Articles contenant le tag Bitcoin

HackthebankParis first edition : a quick summary

We all gathered on a gloomy November Saturday morning for the first edition of HackTheBank in Paris.

I took part of the organization with the folks from La Mutinerie,  OpenBankProject and Anatec (a Paris based quantitative portfolio management tool).

We were around 50 people (I have to admit mostly men). I was really happy to see that we had teams coming from Berlin and London. Thank you very much to all the participants.

You can see the ambiance of the day thanks to that quick video (thank youy Masha for filming and editing)

quick video summary of HackThebank Paris #1


The day started with a presentation of the API providers that were kind enough to send people to present the API and help the teams during the day.

The APIs present were : Mangopay (a white label wallet for C2C marketplaces),  The CurrencyCloud (and API for currency exchange), Mailjet a mail sending API, CozyCloud (a personal cloud with PFM capabilities) , OpenBankProject (an opensource middleware for large banks), Nexmo an SMS API and last but not least the great new API by the team of Webshell to easily manage the Oauth authentication.

After the presentation it was time for the quick pitch to promote the project they wanted to work on for the day. After some exchanges and discussions we had 10 teams ready to code the projects for the rest of the day:

  • PayFair : a group splitting payment solution with a nice trick. If you’re late paying back your friends, you pay interests. Those interests then go to an NGO, choice of the one that advanced the funds.
  •  The standard and Poors of Cryptocurrency. With the explosion of  cryptocurrencies (yes there is other cryptocurrencies and not only Bitcoin), we’ll need trusted third party to rate the level of trust in those currencies.
  • Trigger : the ifttt of bank accounts. A nicely designed automatic banking alogorithm. Used Anatec, Mangopay, And they made a nice presentation

Trigger, HackTheBankParis1

  • Naabu : a recurring payment solution but more built towards the consumer market. Project looked good but unfortunately the team gave up before the presentation because of a long party the night before. Thank you for coming and building stuff anyway.
  • Tutorsbox : Bitcoin as a bonus for student. Tutorsbox is a whiteboard tool for students. During the hackaton they worked on the development of an incentive for students based on bitcoins;
  • Uses Mangopay, mailjet, coinbase, mtgox APIs.
  • Currency Holyday : A nice group paying application for groups that go on holyday in a foreign country. Managed the “I owe You” between the different members and of course the currency exchange as 2 of the team members where from the Currency Cloud. Used, Mangopay and The Currency Cloud.
  • Opentax : just give your bank account details to a PFM, it will get how much you pay in Taxes and then tells you how much of your taxes went to education or military. Nice job by a developer that was alone.
  • Toutestrelatif : same idea with OpenTax but here you can compare how much you earn with how much is earning let’s say a nurse in Russia or Tiger Woods. Cool idea by the team of Cozycloud.
  • Living : a team of 3 developers that came directly from London and worked on a really nice banking interface that remind me of Simple. The demo they showed us looked really nice. They came to test different APIs like OpenBankProject or TheCurrencyCloud. And this is the main goal of a hackaton, play around with different APIs you can test for different projects.
  • Transaction Search : Finally Simon from OpenBankProject showed us his  afternoon work with search on large number of banking transactions thanks to the Amazon Elastic cloud API.

All the projects are available here ( ) and all the team that participated are welcome, if they want, to add anything related to their project (Github, screenshot…)

For the final presentation of the projects we even had some guests that came from the innovation department of different large banks to see the ideas of the day. We then had some wine and food and networked for the rest of the evening.

I want to thank all the participants that took on their private time to come to the events, all the people that helped in the organization of the event and of course all the sponsors that paid for the food, drinks and venue :

  •  MangoPay a white label wallet for marketplaces
  •  the Paris Fiancial services cluster that sponsored and one of the member of the team was here most of the day. Thank you
  • XAnge Private Equity : a VC fund based in Paris and Munich investing in tech company and in FinTech companies (and it is my employer so thank you to my boss!)
  • Mailjet : a cloud emailing platform that support most of the hackaton in Paris!
  • TheFamily : the « coolest » Paris based accelerator program.

I really hope everyone was happy with the day they spent. On my side I had a great day and of course we did not have groundbreaking startup or ideas that came out of the day but that is not the idea. The idea is to have a bunch of people gathering for a full day, networking and testing different APIs. The idea is to have business partnership starting, the idea is to roll the dices as much as possible.

Long live the #Fintech scene !

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Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, why?

The WINKLEVOSS brothers are long on Bitcoin. They said it several time and they hold a large chunk of Bitcoins (around 1% of the market cap ==> around 10M$ according to this Techcrunch article).

