Venmo is not free. There's a cost, it's just hiding.
> Blockchain-based trustworthiness falls apart in practice...
The particular brand of trustworthiness the author is arguing against is indeed a myth, but that doesn't mean blockchain is "crappy technology" or "a bad vision for the future"
Blockchain adds a new thing to the world: digital property that cannot be reproduced for free.
Smart contracts add another new thing to the world: the ability to build immutable software that interacts directly with the financial system.
Both of these ideas are very powerful, and almost all of the interesting blockchain projects are still in the R&D phase.
The hype around blockchain is ridiculous and absurd, but that doesn't mean the technology isn't exciting or potentially transformative.
edit: I actually wrote an article about the "trustlessness" thing:
Sure, all through the magic of using a medium sized country's worth of electricity....
> Smart contracts add another new thing to the world: the ability to build immutable software that interacts directly with the financial system.
"Immutable" as in "immutable up until the folks at the top decide to alter history to benefit themselves financially". See also - Ethereum & The DAO.
> and almost all of the interesting blockchain projects are still in the R&D phase.
Bitcoin is more than 10 years old. It is a mature tech that is still in search of a problem.
I don't understand how this can be said with a straight face. Aeronautics, ballistics, these are examples of mature tech. I can't think of a single example of technology that was considered mature after a mere ten years.
It's been on the market for 10 years and so far its only use seems to be a great way to run pump & dump penny stock scams....
It's not the exclusive way to transfer value between people, but neither was the mechanized agriculture the sole way of growing plants in the beginning.
> Sure, all through the magic of using a medium sized country's worth of electricity....
Exactly. Also, I'd question if having more kinds of "property that cannot be reproduced for free" is a good thing. We have plenty of that already. The world becomes better as more things can be reproduced cheaper.
You seem to be implying that the Ethereum Foundation had the ability to unilaterally alter the blockchain for everybody. But that's not really true. While anyone can hard-fork the blockchain, that doesn't mean that anybody else is going to accept the new fork. In fact, a bunch of people revolted against the Ethereum Foundation's decision and kept the old blockchain alive as a Ethereum Classic. Ultimately, it was the market that decided to recognize the Ethereum Foundation's fork as the winner.
So instead of a carefully designed system of law that has thousands of years of evolution to get where it is today, we'll just regress back to what is basically mob rule?
You can still use Ethereum Classic if you really want to, but it has a significantly smaller userbase and market cap than the Ethereum Foundation's fork.
That is comforting if my mortgage or deed to my house was tied to a smart contract running on that platform.
Only if you opt into the particular set of constraints that define what that property is (as set forth in the base of protocol code most commonly used to define it).
If you don't, as innumerable forks of Bitcoin have demonstrated, you certainly can reproduce it for free. I suspect there is a hypothesis of "property" at work here that is being subject to some very privileged and Protean interpretations.
If you're a journalist, now is the time to be extremely critical of blockchain and cryptocurrencies if you want some easy popularity.
What's that now?
* Platform play where the first stage is to amass users and then use that audience to sell to businesses (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/07/venmo-m...)
And I always assumed that the short delay for transferring money out of Venmo allowed them to eek a small margin against the time value of money somewhat similar to Robinhood (https://www.investopedia.com/articles/active-trading/020515/...)...but I don't know for sure.
I did not mean to make an implication about crytpocurrencies one way or the other.
Thus comparing credit card fees to currency transfer fees is not apples-to-apples.
Comparing bitcoin to the cost of writing a check is apples-to-apples.
Venmo requires a bank account, and presumably some proof of citizenship, to have been setup far ahead of the point at which "money" goes into or comes out of Venmo.
Blockchain is essentially a tool for measuring how much leverage different nodes have in a network system. All of the functional premises of blockchain depend on the assumption that the only leverage that exists in a blockchain network is that which can be represented by the various metrics exposed by the protocol. Obviously this is not the case, networks are often stacked with multiple layers, not all of which are visible to instrumentation, and many are deliberately hidden or informally created as the opportunity arises. Cliques form, whether by design or merely as a consequence of some underlying structure or geometric boundary domain, influence builds around them, and sooner or later someone finds the ideal geometric position from which they can become the center of decentralisation.
