Crypto takes giant step with new UK property exchange

A new global exchange crypto platform means UK property can now be bought and sold with Bitcoin.


cryptoCrypto is the new Klondyke, Bitcoin a new type of currency and the blockchain a new type of mint… all of which are probably the future of money.

This attitude has been reinforced now that blockchain applications company TrustMe has created a peer-to-peer platform and UK property can become a globally tradable asset.

The company says it is ‘revolutionising the global real estate market’ by allowing the fractional trading of individual properties using ‘asset-backed certificates’ on linked and Bitcoin-denominated global property exchanges.

TrustMe’s Whitepaper allows homeowners to trade shares (‘property certificates’) in their property on an open market as a new type of tradeable asset-class. Clients on the property exchanges will be able to purchase up to 49% of the value of a property or residential home with Bitcoin or fiat currency, while the 51% owner-occupier continues to live in and manage the property.

The first crypto exchange will be rolled-out in London in October, with parallel TrustMe Property Exchanges launching shortly in Toronto and New York. The company will announce other cities over the next three months and will establish regulatory compliance in each region it operates in.

London is the first choice for the location of the initial exchange as it has a buoyant £2 trillion property market and well-established property laws, rights and processes. TrustMe wants to ‘democratise’ ownership by removing the capital threshold that had previously restricted the owning of property to a privileged few.

“The London property market has long been prohibitively expensive and needs to be democratised. Our Property Exchanges will allow existing homeowners to unlock the value of their own house or properties and to use these assets as a form of stored liquid wealth, similar to a 30-90 day bank account, by trading as much or as little of their asset as they wish in an efficient, transparent and auditable manner,” said Antony Abell, Co-Founder & Managing Director of TrustMe.

A blockchain is a data structure that makes it possible to create a permanent digital public ledger of transactions and to share it among a distributed network of computers. It uses cryptography to allow each participant on the network to add to a record on the ledger in a secure way without the need for a central authority.

Once a block of data is recorded on the blockchain ledger, it’s extremely difficult to ever change it or to remove it. When someone wants to add to a record, participants in the network run algorithms to evaluate and verify the proposed transaction.

If a majority of nodes agree that the transaction looks valid (that is, identifying information, timing, location etc… matches the blockchain’s history) then the new transaction will be approved and a new block added to the chain.

For those with access it provides a permanent and secure record of ownership of all registered items for all parties who use it and it can provide automated systems to remove significant cost overheads in physical and transactional distribution systems.

The UK’s proudest professions are not digital

A new study says farming, teaching and pharma are the UK’s proudest professions, not the digital and creative industries.

professionsAccording to a new survey from fishing waterproofs brand Stormline about pride in the workplace, farming, education and pharma came out on top while those in the digital and creative industries came somewhere in the middle.

The biggest reason for professional pride was the ability to create or make something. Innovation and helping others were also big sources of professional pride… meaning that the digital industry still has some way to go convincing its creative workers that they are ‘making a difference’.

“The UK’s farmers should deservedly feel proud of their industry and our study bears this out. The overwhelming majority of them feel proud of what they do. They can go home at the end of the day knowing they’ve played their part in producing something.

“This isn’t to do down the pride that those at the cutting edge of software development should feel, they are rightly proud of their professions too, but there is something uniquely satisfying about producing something that you can one day hold in your hands,” said Regan McMillan, director of Stormline.

Other findings were:

* Producing something tangible was the most commonly given reason for professional pride, more commonly cited than innovation and helping others.

* Workers in education, health, social care and personal services all rated high for professional pride and said ‘making a difference’ or ‘helping others’ were the reasons

* The real estate and food, beverage and tobacco industries have the fewest professionals who identify as either ‘very proud’ or ‘extremely proud’ of their industry

* A third of UK workers cited ‘innovation’ as their biggest source of pride. Innovation was the most given reason for professional pride among pharmaceutical, aerospace and chemicals professionals

Books for Christmas

We’re approaching peak panic-buying time. It’s getting to the time of year where every online purchase elicits a chill as you wonder if something’s going to hit your letterbox (or more like the sorting office) in time.

With that in mind, here are some of the best books I’ve read this year. There’s still time to order online or (better yet) go to your local bookshop and buy a copy.

How to build a billion dollar app by George Berkowski – I have to admit, the title of this book stopped me from buying it for a few weeks. It sounded a little bit too evangelical. The reality is that this is a brilliant book. Berkowski is one of the people behind the global growth of Hailo, so he knows what he’s talking about. Full of useful interviews, interesting tidbits and step by step guides to specific stages that people will hit as they build an app based business, this is an essential read for anyone who thinks that 2015 will be the year they build the next Uber.

