  • Ben the 'smart contract' itself is a package of instructions that is encoded in a blockchain, and when it's executed, information about its execution is also coded and stored 'on chain' . The phrase 'sits on top of' is a bit loose in a literal sense but we use it for convenience.

  • Lex, what we see emerging is cross-protocol or cross-chain exchange rates (and exchange rates between cryptos and fiat), but not quite in a way than can be captured by purchasing power parity - it's a bit too early to make a call about how much sense 'Burgernomics' will make in a DeFi world.

  • Les, there will always be risk, and 'caveat emptor' will always apply just as it does now.

  • Hi Ben, through the design of the inherent consensus mechanisms in a blockchain that depend on cryptographic algorithms, We'd argue that 'trust' isn't really implicit at all, it's explicit. But yes to your question, there are different chain designs that do the 'trust' in different ways. And new ways emerging all of the time.

  • That's correct - in your scenario if/when delivery occurs and is confirmed, payment is triggered (that's generally the case although it depends on the 'rules' encoded in the smart contract, there is scope for variation depending on the needs of each counterparty)

  • Hi David, the difference is in where your trust is placed. In traditional finance, or CeFi, - Centralised Finance - as we like to call it, you make a decision to trust the intermediary or intermediaries standing between your and your counterparty handling and your transaction for you (eg banks, exchanges, clearing houses etc), in which effectively only one or...

  • Stuart Thomas made a comment

    So many to choose from...Penicillin...the stump-jump plough...the Hills Hoist...GM crops...I could go on. But the greatest of all time? I'll say TRADE.