What happens if someone dies or the private key is otherwise lost?
What if the private key is stolen and the thief uses it to authorize a dirt-cheap sale to themselves?
What happens if the item is sold but the "token" is accidentally (or deliberately) sent to the wrong recipient?
What happens if the courts determine that someone else is legally entitled to the work in question (e.g. via divorce judgement) but the current owner destroys the private key out of spite?
Additionally, this system does not solve any practical problems. If I am a collector of stolen art, I don't really care about some ephemeral blockchain token, all I really care about is being in possession of rare art that I can personally admire.
Finally, it is impossible to generate a reproducible hash based on a physical object, so there is nothing preventing someone from keeping the original and selling off a fake in its place, forever corrupting the supposed chain of trust established by the artist.
Isn't it usually more about showing off that de Hory painting to your Yakuza friends?
I think they can and will be incredibly useful for digital trade, but too many people are trying to make rigid secure digital systems represent the squishy nondeterminism of analog law. Fundamentally, you can't keep an accurate ledger, because there is no interface for proving ownership of physical items.
If someone challenges your ownership of property, you bring your papers to court.
The same thing could work for cryptoassets: you have a centralized, trusted system for validation of custody of assets, and then its share distribution is handled on the blockchain.
The main issue is dealing with a 'fork'. If Person A has the private key that 'possesses' an item, but the courts say that Person B is the rightful owner (and physically transfers it to them), how do you securely fix the chain?
If person A cannot or will not be compelled to transfer the cryptoasset with their private key, then the chain now has incorrect and uncorrectable information on it. If some records on your chain are not trustworthy, trust in the whole chain breaks down.
The only fix is requiring a centralized backdoor, at which point you might as well just use a non-blockchain database.
And that can be used in conjunction with a server-side process to give a client some benefit of server-side processing. e.g. Player A has sword "X" in their inventory.
- Spend a cryptotoken as the cost of creating a forum account to fight spammers or malicious users.
- Only stream this video to people who have signed a message with a privkey that controls a token which corresponds to the video. Use steganography to encode privkey into stream, so if they release it publicly, their access rights can be stolen.
- Concert tickets that can be validated and transferred on a blockchain would also be cool, but maybe a bit heavyweight and unnecessary. Have trust when buying ticket from a scalper that it is real and valid, transfer to your own privkey so it can't be sold twice.
All of this is complicated by regulatory uncertainty, though. No way that any of these are economically viable if you have to deal with AML on every transaction, and it's not clear you can transact in non-monetary cryptoassets without being liable for following money transmitter laws.
"In other words, blockchain can guarantee parameters of transactions, but it cannot sanitize the endpoints. It cannot impose the type of social-justice and good-actor
constraints that some of its proponents believe will lead to disintermediation of centralized marketplaces like Amazon (customers will still want easy returns, "no questions asked" guarantees and customer service) or large financial intermediaries (banking clients will still want automatic fraud reversal and credit card rewards)."
And because it is smart and nor an overhyped ICO, it is offered for free and actually works.
edit: oh, it seems the project in question (veritart) is actually using opentimestamps.
Timestamping would be very useful if Google used signed timestamps to determine provenance. Scraper sites should be outranked by the original source.
> You don't need a "blockchain"
Wordpress could use time-stamping services to prove provenance on postings. That would be useful if Google paid attention to the timestamps.
> You don't need a "blockchain" for timestamps.
He didn't say anything about whether the timestamp services were centralized or not.
So saying "ha, but they're centralized!" is not a rebuttal.
(Note that I didn't say prove that you ddi thing X at time Y...)
We could of course discuss PoS solutions, but those have their own drawbacks, and that still would not change the fundamental fact that crypto currencies and blockchains have yet, after roughly a decade, to find any kind of non-niche use case. Google needed far less than a decade to become the dominant search engine. Netflix did the same of video streaming. Modern smartphones exist for about as long as Bitcoin, and they have become globally ubiquitous. So how good can the blockchain really be?
The problem is that that is just a solution in disguise as a problem. Why do we need to achieve consensus on a distributed ledger without trusting any participant? It works, I think, for bitcoin because the ledger is an end unto itself and didn't have to interface with any existing system (no existing accounts/items/entries to assign to existing owners).
