Steve Wozniak crypto invest summit

Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak might have called blockchain a “bubble” earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a fan of the technology. In fact, he referred to Bitcoin as “just amazing” and cites Ethereum as one project that will live on beyond the hype.

Wozniak has since announced his involvement in a blockchain company. Though he was quick to explain that it was not an ICO, but an investment company working on real estate and other blockchain projects.

Steve Wozniak is now scheduled to speak at Crypto Invest Summit (CIS) which kicks off October 22nd in Los Angeles.

Block Explorer is proud to work alongside CIS as a media partner. For more details on the Crypto Invest Summit, and other upcoming events, please see our Conference Schedule calendar.

steve wozniak crypto invest summit

*PRESS RELEASE*

BLOCKCHAIN COMMUNITY BANDS TOGETHER TO LAUNCH THE FIRST-EVER LOS ANGELES BLOCKCHAIN WEEK

The West Coast’s largest crypto conference bands together with other local organizers, universities, entrepreneurs and investors to connect global blockchain community.

LOS ANGELES, CA, September 13, 2018 — Crypto Invest Summit, StartEngine Summit, Women of Crypto, Expert Dojo, UCLA, and USC have come together to announce Los Angeles’ first Blockchain Week happening on October 19th-25th. They are offering a pass that gives access to ALL official LA Blockchain Week events at one low price at LABlockchainWeek.org.

In a joint statement, Alon Goren and Josef Holm, founders of Crypto Invest Summit and early-stage investment fund GHV said, “Los Angeles is one of the world’s top blockchain and crypto eco-systems. Our goal has always been to bring the best deals in the world to our investors and introduce the best entrepreneurs in LA to investors from around the world. Creating a week-long festival-like environment gives even more incentive for the world to come and join us.”

Every Crypto Invest Summit at the Los Angeles Convention Center, thousands of investors and entrepreneurs from around the world flock to Los Angeles to meet and make deals. This time around, for their October event, Goren and Holm met with other local event organizers, entrepreneurs, investors and educators and in a truly collaborative fashion, decided to plan a whole week’s worth of conferences and activities related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Adam Levy, Co-President of USC’s Trojan Blockchain Society, mentions, “It’s great to see everyone cross-collaborate with each other and the overwhelming passion for contributing to Los Angeles’s innovation footprint. LA Blockchain Week is bound to be one of the most informative weeks our community has ever encountered in this space.” Howard Marks, CEO of StartEngine Summit, added, “Los Angeles Blockchain Week will be a major event for the crypto marketplace bringing together all of the leaders from around the world.”

When it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, startups and entrepreneurs are not the only players in the space, as educational institutions and academic researchers inspire much of the action. UCLA and USC both have blockchain organizations that are partners in LA Blockchain Week.

“Blockchain at UCLA is excited to join LA’s inaugural Blockchain Week,” said Veronica Reynolds, Co-founder of Blockchain at UCLA. “Blockchain at UCLA strives to provide high-quality education and networking opportunities to students, and undertakes research and consulting work, so we can’t think of a better way to continue developing our community than by participating in this ground-breaking citywide collaboration of blockchain professionals.”

“We envision USC at the forefront of blockchain tech, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to promote education in this space even further by partnering with LA Blockchain Week,” said Daniel Aghachi, Founder and Co-President of Trojan Blockchain Society. “Trojan Blockchain Society encourages adoption through collaboration, therefore partnering with these high-impact series of events to ensure our community receives quality content and the best career development opportunities is a no-brainer,” added Adam Levy, Co-President of Trojan Blockchain Society.

Some of LA Blockchain Week’s incredible speaker lineup includes Steve Wozniak from Apple, investor Tim Draper, Rodney Sampson from Opportunity Hub, Crystal Rose from Sense, Former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, Nadia Hewitt from World Economic Forum, David Bleznak from Totle, Amanda Gutterman from ConsenSys, and Matt Leisin from Bloomberg.

