Hidden Gems (Part 1)

A 3 part introduction to BlockMark Gems 

Coming soon  – 2 more parts

Part 2. How to collect Crown  Jewels & Part 3 How to Win the Keys to the Kingdom

Welcome to the launch of our new Digital Collectible Art platform with added Crown Jewels and The Game of Crowns ; BlockMark Gems.

An Original Paul Farrell Designed Extended Octahedral Gemplate

This is a big deal for us – and maybe a big deal for artists, creators, buyers, collectors and retailers in the future.

Blockchain based digital art is like the discovery of a brand new continent. There May be Dragons. But it’s also a wide open and very fertile area for innovation and growth.

Our aim is to simplify the transfer and ownership of art, and cut out any fraud or misuse. Should be simple right?

This is one of the oldest pieces of art in the world. The Chauvet Cave Paintings in France, some 30,000 years old.

And still we don’t know who created it (who owns it in today’s copyright world) or when it was created or if the creator gave permission for it to be reproduced…

Joking aside – the modern art world in 30,000 years hasn’t moved on much.

But with blockchain backed art – everything changes. When you buy a Gem you own it. It’s a Non Fungible Token; Unique. Sui Generis. Yours forever. That means if you want to print it on a mug ; you can.

And if someone prints your gem on their mug without permission you can tell them off; because there is only one record, one anchor of who owns it – and everyone can see it.

You can also go Merch Crazy and put it on a T-shirt, or a nice Giclee print to put on your wall. Or anything you choose. Can you see how disruptive it could be?

Art as Currency

On an abstract level art is a token that can be used as a currency or as a store of value. After all, Picasso famously paid for restaurant meals with napkin sketches.

With a BlockMark Gem – because it’s yours – you can also choose to sell it for a higher price (obviously supply & demand applies) or use it as a store of value.

Or put it on your wall and from time to time – stare at it.

It’s a three-way chop.

Salvatore What?

Original art is all about the signature. Each BlockMark Gem is unique and traceable to it’s origins from Designer Paul Farrel.

The same cannot be said of the $450M last Da Vinci painting ; The Salvatore Mundi.

Ben Lewis has written a book about it you can read it here

As a piece of decorative art in the Italian style it’s worth about $1175. So the signature is quite important. Because it adds a cool $449,998,825 to the price.

Did he paint it? Is it an autograph painting; an original or a studio knock off?

And the answer is – we will never know for sure. Because it’s pre blockchain.

Not so with BlockMark Gem #200 The Drongo of Lanjaghbyur ; a lovely 10 carat Lapiz Lazuli gem whose origins can be 100% tracked on Etherscan here.

There’s a whole BlockMark pdf Ruby Paper if you want to deep dive down our mines and learn how we do it.

Broken Marketplaces 2.0

It’s said that if you don’t know what the product is (on a marketplace like Facebook or Google) then you are the product. The question is – who really wants to be a product?

In our humble opinion at BlockMark we believe that most current Web 2.0 marketplaces (eBay, Amazon, Uber, Airbnb etc) are very successful but they are also fundamentally broken – being;

  • centralised  &
  • expensive with
  • too many fake spammers & fraudsters

When they should be ;

  • provably fair & honest
  • transparent & auditable
  • cheap &
  • totally trustworthy

Our challenge at BlockMark all along has been to build a next generation platform; for proof of origin (signatures) and from that build out a trusted transactions platform.

We are building a better marketplace; so in future you can buy contaminant free baby milk in China, know that you are not eating horse meat in the UK and Da Vinci’s of the future will not be sold as ‘decorative art in the style of Da Vinci’ at a deep deep discount.

The NFT Genesis

At BlockMark we are indebted to the first pioneers of the Ethereum ERC721 Non Fungible Token protocol- the Axiom & now dapperlab teams that did crazy inspiring things with cats. Meet the kitties…

BlockMark Gems was inspired by cryptokitties and building on Ethereum based Non Fungible Tokens (ERC721 standard)

No doubt about it – Kats are Kool – and they run the internet for sure, but since late 2018 we have worked with BlockMark Artist in Residence Paul Farrell to develop a range of beautiful gems – 7 Original ‘Gemplates’ that can – with our proprietary Gemology Algorithm create upwards of 200,000 new Gems. So called Gem – Zeros.

Just like in real life – these Gems are mined at random intervals with Topaz and Amethyst being more common than a rare 100 carat Emerald or Diamond.

Once Gems have been mined they can be collected in Crown Jewels and even remixed with our atomic destabiliser – into brand new gems creating Gemeration 1, Gemeration 2 and so on until the end of time.

We are a Collecting Species

As a species, Humans have a few interesting features ; opposable thumbs for making tools, great language skills and the unique, amongst animals, ability to make and play games.

But more than these attributes – A strange thing about Humans is that we like to collect things – from storing food coupons for a rainy day to collecting art.

Anthropologists would say, anything that is a store of value or that has exchange value is worth collecting.