The 'cash-like' quality of Bitcoin, that the sender cannot take it back or contest the transaction after the fact, is a solution to a real problem.
Unless you're talking adult businesses, gambling or one of the other industries with known issues with card fraud and/or excessive charge-backs, they aren't a significant problem for legitimate businesses at all. Even a 1% charge-back rate is unusual enough that card providers will flag the retailer for investigation.
#BrockPierce from @AnOpenSecret on #LastWeekTonight with John Oliver:
Brock Pierce posing with his "Make Bitcoin Great Again" at Trump's inaugural lounge:
A document-in-progress compiling firsthand reporting on DEN, Bitcoin, Brock Pierce and the Mike Egan / Bryan Singer lawsuit:
Hmm. Ironic or just expected? Individualized trust isn't required, but trust in the system is required. Honor among thieves is what makes the system work, so to speak.
Black is white! Good is bad! It's wonderful for scammers to be in charge! The Blockchain is the solution to everything! You can trust the Blockchain so much, that you don't need to trust people any more! Nothing could possibly go wrong! No snake oil! You're the snake oil! ;)
The only thing I'm saying is: If I'm a known con man, and I'm trying to do a deal with another known con man, I'd like to have a platform that supposedly doesn't require me to trust a con man.
I never said anything about whether blockchain can or cannot do that, never said anything about globally eliminating the need for trust, nor that blockchain is a solution for anything, nor what is "safe and wise".
I'm not even a proponent of blockchain...I can just see why some types of people are attracted to the advertised benefits.
The root problem is how to make functional and secure trustless money which doesn't rely on third parties. Decentralizing the control is the best solution known to date to remove trust from the system. This introduces the problem of ordering distributed events in a trustless environment. The solution to that is the timestamp server proposed in the Bitcoin whitepaper. That timestamp server is what has been rebranded "blockchain". It's useless for 99% of things it's proposed to solve, but it's the only known solution the original problem.
Given how My.Gox and the DAO thefts went down, so do people actually using cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin does a great job of being trustless money, and a terrible job of being money. I don't need trustless money in my life.
You may be happy with centralized services such as banks and credit cards. But those institutions are vulnerable to intimidation and so proved unsuitable for pot growers in Colorado and for Wikileaks.
In the cases of Wikileaks and Colorado pot farmers, they angered a government, even if many other governments (and the state of Colorado) supported them. So it's not about being some bad-ass who fights all forms of government. It's about pushing the boundaries enough that somebody powerful may choose to intimidate your financial provider. Given the number of powerful entities in the world with conflicting world-views, if you're doing anything interesting, you may run afoul of one of them.
Even if you personally will never use trustless money, having it exist in the world is making you a little bit more free.
It also seems to come at a great price, in terms of pollution and energy waste. Your right to buy heroin, or child pornography, or organically grown cruelty-and-cartel free marijuana is great, but your externalities are horrific.
I will just remind you that there is a thing called a carbon cycle. Carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere. Carbon is not a poison, but is instead, a fundamental component of all life on earth. It does not accumulate forever, but instead, is reabsorbed back out of the atmosphere at some often debated rate. Climate scientists know this, but people who drop the "horrific" bomb, generally do not.
Please reserve the word "horrific" for things that actually are. I'm sure you'll find something that is legitimately horrific if you try.
That's not only patronising, it's completely irrelevant when we are currently producing more carbon dioxide than can be absorbed by all of the world's carbon sinks, and so additional carbon dioxide being produced means more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
All of those existed and were traded before bitcoin was created.
> energy waste
I'd really love to see an analysis of the carbon emissions attributable to Bitcoin mining vs emissions which were funded by the extravagant salaries of wealthy-elite workers in the traditional finance/banking system. I fully accept the premise that there is some amount of CO2 emitted for maintaining the Bitcoin network, but wonder what the true cost to the climate is for rent-seeking behavior in the financial industry.
You can't have it both ways. You can't credit it for enabling good illegal transactions, but disavow yourself from all the bad illegal transactions (because they would have happened anyways!) It's an agnostic protocol, you get the bad with the good.