About LA Blockchain Week: Los Angeles Blockchain Week is a collaborative effort of the Los Angeles Blockchain and Cryptocurrency community to create a week-long program of events including Crypto Invest Summit, StartEngine Summit, Women of Crypto, UCLA Blockchain Lab and USC’s Trojan Blockchain Society.

a highway at night with speeding cars
  • Ripple has partnered with 120 banks, but none of them are yet using the XRP token.
  • xRapid will change that, using Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP to settle payments.
  • Ripple’s Sagar Sarbhai says xRapid will go live in the “next month or so”

Ripple’s astonishing rise in 2017 was driven by its partnerships with banks like Santander, American Express, and Western Union. However, most people misunderstood one thing:

The banks aren’t actually using the cryptocurrency XRP yet.

That might be about to change as Ripple prepares to push the button on its XRP product, xRapid. Ripple’s Sagar Sarbhai, told CNBC that xRapid will go live in the “next month or so.”

“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production.” Sagar Sarbhai.

But what is xRapid and how does it use cryptocurrency? First, let’s clear up a few terms.

The Difference Between Ripple and XRP

Ripple is a company that aims to speed up cross-border payments. Ripple has partnered with over 100 banks and boasts a range of  money transfer services using blockchain and cryptocurrency.

XRP is the cryptocurrency created by Ripple. It is not currently used by banks, but it’s a big part of their future plans and the forthcoming xRapid service.

The Current State of Ripple’s Bank Partnerships

Ripple has so far partnered with more than 120 banks and money services. As you know, it traditionally takes days to send money abroad (and the fees are enormous). Ripple aims to speed up the process and eliminate fees.

A list of Ripple bank partnerships and logos

Most of the partnered banks are using a Ripple service called xCurrent. It uses blockchain technology to help banks make faster payments and communicate better.

But it does not use XRP to settle transactions. That’s where phase two comes in: xRapid.

What Is xRapid?

xRapid aims to make those transactions even faster and cheaper. Most importantly, it does use XRP to settle the money transfer.

XPR is used as a “bridge currency” in the process.

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say Bob lives in the UK and wants to send £1,000 to Alice in India.

Using xRapid, Bob’s bank instantly transfers the £1,000 into cryptocurrency, XRP. It is sent to India in seconds where it is transferred to rupees.

The fees are almost zero and the whole process takes four seconds.

Had Bob used the traditional bank system, it would take days and cost him a large fee.

a depiction of how Ripple xRapid works
Source: Falling Grace

xRapid: An End to Nostro Accounts

The description above is a very quick outline of how xRapid works, but there’s a reason why it’s so powerful:

Banks need liquidity (i.e. lots of available money) to make a foreign exchange. And the current way they source liquidity is wildly inefficient.

Let’s go back to Bob and Alice. To send money to India using the traditional system, Bob’s UK bank needs a “nostro account” in India. The nostro account is pre-funded with millions in local currency. (This is the liquidity).

The money is exchanged through the bank’s nostro account before being sent to Alice’s bank in India.

Banks have pre-funded nostro accounts like this in every country with a different currency to facilitate cross-border transfers. It’s expensive and incredibly inefficient.

By switching the local nostro accounts for a digital cryptocurrency, there’s no need for bank accounts full of foreign currency all over the world. It’s faster, cheaper and more efficient.

Got It. But Are Banks Using xRapid?

No. Not yet, anyway.

The vast majority are using xCurrent, but Ripple is trying to nudge them towards xRapid. Some banks have begun testing the xRapid product and reported 40-70% savings.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that “dozens of banks” will be using xRapid by the end of 2019.

But it’s a big task. As Ripple’s Sagar Sarbhai explained, “a couple of years ago the narrative was: blockchain good, crypto bad.” Banks were open to blockchain technology, but wary of using cryptocurrency to settle payments.

Sarbhai says that’s beginning to change.

“I think that narrative thankfully is now changing because policymakers, regulators are seeing that there is a strong benefit that digital assets, cryptocurrencies bring in.”

xRapid to Go Live in the “Next Month or so”

This is the moment that most XRP holders have been waiting for. xRapid is considered Ripple’s silver bullet because it actively uses the XRP token to settle payments.