Grandpa the philatelist collected stamps… Dad collected Pannini football stickers (€500M worth per year) the next generation of digital natives are collecting blockchain based digital collectibles. 

The future of collecting is upon us. We welcome you to our Jewellery store – and to collect your gems in Crown Jewels,

On occasion we will Throw Down the Gauntlet and battle with you in the Game of Crowns to win 25 carat Diamonds which you can collect, remix or sell.

Join us in exploring BlockMark Gems

To see how we are getting along in our quest – visit www.etherscan.io to view the latest gem transactions.


Watch out for Part 2 of this Hidden Gem series to find out how to Remix and Collect Gems and display them in Crown Jewels.

Part 3 includes The Game of Crowns : Battles between Royal Subjects with Crown Jewels – to win the Keys to the Kingdom! Dare you pick up the Gauntlet?

Trust Your Gut (Sometimes)

Gut instinct is a thing apparently.  New research shows that our guts are our second brain with over 100 million more neurones than what you think of as your main brain..

So the old wives tale of trusting your gut instinct in other words, your intuition, may just have a grain of truth in it.

Some things are intuitive, others are counter intuitive. This much we know. The challenge is in knowing which is which BEFORE  taking action.

Often experience is a cruel mistress and you know when something is counter intuitive AFTER the event. This is usually given way when uttering or thinking the phrase;

“Wow! That’s much harder than it looks….”

– just before face planting….

Bitcoin & blockchains are counter intuitive. Let us explain.

Running is intuitive. It’s literally child’s play. You just don’t need a running instructor.

Lots of other things are so well designed they are almost intuitive; opening a jam jar, texting, sending an email, watching TV (not using the remote though), using a blender and more.

These are all pretty basic and simple tasks that (if well designed – unlike the remote) are intuitive to use.

The classic case of intuitive design is iPhone scrolling. You don’t need a lesson on scrolling.

Skiing on the other hand is counter intuitive. It looks easy, sliding and turning down a steep hill in powder snow in glorious sunshine; what could possibly go wrong? Well it turns out, quite a lot.

The natural instinct with skiing is to lean back. Error 101. An instructor will help you to lean forwards,  get more grip,  gain control,  snow plough and eventually parallel turn. And that’s the point. You need an instructor.

Actually –  you don’t need an instructor but if you go solo, trust us there will be pain.  So why not take a short cut, save yourself from self inflicted injury (the worst kind) and enjoy the ride instead?

Here at BlockMark we offer corporate training & executive education on blockchains – precisely because blockchains are counter intuitive.

Pseudonymous accounts? What are those? Private keys for public ledgers?  Mining for nonces? Nobody  and everyone in charge at the same time?

Confused? Will it disrupt my business? My career? Probably. Did railways disrupt canals? Did desk-top-publishing disrupt typewriters?

Take a look at our Corporate Training & Executive Education Programmes which will help you master blockchains in the blink of an eye.

  • Understand what blockchains are and are not.
  • How blockchains actually work.
  • Why speculators are going crazy for Bitcoin.
  • How blockchains may impact & disrupt your industry.

Bitcoin Hacked ! Read All About it.

(Just don’t check the facts)

Papers exist to sell papers. An editors job is an unenviable challenge ; if there’s lots of news or no news they need to fill 60 pages (half with the ad paying brands – the real customers) .

So is it any wonder that the media love the Crypto rollercoaster?  Bubble! Billionaire! Dark! Hacked! Sound familiar?

The reality is that the Bitcoin  has not been hacked since it’s genesis in 2009. Read on below to find out just why this crypto nut is just so hard to crack.

(What has been hacked however, are some of the exchanges and websites that link or use Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies or blockchains. This much is true. )

These are where the real security holes lie. As has been well documented in the Nakamoto Institute paper by Nick Szabo – Trusted Third Parties are Security Holes here.

But hang on a minute here – because banks get robbed doesn’t mean we should ban cash… It means we should challenge our bank’s security more ; and lets remember here that banks lose more money through internal white collar fraud than Point Break style hold ups…

Early days

People often forget that cryptocurrency and blockchains are in their innovative infancy – it’s early days.

And let’s not forget here that WD40 failed 39 times…before finding the magical 40th formula.

By comparison – looking at the history of early flight we can see that many of the early aeroplanes crashed, but that didn’t mean the principles of lift, aerodynamics and three axis control were bad… (what could possibly go wrong with the ‘Flying Sausage’?)

Here are the three most important hacks / daylight robberies   in the new frontier crypto-land so far:

  1. Mt.Gox was a good currency exchange back in the day (2014 – ancient history) handling just shy of 80% of Bitcoin exchanges –  but unfortunately got attacked by none other than…. it’s CEO… read more about embezzler Mark Karpeles from MtGox here 
  2. The DAO was an early hack on a loop hole in the Ethereum Smart Contract code.  It was pretty serious and involved the first hard fork and rollback of a blockchain to recover the cash. You can read more about the ATM that never stops giving experience here. 
  3. The Parity Multi Sig Fail. Recently (Nov 2017) there was a not insignificant $300M  hack into some poor multiple signature code over at Parity. Again, user (programmer) or pilot error . Investigations are still in progress… But learn more about what happens when you ‘find’ money and then burn it all (huh?) here

Tell me More about Blockchains

‘Media Hacks’ aside –  what are unhackable-so-far- Blockchains actually so good at?