You could make "seizable-by-the-FBI Ether" too, but I suspect nobody would want it.
While the criticism in the blog post at blockchain as a technology is misdirected in my opinion (and maybe even purposefully misunderstanding what problems blockchains solve), I think the main problem of "shit in - shit out" is a very interesting and important one, even more so in decentralized systems where you don't have the crutches of a centralized verifier available.
However, I'm pretty optimistic that that problem can even be solved with the help of blockchain. I hoped that I wouldn't have to plug our project before we have anything published, but this seems too close of a topic to pass up. Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing both code for our first testnet and our whitepaper for a decentralized information verification system that aims to solve the problems laid out in this blog post, that we worked on for quite some time.
You mentioned that the "criticism in the blog post at blockchain as a technology is misdirected", how so?
The information is verified by creating an open system where anyone can point out wrong information (by providing oposing information). That is done with the help of a token in our system, which is issued to people who help establish consensus about what's true and what isn't. The token is the main reason we need a blockchain, and the gametheoretic aspects behind it dictate that there needs to be a token or similar in our system for it to work.
> You mentioned that the "criticism in the blog post at blockchain as a technology is misdirected", how so?
The "shit in - shit out" problem exists also with traditional systems and is not solely a blockchain-problem. That's what I meant to say with that.
I think that's about as much as I can share right now without angering my colleagues. The whitepaper which is coming out in a few weeks goes more into depth about the specifics of each part of the systems and provides some game-theoretic and economic foundations for the system.
How do you combat "spam", were some users send thousands of fake registrations of well known art works?
How do you combat sockpuppet that send wrong opposing information to steal the art work of the original creator?
How do you combat sockpuppets that send wrong information to support fake claims?
If some piece of art has two claims, who decides which one is the correct?
In the end I would say that all of your other questions can be reduced to this one, by adding weight to claims, which makes the quantity of claims and indentities irellevant.
We are not focused on the art market, but open to any kind of information. But for the example of the art ownership verification:
- Person A (true owner) claims that they own the Mona Lisa with a weight of 10 tokens
- Person B (non-owner) claims that they own the Mona Lisa with a weight of 10 tokens
- An additional actor X who knows about the ownership can add additional weight to the claim of Person A. If the consensus in the end decides (based on the weights) that Person A is the true owner, actor X will be rewarded. There are some specifics about how we construct the reward function that I can't talk about yet, but the core of it is that all participants in the network are incentivized to only submit true information, and also incentivized to combat any wrong information they see by providing conflicting true information.
If you are interested in the topic and would like to discuss more deeply feel free to reach out to me via the email on the website (I'm Max).
It does indeed seem exactly that way. You said upthread:
>An additional actor X who knows about the ownership can add additional weight to the claim of Person A.
But how do you verify that X is someone "knows about the ownership"? What if X was someone A or B paid or incentivized to vouch for them so the consensus would be swayed? How do prevent bad actors from gaming the system in this way? If the asset in dispute is valuable enough it would certainly be worth it to a bad actor to pay a little to cheat and have the consensus fall on their side.
If B were to pay X a bribe of amount N, so X enforces the statement with amount N, B could also directly enforce the statement with amount N, which would lead to exactly the same result. If X would receive less than N, to add a weight of N, they would be gifting some money to B, and vice versa. So between rational untrusted parties, a simple bribe would not make sense. There are some rationality assumptions relating to 51% attacks similar to PoS oriented systems that have to be met, but there are some mechanisms in place that should reduce the practical requirement regarding rationality among participating parties significantly.
> If the asset in dispute is valuable enough it would certainly be worth it to a bad actor to pay a little to cheat and have the consensus fall on their side.
Good question, but I'm afraid that's one of the questions I can't answer right now without leaking too much information.
Okay, better question: how do you deal with the (pathologic, and therefore approximately guarranteed to come up) situation where A's life savings are ten dollars and a horse, B has 100 million dollars, and B claims (with amount ≥ 11$) that B owns A's horse.
As I said in my previous comment, there are some rationality requirements regarding some of the token amount.
You're assuming the bribe comes in your made up currency. B could bribe X with real money or out of band coerce/intimidate X with threats and violence.
