Birch do i need a blockchain no
Not everyone agreed that it was bad if certain thingss were done right. There were 15 direct responses and then a whole lot of subthreads. I have pulled out all the subthreads. All tweets are linked to. Let me know if i missed a thread and I will pull it in.
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- Blockchain set to remove intermediary brands that 'add no value'
- ContractPedia: An Encyclopedia of 40+ Smart Contract Platforms
- Transparency and Translucency
- NFTs and Blockchain: What You Should Know About the Digital Collectibles Craze
- Is Bitcoin about to change the world?
- Winding Tree decentralised marketplace partner Simard appoints Don Birch
Blockchain set to remove intermediary brands that 'add no value'
Gideon Greenspan. In this opinion piece, Greenspan attacks the idea that true immutability can be achieved in blockchain systems, arguing a more relative definition of this feature better encapsulates what's the technology can achieve. If you ask someone well-informed about the characteristics of blockchains, the word 'immutable' will invariably appear in the response.
In plain English, this word is used to denote something which can never be modified or changed. In a blockchain, it refers to the global log of transactions , which is created by a consensus between the chain's participants.
The basic notion is this: once a blockchain transaction has received a sufficient level of validation, some cryptography ensures that it can never be replaced or reversed.
This marks blockchains as different from regular files or databases, in which information can be edited and deleted at will. Or so the theory goes. In the raucous arena of blockchain debate, immutability has become a quasi-religious doctrine — a core belief that must not be shaken or questioned. And just like the doctrines in mainstream religions, members of opposing camps use immutability as a weapon of derision and ridicule.
For one, cryptocurrency advocates claim that immutability can only be achieved through decentralized economic mechanisms such as proof-of-work. From this perspective, private blockchains are laughable because they depend on the collective good behavior of a known group of validators, who clearly cannot be trusted. Scorn has also been directed at the idea of an editable or mutable blockchain, in which retroactive modifications can be made to the transaction history under certain conditions.
Mockers posed the question: "What could possibly be the point of a blockchain if its contents can easily be changed? Not least because both of these criticisms are plain wrong. Both stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of immutability in blockchains and indeed any computer system.
In blockchains, there is no such thing as perfect immutability. The real question is: What are the conditions under which a particular blockchain can and cannot be changed? And do those conditions match the problem we're trying to solve? To put it another way, a blockchain's transactions are not written into the mind of God with apologies to Augustine above.
Instead, the chain's behavior depends on a network of corporeal computer systems, which will always be vulnerable to destruction or corruption. A blockchain runs on a set of nodes, each of which may be under the control of a separate company, individual or organization.
These nodes connect to each other in a dense peer-to-peer network, so that no one node acts as a central point of control or failure. Each node can generate and digitally sign transactions which represent operations in some kind of ledger or database, and these transactions rapidly propagate to other nodes across the network in a gossip-like way. Each node independently verifies every new incoming transaction for validity, in terms of: a its compliance with the blockchain's rules, b its digital signature and c any conflicts with previously seen transactions.
If a transaction passes these tests, it enters that node's local list of provisional unconfirmed transactions the 'memory pool' , and will be forwarded on to its peers. Transactions that fail are rejected outright, while others whose evaluation depends on unseen transactions are placed in a temporary holding area the 'orphan pool'.
At periodic intervals, a new block is generated by one of the 'validator' nodes on the network, containing a set of as-yet unconfirmed transactions. Every block has a unique byte identifier called a 'hash', which is determined entirely by the block's contents. Each block also includes a timestamp and a link to a previous block via its hash, creating a literal 'blockchain' going back to the very beginning. Just like transactions, blocks propagate across the network in a peer-to-peer fashion and are independently verified by each node.
To be accepted by a node, a block must contain a set of valid transactions which do not conflict with each other or with those in the previous blocks linked. Every chain employs some sort of strategy to ensure that blocks are generated by a plurality of its participants.
Most public blockchains like bitcoin use 'proof-of-work' which allows blocks to be created by anyone on the internet who can solve a pointless and fiendishly difficult mathematical puzzle. By contrast, in private blockchains, blocks tend to be signed by one or more permitted validators, using an appropriate scheme to prevent minority control.
Our product MultiChain uses a technique called 'mining diversity' which requires a minimum proportion of the permitted validators to participate in order to create a valid chain. Depending on the consensus mechanism used, two different validator nodes might simultaneously generate conflicting blocks, both of which point to the same previous one. When such a 'fork' happens, different nodes in the network will see different blocks first, leading them to have different opinions about the chain's recent history.
These forks are automatically resolved by the blockchain software, with consensus regained once a new block arrives on one of the branches. Nodes that were on the shorter branch automatically rewind their last block and replay the two blocks on the longer one. If we're really unlucky and both branches are extended simultaneously, the conflict will be resolved after the third block on one branch, or the one after that, and so on. In practice, the probability of a fork persisting drops exponentially as its length increases.