This is essentially another instance of goodhart's law, which states that the moment any given metric becomes a useful target for optimization, it ceases to be a useful measurement. Or another variation of this same observation, the McNamara fallacy, which can be summed up as the belief that the only factors in a system that count, are those that can be counted.
For a detailed description see this: https://grisha.org/blog/2018/01/23/explaining-proof-of-work/
I agree with you, I always thought that the Bitcoin algorithm was very clever and "mind opening" in a way. It's one of these things I'd never have thought about but almost seems obvious in hindsight. What's even more interesting is that basically all of it is pre-existing technology: HashCash, ECC, Merkle trees etc... Just combined together in a clever way to create something that's more than the sum of their parts.
Now where I become a naysayer is when we switch from the realm of intellectual curiosity and into the world of cryptocurrencies today. Being clever and innovative doesn't necessarily mean useful or valuable. We have plenty of clever ideas out there that don't have much of a practical use (or used to have one but are now obsolete). Duff's Device, sleep sort, the fast inverse square root, one instruction set computers, code golf and 4KB demos ...
I think I do understand the technological value of Bitcoin's PoW blockchain, I just think that its only practical use is for a tiny niche. It's the Prolog of consensus algorithms, I'm sure it'll be useful to some but I doubt it's going to be the new C++. You say that "It uses proof-of-work to establish consensus over points in time which are universally unique" and it's true but how useful or valuable is that? Is it such a huge problem in our modern society to agree on a sequence of events? Do you often program something and think "man, I wish that there was a way to establish a consensus over points in time which are universally unique" and 1/ there's no other simpler solution to achieve that and 2/ a blockchain could actually solve it? There's only a tiny gap between these two propositions.
But I think at this point talk is cheap and all that needs to be said about the blockchain has been said long ago and multiple times. How many billion of dollars has been poured into "blockchain" technology these past few years, in the form of pre-mined coins or ICOs? How many hundreds of engineers are working on those killer blockchain applications? How many high profile companies have boldly announced blockchain-related tech investments lately? So.... where are the results? How long do we wait for them until we decide that maybe it's not that revolutionary?
No, not really. The way proof-of-work is used is nothing like in HashCash (more generally known as a time lock puzzle), the solution to a decentralized clock is the one piece that is new. In the paper it is referred to as "Timestamp Server". Everything else is previously known tech, but the clock piece is an invention, the invention that made it all possible.
I'm not trying to diminish the discovery, it's quite the contrary, I think its simplicity and elegance is what makes it so impressive. It's a very elegant solution to a very complex problem and you could explain it in a few minute to somebody with the right technical background.
That class of actor can even potentially avoid the financial sunk costs that would ordinarily be required, although that in turn would require the use of several zero-day exploits and/or the use of similarly high-value resources usually available only to state-level actors.
Still, under certain circumstances I could see something along these lines being the opening move in World War IV (not to be overly dramatic or anything). Or perhaps a much smaller conflict, should any state be foolish enough to standardize on a national cryptocurrency of their own creation for internal use.
Mid aughts, I was trying to figure out how to use tamper evident logs (rolling hashes) for our electronic medical records infrastructure. To answer questions like "what did you know and when did you know it?" and "where did this bad data come from?"
Coupled with the notions for Translucent Databases (all data at rest is encrypted) to protect privacy.
We hadn't even gotten to the consensus and trust issues.
I'm now most interested in verification of sources.
Where did this cotton or wheat or cobalt come from? Are these pills authentic?
Is the data cited by this paper legit?
Verify copyrights, perhaps even a realization of Ted Nelson Xanadu's notions of transcopyrights. (Disney's DragonChain and others have floated those use cases.)
Is this news report real or agitprop? Is this quote actually legit?
Did someone(s) silently update some published information?
Tursted Rules & Constraints Satisfaction
Since seeing a presentation on using ethereum style smart contracts for medical claims processing, I've been reading up.