Hooked by Nir Eyal – probably my favourite book of the year if I’m honest. This ties in nicely with Berkowski’s book – it’s all about creating habit-forming products, which is the quickest way to get to your billion dollar app valuation. There are tons of insights that I can guarantee will help make your idea or app better. Eyal makes brilliant use of case studies to illustrate his point. There’s also workbooks and tons of online resources behind the book that make it even more useful. A must read – even if you can’t be arsed starting an app but do want to understand the behind the scenes stuff that brings you back to Pinterest or Instagram over and over again.

Don’t call it that by Eli Altman – names matter. This may come as no surprise to you, but you’d be amazed at how frequently people choose almost incomprehensibly shit names for their companies. This book is a step by step guide to picking a name, finding out if it’s available, testing it in the real world and more. It’s also funny, which always helps.

Dataclysm by Christian Rudder – people talk a lot about big data, but it’s never entirely clear if anyone knows what it means. This book is not entirely about big data, but it is about the data we expose about ourselves – whether intentionally or inadvertently. It’s packed with brilliant stats and case studies. It can make for slightly depressing reading if you’re single, but don’t let that put you off…I loved it.

Startup Rising by Christopher M. Schroeder – I do quite a lot of work across the MENA region and the sheer potential that exists there never ceases to amaze me. Schroeder’s book is a brilliant examination of the characters and businesses that are building companies and ecosystems across the region. Fascinating stuff regardless of whether or not you’ve spent time in that part of the world.

No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald – no matter what you think of Edward Snowden’s revelations, the details of how the story broke are fascinating. Greenwald’s book is as compelling as any thriller I’ve read in the last few years. The fact that it’s true just makes it all the more chilling.

Spam Nation by Brian Krebs – spam is a universal plague. Krebs is one of the best writers on cyber-security out there. This book introduces us to some of the characters (mainly Russian) who populate the incredibly shady world of spam. Worth reading if you’ve always wondered where those ads for Cialis come from…

A few others that I’ve already reviewed on these pages – the Dark Net is an incredible look at the obscure and hidden highways and byways of the Internet. Your Brain on Porn is a grim read about the effect that always-on, always available porn is having on people. The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is a brilliant read about the less glamorous but no less important parts of business – like failure, firing people and more. Made With walks a similar road to Startup Rising – it looks at some of the emerging business across the ‘Interland’ – from Morocco to Indonesia.

In the interest of not being seen purely as some sort of tech/business book reading automaton, it’s also important to flag a few others. Thirty one nil by James Montague is a journey through the world of football’s outsiders. It’s also one of the best football books I’ve read in a very, very long time. Age of Ambition is a compelling look at fortune, truth and faith in the New China. Heaven’s Bankers is a complex, occasionally dense but ultimately rewarding book about Islamic finance. A slightly different side of Dubai is on view in Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog – occsaionally cringe worthy, frequently unbelievable and a quite remarkable skewering of life in the Vegas of the Middle East. Here are the young men is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in quite a while – think American Psycho set amongst a group of middle class, suburban Dublin teens. Amazing. Lastly, City of Lies of a beautifully written book about the Tehran we rarely (if ever) hear anything about in the mainstream media.

If you pick up any of these and enjoy/love/hate them, let me know! Happy reading.

UK women like marriage proposals over digital

proposalSomewhat bizarrely, a recent survey says that 15% of UK women want their beau to use some kind of digital device when popping the question.

If that particular survey was conducted with people over the age of 70 and that digital device was a replacement knee used when getting down on that particular limb to do so, then it would be more credible. Continue reading

Mobilista Rockstars sets sail across three continents

mobilista_rockstarMore than 30 of the world’s foremost writers and experts on mobile will be part of a conference roadshow that runs for three consecutive events in Hong Kong, London and New York.

Taking place from 7-11th October later this year, Mobilista Rockstars will feature keynote-level presentations from each of the 32 specially invited speakers in each two-day event in each city. The event/events are organised by Tomi T Ahonen, ‘the world’s most influential expert in mobile’ in 2012 and Matthew Dawes, the foremost African conference expert.

“The speakers on the tour are the people that I quote in my books. The ones I retweet; the authors I mention in my presentations. I’m looking forward to? Going to all three events and not listening to a single corporate pitch. The presentations are going to be independent perspectives, from true thought-leaders; formed from years of exposure to the expansion of digital and how mobile has swelled within it,” says Ahonen.

For a full list of speakers and details of the event, go to the Mobilista Rockstars website.