So a connected market with goods that can be bridged similar to the stock market.
> or out of band coerce/intimidate X with threats and violence
I'm not pushing for a world without governments and law enforcement.
What will you do in polemic cases? For example, some people think that La Gioconda is own by the Italian people and should be returned to Italy (because Leonardo was Italian). What would you do if there is a huge campaign to claim that it is owned by some Italian museum? What about the Tutankhamen mummy? Alaska?
Not at all, and I don't know where you are getting that idea from. The system, as it is designed right now has no requirement for a single centralized or trusted party. It also has no requirement for any trust between the participants (which most systems in the same realm do).
> What will you do in polemic cases?
That's a good question, and one of the things we want to explore during iterations of the testnet. Without going into more specifics I would say that there is a part of the incentive mechanism that rewards a more clear-cut consensus (a 50/50 split on a boolean statement is the least favourable situation for participants on both sides). This unfavourable situation should then in turn fuel the contribution of more information so people can make a more informed rational decision which should then lead to a more clear consensus. There are also some higher level market mechanisms that we anticipate to develop which could be used to both stabilize and destabilize the consensus about a certain statement, like a off-chain PR campaign as you mentioned. We'll have to see how each of those can potentially impact a consensus and if that is something that needs a countermeasure in the core protocol.
I know you said your system isn't tracking this specifically, but the general principle remains true in any problem domain. The integrity of a common-consensus system depends entirely on how little trolls care about disrupting it.
That is actually the key point why a blockchain (or ledger that allows for money-like transaction) is an important part for us. By binding what you say to a monetary reward people that act irrationaly and do it for the lulz will lose their money and ultimately have to leave the system by running out of funds.
Simmilarly, trolls could dimish the value of a PoW blockchain by creating and exploiting 51% attacks, but that hasn't happened with Bitcoin, since that is far too expensive to do it just for fun. Monetarily motivated attacks are of course a different discussion.
The art example is a great demonstration of the mismatch. There is essentially zero value in the truth, so it was worth a bit of the author's time for the lulz.
With cryptocurrency, the cost to subvert the truth is pretty high, so the value of doing so, although high, doesn't exceed the cost. With anything for which the value isn't inherent, like a cryptocurrency, it's hard to see that working out.
I mean, if I'm using a hypothetical art-ownership blockchain system, and I see that someone has spent $5 to claim authorship of Mona Lisa, do I care enough to spend $6 to say no, it's Leonardo? Do I care enough to spend even $1, along with five other people? What if 200 4chan trolls have each pitched in a dollar to say Hitler painted it? Eventually, maybe, enough people kick in a combined $201 to say no, seriously, it was Leonardo. But then what? Am I expected to continue paying a regular fee to maintain the truth? Why would I even care that much?
Wikipedia is a great example of something working really well, but many of the reasons it works so well are contrary to what you've described. It is in fact often people with far more time than money that ensure the truth generally remains on wikipedia, and they use non-blockchain-like tools, including the exertion of authority and locking of article pages, to do it.
I'm not trying to crap on your super-sekret whitepaper at all! I'm mostly thinking this through as I type, and responding to the poor design, heck, the poor goal of the described art-authorship application. You might have solved all of this in a way that doesn't depend on trolls being poor or getting bored easily. I hope so.
I would argue that most markets in existence are fundamentally based on that holding true. And somehow the world, for some reason inexplicable to me hasn't collapsed yet.
> Wikipedia is a great example of something working really well
In the general case, yeah I agree. However, there have also been cases where authority on Wikipedia has been blatantly misused to overrepresent personal views of privileged contributors and censor contradicting contributions. I'm not saying that permissioned information/knowledge gathering platforms like Wikipedia have no right to exist - as with any centralized system they probably have efficiency gains - but I think there are some properties of it that can be improved upon.
If your solution is counting on "some reason inexplicable" that took me literally two sentences to easily and accurately explain, I'd worry.
If you think trolling hasn't caused collapses, well, I note that your site has four pictures of people who are unlikely to experience what I'm talking about.
Wikipedia definitely has issues, but most of those issues involve exactly the sorts of things we're talking about here: trust, and who has it. Most of their issues would be solved with more centralized control, not less, and still the issue of who to trust with that control remains.