Well they just announced filing for a 20m$ IPO for the WINKLEVOSS BITCOIN TRUST an investment vehicle that will mimic the bitcoin value. Here is the IPO document on the SEC website (full of analysis of the bitcoin ecosystem). They want to create a sort of mutual fund where investors can buy sharse of the fund that will mimic the value of a Bitcoin

Extract from the Prospectus :

Trust Structure

The Trust is a common law trust, formed on [ ], 2013 under New York law pursuant to the Trust Agreement between the Sponsor and the Trustee (“Trust Agreement”), which sets forth the respective rights and duties of the Sponsor and the Trustee and establishes the segregated custody account of the Trust that will be used to hold the Bitcoins deposited with the Trust (“Trust Custody Account”). The Trust holds “Bitcoins,” a digital commodity based on an open source cryptographic protocol existing on the online, end-user-to-end-user network hosting the public transaction ledger, known as the “Blockchain,” and the source code comprising the basis for the cryptographic and algorithmic protocols governing the issuance of and transactions in Bitcoins (the “Bitcoin Network”). The Trust is expected from time to time to issue Baskets in exchange for deposits of Bitcoins and to distribute Bitcoins in connection with redemptions of Baskets. The investment objective of the Trust is for the Shares to reflect the performance of a weighted average price of Bitcoins (“Blended Bitcoin Price”), less the Trust’s expenses. The Sponsor believes that, for many investors, the Shares will represent a cost-effective and convenient means to access exposure to Bitcoins. The material terms of the Trust Agreement are discussed in greater detail under the section “Description of the Trust Agreement.” The Shares represent units of fractional undivided beneficial interest in and ownership of the Trust and are expected to be traded under the ticker symbol “[TICKER]” on the [EXCHANGE].


The Trustee is [TRUSTEE]. In its capacity as trustee of the Trust, the Trustee is generally responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Trust. This includes (1) transferring the Trust’s Bitcoins as needed to pay the remuneration due to the Sponsor (“Sponsor’s Fee”) in Bitcoins (such Bitcoins transfers are expected to occur approximately monthly in the ordinary course), (2) calculating the NAV of the Trust and the NAV per Share, (3) receiving and processing orders from Authorized Participants to create and redeem Baskets and coordinating the processing of such orders with The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), (4) transferring the Trust’s Bitcoins as needed to pay any extraordinary Trust expenses that are not assumed by the Sponsor and (5) selling the Trust’s remaining Bitcoins at termination of the Trust and distributing the cash proceeds to the owners of beneficial interests in the Shares (“Shareholders”) of record.

why are they creating that fund and raising investors money through an IPO, what’s their strategy? Here is my take :

  • They think there is a demand for bitcoin but the market is not liquid enough and easy to access for the main street crowd. By creating shares of a Trust they allow investors to ride the bitcoin wave (represented by its exchange rate) with regular investment accounts. The value of the stock will mimic the value of bitcoin. The business model will be one of a fund with management fees.  My opinion is that this fund/Trust structure adds layers of fee and intermediary where I don’t see a real value delivered.  I think I would rather have a Bitcoin ETF even though I have no idea on how to build one or even if it is possible. Moreover it is not that complicated to buy Bitcoins eventhough there are sometimes liquidity issues.
  • Since they own a large number of BitCoins, they also want to see the value of bitcoin going north. It’s been stable around the 100$ level for the last 2 months. If the twins manage to raise 20M$ through the IPO, they’ll buy Bitcoins and boost the price up  by pouring 20M$ in the Bitcoin asset class. Today the market cap of the total bitcoin mass is 1 B$ (there is roughly 11.3 M Bitcoins created so far : 11.2M * 97$ = 1.04 Billion $ of market cap). So with 20M$, roughly 2% of the market cap, can they move the price up? well I don’t know. Maybe they also think that bringing more media attention and a “legal” framework will push the value of Bitcoin up.
  • Maddof style? Or maybe, they just found a quick way to make a 10M$ profit, by selling their own Bitcoins to the fund investors for 10M$ and then keep the other 10, like @Beautyon_ mentioned in his tweet.

I don’t have a high level of trust with the Winklevoss twins. Maybe I am wrong and it is only because of the movie and the overall « bad » image the brothers have. So I don’t know if I would invest in that found. It is not that complicated to buy Bitcoins through the different marketplace out there. I don’t really see the Lire la suite »

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Bitcoin : le système monétaire de l’ère du web

L’actualité très récente a mis Bitcoin sur le devant de la scène. Alors que la valeur du Bitcoin a dépassé les 100€, des acteurs de l’écosystème Bitcoin subissent des attaques ou des difficultés à fournir leur service. Il en résulte que tous les gros sites internet finissent par parler de Bitcoin, qui fait même la une du Financial Times aujourd’hui 4 avril 2013 !

