Well, it’s Friday, and I consider Fridays holidays. Only 52 of them a year! I feel great. Got a good workout in the morning, and now I’m sharing some of the amazing things I learned at INDEX CONF. So, let’s get to the point. My favorite parts of Index Conference. Disclaimer: this will cover public speaking, blockchain, and other random thoughts, in that order.
Learning Quantum Computing with CATS
Yup, you heard that right. James Weaver or JavaFXpert DESTORYED it with his presentation. And he used a lot of cats. Grumpy and Happy cats to be exact. The thing that impressed me the most about his session was not his material. Sure, his material was really good. But a lot of people have good material. It was his crowd engagement and presence that I really admire.
Right from the get go, he did something different. He took a selfie. He got everyone engaged. His overall tone and the way he spoke was very easy to understand, digest, and learn from.
Towards the end of the presentation he made a reference to a rock album which I haven’t heard of, then superimposed images of Einstein, Podolksy, and Rosen, to make a hilarious rendition of the album cover.
He took famous personalities from the quantum world, and created something brilliant to both teach and entertain. You may be thinking,
“Nice, he made a funny, what’s the big deal?”
But I really do think things like this make a presentation stand out. Especially after sitting through hours of technical material. He both taught AND entertained. Not only that, he broke down the EXTREMELY complicated concept of quantum computing into simple terms. I’ll remember this presentation, and the material, forever. Okay. Let’s switch gears. TO BLOCKCHAIN!!!!
Since my name is Horea Blockchain after all, this talk got me really excited. If you have been developing blockchain applications, surely you have heard of Ethereum. It’s arguably the platform that made smart contracts famous. Which, after all, is really what is revolutionary about blockchain. It’s the ability to ensure trust with digital transactions. Before the evolutions in cryptography there were major barriers for using bits to represent value:
How do I know the money is not counterfeit?
How do I know that the digital money can only be spent once? i.e. the “double-spend” problem.
Cryptographic digital signatures, along with appropriate architecture (such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Hyperledger), prove the ownership of an asset. Now, before we get into how Ethereum will be integrated with Hyperledger, we need to learn a bit of how Ethereum and the Ethereum Virtual Machine works.
Ethereum and the Virtual Machine
The Ethereum platform is designed to allow developers to write decentralized apps and smart contracts with high-level languages such as Solidity, LLL, and Serpent. As a side note, the EVM or the Ethereum Virtual Machine is what handles the computation. After you write your smart contract code, the compiler will then take care of creating bytecode. Once the EVM-bytecode is created, it is used on the Ethereum network in conjunction with ‘gas’ or monetary incentive for the network miners, to execute transactions.
Hyperledger + Ethereum = !!!
So now that we have written our smart contract and have our EVM-bytecode, we are ready to update and access the ledger that is on the Hyperledger network. This proof of concept handles using that EVM-bytecode to talk to a shim which will then access and update the ledger. I will not go into more details about the implementation, but if you want to learn more, visit this design doc. The implications of this integration are immense! This means that smart contracts that are already written on the Ethereum platform can be migrated and used in a private, business network blockchain. Not only that, but if you are already comfortable writing smart contracts on the Ethereum platform and want to create an app with Hyperledger, you can simply migrate those smart contracts over. I am truly excited to see where this Proof of Concept goes, and what others will build with it.
Okay, it’s getting late, and I do want to enjoy my Friday night, SO I will have to cut this a bit short. I just want to end with the fact that some of the most memorable parts of Index Conference were the conversations. Just because you are not at a session, doesn’t mean you are missing out. Anyways, I’m going to enjoy the holiday, and recharge for next week. Horea Blockchain out. Horea Ping-Pong in!