I can barely wrap my head around this stuff. Computability, Turing complete, N vs NP, etc. But the domain experts I heard told a great narrative, so now I'm interested too.
And even if you manage to solve that problem, the blockchain still doesn't help with medical records, authenticity or anything else. You still have to trust the people entering those records. you still have to trust that the person who said "those pills are authentic" on the blockchain.
Smart contracts are also the biggest pile of hype. You can't have "code is law" because other wise you wind up with The DAO.... All code has bugs. All code has corner cases where assumptions fall apart. You can't code law.
Blockchain is pure, 100% hype. Almost every single use case falls apart under even a small amount of scrutiny. The only use the blockchain serves is as a platform for fraud. If you are a scammer, there is no better place to be than in crypto.
It's turtles all the way down, right?
None of my proposed use cases rely on PoW, bitcoin.
Perhaps I should have said it more clearly: I'm not interested in currency et al, because best as I can tell, bitcoin is just a better escrow, or worse a collectable (like baseball cards). And those things don't interest me.
Have you done accounting, bookkeeping, auditing? Another way to think about blockchains is an interoperable ledger. If your data doesn't leave your org, you can just using tamper evident logs (rolling hashes), no consensus stuff required.
I worked on election integrity issues for a decade. I'm the biggest technoskeptic. I pretty much oppose all things new until they're battle proven.
The biggest challenge for election administration is verifying and publishing the physical chain of custody of all the gear and materials. And no matter how hard you try, there's always some yahoos (flat earther types) that will demand ever greater proof.
Whaddya gonna do?
Well, based on my experience, applying some blockchain technologies to document and publish chain of custody would simplify A LOT of the public accountability and transparency issues.
At the end of the day, it's just double ledger accounting. Debits match credits. The parts of blockchain that interest me make it easier to "show your work".
And here's you a blockchain-based solution to medical sharing since you said you were looking into such things.
Those papers are from about the same time frame, but I don't immediately recognize them. I do remember the implementation I modeled mine after was patent encumbered.
I may have adopted "tamper evident logging" because I was talking to a lot of non-geeks at the time and they were familiar with terms like "tamper evident seals".
That MeDShare paper is kinda weird. We were very fortunate to have domain experts (nurses, doctors, admins) on staff. So what we ended up with (after a few years) didn't look much like what MeDShare proposes. For example, access control is a non-starter, because in an emergency no one cares about permission. So the best we could do is log access. Also, demographic data at rest is plaintext, because in the USA there's no GUID, so you need access to all the fields to do record matching (linking) and mitigate poor data quality.
Repeating myself: my interest in tamper evident logging was for legal liability and improving our own QA/test.
I haven't thought much about all the other areas blockchains could be used in medicine, like prescriptions.
But if there's some meat on those bones, I wanna know about it. I think of it as a constraints satisfaction problem. If the "vocabulary" can be kept simple enough, where our current theorem provers are sufficient, that could be cool.
Did we really?
BTC vs BCH, Ethereum vs Ethereum Classic. Sigwitx2.
These hardforks technically break established consensus and rely upon social means (hey everyone: switch algorithms right now!!) to stay in order. At the end of the day, it seems to me that the "blockchain" is only as strong as the community's resolve to work together.
As far as I can tell, Bitcoin is turning into a governance structure. The current power players are the devs, who most people trust (and I see no reason not to trust them). And the social structure is organized on Github and forums.
As do clubs, corporations, and "Roberts Rules". People have been making secret societies and private laws since the mid 1850s. That's a long solved problem. Chuck-E-Cheese tokens, Disney Resort Meal Points, and hell, even credit card money is "made up money" to some extent.
For example of all the above: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capitol_Hill_Babysitting_Co-op
The thing is, people need to understand the laws for them to be useful. You can't just "outsource" the rules to the blockchain.
My point is that the currently established social structure behind these cryptocommunities is horribly defined right now. Its pretty much structured around trusting a few developers. The key for success is a true governance body. Blockchain doesn't solve the hard problem at all. (Case in point: should Ethereum hardfork right now, or wait for Proof of Stake? GPU miners want a hardfork ASAP due to the ASIC miners incomming, but the rest of the community doesn't want unnecessary hardforks. Finally, the ASIC-investors definitely don't want a hard fork.)
