Blockchain’s Best And Brightest Gather At IC3 Ethereum Crypto Boot Camp

Blockchain’s Best And Brightest Gather At IC3 Ethereum Crypto Boot Camp

Professors, Ethereum Foundation (EF) contributors, and top students and developers join the Initiative for CryptoCurrencies & Contracts (IC3) Ethereum Crypto Bootcamp in Cornell for a weeklong hackathon.

IC3’s second annual Ethereum Crypto Bootcamp ends today at Cornell University’s campus in Ithaca, New York, concluding a weeklong intensive aimed at fortifying Ethereum’s strength and community. The “Coding and Learning Experience in Blockchains and Smart Contracts” offered emerging blockchain development stars the chance to network with high-profile industry leaders while collaborating to advance some of Ethereum’s most cutting-edge projects. Notable attendees included Ethereum Inventor Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Core Developers Alex Van De Sande, Vlad Zamfir, and Nick Johnson, as well as Cornell blockchain professors Ari Juels and Andrew Miller.

Participants were sorted into six teams tasked with solving some of the problems currently facing the Ethereum ecosystem:

  • Team One, “Distributed Key Generation (DKG)” (led by Prof. Andrew Miller): This team worked to improve the Honey Badger Byzantine Fault Tolerance agreement protocol, which can theoretically be deployed on blockchains to enable fast and robust transaction settlements. Honey Badger currently relies on one trusted party or entity to create and manage the private keys for multisig-based operations. The team was challenged to develop a method for utilizing trustless or decentralized DKG methods to create those private keys so that they are mathematically related and unknown to any single party.
  • Team Two, “Town Crier Applications” (led by PhD student Ethan Cecchetti): In a follow-up to a similar undertaking at last year’s Bootcamp, this team was tasked with researching and developing new uses for the “Town Crier” oracle. Town Crier is a tool that privately and verifiably translates information from the legacy internet into an Ethereum-readable format so that executable distributed code contracts (smart contracts) can operate based on information outside of the blockchain using new Intel processors.
  • Team Three, “White-Hat Blockchain Hacks” (led by IC3 Co-Director Ari Juels): This team was asked to do its best “Mr. Robot” impressions and hack several known security problems in Ethereum products – such as a Denial of Service vulnerability in Storj or a query command exploit in Oraclize – in order to identify their sources and how to fix them.
  • Team Four, “Sleepy + Thunderella Implementation” (led by IC3 Co-Director Elaine Shi): This team sought to implement a “simple but provably secure blockchain protocol” that does not rely on Proof-of-Work and allows for instantaneous confirmation, independent of the next block being added to the blockchain.
  • Team Five, “Offline Payment Channels with SGX” (led by Dr. Ittay Eyal): Scaling transaction capacity is a major issue facing every public chain ecosystem, reflected in the ongoing controversy in the Bitcoin community. A recently proposed solution utilizes new Intel processing units to allow transaction processing off the blockchain in a secure environment, thereby drastically increasing on-chain transaction capacity. This team worked to implement that solution onto Ethereum.
  • Team Six, “Writing Secure Smart Contracts” (led by Ph.D. student Phil Daian): With the DAO exploit still fresh in the community’s mind and the EF working to identify ways that solidity can be used maliciously, many are calling for new smart contract development and auditing methods to ensure that contracts will not suffer more problems due to faulty coding. This team was charged with building, auditing, and hacking its own smart contracts in a lab setting in order to progress toward a more secure Ethereum.

In their free time, participants were able to unwind on excursions to Ithaca’s local gorges, parks, lakes, and other points of interest. Hopefully, this year’s event will produce some amazing solutions to the current set of Ethereum problems, perhaps besting last year’s Bootcamp which was hailed by Buterin as “one of the most productive hackathons [he has] ever attended!”

Jason Civalleri is a law student and MBA-graduate passionate for blockchain and distributed ledger innovation. His first exposure to blockchain was his investment in Bitcoin in 2011, and he built his first miner for the Ethereum network in January 2016.

