Meeting Notes from April 17, 2018
 
By Kathy Tate-Bradish
Photography by John Searles
 
President Marv Edelstein led the club in “Why We Are Rotarians,” and Chris Joyce gave the Thought of the Day, by Abraham Lincoln: “If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”
 
Announcements
 
Don Gwinn – the Rebuilding Together house from last year needs a few touch ups. Don just needs a few people, and may schedule it for Saturday, April 28, which is National Rebuilding Day.
 
Ann Searles – Horton Kellogg is a heck of a guy, working hard on his physical therapy because his band has a gig coming up. At 92, Horton is a Superager, which is the topic of the keynote speaker at the 20th Annual Aging Well Conference on May 4. You can register here.
 
Steve Steiber – asked for more volunteers to take part in a conversation about Rotary next week at Rotary International. He promised those who sign up a chance to “see” Hamilton, and then passed out “Hamiltons” - $10 bills – to Ann and John Searles and Kathy Tate-Bradish, who had already signed up.
 
Bill Vernon – as the chartering organization of Boy Scout Troop #929, our board needs to vote on whether girls can join Cub and Boy Scouts. Bill recommends that we say “yes.” Visiting Assistant Governor Mary Bak said her club has already voted yes.
 
Elaine Clemens – thanked the person who brought baby food for the Infant Welfare Society of Evanston. A representative for the Society will visit the club next week. Members should bring baby food and other items which will again be listed in an email.
 
Gary Peterson – Golf Road Clean-up will take place Saturday, May 12, and begins at 8:30 a.m. in front of TJ Maxx (if it doesn’t snow!).
 
Roasts & Boasts
 
Chris Joyce boasted President Marv, who is one of the counselors at RYLA. Chris visited last weekend, and said it was a great experience. The RYLA participants will attend next week.
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Albert Menard boasted Dale Bradley, who was on the cover of Evanston Magazine for “Chamber of Commerce stuff.”
 
President Marv boasted Chris and RYLA, which is the largest RYLA in the country with well over 300 students. Chris was responsible for bringing in 20 students this year.
 
Michael Merdinger said he got a letter from a student in Marv’s group who wants to start an Interact Club in Wheaton.
 
Don Gwinn boasted his son Peter Gwinn, who has been hired to write for WBEZ’s Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me. Listen for the credits.
 
Neil Gambow was interviewed by Albert. His most memorable Rotary moment came about a year after he had joined, when he was explaining Rotary to Dineba Soba, and realized that the amount of things that Rotary does is “mind-boggling.” It’s the real deal. What most of the club didn’t know about Neil is that he was the President of the Tipp City Jaycees.
 
New Member Installation
 
Paul Brown and President Marv installed Greg Klaiber as a new member of the club. Greg is a life-long resident of Evanston, was the Evanston Fire Chief, a former member of our club, and is now the director of emergency management at Northwestern University. Welcome back, Greg!
 
Paul Brown, Greg Klaiber, and Marv Edelstein
 
Program
 
Cryptocurrency - Bitcoin
 
Speaker: Jeffrey G. Shepard, managing director of Eastgate Capital Advisors LLC
 
Neil Gambow introduced his long-time friend Jeff Shepard, a wealth advisor at Eastgate Capital Advisors. Jeff and his family once hosted our Rotary Youth Exchange student from Finland, who walked into the lake with the family on their annual January 1 Polar Bear Plunge like walking into the pool in summer. Your scribe happens to know that Jeff once bartended and played the trumpet (for Monday night Big Band Night) at the now-defunct Biddy Mulligan’s.
 
Bitcoin was “invented” in a white paper published in 2008 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf Jeff thinks it has already been world changing (though he also tells us that Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan called bitcoin a fraud worse than tulip bulbs, and Paul Krugman, an op-ed columnis for the New York Times, called it evil).
 
Bitcoin is a type of encrypted digital currency (also called crypto-currency) that doesn’t rely on third parties, such as banks, for trust. It isn’t backed by any country’s central bank or government. It’s a purely peer-to-peer version of an electronic cash system. Bitcoins can be traded for goods or services with vendors who accept bitcoins as payment. Jeff hasn’t tried to make a purchase with Bitcoins yet.
 
BITCOIN
EXISTING SYSTEM
Peer-to-peer (distributes trust)/cheaper (no bank)
Use a trusted 3rd party, such as a bank
Immutable – once sold/traded can’t go back
Reversible – can cancel a check or a credit card purchase, for example
Uses cryptography
Uses cryptography
Blockchain
 
 
A block is just a message, and could be anything – music, encryption, insurance, logistics. . . The bitcoin is a long number which is the private key, making personal identification unnecessary. It’s largely anonymous. Bitcoin solves the issue of fraud through the blockchain.
 
The blockchain is a peer-to-peer network of computers that all share the same ledger. Every 10 minutes a new page is developed, and each page is called a block. There are about 500,000 pages at the moment. All transactions can be traced back to the original, which prevents fraud and double spending. DLT – distributive ledger technology – is the blockchain itself.
 
Who’s to say if the block is true? That’s where miners come in. Miners are a special group who compete to get the reward – 13 coins, worth about $100,000 – every 10 minutes.
 
They compete to complete a complicated algorithm, and when 51+% agree it is true and accurate, that block goes into the book, and a miner is randomly awarded the prize of 13 bitcoins.
 
So, what is bitcoin? The digital number series that miners get paid every 10 minutes. There are only two ways to get bitcoin – win through mining or buy from someone who owns bitcoin. It can be purchased with a debit card or via PayPal, but not with a credit card.
 
Solving the puzzle takes a lot of computer power, so the computers doing the mining tend to be localized in certain areas with low energy costs. There is debate about the contribution to global warming of the cryptocurrencies.
 
(The second most valuable cryptocurrency is Ethereum, whose currency is called Ether.)
 
Jeff suggests this excellent blogpost for further understanding.
 
(Here is a resource that your scribe found useful for understanding blockchain.
 
Jeff Shepherd
 
Guests and Milestones
 
Visiting Rotarians
 
Mary Bak, Assistant Governor, District 6440
Jeffrey Cadorette, Rotary International Board member
 
Other Guests
 
Bella Zhan, Northwestern University freshman, guest of Michael Merdinger
Joe Moos, guest of Jean Saunders
Felicia O’Malley, guest of Neil Gambow
 
Birthdays
 
Fran Caan, Steve Goranson, and Jim McGuire, all on April 18
 
 
Sponsors