Someone needs to make a decision, and a group of people will lose out. Probably the ASIC guys / Bitmain based on the current political environment.
But then it all begs the question: if everyone is centralizing trust in the developers, then what the hell is the point of the blockchain? Its no different than trusting the rules of the Capitol Hill Babysitting Co-op and their fake monopoly money (erm... babysitting "scrip")
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines technology as "the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes". If the application does not fulfill the purpose, the technology is crappy, regardless of how brilliant the science behind it is. The author is not saying that the science is crappy but that the technology -- i.e. the application for the practical purpose -- is.
The magical thing is that you can actually know that the distributed system is consistent by how much work was performed.
what was the problem that this solved, exactly?
> A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Paul Krugman wrote in 1998, “The growth of the Internet will slow drastically, as the flaw in ‘Metcalfe’s law’—which states that the number of potential connections in a network is proportional to the square of the number of participants—becomes apparent: most people have nothing to say to each other! By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.”
But the myth that people create amazing technology that has no use (TCP/IP, the computer), and then a decade later people discover what it's useful for, is just that: a myth.
It is even in the name. The "Internet" was not some monolithic project. It was a way of connecting the many different networks that had already been built.
My prescriptions are the real deal.
As a better escrow for exchanging goods, services.
I can verify if the trog on Fox News is just making shit up. (Verified sources, citations are baked into all content.)
> My prescriptions are the real deal.
How does the blockchain solve any of this? You still need a human to say "this Gucci handbag is not counterfeit". A human still needs to type in "yup, this prescription is real".
For this use case, think of blockchains as a shared ledger.
A blockchain-based shared ledger is only useful in case the participants don't trust each other. In which case you cannot do anything with it to help detecting counterfeits.
The original articles goes into this very problem. What's to stop your mango provider from spraying pesticides all over their mangoes and then entering "organic" into the ledger?
I'm not saying blockchains are a cure all. I'm saying I'm keenly interested in using shared ledgers for this use case.
My experiences with election integrity, for better or worse, inform my views (optimism). There was a lot of interest in auditing elections. And it was studied extensively.
For my part, I read up on Medicare fraud and forensic accounting, because they seemed to be the most mature related domains (at the time). My conclusion was that reducing fraud is best accomplished thru simplifying the accounting.
You still need relationships and face-to-face and "trust but verify".
My ultimate hope is that something like blockchains (not talking cryptocurrency, bitcoin, PoW) will somehow make the chasm between the physical and digital worlds smaller. Thereby reducing transaction costs, waste, fraud, uncertainty and so forth.
Meanwhile, imagine if every GPU used for mining right now was being used for training neural nets instead. The value in that is nearly unimaginable; we could be making massive leaps in almost every field and industry, because the applications of deep learning to making tasks marginally more efficient are essentially endless.
I admire your optimism. Meanwhile, we have quite a few millennia of trying and failing in this, so I'd rather try fixing the system instead.
> Meanwhile, imagine if every GPU used for mining right now was being used for training neural nets instead
With what, MNIST? For the billionth time?
ML and the current incarnation of AI don't need more CPUs, they need more data and better algorithms.
Actually, research is showing that brutality is declining and empathy is on the rise . We may be living in the most peaceable times in history. Maybe the optimism is warranted?
If you were a logistics company would you rather-
>Total control of fees and servers
>Directly working with companies to solve their problems
>Writing something open ended so other companies can develop their own uses
>Get paid with supporting software
>Big cost increase because of miners
I completely understand Bitcoin and currencies. But I think most blockchain is going to be bad for the environment and not needed. Centralized servers are superior for most uses.
:O, the only possibility for that which comes to my mind is a world in which everybody is infinetly rich?
I worry about russian hackers(spamming) stakes or pulling off attacks.
It took me long enough to believe that BTC wasnt going to break.
