Beyond the shouting match: what is a blockchain, really? https://dustycloud.org/blog/what-is-a-blockchain-really/
A blogpost I've promised for a while. It's long, but I hope it brings some clarity.
After writing this piece, my friend Kate Sills provided two valuable sources of feedback:
- A better definition of "smart contracts"
- An additional criteria for blockchains in terms of "incentive alignment"
I incorporated both: https://dustycloud.org/blog/what-is-a-blockchain-really/
Full agreement on "sportsball" and how annoying the toxic masculinity of trading culture
Marginalized individuals are often excited about DeFi (decentralized finance) because it disrupts the pawn industry. First Nations and nations in the global south often want the same thing that Britain wants with their own currency - global recognition of their autonomy. And for the global south, access to currency markets (the ability of trade partners to secure a stable exchange rate) without using their reserve currencies is important
I wish decentralization was an assured selling point with the EU. VMs on CapTP will definitely be more efficient (competitive) than EVM, even with Eth 2, though you'll need applications to do apples to apples comparisons with Algorand and Cardano. Decentering US tech companies, playing nice with blockchains and SOLID, creating business opportunities for EU-based hosting companies, and providing services like glue logic, public key infrastructure, and discovery (via the document management vocabulary of Activity Pub) seem (to me) to be more reliable appeals
Also the "right to be forgotten" is a key application of "time travel"
Good luck 🍀🤞🍀👍
The specific issue, here - and one that annoys the bejesus it of me, too - is that the polarization prohibits meaningful discussion
Not the point that @cwebber is trying make, but if we accept the premises that more investment is being made in blockchain adjacent technologies than Activity Pub and that OCaps with Activity Pub can provide more efficient alternatives to many of the anticipated use cases for blockchain then the burden falls on this community to demonstrate that our discourse is conducted in a nuanced and sincere way. The uninformed repetition of commonly accepted opinions about blockchain appears disingenuous because most of those opinions have been debunked already (at least in the minds of blockchain partisans) or don't reflect the current state of the technology. We don't get to a place where we can influence those developments or draw benefits from them by shouting past one another
Specifically, people implementing applications on blockchains use other distributed data stores in the backend and traditional web applications on the frontend; there are also heavy integrations with Telegram and Discord. Blockchain is not trying to be a silver bullet; there are clear concessions to other technologies for ephemeral messaging, bulk storage, and usability. Also, Ethereum is splitting into 4 chains this year in the interest of more efficient processing
That isn't to say that blockchains aren't receiving disproportionate investment of attention in development and integrations, but only that very few of the arguments circulating against blockchain are actually on point, which means that these arguments generate more heat than light. This situation is harmful to those who have any significant amount of empathy and/or are trying to work in this environment
> "Blockchain" as handwaving towards decentralized networks in general
Thank you @cwebber for an interesting read, as usual.
The time travel features of the blockchain were already familiar to me: I am an alumnus of the Time Travel School, courtesy of @bleeptrack & @blinry 's excellent Git Learning Game #OhMyGit - see https://ohmygit.org/ .
@cwebber thought that comes to mind while reading: Bitcoin gives global double-spending protection, but actually we only need double-spending protection between the participants, so it synchronizes far too much — which makes it much slower than it would have to be to solve the problem.
The amount of synchronization in Bitcoin (global truth of wallet) is only necessary if you want to be able to wave your wallet around for all to see without additional cost.
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