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Ask HN: Why is there so much hate to blockchain in Hacker News?
16 points by blocked_again on July 2, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments



1. The vast majority of blockchain/ICO/cryptocurrency startups are buzzword abusing scams and schemes

2. Everyone else seems to want to use the blockchain for wildly inappropriate applications

3. There's a small subset of people who have realized and monetized that adding the word "blockchain" will result in more money magically appearing

4. There's a fair segment that just want to use cryptocurrency to commit illegal acts and evade taxes (we're going to use Monero to run prostitution rings!)

There are some people doing some genuinely awesome things in this space, but for every person using smart contracts for low-cost electricity arbitrage, there's a dozen other people using ICOs to create distributed-blockchains-over-bittorrent that will use "machine learning" and "AI" to solve the unsolvable.

Throwing buzzwords in the mix doesn't create solutions, it only attracts dumb investors.


I'd like to add:

5. Proof of work increases energy usage, and increases the price of energy, making things like burning coal even more profitable than it should be.

6. Lack of regulation on online wallet holders. There is no FDIC on hosted coin wallets. Mt. Gox died a horrible horrible death where people lost tons of money, and even though it acted like a bank, there was no regulation on those hosted wallets.

7. Lack of regulation in the exchange markets. This allowed the rise of "shitcoins." (See "Shitcoin and Buttcoin": https://www.naturalnews.com/counterthink/Shtcoin-Buttcoin.ht... )

8. Coins are generally speculative in nature, instead of making their money charging for exchanging of money (like ATMs do) or to transfer money (Bank wire transfer). The business is built on hoping their coin becomes popular.

9. Blockchain has become a cult, where a large segment of society see the newly minted millionaires, and refuse to confront larger issues with blockchain in general. They literally have their reality distortion fields up to 11.


Proof of Work should be called Proof of Waste.


Well, the amount of scammers and get rick quick merchants starting cryptocurrencies and blockchain based products has likely left a sour taste for many people here, especially when they hear about yet another million dollar ICO that seemingly came out of nowhere.

And it's also meant a lot of people who nothing about tech are starting businesses and projects revolving around blockchains and what not despite not have any real reason to use them or a need that said technology actually solves. So people here end up seeing these projects as the equivalent to 'Uber for dog walkers' or a 'distributed basket weaving platform'.

Oh, and maybe because the topic has been done to death already and people are getting sick of discussing it.


For one thing, IBM got people to say "blockchain" instead of "blockchains" the same way that they got people to say "cloud" instead of "clouds" or "the cloud".

Blockchains attract people who know very little about computers or currency. You keep having the same discussions over and over again.

For instance there is the privacy maximalist who thinks Bitcoin is great because the U.S. government can't track his transactions. What he doesn't realize is that the blockchain is public so the U.S. government as well as the governments of France, China, Israel, Iran, organized criminals, extortionists, advertisers, spammers, etc. can all track his activity.


Bitcoin may not be private but there are currencies like Zcash and Monero that are untraceable.


Only if they know which addresses are his...


Your transactions are recorded in the ledger FOREVER.

Are your addresses going to stay private forever? Are you sure?


I have yet to come across any problems that are solved better with a blockchain than with any other traditional technology - except for the original one, a distributed electronic currency.

And I'm totally not against the concept. This is definitely a "prove me wrong" moment. It's just that I've been looking for a long time, and so far, nothing.


> I have yet to come across any problems that are solved better with a blockchain than with any other traditional technology - except for the original one, a distributed electronic currency.

On my case, I can see another one (for now): Namecoin, which is a decentralised DNS. I can't see any other way to build it apart from a blockchain, it's difficult to create a spam-resistant trustless key/value store without that.


I like to think of it as protocols being better “middlemen,” when they’re up for the job, compared to a company. Wrote about it here: https://medium.com/openbundle/when-protocols-replace-compani...


I'm sure there were a few use cases for blockchains where I thought "hmm, clever", so I believe the number is definitely higher than one.

The thing is - there were just a few of them, and none spectacular enough for me to remind myself about what it was right now.


I would imagine because of the amount of conflation that goes on with blockchain and cryptocurrencies and because of the amount of conflation that goes on with the use cases for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. From what I've seen locally, the number of people I've met at startup events/meetups/etc NYC starting a "blockchain" startup without being able to articulate the value prop of the use for a distributed ledger or equivalent implementation in their idea is mind boggling. Someone I know in the music industry told me just last week they're starting to "pivot their career into the blockchain industry".