It seems like a feature with ~0 benefits. Can you explain?
As a non-utopian, I understand that human beings cannot be "fixed." Thus, we must create systems that cannot be corrupted by humans.
Creating a money outside of state control may be the smartest thing that humanity ever does. We'll need maybe a century to see how it plays out.
That said, most of the blockchain projects out there are scams. If your project can run on a centralized database, then you don't need a blockchain.
Which if successful enough to constitute a counterweight with enough force to push back against "the state" will yield merely... another state, but conveniently one with "Our Guys" in control of all the economic leverage.
You call yourself non utopian, yet Bitcoin - a tool to deleverage the state by sapping its power of taxation - is a nakedly self serving utopian project. And yet tax rent (in the form of landowner's premiums like mining rewards and tx fees, and soon by lightning network channel brokering fees, not to mention off chain but indispensable infrastructural scaffolding like exchange fees and fiat ramps) doesn't just disappear, it merely flows to the pockets of a different cabal composed of early adopters and wealthy latecomers who were able to buy large tracts of influence and infrastructure in bitcoinland.
We need to stop thinking of "human nature" as some inviolable fundamental quality and start thinking of it as the behavior of an animal in an environment.
Technology serves human beings, human beings do not serve technology. Human beings are messy and unreliable. Making them non-messy and reliable would make them not human.
What is human? Is dying from diseases and starving to death human? Is waging war and inflicting massive suffering on each other for little real gain human? Maybe there's some aspects of being human we're willing to give up.
Venmo is centralized. I cannot use it as I live in a third world county with no access to it.
Paypal sucks. It takes 5% from the seller and it has power over your money, they can(AND HAVE IN THE PAST) seize it whenever they want.
I had my salary confiscated once over a mistake in the bank. I telecomute, working for a company overseas, and the fees are stupidly high.
I find your lack of vision disturbing.
Fraud detection systems basically have most of their feedback mechanisms geared toward reducing - even eliminating - false negatives, and very little attention comparatively given to false positives as long as no individual merchant notices a measurable drop in sales.
Meanwhile, a hapless individual might have many of their purchase attempts foiled as false positives, and be left with little to no recourse (well, I suppose their complaint on Twitter may go viral, that does seem to work occasionally with ebay).
I've never had a problem with a bank that couldn't be fixed with a better policy or implementation of the existing model. Same with a payment service. What remains are the tricks hackers and scammers come up with that we'll always be facing. Traditional methods already have a lot of risk reduction for those with well-understood problems and solutions. The cryptocurrencies will have to go through a lot of loss before they get to where traditional system is now. So, fixing problems of traditional system will also lead to fewer losses.
yeah, and you might commit those changes to Venmo's own repos. and if Venmo's leadership sells out, society would be still be without an open alternative to Venmo's "open access" gardens.
why deal with the middle-persons?
In other words, you use established forms of law and incentives to make organizations that protect their members' interests. You can further decentralize the scheme by having diverse sets of such organizations that have to agree on changes for participation to continue. Each problem is solved in the simplest, most-legally/technically-proven way possible. One can also make the individual customers voting members on things like charter changes that can add more protections later.
"why deal with the middle-persons?"
The author of the original article addressed that. Even the crypocurrencies have middle persons don't most of the stuff that middle-persons do in traditional systems. They're just getting worse results so far in the new model.
For how long has the current system existed again? Exactly.
This is also one of the aspects of "the blockchain" that I struggle with. I don't think normal people want this or should be expected to do this effectively. And once you outsource the security (which most everyone will because it's the rational choice, e.g. Coinbase is better at protecting your crypto than you are, John Q Public.) you're no longer in a "trustless" state. The "trustless" pipe-dream (in the consumer use case) all sort of unravels from there for me.
I think the conclusion doesn't follow. An analogous solution is that traditional public-key cryptography (e.g. as implemented in TLS) is supposed to be trustless, but I haven't personally audited or even read any of the relevant code (e.g. TLS), so I'm "not in a trustless state". It doesn't follow that TLS is useless for me.