Cela faisait très longtemps que je voulais écrire un billet sur Bitcoin, je profite donc de cette crise d’euphorie autour du Bitcoin pour me donner un coup de pied aux fesses et tenter de résumé dans ce billet ce que je sais du Bitcoin. Si de vrais Bitcoiners me lisent, pardonnez s’il vous plait par avance mes simplifications. L’article ne sera pas complet et ne rentrera pas dans les détails du fonctionnement du Bitcoin mais tente plutôt d’en décrire les grands principes.

Le Bitcoin qu’est ce que c’est ?

Bitcoin, c’est

-          un réseau alternatif de traitement des transactions sur internet,

-          utilisant une monnaie autonome,

-          P2P,

-          open source,

-          prévisible et mathématique.

Le mot bitcoin désigne à la fois les unités de compte qui circulent sur le réseau bitcoin et le réseau lui-même, qui permet de transmettre et de valider les transactions en bitcoin. C’est de ce point que vient beaucoup de confusions.

Je répète Bitcoin c’est :

  • une monnaie, c’est-à-dire une unité de compte  qui permet de stocker de la valeur, d’échanger des biens ou services. Tout comme le sont le $ ou l’€. Cette monnaie a un cours fixé par le marché et c’est ce cours qui est en train d’exploser et qui fait la une des journaux… Cette monnaie n’a pas d’émetteur central et est donc très différente des monnaies complémentaires qui ont existé jusqu’à présent et où il y a toujours un organisme central qui a la main sur le robinet de monnaie (les miles des compagnies aériennes, les Facebook Credit, les World of Warcraft $…).
  • Mais bitcoin est aussi (et surtout) un protocole de paiement décentralisé (P2P) : pour faire simple c’est Visa/Mastercard rencontre Bittorrent. A la différence de Visa/Mastercard ou Paypal qui sont des réseaux de paiements centralisés où celui qui paye et celui qui est payé doivent adhérer au réseau, avec Bitcoin, nous sommes face à un vrai réseau Peer to Peer où je peux payer un tiers sans passer par un point central. C’est bien dans ce réseau de transaction que réside toute la puissance de Bitcoin. Le réseau Bitcoin est une alternative libre et ouverte aux réseaux d’acceptations de paiements qui sont un oligopole de Visa, Mastercard, Paypal et des banques.

Dans la suite du billet j’insisterai plus sur cette vision de réseau de paiement de Bitcoin plutôt que dans la notion de monnaie/or numérique qu’est le Bitcoin même si c’est cet axe qui intéresse actuellement les spéculateurs (dont j’avoue faire parti) et les journalistes.

Concrètement que peut-on faire avec le réseau Bitcoin ?

Aujourd’hui lorsque vous payez en ligne, en donnant votre numéro de carte, vous donnez l’autorisation à un tiers de venir tirer l’argent sur votre compte. A chaque fois que vous achetez en ligne vous diffusez donc un point d’entrée vers votre compte en banque. Avec le protocole Bitcoin, on parle de « Push payment » ou encore de « cash numérique ». S’il y a « coin » dans le nom c’est bien pour une raison, lorsque vous avez un bitcoin vous avez physiquement la pièce sur votre support (ordinateur, téléphone…).  Je veux payer Amazon je leur envoie 20€ pour un livre. Littéralement j’envoie de l’argent (des bitcoins) de mon compte bitcoin vers leur compte bitcoin. Exactement comme à la librairie du coin de la rue ou je pose 20€ sur table. Avec des moyens de paiements qui s’appuient sur le réseau Bitcoin je peux donc payer en ligne (et dans la rue grâce aux smartphones) sans passer par les systèmes de paiements traditionnels,  surtout sans passer par un point central et avec des commissions extrêmement basses.

Comment ça marche ?

Dans l’univers Bitcoin tout est régi par des adresses qui ressemblent à cela


Chaque participant au réseau Bitcoin a donc une adresse à partir de laquelle il peut recevoir des fonds, envoyer des fonds et stocker des fonds. L’adresse Bitcoin est l’équivalent du compte en Banque. Par contre tout utilisateur peut créer autant d’adresses qu’il le veut. Toutes les adresses sont publiques mais chacun peut décider de faire un lien entre cette adresse et une personne (ou une entreprises) ou bien de rester anonyme.

Toutes les transactions qui passent par le réseau Bitcoin sont visibles de tous. Des sites comme permettent de voir en temps réel toutes les transactions.Une base de données partagée par tous les participants au réseau bitcoin, constamment mise à jour est représentée par une chaine de bloc qui regroupe l’ensemble des transactions réalisées depuis la création du Bitcoin.

En revanche, le réseau Bitcoin ne s’oppose pas aux monnaies classiques, il est tout à fait concevable d’effectuer des transactions €/€ ou même Lire la suite »


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