If banks do adopt xRapid, the volume (and price) of XRP is likely to increase dramatically.

Let’s look at this way. If xRapid replaced just 1% of the current international bank transfers through SWIFT, the daily volume of XRP would increase 250x.

We’ll keep you posted if and when xRapid is finally deployed.

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There are 17.3 million bitcoins in circulation right now. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever exist which means there are just 3.7 million bitcoins left to be created, or “mined”. However, the question of how many bitcoins are there is much more complicated. Millions have been lost or stolen, making it difficult to pinpoint how many bitcoins are left.

21 million: maximum number of bitcoins that will ever exist

17.3 million: number of bitcoins currently in circulation

3.7 million: number of bitcoins left to be “mined.”

4 Million Bitcoins Are Lost Forever

Theoretically, 17 million bitcoins are out there already, but almost a quarter are gone forever. In the early days of bitcoin, millions were accidentally lost. They were forgotten on hard drives or lost on paper wallets. One man threw away 7,500 bitcoins on an old hard-drive. (People were much less careful about storing cryptocurrencies when they were only worth a few cents each).

infographic depicting the number of bitcoins lost

It’s estimated that up to 3.79 million bitcoins are gone forever (almost a quarter of those currently in circulation). That’s $23.9 billion worth based on today’s price.

5 Million Bitcoins Are Held by a Handful of “Whale” Investors

Then there are the enormous hoards of bitcoin stashed away by early investors. According to Chainalysis, five million bitcoins belong to just 1,600 wealthy people. They’re known as “whales” because they own enough bitcoin to make a splash on the market when they buy or sell.

Among these whales, we know that Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto is estimated to have nearly 1 million bitcoins in his digital wallet. And the Winklevoss twins own 1% of all bitcoin in circulation.

So if we take into account 4 million “lost” bitcoins and 5 million “whale” bitcoins, that only leaves about 8 million bitcoins left on the open market.

1 Million Bitcoins Are Stolen

But wait, what about stolen bitcoins? 850,000 bitcoins were stolen in the infamous Mt. Gox hack and at least 150,000 were taken in 2016 from the Bitfinex exchange. Many thousands more have been stolen in smaller heists.

While these coins are not lost, they are probably held by thieves and not circulating on the open market.

That leaves around 7 million available bitcoins. To put that into perspective, there aren’t enough freely available bitcoins for each person in New York.

Only 21 Million Bitcoins Will Ever Exist

One of the key features of bitcoin is that only 21 million can ever exist. This number is hard-coded into the system. We are scheduled to hit this hard-cap in the year 2140.

How does it work?

In simple terms, bitcoin is created by a process called “mining.” Without getting too technical, miners are responsible for processing transactions. They are rewarded with bitcoins for doing so.

Miners produce a “block” of transactions every 10 minutes. In return, they get 12.5 bitcoins.

This is how bitcoins enter circulation.

1,800 Bitcoins Are Created Every Day (For Now…)

If a block takes 10 minutes to process and miners get 12.5 BTC per block, that means 1,800 bitcoins enter circulation every day.

However, that number is set to get smaller and smaller over the next century due to a process called “halving.”

Bitcoin Creation Is Halved Every Four Years

When bitcoin was first created, miners were rewarded 50 bitcoins (BTC) for every block,

That reward is halved roughly every four years (after every 210,000 blocks mined).

It was first halved in 2012 (to 25 BTC) and then again in 2016 (to 12.5 BTC).

In other words, the supply of bitcoins will become increasingly limited.

After 64 halvings, we’ll hit the 21 million BTC cap. At this point, no more bitcoins will be created.

bitcoin supply and halving chart
Chart source: bitcoin.it/wiki

81% of Bitcoins Already Exist

Because of the halving system, the vast majority of bitcoins have already been created.

There are only 3.7 million bitcoins left to be mined, but it will take over 100 years to get create them.