If you'll forgive me coining (see what I did there?) a couple of neologisms, we could call this class of regulations "anti-trust" and their enforcement "trust-busting".
That's not to say blockchain is the be all and end all, but constantly hunting for arguments why something will never work , is not only terribly boring, but IMO the most counterproductive way to look at anything.
There is ample evidence that stable, predictable institutions are the main driver of improved quality of life in the west. The libertarian instinct to tear down these institutions instead of putting in the hard work to make sure they are well run is counterproductive.
... is predicated on the long-carried memory of institutions like these failing under the duress of locked-in, privileged, out-of-touch bad-decision makers in positions of power fucking it up for the rest of us.
> instead of putting in the hard work
in my view, "hard work" is the work of building fair, equal-access solutions in an open space, instead of building more walls to facilitate Government Guidance of systems that governments have historically mismanaged.
I don't believe this is the same as discrediting solutions looking for problems. Blockchain proponents desire a technical fix to people problems. That is untenable, as people will always override software, whether that's through a courtroom, a government/regulatory body, or a fork based on majority consensus.
I would say every single non-naive person in this space realises this, so it's not true that blockchain proponents "desire a technical fix to social problems" in that sense. What smart contracts for eg could be good for is to leverage social consensus much more highly, rather than replace it (since like you said replacement is impossible)
Betamax, 3D TVs, laserdiscs, segways, new coke, etc.
That does not seem to be a truism on the face of it. Some things change and some things stay the same. New or old is not clearly a winner, the world is more complex than that.
Agreed. It's actually quite empty, on the face of it.
Last TV we bought years ago.... everything was 3D this, 3D that...
What you're saying is also just plainly logically unsound. If we tried to explore every possibility, irrespective of its potential, humanity would be nowhere. "Hunting for arguments why something will never work" is one of the finest anti-insanity protocols we have at our disposal.
Well, people chasing after the latest fad lose much faster...
"In the end" isn't necessarily interesting. In the end, we're all dead anyway :)
It was cows and jugs of honey at first. Then it was seashells. Then it was gold. Then it was printed paper. Then it was records in a database, but living isolated as local records.
It will become even more abstract and even more open, eventually. Whether that's the blockchain or something else, remains to be seen.
Cryptocurrencies have not yet eliminated and may never eliminate the need for centralized reputation based systems of trust. Centralized trusted systems are more efficient for reasons that may be fundamental and rooted in physics and math, and they can do things that no current generation decentralized system can do. Complex secure computations that are cheap to perform on a server are massively expensive on a block chain or other distributed system.
Yet what cryptocurrencies do offer is a system that levels the playing field between trusted entities and allows a once-trusted but now corrupt entity to be replaced without completely ditching the entire system. That's not true of things like centrally banked fiat currencies. If the current US financial system becomes irredeemably corrupt, this can't really be fixed without risking the destruction of the dollar and all assets and contracts denominated in dollars. A new dark age is a very high price to pay for the replacement of a corrupt or incompetent system.
I think an argument can be made that replacement of institutions will always be necessary at some point. As institutions become large their size insulates them from reality, allowing something like "genetic drift" to occur that gradually erodes their competence. Combine this with the fact that psychopaths gravitate toward positions of power and you have a general tendency of large powerful systems toward decay and corruption over time.
We saw a very concrete example of this in 2008 when banking institutions that had failed badly due to a mixture of incompetence, hubris, and corruption received a blank-check bailout on the backs of taxpayers and the rest of the non-financial economy. It is no coincidence that cryptocurrency went mainstream right after this, since these events demonstrated the need to start thinking about ways to devolve power away from these systems or at least to reduce the cost of doing so.
Side note: I think we've officially entered the cryptocurrency / block chain trough of disillusionment. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycle
What about Wikileaks? They had all their payments shutdown and then they were able to start accepting payments.
The "use case" for Bitcoin was stated up front. It is to allow censorship resistant transactions. And for Wikileaks in 2010, when their financial transactions were being censored, it worked!
Cryptocurrencies don't need to appeal to mass market users who are already happy with what they have.