Yes, since traditionally the cost of trolling is ~the cost of the time of the troll. Do you think the internet would look the same if there would be enforceable fines on slurs in Tweets or Youtube comments? More relatedly, have trolls managed to destroy Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are based exactly on those anti-trolling mechanics of rational players being in place?
> the core of it is that all participants in the network are incentivized to only submit true information
How is this done? What is the incentive?
The combined reputation from many of these services could act as a badge of trustworthiness on the blockchain. You just need a system like Keybase to cryptographically associate accounts to a public key.
I have been shocked to see so few crypto solutions integrate with Keybase as a trustworthy identity network. I wonder why people aren't doing this?
If Amazon wants to implement a stricter review check you can rest assured that it will be like YouTube demonitization all over again. So companies err on the safer side and take actions only when things get out of hand. Sure it is not perfect but it is better than system which leaves less leeway.
I read your below reply about how blockchain is required but you lost me at game theory, which frankly has become a go to explanation for everything blockchain. Why will this work in a blockchain? Is always followed by "because game theory and prisoners dilemma etc."
Still given that you are implementing such a system, I am curious what is your background and experience in game theory, maths, voting etc?
Why would it? No one makes money from legitimately written Amazon reviews.
There are people who try to make a living on YouTube. Demonetization hurt them and they have a ready-made audience to vent to.
But legitimate reviewers won't really care if Amazon implements stricter checks, because their livelihood doesn't rely on Amazon reviews. People won't have much sympathy for the people pushing crappy products using sketchy reviews who might get hurt, and they don't really have a high-profile forum to complain.
If Amazon wants to implement a stricter review check you can rest assured that it will not be like YouTube demonitization all over again.
If you can be patient for a bit there will be something to see. If you want to you can also shoot me an email, and I'll send you the whitepaper ASAP.
> The smart contracts have to be in someone's control.
They don't _have_ to be. Someone has to deploy the smart contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they get any privileged access to alter/use the smart contract after deployment. That's where a lot of the beauty of smart contract enabled blockchains comes from in my opinion.
Here's an article on an idea very similar to theirs, with sample code: https://www.blunderingcode.com/gamble-channels-fast-verifiab...
Uploading a hash into the bitcoin blockchain is trivial; marketing this type of service is not. The advertising or promises of a specific venture do not necessarily reflect the value of a technology.
The Louvre Museum possesses the Mona Lisa, and claims it is the owner. If I break in and steal it, I possess it, and I can claim ownership. But the Louvre can take me to court and the judge will resolve the dispute.
Any blockchain is not a dispute resolution mechanism but an efficient claim storage, and as such blockchains can never expect to replace authority of courts - which leads to back to the usual politics
Video walkthrough of the app if you're interested: https://youtu.be/HScND22bPcU?t=198
(Actual demo starts at 3:20)
Not that I care for most projects in blockchain sphere, as 95% of them are scam and 4.9% naive / misguided. But blockchain does have its uses, it's just the ICOs (and other manifestations of greed) that gave it a bad name. Audit logs anyone? That's the killer feature.
I have yet to find a single use case that isn't better served by a few centralized or federated systems.
Even digital currency I believe is better solved by systems like GNU Taler.
If you don't want to pay an auditing company, you will have to pay the computing power for proof of work. Not a big gain.
DWIM==<Do What I Mean>
So I believe Babbidge is incredibly wrong here.
Bitcoin is great, worldwide transactions that are immune from the US government printing money every year. I understand that.
Voting and timestamps, great uses for blockchain.
However more complex work may need significantly more oversight. Sure its not great to add columns to a database, but you are not going to have this ability if millions of people dont need the columns. Thats the fault of decentralized chains.
Centralized blockchains defeat the purpose obv, but that hasnt stopped hundreds of coins from doing this.
Im very skeptical of crypto outside of bitcoin.
> A startup has certified my artwork & placed their verification on the bitcoin blockchain.
> Now art dealers & auctioneers can feel secure that I am the original artist.