What Happens When All Bitcoins Are Mined?

When we hit the 21 million cap, miners will no longer be rewarded directly for processing the blocks. Instead, they’ll be paid a transaction fee for each block they process.

In other words, miners will still receive a payment or incentive to maintain the blockchain.

How Does Bitcoin Supply Compare to Ethereum and Ripple (XRP)?

Coin creation and supply is one thing that separates bitcoin from other cryptocurrencies like ethereum and ripple XRP.

While the bitcoin supply is capped at 21 million, ethereum has no cap. There are already more than 100 million ethereum tokens in circulation. Having said, ether supply is capped at 18 million per year.

Ripple XRP, the third largest cryptocurrency, does have a hard cap of 100 billion, but they already exist. Every XRP token was created at once at inception, so they aren’t mined like bitcoin.

Conclusion: Bitcoin Supply Is Incredibly Limited

Bitcoin is scarce. Only 21 million will ever exist – a considerably smaller number than rival coins. Not only that, but millions are already lost, stolen, or hodled away by early investors.

Couple that with an ever-diminishing supply and there is simply not that much bitcoin left on the open market.

city skyline banks goldman sachs crypto trading

This week was dominated by rumors that Goldman Sachs has ditched plans for a crypto trading desk, sending crypto prices into a panic. But this is actually good news. Goldman Sachs is instead focusing on a safe, long-term crypto strategy rather than volatile trading.

Bitcoin traders threw themselves into a panic on Wednesday as the market collapsed beneath them.

Bitcoin fell 13% in a day. Altcoins fell as much as 20%. Ethereum hit its lowest price in 12 months.

While other factors were at play for the selloff, many blamed Goldman Sachs, which reportedly sidelined plans for a crypto trading desk.

The Long-Rumored Goldman Sachs Crypto Trading Desk

Goldman Sachs began eying up bitcoin in October 2017. Rumors of a trading desk emerged after they hired Justin Schmidt, a veteran crypto trader. An official from the bank said they were looking into bitcoin possibilities after receiving interest from clients.

This news was among the flurry of optimism that sent bitcoin to $20,000 last winter.

However, nothing was confirmed. In fact, Goldman Sachs distanced itself from crypto trading in January when CEO Lloyd Blankfein said day-to-day trading was not the bank’s priority for crypto. Instead, they would consider buying bitcoin futures contracts for some of its clients.

So Wednesday’s news shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Clearing up the Rumors

To be clear, Goldman Sachs has not ruled out the possibility of a crypto trading desk. The bank’s CFO even called the recent rumors “fake news.”

“I never thought I would hear myself use this term but I really have to describe that news as fake news.” Martin Chavez, CFO.

The bank is not ditching its plans. A crypto trading desk has simply moved down the priority list while they look at better ways to work with bitcoin.

So What Exactly is Goldman Sachs Doing in Crypto?

Right now, the bank is helping its clients get into crypto by executing bitcoin futures contracts. Bitcoin futures are a way of betting on the future price movements. Goldman Sachs is using the bank’s money (“providing liquidity”) to do this.

At the same time, they are working on some form of derivative for bitcoin. A derivative is like an exchange-traded fund (ETF); an easy investing product that would track the price of bitcoin.

A Safe Way to Store Crypto

Most importantly, Goldman Sachs is working on a custody solution that would allow institutional investors to store millions of dollars in crypto safely.

“Physical bitcoin is something tremendously interesting, and tremendously challenging… From the perspective of custody, we don’t yet see an institutional-grade custodial solution for bitcoin, we’re interested in having that exist and it’s a long road.” Martin Chavez, CFO

Good News for Bitcoin

Don’t believe the panic. Goldman Sachs’ strategy is a sound and sensible way to approach bitcoin.

Goldman first needs to prove it can store bitcoin safely. Can you imagine if Goldman Sachs’ bitcoin accounts were hacked? A custody solution is a necessary first step before traditional investors trust their money to a relatively new phenomenon.