Appeals to legality (without stating jurisdictions or enforcibility), cries of rampant speculation (without acknowledging how much speculation already occurs in many kinds of markets and financial instruments), doesn't really matter to those who are now enabled to do something in a way that they couldn't before.
People using cryptocurrencies today to engage in various forms of trade valuable to each other, don't care what people on the sidelines think.
I couldn't even find a traditional solution that beat crypto for converting ~$10k USD in the US to CAD in Canada (although I did have to write a script to do this via crypto and it sometimes took a few days for the markets to align favourably).
On the other hand, I highly doubt blockchain is going to beat banks at their main business of being a middleman between savers and borrowers.
with cryptocoins I wouldn't have had to move the money at all.
FWIW I kept my BTC in kind as well.
And even if there are the “proof-of-work” people are going to distrust that “it’s a mathematical proof”. Just look at Trumps alt-facts and “fake news”. You don’t need to go even that far to find people putting money under the mattress because they distrust authorities. And even if math is “universal” people are going to mistrust it because they don’t understand it. I don’t think they will ever trust bitcoin. And I think they are in a majority.
I would say that every person running a darkweb drug market would disagree...
His basic criticism of smart contracts is they can have bugs, and they can be costly since they will often involve moving money. Yes, this is a fact. Many potential solutions are out there, but how about these two ideas for starters:
- a crypto-currency where at least accounts for certain transactions can be de-anonymized, so a person can be identified and face consequences when they commit a crime like hacking.
- special transactions with settlement periods in which they can be canceled in the event of a hack, which might be identified by voter consensus.
>> and that the book — rather than some other file, or nothing at all — will actually arrive
Really? Ever heard of checksums - its used all over the place. And if we weren't able to trust it, I guarantee you that blockchain tech is not the only thing that will break.
>> It’s a complicated way to buy a book! It’s not trustless, you’re trusting in the software (and your ability to defend yourself in a software-driven world), instead of trusting other people
It's like arguing with my grandma about evolution. "But you are trusting the scientists!!". I don't know where to begin.
TCP has its root in 1974 technology , and it was not until the early 90's that it started showing its potential.
The key to Blockchain technolgoy is the proposal of what it can solve (trusted transactions in a trustless environment). I like to see Blockchain as TCP/IP: It is going to be the foundation of bigger and more "user friendly" protocols and systems. (golem.network, storj, filecoin, eos). At some point we will get the "HTTP" of Blockchain, and over that, we will start having the "Google"s and "Amazon"s spawning as well. But if you think that, it took Amazon 20 years (1994) before TCP was "invented"... then the timing for Blockchain technology is going quite well.
Is that what happens when you accidentally lock yourself out of your crypto wallet forever?
PayPal is still not available in Sri Lanka, even after repeated attempts to convince Central Banks and governments . Also, recently Stripe blocked a payment from one of my customers due to high-risk profile. Reason? He used a US issued debit card from Nigeria. I reached out to the person, turns out he was a passionate young entrepreneur who was trying to build a really interesting business. But his geographic location becomes a resistance in a medium it shouldn't.
For me, Blockchain( and Cryptocurrencies) is a reframing of the trust model from heuristics such as geographic location to verifiable algorithms. The Internet protocols enabled us to exchange code, art & virtual goods without geographic boundaries. Then why not money?
I'm not sure how the author is attributing so much doom and gloom to cryptographically secured accounting systems, some of which have survived for a decade without a major failure of their primary function (securing digital assets with enforceable contractual conditions and private keys).
He hasn't been paying attention to the space long enough: Many traders in contraband meet that description, and used to talk about it at length in r/darknetmarkets, before it was banned. (BTW, does anyone know where they hang out, now?)
Of course, it turns out bitcoin isn't exactly untraceable.
Check out Algorand, for instance: https://www.algorand.com/how-it-works/
So block chain is a really cool algorithm, that under ideal conditions can solve the Byzantine Generals problem, but there is at the moment just so incredible much bullshit surrounding blockchains, that it is sometimes hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
r/lectures thread, see the videos linked in the comments.
