Hi, I am Edwin Carlson, blockchain lecturer and tech advisor to the London Football Exchange, Ask Me Anything!

Edwin Carlson
Feb 9, 2018


Thank you for joining my AMA on blockchain and its use in business.

I have been working in the blockchain space since 2013 and I am currently working on two Initial Token Offerings. I teach "blockchain and business" both live and soon as an online course.

My roots are England where I obtained a BSc in Computer Studies, I have spent the last 20 years working in financial services and transitioned into FinTech in early 2011.

I am a blockchain technical advisor for the London Football Exchange which is about to start it's public ITO.

You can also sign up for my daily news summary of blockchain and business here.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed or Registered Investment Advisor, broker/dealer, financial analyst, securities broker or financial planner and all information found here, including any ideas, opinions, views, predictions, forecasts, commentaries, or suggestions, expressed or implied herein, are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personal investment advice. While the information provided is believed to be accurate, it may include errors or inaccuracies. Any information in the answers below does not constitute financial or investment advice or any other advice and is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, nor a recommendation, endorsement or sponsorship of any token offering, security, company, or fund.  Before making any and all investment decisions or engaging in any transaction, you should seek the advice of your own qualified (financial, investment, tax, legal and/or accounting) advisors or brokers and conduct your own due diligence.  Any investments, trades, speculations, or decisions made on the basis of any information expressed or implied herein are committed at your own risk, financial or otherwise. 

Edwin Carlson says:

This AMA will end Feb 16, 2018 12:01PM EST

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Do you have a target date on when your online course will start?

Feb 16, 2:10AM EST0

Do you believe that cryptocurrencies will soon be accepted by local retailers that aren’t online?

Feb 14, 5:57AM EST0

This is already happening. The East London Coin and the Liverpool Coin are local cryptocurrencies that are accepted in local stores. If you go to Maine there are a number of communities where the local coffee shop will accept Bitcoin.  Right now the costs of completing a Bitcoin transaction are prohibitive and thus other cryptocurrencies are being accepted as an alternative.

Within the London Football Exchange, we are building a payment solution based on using the new LFE Token. Any Football (Soccer) team that is a member of the London Football Exchange ecosystem will ultimately enable its fans to purchase tickets, items from vendors, fan experiences amongst other things. Go to lfe.com for more details.

I believe that this will lay the groundwork for bringing cryptocurrencies to the local store, by proving on a massive scale that these virtual currencies can be used for everyday purchases both online and in the real world.

Feb 14, 7:07AM EST0

Can you already say how much your course will be like? Will there be scholarships available for worthy students?

Feb 13, 1:42AM EST0

I have not set the price for the course yet.

Feb 13, 4:29PM EST0

In layman’s terms, how would you explain blockchain technology to a person who is completely clueless about it?

Feb 12, 8:24PM EST0

The best bet is to have the layman look at these videos.  https://www.wired.com/video/2017/10/blockchain-explained/  and https://youtu.be/r43LhSUUGTQ

Last edited @ Feb 13, 4:28PM EST.
Feb 13, 12:48AM EST0

Based on you experience, what is the future of ITO service desk?

Feb 10, 8:26AM EST0

First for definition ITO – Internal Technical Operations service desk.

These service desks will remain in place for quite some time. I saw a talk yesterday talking about JP Morgan and its exploration into using Blockchain. The speaker said in response to a question “that COBOL will outlive us all” and “that in 15 years I have not seen a system sunset”.

New technology, the blockchain included, will co-exist with a lot of other technologies. As corporations embrace and deploy blockchain services, even more, complex and varied support needs will be identified.

Feb 10, 2:27PM EST0

Is it smart to invest in Ripple?

Feb 10, 8:03AM EST0

Per my Disclaimer – I will not make predictions on any ICO/ITO or Cryptocurrency.

I do know that Ripple is supported by a large number of financial institutions and that they are making progress towards cross-border payments and settlement.

Feb 10, 2:26PM EST1

You are working on "two Initial Token Offerings". Are you working for any project for any company or something on personal level? What is the primary objective of creating initial token offerings?

Feb 10, 6:32AM EST0

I am working for two Initial Token Offerings that have worldwide appeal and have management teams that I believe in. The London Football Exchange is all about global fan engagement and Prime Shipping Foundation is about streamlining the overly complex payment processes connected with shipping by sea.

On a personal level, for blockchain (or Distributed Ledger Technology) to be adopted quickly, I am putting together an online version of the course I teach to professionals called “Blockchain and Business”, you can sign up for my daily newsletter here and I will update you on when the course will be available.

