Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

Thoughts and opinions of a Toronto-based cryptocurrency lawyer who's worked in the industry since 2014.

Starting an ISP in Canada: Facilities or Non-Facilities-Based?

If you'd like to start an ISP in Canada you'll probably need to apply for two licenses:

1. A Basic International Telecommunications Services (BITS) license

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Lavabit's Role in the Snowden Saga

Edward Snowden's email provider, Lavabit, shut down their company rather than let the US government spy on their customers: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/10/lavabit_unsealed/.

It would take a lot of moral strength to agree to shut down something you've built up over years of work in order to protect your customers from spying. It would have been very easy for them to allow secret spying (like Google, Facebook, etc.) but instead they stand out as the one company I'm aware of that refused to provide "lawful access" by the US government.

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Ontario Court Secrecy: The Meaning of "Open Courts"

Ontario court schedules are now available online (http://www.ontariocourtdates.ca/). This is a big step in the right direction but the goal is still miles away.

In order to access the court information you have to agree not to republish it anywhere, and solve a CAPTCHA. The CAPTCHA is there to stop people from programmatically harvesting court schedules and the contract is there so they can sue people if they do it anyway.

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WHOIS API Calls Made Easy

I have code running on all of my sites that attempts to reverse the DNS for each IP that visits. This uncovers the organization for many visitors but unfortunately it still leaves a lot of IPs that don't have corresponding DNS entries.

There's a public database of who owns what IP address. Using two ARIN WHOIS API calls (shown below) you can pull the organization and address for every IP (usually the address of an ISP). This can be used to replace random numbers (e.g. 154.03.34.11) with entries like "GONET (Ministry of Government Services, Infrastructure Technology Services)" and "Alberta PWSS, Telecommunications Division (10365 - 107 Street)".

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FederalMonitor.ca

I launched FederalMonitor.ca a few weeks ago and the reception has been quite positive so far.

This is the Federal version of OntarioMonitor.ca, a government relations SaaS that I've been running since 2011.

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Bitcoin Speeches in House & Senate

There have been four speeches made in 2014 about Bitcoin in the House & Senate.

House, April 3rd: Patricia Davidson, Conservative

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MintChip Halted, Business to be Sold by Mint

MintChip, the Royal Mint's digital currency solution, will be sold by the Mint according to the Wall Street Journal. Development has been halted.

I assume this decision was taken after looking at their competitor: Bitcoin. The Mint could easily make their own version of Bitcoin/Litecoin and launch their own cryptocurrency for about $200 right now.

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FINTRAC Will Regulate "Virtual Currencies" in Canada

The federal government's budget act for 2014 passed "first reading" on Friday. It will amend the money laundering regime to create a new category of money services business: "dealing in virtual currencies".

The budget is a whopper of an omnibus bill but the key amendment is at s. 256(2). It adds to the existing categories of regulated businesses (e.g. foreign exchange): "dealing in virtual currencies, as defined in the regulations". I expect the regulations to set a limit of somewhere between $1000 to $3000 for dealing without collecting identity documents.

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Being a Lawyer Who Accepts Bitcoin

According to coinmap.org I'm the only lawyer in Toronto who accepts bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Lawyers of Canada

I think it might be useful to form a group for lawyers who have particular expertise in the area of Bitcoin. Maybe "Canadian Bitcoin Lawyers" or maybe the "North American Bitcoin Lawyers Group".

If this sounds like something you'd like to be a part of please send me an email at addison@cameronhuff.com.

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Easy Backup Script for a MySQL DB

Are you backing up your MySQL database regularly?

Here's how to easily backup a MySQL database:

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Two Good Articles on How Bitcoin Works

Here's a good technical article on how the Bitcoin protocol works: http://www.righto.com/2014/02/bitcoins-hard-way-using-raw-bitcoin.html?m=1.

This is a follow-up by the same author on how mining works: http://www.righto.com/2014/02/bitcoin-mining-hard-way-algorithms.html

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9 Reasons Why You Should Care About Bitcoin

1. Every eight minutes someone receives ("mines") 25 Bitcoins (worth more than $10k)

2. The Bitcoin network is many times faster than the world's top 500 supercomputers put together

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How Much Power Does Bitcoin Use?

Forbes reported $15 million per day in power consumption for the entire Bitcoin network back in January but some people disagree with that estimate.

I think a fair estimate of Bitcoin power consumption is about $150,000 per day.

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Useful Analytics

I don't find Google Analytics to be very insightful. A big disadvantage is that it's mostly not real-time so you lose out on time-sensitive opportunities/insights.

There is probably a nice analytics service I could buy but it's also fun to roll your own software. The screenshot below shows my personal logging system (click for a better image).

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Waivers That Make Sense

I recently drafted a liability waiver. The waiver clearly stated why - in the first paragraph - there is a risk of loss.

This doesn't sound very ground-breaking but I wish more lawyers drafted contracts that clearly state why the legal language to follow is necessary. What is the object of the contract? Too few contracts have appropriate recitals/explanations of risk in plain language.

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Why Google Can't Build A Case Law Search Engine in Ontario

There are only three companies that are allowed to make case law search engines in Ontario and Google isn't one of them.

The decisions of Ontario courts are public information but there are only three organizations that you can get them from and none of them provide bulk access. That last part is the key because that's what a truly public system would have: the ability for anyone to access Ontario's cases and make use of them how they would like (e.g. building a better search engine).

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Come Learn About Bitcoin: Every Wednesday at 7pm

Come learn about Bitcoin every Wednesday night at 7pm: 64 Spadina Ave, Toronto.

The event is held at Bitcoin Decentral, the main space in Toronto for this growing industry.

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Guarding Against Ex-Filtration

The New York Times reported over the weekend that Snowden used a web crawler to spider the NSA's internal sites and steal documents. This is a good example of an organization that didn't have appropriate controls over the velocity of access that was permitted and a great follow-up to my post from a couple weeks ago.

In lighter news, the NYT was mocked over their use of scare quotes by Marc Andreesen and others. It may not be the best story but it does highlight an important point for lawyers: don't let any user download all of your files.

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Interviewed by Global TV

I was interviewed by Global TV last week on the topic of CSEC's airport wifi spying experiment.

You can watch the interview here (at approximately 1:50). I did an approximately 15 minute interview but unfortunately only a few seconds made it into this three minute segment. There's a lot more to say on the topic!

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There are hundreds more blog posts to read, going back to 2014:
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