I also don't understand how banks cost me more money than bitcoin. A bank transaction costs me very little to no money, a crypto-currency transaction is extremely expensive.
The new-age solution to this seems to be sticking it to them by conducting all your business with scalpers.
- blockchain systems still need trust;
- security is not solved;
- blockchains are overhyped and most followers don't want it for the problems serious actors try to use it to solve.
- it has many issues (need for infra, require tech knowhow, etc)
I agree, but I still don't see how it's crapy tech, nor how it's a bad vision of the future.
You have an system that make auditing easier, with one place only for the data to be read and written and yet robust enough because of the duplication.
You have transactions logs tided to identities you can fake organised in a timeline in an open format that is not only very well documented, but being actively tested right now on the field.
You have hundreds of start up engage in a Darwinism race to find out which use case we can make that's worth it on the long run.
And finally, the tech has enough impact to force state actors to create new laws, financial actors to adapt and a huge amount of money to be invested by a lot of people.
So on one hand one very interesting concept. On the other hand, pretty much hate for the sake of hate.
Are we going to wait much longer for the Rapture?
his opinion is not worth debating, even if there is a kernel of truth there.
I think you’re crazy if you buy crypto unless you’re buying drugs, but this man’s lack of imagination wrt a no-trust public record is absolutely boring. Sure, if you’re blind, the world is dark. But we can always close our eyes to pretend—it’s never been difficult to be cynical about technology.
Fortunately for the author I happen to agree with this particular thesis.
However, this is where they go awry:
Instead of relying on trust or regulation, in the blockchain world, individuals are on-purpose responsible for their own security precautions.
THIS is the revolution. And the revolution will not be centralized :)
Blockchains are just one example of it. Kademlia trees and close consensus is another, used by SAFE network. Go look it up.
The whole POINT is, it is very hard not just for someone to tamper with a file, but to cut off access to it. Crypto-currencies also have the added requirement of preventing “double-spending”, which is very hard to do.
EXAMPLE: Why trust the landlord to have keys to open your apartment instead of an electronic lock that lets you set permissions YOURSELF? Use your phone to authenticate yourself instead of facebook controlling it. “Oh what if I lose the phone?” “Then have a backup.” “What if I lose everything?” “Then have M of N friends plus a key derived from a passphrase you know to restore it.” “Ok what about if I get amnesia and lose my phone?” “This is 0.00001% of the population and even Jason Bourne implanted a chip in his own ass.”
This guy doesn’t live in a country where the institutions people rely on have routinely screwed people. The solution is usually “throw more Democracy at it”, which is what can lead to totalitarianism.
Ever read “fuck the cloud”? It’s a good read. Why SHOULD I pay someone I don’t know to store all my files, and delete my local copies?
Have you all seen just recently what Facebook does? Why would I entrust my data, identity and brand to them?
Have we seen websites censored or DDOSed? Or just broken links to useful stuff?
SAFE network and Freenet etc. are the decentralized future. I agree that Blockchain is only a small part of the future.
Blockchains with one writer are, for example Scuttlebutt. Super resilient.
I also agree that there is no viable medium of exchange that’s fast and cheap for everyday transactions because the way blockchains currently work, they need a global consensus about every friggin transaction. That doesn’t scale. That’s why we launched intercoin.org
If you want to see more about this topic, I just wrote about it: https://qbix.com/blog
True, but his argument is that the actual fix (that would work) is to fix such dysfunctional countries so they are functional, rather than downgrading everywhere to a Somalia level of trust with blockchain as the techno solution.
In the past we didn’t have many technologies, and we used centralized providers who did things manually. Was that better? You can throw more democracy at a problem. But technology to decentralize it is often better for everybody.
I see technology as enabling UPGRADING, not downgrading. The proof is in the pudding: will people choose it over the existing systems.
This internet thing will never take off, you need a box that screeches, connected to your phone all day long! I can't even get faxes while im 'online'. Pointless.
So I would argue that any deflationary cryptocurrency will more likely be more useful over time as it has increased buying power. (But not necessarily value!)