In private chains with a limited set of validators, the likelihood can be reduced to zero after a small number of blocks. Nonetheless, it's important to remember that each node is running on a computer system owned and controlled by a particular person or organization, so the blockchain cannot force it to do anything.
The purpose of the chain is to help honest nodes to stay in sync, but if enough of its participants choose to change the rules, no earthly power can stop them. Instead, we should consider the conditions under which a particular blockchain can be modified, and then check if we're comfortable with those conditions for the use case we have in mind.
This criticism is most easily addressed by pointing to the vulnerability of public blockchains themselves. Take, for example, the ethereum blockchain, which suffered a devastating exploit in June While this clearly violated the intentions of the contract's creators and investors, its terms and conditions relied on the mantra that 'code is law'.
Law or not, less than a month later, the ethereum software was updated to prevent the hacker from withdrawing the cryptocurrency 'earned'. Of course, this update could not be enforced, since every ethereum user controls their own computer. Nonetheless, it was publicly supported by Vitalik Buterin, ethereum's creator , as well as many other community leaders. As a result, most users complied, and the blockchain with the new rules kept the name 'ethereum'.
A minority disagreed with the change and continued the blockchain according to its original rules , earning the title 'ethereum classic'. A more accurate choice of names might be 'ethereum compromised' and 'ethereum the pure'.
Either way, democracy is democracy, and the pragmatic and popular 'ethereum' is now worth over 10x the idealistic but sidelined 'ethereum classic'. Now, let's consider a less benevolent way in which public blockchain immutability can be undermined. Recall that block creation or 'mining' in bitcoin and ethereum uses a proof-of-work scheme, in which a mathematical problem must be solved in order to generate a block and claim its reward.
The value of this reward inevitably turns mining into an arms race, with miners competing to solve the problems faster. To compensate, the network periodically adjusts the difficulty to maintain a constant rate of block creation, once every 10 minutes in bitcoin or 15 seconds in ethereum.
Today, the vast majority of bitcoin mining takes place on expensive specialized hardware, in locations where the weather is cold and electricity is cheap. This is all a long way from the democratic ideals with which bitcoin was created, even if it does make the blockchain extremely secure. Well, kind of secure. Second, instead of openly participating in the mining process, they would mine their own 'secret branch', containing whichever transactions they approve and censoring the rest.
Finally, when the desired amount of time had passed, they would anonymously broadcast their secret branch to the network. Since the attacker has more mining power than the rest of the network, their branch will contain more proof-of-work than the public one. Every bitcoin node will therefore switch over, since the rules of bitcoin state that the more difficult branch wins. Any previously confirmed transactions not in the secret branch will be reversed, and the bitcoin they spent could be sent elsewhere.
By now, most bitcoin believers will be laughing, because I wrote "install more mining capacity than the rest of the network put together" as if this is trivial to achieve. And they have a point, because of course it's not easy, otherwise lots of people would already have done it.
You need a lot of mining equipment, and a lot of electricity to power it, both of which cost a ton of money. But here's the inconvenient fact that most bitcoiners brush over: for the government of any mid-size country, the money required is still small change.
Assuming reasonably that they are not losing money overall, or at least not losing much, this means that total miner expenses must also be in the same range. Would a non-democratic country's government spend 0. But if you think the answer is definitely no, you're being more than a little naive. Even this analysis understates the problem, because the Chinese government could undermine the bitcoin network much more easily and cheaply.
It appears that the majority of bitcoin mining takes place in China , due to low-cost hydroelectric power and other factors. While the wider bitcoin world would undoubtedly notice, there's nothing it could do without fundamentally altering the governance structure and therefore nature of bitcoin itself.
What was that about censorship free money? None of this should be construed as a criticism of bitcoin's design, or a prediction that a network catastrophe will actually happen.
The bitcoin blockchain is a remarkable piece of engineering, perhaps even perfect for the purpose its creator s had in mind. And if I had to put money on it, I would bet that China and other governments probably won't attack bitcoin in this way, because it's not in their ultimate interest to do so. Nonetheless, the mere possibility of this form of interference puts the cryptocurrency immutability doctrine in its place.
The bitcoin blockchain and its ilk are not immutable in any perfect or absolute sense. Rather, they are immutable so long as nobody big enough and rich enough decides to destroy them. We can begin by noting that, from the perspective of these organizations, immutability based on proof-of-work is a commercial, legal and regulatory non-starter, because it allows any sufficiently rich actor to anonymously attack the network.
