Taylor Record
February 9, 2018

Ask an Expert: What You Need to Understand about Blockchain with GNOSIS (Part 1)

Meet GNOSIS, a blockchain startup building revolutionary market-driven forecasting technology.

GNOSIS provides an open platform for businesses to create their own prediction market applications on the Ethereum protocol, and they spent the last few months right here at betahaus. For Part 1 of this series, we sat down with Nadja, the Brand & Content Strategist for GNOSIS, to address some frequently asked questions in blockchain: what is blockchain, what are its advantages, and what does it mean to depend on third-parties? 

Here's what she had to share!

Hi Nadja. Let’s start with the basics: what is blockchain and what does it do?

"I like to describe blockchain as being something like a 'spreadsheet in the sky'. It's a shared, trusted, public ledger of transactions — a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of transaction data records, cryptographically secured from tampering and revision. This ledger runs on a peer-to-peer network of computers that all run the blockchain protocol and hold an identical copy of the ledger of transactions. Distributed consensus based on economic incentive mechanisms (game theory) combined with cryptography allows for secure peer-to-peer validation of transactions, and hence bypassing the need for traditional trusted third parties (like banks).

Imagine Google Docs. Each person has the latest version of the document, and everybody can inspect it. In order to change the contents of the doc, users need to reach a mutual agreement (consensus). As opposed to Google Docs, the file is not centrally stored, but each node of the network keeps a copy of the blockchain — the distributed ledger recording all transaction history."

So what do you see as the advantage of blockchain to users?

"The main advantage of blockchain is that users no longer have to trust a third party to validate transactions. With blockchain, a peer-to-peer network of computers validate transactions by majority vote (consensus). Everyone can inspect this public ledger of transactions, but no single user controls it. Blockchain, hence, provides an architecture for so called 'trustless trust' — it allows us to trust the outputs of the system without trusting any actor within it.

Imagine Anna is your best friend. She's traveling overseas and on the 3rd day of her vacation, she calls you and says: 'Girl, I need some money. I'm totally broke.' You, being a good friend and generally nice person, reply: 'I'll send some right away,' and hang up. You then call your account manager at your bank and tell him (of course you'd use N26 to do this, but let's look at the conservative way for illustration purposes): 'Please transfer 500€ from my account to Anna's account.' He opens up the register, checks your account balance to see if you have enough money to transfer 500€ to Anna. Because you have a lot of money, he makes an entry in the register like the following: Taylor sends Anna 500€ on February 8th, 2018. So, what just happened? You and Anna both trusted the bank to manage your money. There was no real movement of physical bills to transfer it. All that was needed was an entry in the register. Or more precisely, an entry in the register that neither you nor Anna controls or owns. And that is the problem with our current system: to establish trust between ourselves, we rely on individual third-parties."

Why is it a problem to depend on these third-parties, though?

"The problem is that if anything bad happens in society, all it requires is one person or organization to go corrupt, intentionally or unintentionally. What if that register in which the transaction was logged gets destroyed? What if, by mistake, your account manager had written 1000€ instead of 500€? What if he did that even on purpose? All this leads you to the question whether there's a way to maintain the register among ourselves instead of someone else doing it for us. You may have guessed it — blockchain is the answer. It is a method to maintain that register among ourselves instead of depending on someone else to do it for us."

Want to learn more about how secure blockchain is, bitcoin, or the future of blockchain? We had more questions for Nadja, so check out Part 2 of this blockchain overview!

Learn more about becoming a betahaus member or the other startups in-house!

OKAY BUT HOW IS BESPOKE SOUND DIFFERENT THAN PLAYING MY "DISCOVER WEEKLY’’ OR ANY OTHER AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED PLAYLIST ?

Well, both. Currently we offer the following two options: shorter publicly available Brand Playlists and long-form private Soundtracks for spaces. For both of them we work closely with the client to understand how sound fits into their brand DNA and what their audience is like.

We believe that the guests’ experience with a particular space doesn’t have to begin and end with their stay. The idea of the Brand Playlist is to be a public brand playlists designed to engage the customers before, during, and after their visit at a space. It’s always accessible for them and serves as a new, dynamic marketing channel.

The Soundtrack is slightly different. It takes sometimes up to weeks of work and is designed by a world-class artist, DJ, or tastemaker. For it we first work with you to develop a deep understanding of your business and style. Then we match you with the perfect artist, DJ, or tastemaker to create unique, always fresh playlists, custom tailored to match your brand. 

In both cases, we update them regularly based on guest habits and clients’ needs. 

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound



The way we engage with the music community is something really important for us and honestly, what makes us different than other background music providers. A lot of the background music providers out there have internal teams of maybe five or six DJs that do all of the music for their clients. We aim to connect with the local scene and always work with local DJs. There's some kind of magic in finding the exact right artists for the brand.

And on the flip side of it, when we hire artists, we make sure that the project is also inspiring for them and that they would be interested in participating. We always make sure to pay them well. The whole project creates for them a new income stream that they wouldn't have otherwise.

People in beta Clay Bassford Bespoke Sound

Yes! This was really fun. The objective with the betahaus "betabeer sounds" playlist was to showcase the community side of betahaus. There are so many cool, interesting people in the betahaus community and we thought a playlist could be a perfect way to not only help bring the community together but also show the diverse funkiness of the communities of Berlin and Neukölln, which is why Hazy Pockets, a longtime local Berlin DJ known for his eclectic mixes, was perfect for this project.

This playlist moves from bluesy 60s rock into surf and tropicalia, picking up momentum into Motown and onwards through some laid back disco tunes. Perfect for the betabeer events betahaus hosts monthly!


YOU’RE CURRENTLY ENJOYING THE SUN FAR FROM BERLIN. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES in berlin that YOU MISS THE MOST?

Oh, there are just so many! Like the Imren Grill for instance where you can find the best homemade Turkish food or Das Gift and Gordon which are both run by great music people. Kohelenquelle in Prenzleuer Berg is my favorite local bar (or rather kneipe). To satisfy my  techno / electronic records needs I always go to Hard Wax and one of my most special places is the Zions Kirche steeple, which has an awesome view of the city and a great Weinerei close by. 


You can see me around betahaus. Online, you can always check out my website and listen to our public playlists on Spotify. We’re also currently working on a collaboration with betahaus, so a special Playlist curated by is will very soon sound around the spaces in Kreuzberg and Neukölln. 

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