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The Euromoney Blockchain Forum 2016 • June 21-22, 2017

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BloqLabs is Born, Bridging Enterprises With Open Source

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Jeff Garzik and Matthew Roszak's Bloq continues to evolve into a foundation for professionalism, experimentation, and standard-setting in the blockchain community with its newly baptized BloqLabs.

If Blockchain Technology is the new Superman in the Information Technology field, then petty bickering and immaturity amongst developers and entrepreneurs are the kryptonite that has defiled this budding industry. From the beginning, an adolescent disposition has been Bitcoin's (and other Cryptocurrencies') poison apple, making it undesirable to the mainstream and the established business community alike. An ubiquitous juvenile attitude among its community has unfairly smeared and contaminated this new, fascinating utilitarian tool for restructuring inefficient legacy systems of governance and business.

Still, there remain a few sanctums of civility where affable and civil people are attempting to do good work apart from the harmful quibbling. With its acquisition of Skry (previously known as Coinalytics) in February, Bloq has gained a mighty tool capable of AI and machine learning to analyze blockchain data and efficiency. "Blockchain networks will create the greatest data sets we’ve ever seen," said Matthew Roszak, Chairman and Co-founder of Bloq.

"Leveraging machine learning techniques will enable faster and enhanced decision making, while uncovering insights and massive opportunities along the way."

BloqLabs was launched in March to offer sponsorship and support to open-source projects in the blockchain ecosystem while bridging open source methods of software development with enterprises and professionals who generally come from a privatized background, and might not understand the benefits of open-source collaboration. Jeff Garzik is one of the early developers and pioneers of Bitcoin and also worked for more than ten years as a developer for Red Hat Linux.

Open source (the bazaar) as a software engineering method has been time-proven to be superior to closed source (the cathedral) software development. For one, it is subject to peer review and anyone can offer feedback and point out errors or better models. The fundamental premise of open-source engineering is that it is transparent and allows for a much more rapid pace of development producing secure and hard-tested software. In addition to the Linux operating system, Bitcoin is an example of open-source software. In fact, there is not a website on the internet today which has not been built in part on open-source software.

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Open Source is The Way To Go

"The record is clear: open source is the way to go – it's better, faster, and more secure," said Paul Sztorc, the chief architect behind the Drivechains project. "I'm thrilled to have Bloq sponsor the project; few companies are this generous.”

Patrick Dai, co-founder of the Qtum Project, explains, "Businesses have been exploring blockchain technology for years now but without widespread adoption. BloqLabs aligns with Qtum’s goal to bridge the gap between the business and technical worlds with open-source solutions that meet the commercial needs for privacy, security, and most importantly, usability."

The goals of decentralization are aligned with the methods of open source engineering, which makes blockchains and open source programming an excellent match. As more enterprise level companies and organizations begin to restructure legacy systems with blockchain systems, the importance of an open, distributed, transparent approach must be emphasized as a key factor in maintaining the security of these blockchain solutions.

BloqLabs initial projects include Drivechains, Qtum, VeriBlock, bitcoinj and the Android Bitcoin Wallet. Advisors at Bloq include Gavin Andresen, William Mougayar, and Nick Szabo. Andreas Schildbach, a developer at Bloq, and known for developing the first bitcoin wallet for Android commented, "Open source is at the core of Bloq’s DNA, as both a patron and developer. I'm grateful for Bloq sponsoring work in open source blockchain software." Schildbach also maintains the bitcoinj repository primarily used in bitcoin wallets and transaction services globally.

For any organization to be sustainable, it must have clear principles, transparent goals, and a mission beyond simply making money. These things act as guides to lead it on and push it forward beyond disputes and differences of opinion, allowing for growth and evolution.

Referring to Donald Trump, Garzik illustrates, "It’s very easy for a populist candidate to get a lot of support. Translating that back into the Bitcoin analogy, you don’t want mob rule to dictate where Bitcoin goes. The best attempt at solving this problem is to be very public about what we’re doing as developers and soliciting input from key Bitcoin actors and as many users as we can."

Garzik goes on to stress the importance that open-source development, and Bitcoin especially, is all about merit:

"As a developer, you have to prove yourself as a new entrant in the marketplace of ideas, and you don’t do it based on your words or your looks or your personality, it’s your code output."

Decentralization and open source are not just methods of engineering; they are also principles in which new ideas and new foundations can be built to restructure broken systems. Hopefully, experimentation with clear principles in mind will lead Bloq and BloqLabs over the horizon of feuding and discord that has been so harmful to this flowering technology and push it forward onto more worthy ambitions.