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Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept Bitcoin

Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept Bitcoin

A large dining establishment in the center of Moscow reportedly became the first restaurant to accept bitcoin payments in Russia’s capital city on Tuesday, according to local media outlets. Valenok is part of the Novikov Group, which owns over 50 restaurants and franchises. Now the company is considering installing bitcoin ATMs as well.

Also read: Bitpoint Adds Bitcoin and Ether Payments to Platform with Unionpay, Wechat Pay, and Alipay

First Restaurant to Accept Bitcoin in Moscow

Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept BitcoinOn Tuesday, several Russian news outlets reported that Valenok has become the first restaurant in Moscow to accept bitcoin.

Named after the traditional Russian type of footwear, Valenok is symbolized by the world’s largest handmade felt boot, its website details. “A symbol of the restaurant is a giant six-meter felt boot (Valenok).” The Russian cuisine restaurant is located on the Tsvetnoy Boulevard in the center of Moscow. The spacious establishment occupies 2 floors, seats 340 people, and an average main course there costs about $10.

Valenok is part of the Novikov Group which owns over 50 eatery projects, including restaurants and several franchises, located in Russia, London, and Dubai.

Mikhail Petuhov, managing partner at Novikov Group, told that his customers are young, modern and sophisticated. He described the time he was asked by a friend why his restaurant did not accept bitcoin so he decided to try it out. Two transactions were made, which was exciting, the publication reported him saying. “In the restaurant business, I had not heard of such examples. So, there is no one to ask, unfortunately,” he added.

Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept BitcoinPetuhov explained how bitcoin payments work at his restaurant: “The seller generates a QR-code that contains the amount to be paid and the seller’s wallet address. The buyer scans this code using his Bitcoin smartphone app and makes the transaction.”

Citing that the restaurant will closely monitor the demand for bitcoin services, he added that the group is also considering installing bitcoin ATMs “to assist the clients wishing to make payments using the cryptocurrency,” RT reported. Petuhov told Russia’s international news agency RIA Novosti:

We want to keep pace with the time. If there is a demand from guests for payment with bitcoin, we will even install special ATMs to exchange bitcoins for providing the proper level of service to our guests.

Soon after Valenok’s news, Burger King Russia independently announced its plan to accept the digital currency this year, with the possibility of rolling out the option to more restaurants. The fast food chain has begun looking for a software developer to allow users to pay with bitcoin using both Android and iOS applications.

Novikov Group’s Restaurants and Projects

Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept BitcoinThe Novikov Group, founded by entrepreneur restaurateur, Arkady Anatolievich Novikov, owns more than 50 successful conceptual restaurant projects in Russian cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, and Kislovodsk as well as in London and Dubai, its website details.

The projects that the group is involved in include several franchises with multiple locations as well. For example, Krispy Kreme is counted as one project but the company owns over 20 locations. In September 2013, the group partnered with Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation to build 40 Krispy Kreme stores in Moscow.

In addition, the group also runs other types of projects such as Novikov TV, a network of flower studios, a health food company, a greenhouse farm, a charity foundation, a kids club, and a catering business.

Bitcoin in Russia

Felt Boot Restaurant Valenok Becomes the First in Moscow to Accept BitcoinDigital currencies including bitcoin are still not recognized by the central bank of Russia, and the legal status of bitcoin has not yet been clarified. However, State Duma committee member Vadim Dengin told RIA Novosti on Wednesday that draft laws concerning digital currencies could appear soon.

“We will hold roundtable discussions and parliamentary hearings on digital currencies, particularly bitcoin,” he said, adding that there is no need to legalize digital currencies right now.

Meanwhile, the head of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy, Sergei Zhigarev, separately told the publication that the restaurant’s case “demonstrates that life now includes digital currency, and that it has to be taken into account, including in the state calculation.” He then added (loosely translated):

Of course, there is nothing illegal in this (payment by bitcoin). This is quite an objective reality, which must be taken into account. To date, there are questions about its regulation, but it is backed by demand.

Do you think the rest of Novikov Group restaurants will start accepting bitcoin soon? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock,, and Novikov Group

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