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Downside of Bitcoin: A Ledger That Can’t Be Corrected (nytimes.com)
24 points by petethomas on Sept 12, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments



This is a pretty big downside if you want to use the blockchain in commercial banking, where laws require that the ledger be redacted in certain situations, but I think it exemplifies a more general problem with blockchain-based concepts like Bitcoin and Ethereum -- they make assumptions about ledgers and contracts that are too "pure" to mesh with real-life financial regulations and contract law.

Examples of such assumptions: Bitcoin transactions in the blockchain can never be annulled, removed, or hidden from view; Ethereum contracts cannot be modified or voided by third parties (e.g. a judge).

Unfortunately, removing immutability from the blockchain turns it into something that isn't more trustworthy than any other kind of ledger -- so what's the point of using it? So, I don't expect this kind of technology to be viable for mainstream banking, or any other use case where the real-life legal system gets involved.


Typically banks already use immutable ledgers. If they need to change something they put append that correction onto the ledger too.

> removing immutability from the blockchain turns it into something that isn't more trustworthy than any other kind of ledger

How is that in any way true? Immutability means you have a record of the real data and when it occurred. Other applications can be layered on top.


It's even more of an issue the more ambitious you get; I once heard a pretty prominent blockchain futurist talk about how smart contracts can replace lawyers and laws themselves, and thought God... as much as I don't like lawyers, at least we have a system where the law can be interpreted by human beings if an unusual edge case comes up.


>Ethereum contracts cannot be modified or voided by third parties (e.g. a judge).

Feature, not a bug. Same goes for Bitcoin and the government's inability to print shekels on demand.


Does not compute. Reality has no take-backs, yet we layer redress on top of reality.


An amendable distributed ledger is called a database


Downside of Secure Crypto: No Backdoors /s


haha.




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