> One small problem… I am not Leonardo da Vinci!https://www.verisart.com/works/23f2c64a-08c6-4a42-8013-84ac8... …
Mkay, so the system is working as designed? It seems the issue in this case is that the people behind that startup are dumb. How does that translate to blockchain tech not being useful? If you don't properly verify the information you commit to a blockchain, don't trust the information on the blockchain. Meanwhile, you can rest assured that the information was committed by someone who controls a specific private key. Why would anyone expect anything more?
By proving that without a central authority (centralization) verifying everything going into the blockchain, it is actually useless?
I have seen tons of threads where people like to mention shipping as a good use-case for blockchain. Supposedly it ensures manifest etc can't be doctored. And as this example shows if the data is tainted at source, blockchain is just a database, a rather complex one at that. In that case, it is better to use a traditional and controlled database.
So then I guess there's no use for cryptographic signing, hash chains, and graph-theoretic consensus protocols? Because that's what you're saying. Your characterization of blockchains as "useless" only makes it seem like you have no idea what it actually is. It's not that complicated. It's just a handful of known and widely-accepted-as-not-being-useless-on-their-own algorithms which have been combined in a creative way.
> In that case, it is better to use a traditional and controlled database.
So then you get...what? You get the same thing but without cryptographic integrity checks. If incorrect data is committed, don't use that data. Or, better yet, commit a revocation of that data. At least you don't have to worry about Larry's shipping company cooking the books after the fact to their own advantage.
What's being said is that it's not useful for shipping (and physical asset provenance) applications. The validity of the components is a necessary but not sufficient step in validating the application, and the latter cannot be derived from the former. The usefulness of blockchains for currency does not, in itself, imply their usefulness in shipping.
>At least you don't have to worry about Larry's shipping company cooking the books after the fact to their own advantage.
This is not as much of an advantage as it seems, if Larry can defraud you by going around the blockchain. Your risk is then determined by Larry's inclination to fraud, which is the same in either case. Fixing one hole in a fence doesn't help if the cattle can get out through another that you cannot fix.
What this argument needs is the outline of an actual solution to the problems.
I feel however that the whole "Blockchain Startup Universe" always comes up with the same bullshit claims.
It usually goes like this: "Here is a difficult problem. To solve that problem we use Blockchain. The End." No one really explains how Blockchain is so much better at solving this than a regular database. But everyone just believes it is.
So far I have not heard a satisfying explanation on how anyone will securely verify that a physical object/subject is indeed this one particular hash on the Blockchain.
You will always need a third party to verify this. And then I wonder: If you need a trusted third party anyway, why do you need a Blockchain in the first place?
You're wrong to claim this. The "whole" blockchain startup universe is not coming up with bullshit claims. It's the bullshit portion of the blockchain startup universe that is doing this. The rest of us understand what we're dealing with and why it's novel. Perhaps you've only encountered bullshit claims about blockchain. Does that mean that hash chains are bullshit? No, we've been using them for years to power git. Oh, then does it mean that distributed conflict resolution schemes are bullshit? Nope, we've been using them for years with replicated databases. So then why do these things suddenly become bullshit when put them together? Beats me. Ask the haters.
> So far I have not heard a satisfying explanation on how anyone will securely verify that a physical object/subject is indeed this one particular hash on the Blockchain.
Why does that need to be done? That's not universally accepted as a problem that every blockchain company is trying to solve.
What they seem to miss is that you need a real authority, or oracle, to issue and enforce the connection. It only works if that authority can be trusted and doesn't lose control of their private keys.
This is an example of someone not to be trusted.
The most sensible thing is usually to trust - and pay - a third party to manage the data. The net cost of a blockchain secured by PoW is quite high for a hopefully trustless consensus model.
An immutable ledger has some properties that make it of questionable value to real world applications. The author calls out a number of scenarios that make it impractical for tasks that people keep trying to apply it to.
Any technology which doesn't take into account its potential to be misused is also deficient.
Which technologies meet this standard?
Blockchains are this. What's to prevent a user or administrator from committing a "deletion" of some piece of data on the blockchain and then for users to refer to the most recent commit? That's how immutable data structures work.
So.. it is working as intended?
Regardless, taking a picture of a painting doesn't verify that you painted, or even currently own that painting. Adding a timestamp doesn't change that.