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The Weekend Read: April 17

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This week's Weekend Read is brought to you by R3's Jo Lang

After an eventful week of NeuCoins and Buttercoins, I woke up this morning to find out that the IBM Institute released their executive report, “Empowering the Edge: Insights on a decentralized Internet of Things (IoT)”. This inspired me to focus this week on all things IoT – including smart contracts, blockchains, and device democracy.

1. How Smart are They Really?

Smart contracts are often hailed as the key to building the panacea that will be the Internet of Things. Some descriptions of smart contracts closely resemble those of HAL from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey. Practical and articulate as ever, Richard Brown describes a smart contracts as “an event-driven program, with state, which runs on a replicated, shared ledger and which can take custody over assets on that ledger”.

Now the time has come where we need to start testing our hypotheses. Alex Batlin’s findings are both promising and sobering at the same time.

2.  Behind Every Smart Contract is a Blockchain

It’s no secret that IBM and Samsung’s shared belief in the potential of blockchain and desire to own the “Internet of Things” has spawned the development of ADEPT ("Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry") In their newly published paper, IBM explains why building the internet of things must begin with the “Blockchain-of-Things (BoT)”.

“Applying the blockchain concept to the world of IoT offers fascinating possibilities. As soon as a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life…The possibility of maintaining product information, history, product revisions, warranty details and end-of-life in the blockchain means the blockchain itself can become the trusted product database.”

3.   “A chicken in every pot. A car in every garage”  (Herbert Hoover, the 1928 Republican presidential campaign)

In 2013 and 2014 Gartner placed Internet of Things at the top of their Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. Expectations are so high that not only will there be no “fridge left behind” but also we will see the rise of device democracy. As the cost of computing continues to decrease, more and more individuals will have access to devices that will empower them to participate and transact in the global economy. Oft cited examples are decreasing the cost of banking the 3 Billion+ unbanked and managing a fair and efficient election process.

4.  In Honor of April 15th

The IRS published a guide for those of us wondering how we were going to report our Bitcoin-gotten gains (and losses)…

...In the meantime I’m wondering whether my fridge is #TeamHillary or not.