The second question – what is the primary purpose of the initial token offering. This will depend on each specific case so I will summarize across the two that I am working with. Both the LFE and Prime Shipping require liquidity in their ecosystems and therefore have Tokens available to use when their respective services are launched is required. About 30-40% of the funds raised will go towards setting up and creating the technology. Then each ecosystem must complete marketing to bring awareness to their markets.  The actual details for each company can be found in their respective white papers.

Feb 10, 2:58PM EST0

ITO or BPO! Who will be the outsourcing winner in 2018?

Feb 10, 12:14AM EST0

Not sure that either will win out. For blockchain solutions, I believe that ITO will be the way to go. There are too many uncertainties in the new business models that support/optimize the use of the blockchain. Once these uncertainties are resolved then more BPO offerings will enter the market.

Feb 10, 2:23PM EST0

How can a startup using blockchain monetize their business if the platform is decentralized?

Feb 9, 3:05PM EST0

With a centralized business all transactions go through a central entity and therefore can be monetized at the time of passing through the entity.

While a decentralized platform by its nature has no centralized pass through. So to monetize the application, every transaction has to use a smart contract that splits off the transaction fee(s) and send them to the appropriate company.

In the case of mining where there are no rewards, this is (in a simplified way) how a miner is paid for the use of their equipment/power etc.

For a company such as the London Football Exchange (LFE) each transaction has an associated fee structure. When a specific transaction executes, the purchase of a fan experience for example, the transaction would result in a transfer of tokens to the football club hosting the event, the event coordinator and a transaction fee to the LFE.

The actual transaction can be initiated as a result of the fans purchase but the execution of the transaction is completed through any number of distributed nodes running the appropriate blockchain.

Feb 9, 3:36PM EST0

Could you tell more about London Football Exchange? What is it all about and its working?

Feb 9, 2:07PM EST0

The London Football Exchange (“LFE”) Group is a financial, technology, media and entertainment group that intends to operate in various spheres derived from the professional sporting arena, mainly football (soccer).

The LFE Market is intending to be a fan-driven football community allowing members the opportunity to partake in the various football club and fan experiences from match day tickets, tours, and player meet and greets, to specific merchandise and third-party partner offers. The LFE Market is powered through the use of the LFE Token, which is intended to be the world’s foremost football-based cryptocurrency. In addition to accessing special membership services, the LFE Token holders (“LFE Contributors”) will have priority access to enter the LFE Exchange.

Last edited @ Feb 9, 2:24PM EST.
Feb 9, 2:22PM EST0

Please provide a simplified explanation of your service and how a fan can participate in it thanks

Feb 9, 12:36PM EST0

The London Football Exchange (“LFE”) is intending to be a fan-driven football community allowing members the opportunity to partake in the various football club and fan experiences from match day tickets, tours, and player meet and greets, to specific merchandise and third-party partner offers. The LFE Market is powered through the use of the LFE Token, which is intended to be the world’s foremost football-based cryptocurrency. In addition to accessing special membership services, the LFE Token holders (“LFE Contributors”) will have priority access to enter the LFE Exchange.

Last edited @ Feb 14, 7:08AM EST.
Feb 9, 2:24PM EST0

How is Ripple different from BlockStream in blockchain business model?

Feb 9, 12:34PM EST0

Ripple is a membership-only private blockchain company. Where the members are banks and other financial institutions who contribute to the function of the company. They provide both the private blockchain technology and assist in the integration with the bank's solutions.

Blockstream is a blockchain development company focused on the financial services industry, supporting banks and financial institutions in implementing solutions using distributed ledger technology. They are also working on development tools for blockchain development.

Feb 9, 1:18PM EST0

What are your views on solving business problems using BlockChain Technology?

Feb 9, 11:19AM EST0

Blockchain Technology or more broadly Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) is a tool for solving business problems that have the following characteristics:

  1. There are many parties involved on both sides of a transaction
  2. There is a measurable transfer of value between the parties
  3. The number of parties involved, means that Trust has been traditionally established by a third party

If all three of these criteria are met, then a blockchain based solution is appropriate.  The measure of value can be a commodity such as Wheat being shipped from Russia to Turkey (as Prime Shipping Foundation recently completed) or a share in a company such where a company like tZero handles the transfer of ownership.

Feb 9, 12:13PM EST0

How is blockchain technology disrupting the sports industry? Is it just confined to e-sports or there is more scope of operations?

Feb 9, 3:10AM EST1

Blockchain technology is disrupting almost every industry including the sports industry.  As I am a blockchain and technology advisor to the London Football Exchange, I have a front row seat on the changes this technology will bring to the sports industry.