1. Organized lists are not a magical new technology. A lot better database tech already exists. 2. Almost everything associated with blockchain is fruad-like, skirting nations’ established laws and decreasing security. 3. This type of trading is zero sum. The funds come from a bad place or from someone who has more information than/hidden info from the person they sell it to (manipulated). When you help launder money you’re harming your neighbors, yourself, and your country.


It's a direct reaction to all the hype for blockchain on HN and elsewhere. There are some interesting things about blockchain technology, but it's not the world-changing panacea some make it out to be. There's a too-high concentration of shady characters and internal politics among people trying to influence things toward their own benefit. These set off all sorts of alarms for true techies, so they push back.


I can't speak for the community, but I can speak for myself. I've always found the noise-to-value ratio way off. Blockchain is not a new idea, but it's gained popularity because of bitcoin, and if it didn't survive the 90s on its own merit then how much value is there, really?

I'm happy to be proven wrong, but I'm not going to be the one to going out of my way to prove it right.


Because it's a scam disguised as an investment or a currency. It's inefficient and it's sole purpose is to serve itself.


I work in a shared office space (a WeWork). For a few months at the end of last year and through this year, there was a wave of "crypto bros" who suddenly appeared and all claimed to be doing ICOs. Having to listen to them talk literally gave me headaches.

Every single one of them would talk about how crypto was "changing the world" and "saving Africa's banking system" and all kinds of nonsense. But when I'd ask them if they or anyone they knew had ever bought anything with crypto besides other crypto, almost all of them said "no". Somehow this technology was changing lives even though they did not know a single person who used it for it's intended, non-speculative purpose.

In other words, watching the the whole crypto fad pass is like watching the British version of "The Office" - just painfully awkward to live through. From the outside looking in, it seems so clearly overridden with scam ICOs and clueless investors.

For example, a friend tried to get me to invest in an ICO for a "Blockchain Bank." The idea was that by using blockchain, the startup could offer anyone in the world a completely legit, low fee UK bank account - all without personal identity verification (again, because "blockchain"). It would destroy traditional banks AND PayPal!

When I asked very basic questions like how they planned to get around Know Your Customer banking regulations, my friend said "Don't worry, it's all in the white paper!" But I read the white paper and it essentially just said "we'll figure it out!" There was absolutely no explanation of how it would ever work. But my friend was not interested in learning more - they just wanted enough of an appearance of legitimacy that they thought the ICO price would pop.

These are the kind of lame startup pitches that would normally get laughed out of an investors office for having huge conceptual holes. But because they said "blockchain", people are lining up to literally throw money at them. It's not because anyone actually believes (or even cares) the technology will eventually work. It's just because they are afraid that they will miss out on quick returns on the immediate speculation of the ICO.

This doesn't even touch on the widespread fraud, currency manipulation, pump and dump schemes, etc, that infest the crypto world in general.

The point is that even if you are doing something really amazing with blockchain, now you have to rise above the general stink of the cesspool of the wider crypto world. Lots of people already have a pretty bad taste in their mouth.


Because like any trendy technology it was way oversold. We are mainly tech people here and when we look at the current state of the art, it's very easy to see the technical shortcomings (the state of the art is still pretty bad). What the blockchain critics on HN generally don't see is the future potential of the current (mostly half-backed) technologies.


Most of the talk about blockchain seems to be from the intersection of the set of people who don't understand cryptography with the set of people who don't understand economics, perhaps with the set of people who don't understand databases thrown in for good measure. >99% of the time there's a better solution for the problem.

Blockchains aren't useless. They're just a lot less useful than what they're currently promised to be.


I still haven't been told about the benefits of a blockchain at all


Probably because many people here missed out on all that easy money.


Easy money? It's down > 60%.


You must be late to the party.

It's easy money when your cost basis is only a few dollars, like mine.


Only if you can turn it into real dollars, and don't end up losing it afterwards as gains from a ponzi scheme.


I have. For a while I was dumping $10K/month on GDAX. I haven't had any issues.


This reason is probably down in the statistical noise surrounding 0% of HN readers, but: it's made PC gaming more expensive.


Because people associate blockchain with gambling (ICOs being advertised on billboards solidifies this), people that didn't Gamble and win big are jealous of those that did (crypto-millionaires are definitely a thing) and its usefulness outside of being digital currency are still limited (though I would REALLY like to see it replace centralized ledgers and give the banks/VISA a run for their money).


It always appears like most on HN don't actually know much on the subject. So partly that




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