Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

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

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Huge Win for Internet Privacy in Canada: R. v. Spencer

A landmark Supreme Court decision came down last Friday: R. v. Spencer.

This case takes Canada away from the past regime where police could request subscriber information corresponding to an IP without a warrant. In earlier lower court decisions judges have relied on ISP terms of service to say that users have no reasonable expectation of privacy. The legal theory was that the contracts users enter into allowed ISPs to disclose information to police so it was permitted. The Supreme Court unanimously rejected this regime and declared such searches "presumptively unreasonable":

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Government Funding for Tech Businesses

In a previous post I outlined the key government tax schemes for Ontario tech businesses (here). A colleague who saw that post has pointed me to the MaRS Discovery District guide to funding programs.

The MaRS guide is 173 pages of government programs for the ICT sector. It looks quite comprehensive.

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Heat Map Generator

I've made an online heat map generator that you can use by clicking here. Below is an example heat map made with the tool.

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BitPay (Stripe for Bitcoin): $1m+ Daily Volume

BitPay (a less feature-rich Stripe for Bitcoin) claims to be processing more than $1 million USD in transactions per day.

It's hard to get a sense of how large the world of Bitcoin is, and especially hard to get a handle on the amount used for commerce vs. speculation. BitPay is one of the main merchant processing companies so this statistic is one worth paying attention to.

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Cheat Sheet: Ontario Tax Credits & Deductions for Tech Companies

What tax credits are available for software companies in Ontario?

SR&ED: 35% tax credit for Canadian-controlled private corporations (CCPC) conducting research. Infographic explanation: techvibes.com.

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Decentralized Bitcoin Exchanges

I've written a blog post on the Decentral Tumblr blog: "Decentralized Bitcoin Exchanges: A Solution with Three Big Challenges". This blog post explains what a decentralized Bitcoin exchange is, why Bitcoin industry people are keen on the idea and what the implementation challenges are.

I recommend reading the article if you're curious about where exchanges (e.g. CAVirtEx) are headed. Many people in the industry think that decentralized exchanges are what people will be using in a few years. The first person to create one that works will make a big splash.

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Ontario's 50 Top Appellate Lawyers

I've written a series of programs that process and extract the names of counsel from Ontario Court of Appeal judgements. I've analysed 8077 decisions and extracted 12,000 lawyer-case pairs (some decisions have multiple counsel).

Using the extracted data I compiled a table of the lawyers who appeared most frequently before the Court of Appeal over the last 15 years.

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ONCA Decision Word Frequency

I've extracted the words from 8077 Ontario Court of Appeal judgements and calculated the 100 most frequently used words.

The most common case-related words are what you'd expect: "appellant", "judge", "trial", etc.

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Court of Appeal Statistics: Costs

I've completed a more thorough analysis (see previous post) of Ontario Court of Appeal decisions. This analysis involves the automated extraction of costs awards from thousands of decisions between the years 2007 and 2014.

Of the cases studied, my program was able to confidently extract 1723 costs awards. Here are the statistics:

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ON Court of Appeal: Costs Stats

[Update: there's a more thorough (and slightly different) analysis available now: https://www.cameronhuff.com/blog/court-of-appeal-statistics/index.html]

I've analysed 3000 Ontario Court of Appeal judgements from 1999 to 2014 using a program I wrote that extracts costs awards. Of the 3000 randomly selected cases that I supplied it was able to extract 733 costs awards with a high degree of confidence.

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Smart Property Real Estate System

As part of my ongoing series of Bitcoin Law articles on the Decentral Tumblr blog, I've written a new post that looks at the feasibility of a blockchain-based real estate system in Ontario.

The blog post describes our current real estate registry and what it might look like if it was switched to a "smart property" system.

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Good Article on Parsing Legal Documents

Parsing legal documents is hard. It's hard if you're a lawyer and it's even harder if you're a computer. Here's an article on the Free Law Project that describes the challenge of parsing legal documents: http://freelawproject.org/2013/11/01/want-to-merge-millions-of-legal-opinions-it-wont-be-easy/.

They have a collection of similarly great content on other practical problems that arise when parsing the law.

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How to Speak Bitcoin: Simple Explanations of Bitcoin Concepts

I've written a blog post on the Decentral Tumblr blog that explains Bitcoin terms in simple language.

Below is a text version of the glossary.

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Bitcoin: Canadian Regulatory Landscape

I've written a series of blog posts that will be published on the Decentral blog over the coming weeks. The first one is "Bitcoin: The Canadian Regulatory Landscape". It provides an overview of the laws that Bitcoin businesses should be interested in.

Coming up tomorrow will be a post about the steps for setting up a Bitcoin business in Canada.

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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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