The first one is addressing a need within the sport industry to continue to engage sport fans beyond the weekly game. Even though the Super bowl is still the largest event on US TV in the last twelve months, the number of viewers declined compared to last year. The same is happening with major Soccer (although I prefer Football being a Brit) events. The weekly attendance has been maintained with even a small Soccer event is seen by over 400 Million soccer fans. My article on fan engagement “A Token of Fan Appreciation” covers this in more detail.

Outside the weekly game, there is little fan engagement. Using blockchain based technology it is possible to proactively engage a fan by offering unique fan-based activities and events. This goes well beyond e-sports and extends into real-world operations.

Feb 9, 5:55AM EST1

According to you, what are some of the best resources to learn blockchain technologies?

Feb 8, 2:47PM EST1

Coursera has a lot of free or low-cost courses on the technical aspects of blockchain technology. Princeton University has a great, but very technical course.

On YouTube, I highly recommend the TED & TEDx talks on blockchain as well as Andreas Antonopoulos and Jack Shaw.

My own courses, launching soon, go into the practical application of blockchain or distributed ledger technology blockchainandbusiness.com for information and a daily news summary.

Last edited @ Feb 9, 5:58AM EST.
Feb 8, 10:24PM EST1

How do you think China's recent ban on International cryptocurrency exchange will affect the global cryptocurrency industry considering the fact that the country had the biggest bitcoin mining system? What are your views on it?

Feb 8, 6:10AM EST1

China has had an interesting history with cryptocurrencies and still remains a large mining center (although this seems to be rapidly changing). Those organizations that can have already moved to Japan and other countries that remain crypto friendly.

My personal opinion is that China will regulate the entire crypto space and then allow those companies that fully comply to return.  This may take a year or two, but as cryptocurrencies and blockchain use cases are implemented, these will have an impact on trade with China and any country that is crypto friendly will obtain a larger slice of this trade.

At the moment, cryptocurrencies represent a small part of the world’s money supply. Having said that, they have had a dramatic impact on the world’s regulators who see their potential to disrupt many industries.  I believe their primary concern is being able to tax these transactions rather than the myriad of other reasons given for regulation.

Feb 8, 10:29PM EST1

How can a normal person invest in blockchain technology?

Feb 7, 10:58PM EST1

Blockchain technology, for the most part, is open source and therefore you can not directly invest in the technology.

You can, however, invest in companies that are developing and deploying blockchain technology such as Accenture and IBM. If you live outside the US, you can subscribe to Coin or Token offerings. 

As with any investment, you MUST do your own research and be able and willing to lose your entire investment. I do not recommend specific offerings and by way of disclosure, I am an advisor to the London Football Exchange and to Prime Shipping Foundation.

Feb 8, 10:33PM EST1

What do you think are the disadvantages of letting the government take over the cryptocurrency?

Feb 6, 8:05AM EST0

Almost all governments of the world want to track the flow of money, primarily to determine if transactions made are taxable events so they can tax those transactions. As more regulations are put in place to catch the illegal use of money (for terrorism, drugs, etc.), banks continue to reduce their services to individuals who cannot adequately prove their identity. At this moment, over 2 billion persons are excluded from banking (including tens of millions in the US) because of this.

Cryptocurrencies have successfully enabled a number of these excluded people to join (or rejoin) the financial world, which can and does bring them out of poverty.

The main disadvantage to governments taking over cryptocurrencies is that they are likely to continue to exclude people from using this essential tool of everyday living ie access to money.

Feb 8, 10:34PM EST0

Do you think other developing and underdeveloped nations would be able to catch up with other nations that are already in the crypto system if they should imbibe the system?

Feb 5, 2:28PM EST0

At the moment, the deployment of blockchain or crypto-based systems are in their infancy. The underlying technology has the potential to level the playing field for lesser-developed and developing countries.

The biggest technological leap for lesser-developed nations is the worldwide adoption of smartphones.  It is predicted that these will fall in value to sub $10 in 2018 and sub $3 in 2019 (obviously a basic smartphone). With these phones and internet access, then access to other world resources opens up.

Fisherman can now find out the value of their catch before they bring it ashore. The next step is to integrate crypto to allow the purchase of their catch while it is still at sea, with payment contingent on the amount, the quality, and freshness of the catch secured by a smart contract.

So just this type of simple transaction with the security of payment for their activities will encourage more entrepreneurial activity. As more of the worlds unbanked are brought into a financial system using blockchain tech, then this will raise the standard of living for many others.

Feb 8, 10:36PM EST0

When did you first start getting interested in blockchain technology? Was it when it got popular or before? What peaked your interest?

Feb 5, 4:11AM EST0

I first got involved in blockchain technology in 2013. I had been reading a lot of tech publications and saw the words bitcoin cropping up here and there with a description of programmable money. The idea of programmable money peaked my interest.  This was before bitcoin started to become popular.

Feb 8, 10:37PM EST0
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