Secondly, the bank’s focus on bitcoin futures and derivatives reveals a long-term approach to trading. They are taking cryptocurrencies seriously. They’re looking to build products their investors understand.

It’s no wonder a crypto trading desk is low on the priority list. They simply don’t yet have the infrastructure to store and handle millions in daily, physical bitcoin trades.

Not only that, but high-volume, daily trading at a Goldman Sachs trading desk would introduce yet more volatility to a volatile market.

Wall Street Isn’t Ready for Crypto Yet

Although Wall Street is dabbling in bitcoin, it’s not yet ready to fully embrace it. As we have seen with bitcoin ETF rejections, Wall Street adoption will take time. But, rest assured, the foundations are being laid.

“When we talked about exploring digital assets that it was going to be exploration that would be evolving over time… Maybe someone who was thinking about our activities here got very excited that we would be making markets as principal and physical bitcoin, and as they got into it they realized part of the evolution but it’s not here yet.” Martin Chavez, CFO.

Wall Street is getting on board, but this will not happen overnight. Patience is key.

a large crowd at cryptocurrency conference

Block Explorer scours the globe for the best crypto conferences and events every month. In September, it’s all about London with at least five events taking place in the British capital. You’ll find a complete list of events at our Conference Schedule, but for now, let’s look at some of the best conferences this September.

Blockchain Live
London, September 26th

blockchain live conference logo

Blockchain Live has the most star-studded lineup of the month. Speakers include Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin (now founder of ConsenSys), Nick Szabo (who created smart contracts), representatives from Ripple and EOS, and a member of the European Parliament.

There are nine different “stages” to explore, including blockchain, C-suite, fintech, government, development, product, crypto, energy and creative. Your experience at the conference is entirely tailored to your profession, whether you’re a developer, investor, industry expert or public sector work.

Key speakers: Joseph Lubin (ConsenSys), Nick Szabo (smart contracts inventor) Brendan Blumer (Block.one), Michael Alexander (EOS), Eva Kaili (European Parliament)

View Blockchain Live in calendar schedule.

Token Fest
Boston, September 13-14th

token fest conference logo

Token Fest is a huge networking event for anyone in the blockchain space. Entrepreneurs, developers, and CEOs are all welcome. Talking points include how to apply crypto economics to the world around us, how to crowdfund new tokens and the commercial use of blockchain.

Attendees include representatives from Ripple, Steemit, Ledger as well as Nike, Google and Facebook.

Key speakers: Jeremy Allaire (Circle), Jon Najarian (trader and member of NYSE, CBOE).

View Token Fest in calendar schedule.

Digital Identity Summit
LA, September 12-14

digital summit identity conference logo

The Digital Identity Summit is all about privacy, fraud and security. It takes a broader view across the financial industry, but expect plenty of discussion on blockchain technology. Ideal for business leaders and managers.

Key speakers: Rees Atlas (Coinbase), Kara Swisher (Recode).

View Digital Identity Summit in calendar schedule.

CryptoBlockCon
London, September 25th

Cryptoblockcon conference logo

CryptoBlockCon is a one-day event aimed at bringing the best minds in blockchain together. The agenda focuses heavily on ICOs (from kickstarting a campaign to successful case studies). There are also some more technical demonstrations, such as building smarter smart contracts.

Don’t worry if you miss the September event. CryptoBlockCon is a global affair, with conferences coming up in Las Vegas in December and Los Angeles in April 2019. Finally, check out our interview with CryptoBlockCon co-founder CJ Smith.

Key speakers: Hartej Sawhney (Hosho), Jeremy Gardner (Blockchain Capital)

View CryptoBlockCon in calendar schedule.

DevChain
London, 28th September

Devchain conference logo

This conference is for developers only. So if you want to get your geek on, talk coding and smart contracts, this is where you need to be. The conference is built around active workshops and insightful talks. It’s a relatively small event compared to some of the others on this list, but this is where the future of blockchain development is happening.

View DevChain in calendar schedule.