For institutions, immutability can only be grounded in the good behavior of other similar institutions, with whom they can sign a contract and sue if need be. As a bonus, private blockchains are far less costly to run, since blocks only need a simple digital signature from the nodes that approve them.
So long as a majority of validator nodes are following the rules, the end result is stronger and cheaper immutability than any public cryptocurrency can offer. Of course, immutability is still easy to undermine if all the participants in a chain decide to do so together. Let's imagine a private blockchain used by six hospitals to aggregate data on infections.
A program in one hospital writes a large and erroneous data set to the chain, which is a source of inconvenience for the other participants. A few phone calls later, the IT departments of all the hospitals agree to 'rewind' their nodes back one hour, delete the problematic data, and then allow the chain to continue as if nothing happened.
If all the hospitals agree to do this, who's going to stop them? Indeed, apart from the staff involved, who will even know that it happened? It should be noted that some consensus algorithms like PBFT don't provide an official mechanism for rollbacks, but this doesn't help with governance since nodes are still free to bypass the rules.
Now, consider a case where most of a private blockchain's participants agree to rewind and remove some transaction, but a few withhold their consent. However, by sticking to their principles, these users will find themselves on a fork being ignored by everyone else. Like the virtuous proponents of ethereum classic, their place in heaven may well be assured.
ContractPedia: An Encyclopedia of 40+ Smart Contract Platforms
Identity and Privacy Governance View all 10 Articles. In the current discussions around Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, we find a lack of theory to conceptualize and understand application scenarios. In this paper we propose to conceptualize distributed ledger technologies as trust mechanisms. Whereas, previously one had to rely on a trusted third party e. Based on theories of e-commerce, business networks, and trust, we explore relations between trust and Blockchain design. We analyze three case studies of Blockchain applications in the diamond industry.
Transparency and Translucency
Posted on 2nd May 6 Comments. Will Bitcoin make it into the mainstream. A lovely afternoon out at the British Museum, where I had been invited to join a panel discussing cryptocurrencies as part of the Saxo Bloomberg TradingDebates [ video ]. My position was, overall, that the people who think that Bitcoin will become the world currency of the future are wrong and, in some cases, deluded. I wanted to make two points in response to the questions from Izabella and the audience of financial services people. This first is that I think that the Bitcoin technology is, indeed, a revolution. An entirely new way of doing things. At the heart of bitcoin is a fundamental innovation: a distributed public ledger. A ledger in accounting is a book that you cannot edit once you have written in it.
NFTs and Blockchain: What You Should Know About the Digital Collectibles Craze
Is Bitcoin about to change the world?
Last developer joined 1 day ago. Constantly learning new things in order to become a better developer I believe that simple is better than complex and code must add business value from the second it was deployed. Looking for new opportunities. Ability to lead a team, give some solutions for a specific problem and suffer under high pressure at work. Google services: Google speech, Google vision, Google app engine, Firebase
Winding Tree decentralised marketplace partner Simard appoints Don Birch
This is very expensive! The constraint is softer i. In particular, the model suggests that Bitcoin would be majority attacked if it became sufficiently economically important — e. Project start date: Feb 18, First public draft: May 3,
Experts weigh in on how blockchain ID can restore self-sovereign identity both online and in the physical world. Although some people in life do an extremely convincing job of indicating otherwise, all humans have an identity. This identity comes in many forms, and as modern life has progressed, the ways in which people can identify have multiplied. Technology has now made it easier for people to explore and share their identities.
The gold standard — an economy with a finite money supply — was accepted mainstream monetary policy up to the early 20th century, when the debts from World War I made it infeasible. Even the winners in World War I tried to back all the paper that the economy had actually run on since the late s with gold until the s. But they suffered manic booms and devastating busts, over and over, because there was too much economic activity for the gold on hand. Countries recovered from the Great Depression pretty much as they left the rigid gold standard behind, because managing your money supply works much better and is much more stable. A version of the gold standard lingered in the form of the Bretton Woods system until , but rigid backing of currency with gold had been delivered the fatal blow by World War I and then the Great Depression. Gold bugs are frankly bizarre.
Most blockchain ideas that I hear about make no sense. In general, they do not involve blockchains just some sort of shared database and where they do actually involve blockchains they are used to emulate shared databases to deliver a slower and more expensive service. How is it then that even a blockchain grouch such as me thinks that the technology …. In the future, everyone will be famous for 15Mb Subscribe Sign in. About Archive Help Sign in. Share this post. Triple Entry Time Shared ledgers won't replace institutions, but they might replace auditors.
In Before Babylon, Beyond Bitcoin: From Money that We Understand to Money that Understands Us , David Birch draws on a long sweep of history to trace how technological developments have changed, and will continue to transform, money, and outlines a largely optimistic vision for the future of payment technologies. David Birch. London Publishing Partnership. Find this book:.