Blockchains only a do a few things. But it turns out they do them really well.

Firstly blockchains create a consensus around ordered events. This-Then-That and definitely not That-Then-This. And everyone agrees. That’s what they do best.

It’s seems like such a small thing. But it’s a big deal.

Blockchains achieve this big thing by doing just two things.

1. They use asymmetric cryptography to authenticate signatures (and so permissions & identities).
2. They use Distributed Ledgers Technology (DLT) and in so doing create a consensus (a single shared truth).

DLT is a fancy way of using these signatures in cryptographically linked chains of hashes (blocks) and  using ‘miners’ to verify transactions – in the process creating consensus and replicating blocks.

The Hash Horse

The main thing is the hash. The hash is the shire horse of cryptography. And it’s been steadily ploughing the fields of cryptoland  since the 70’s.

What is new is the successful recombination of widgets; choosing what to leave out and what to include .

To create a successful digital currency you need to solve the Byzantium General’s problem AND the double-spend problem in a secure and easy to use way.

Just 58 more failures than WD40 later (that’ll be 98)  in 2009, Bitcoin was born.

Not impossible. Unlikely.

You can of course hack blocks. But to do this you would need to reverse engineer with brute force 500,000 blocks of hashes on 8000 nodes simultaneously with over 51% agreement amongst Proof-of-Work miners … all within 10 minutes. (Continuous forking of Bitcoin does actually make this more probable).

We’re not saying it’s impossible. But we are  saying it’s unlikely.

For a start you’d need quite a bit of energy and computing power.  Computing at 10,000 hashes per second you’d need about an Octillion years (10 x 27  ) to crack just one 2128   hash.

Which is less likely to happen than the whole world being struck by a giant meteor in the next 2 seconds*.

As we say – not impossible. Just highly improbable. It might just happen with Quantum Computing. But since the dawn of computing that has always been ‘just 30 years away’ that too is unlikely.

BlockMark & BlockChain

Blockchains are hard to crack and fiddle with. BlockMark builds user friendly apps on Public Permissioned Blockchains that solve real world problems.

Like building secure, controllable certificates and tickets to defeat fraud and make the world a better place

In 2016 Fraud Costs the UK economy £6000 per second. That’s £193Bn per year. Or this much since you started reading this page


Read the full  Financial Fraud Action UK 2016 report here.

Hip or Square? The Future is Blocky

Blockchains have been described at the 5th computing paradigm after Mainframe, PC, Mobile & Social.

They bring the promise of trustless protocols and the possibility of a distributed world computer that is transparent and both democratic and secure.

Not all businesses will benefit from blockchains (or need blockchains) but it has huge potential not dissimilar to the potential The Information SuperHighway in 1995.

At BlockMark we believe the future is bright – the future is blocky.

Join us

*If you’re reading this we are still here..

Isambard & MaaS

Mobility as a Service is desperately

desperately trying to improve, albeit with stacks of constraints and at a glacial rate compared to any of the Victorians including the incredible Brunel.

Chronic Underachiever?

If you want to feel like a chronic underachiever, you can do no better than learn about the Second Greatest Briton (after Darwin but weirdly only just before Lady Di).

The fantastically named Isambard Kingdom Brunel…

..Even his name casts a shadow. Brunel was a visionary.  He envisioned Mobility as a Service (MaaS) 182 years before the term was invented.

The dream lives on. BlockMark is working on MaaS today with our Ticketty Boo project in association with Go Ahead Group and LM Labs to provide ticketless ticketing.

One Ticket

In 1835 Brunel  wanted One Ticket to rule them all; a single ticket from London to New York.

In hindsight – the dream was the easy bit. Execution is always the challenge. But being clever and of firm resolve (Isambard means ‘Iron-Bright’) he then went on to build;

Paddington Station

The Great Western Railway

Bristol Docks

And The SS Great Britain

In between times he somehow found time to build the SS Great Western, The SS Great Eastern, The Clifton Suspension bridge, The Thames Tunnel and quite a bit more.

It is alleged that he kept his sandwiches under his hat to save time getting his packed lunch. He was that busy.

Brunel would have loved the Virgin HyperLoop. Without a doubt he was forward thinking and the greatest champion of public transport the UK has ever seen (or will ever see?).

He was also a big softie. On his death, his more comfortable broad gauge Great Western Railway was replaced by the more utilitarian Standard Gauge – to our everlasting discomfort & regret.

PS. there is some movement in crypto travel in 2019 – Argentinian transport are now accepting Bitcoin in 37 cities.