I think there's a good "shape" for what we might call a blockchain, but before we get to that, let's get to the other big argument that's happening on here: "blockchains" as an identity space... and a proxy war for other cultural dynamics!
But I also think *convergent decentralization* is being dramatically over-hyped. And that's no shocker because that's where the $$$ is. But it's not where the most important research needs to go.
So okay, for the rest of it, well that's what @spritelyproject is for...
Oops i accidentally split this thread in two, other half is at https://octodon.social/@cwebber/107492636810769669
@cwebber I haven't seen a proof-of-anything blockchain yet that doesn't either use more resources than it's worth, or creates/maintains a weird power structure between participants that will only be net positive for a minority. I've looked, argued about it, and so far, nobody has managed to show me something working.
I'm all for the git-as-blockchain kinds of systems where that doesn't exist, but that's not what people call blockchain. So I'd rather stay away from the term.
the distinction between the convergence to cosntitute a single distributed machine and the communication among distinct machines (distributed or not) is, to me, something new
it's enlightening and insightful
I still don't understand the PoW/PoS thing and the Catp thing
But at least now I have a geography of the continent, if you allow me this analogy
everything attempted to read previously was, frankly, too abstract, rethorical and lenghty
so this is a substantil progress, a fundamental bit
I think this should be consoldated in a blog post somewhere
I find the convergence interesting personally. It devises a strong solution to the "consent" aspect of "consensus", as in, "here is why I'd bother to participate". That's a carrot and stick problem. Most of computing has added consensus sticks(systemic enforcement and monitoring mechanisms) and an occasional carrot(video gam, cat picture), while "Blockchain" adds a whole lot of carrot($$$) with very few sticks.
That specific incentive is wildly suited for people who can "think" in finance - and, lo and behold, the financial industry is really the one sector that's all over it and leading the way; not the rest of tech or other markets. While outsiders are indifferent or hostile to seeing new finance carrots, insiders looking for disruption are jumping up and down in excitement. This is their chance to reset the board and the rules. It's not very principled, but it does let them try new stuff, like any useful tech.
I agree there's no tech that decentralizes everything. We're mostly just accumulating options for centralizing at different scales.
@cwebber this has the potential to get confusing in discussions around stellar's "quorum slices," as they've basically found a quorum based mechanism that works with open membership.
You can have shared ledgers without blockchains, too. The first shared ledgers I knew about were by Todd Boyle: https://financialcryptography.com/mt/archives/001469.html
Could be implemented actually-decentrally by ActivityPub and Spritely.
This might be a side trip, but do you think that Merkle Trees are a necessary part of a workable non-blockchain shared ledger?
@bhaugen define "workable", and define "merkle tree" I guess! But this is an interesting question. My first response was going to be to say that merkle trees are necessary, but then I remembered just how much when it comes to ocap-oriented distributed-object abstractions, one can upend one's normal assumptions of how things which are normally built with cryptography can instead be built with object interactions and object references.
@bhaugen It's possible to build one, I've thought of a design. I'm not sure you'd *want to use it* though.
It resembles my suggestion of how multiplayer terminal phase might work in the article that opened this thread.
But I'm not sure it's *useful*, so I'm not sure it's worth elaborating, but I will think about it. Maybe there's a surprising usefulness application.
> how multiplayer terminal phase might work in the article that opened this thread.
This thread has meandered and crisscrossed enuf that "Expand this toot" does not find an opening article...but if I found it, I would read it.
(It has been a fascinating tangle of threads, though....)
@bhaugen I accidentally split it, see the article linked in https://octodon.social/@cwebber/107492636810769669 which is the longform of these threads
My game genres of choice tend towards resource management, so I have Opinions™ about what constitutes a usable ledger. You need to 1) record transactions, 2) verify the contents of the open record and close it out in such a way that you can 3) treat any closed record the same as you would treat as a single transaction. I wouldn't say you need a Merckle tree to do this since double entry accounting and other ledgers predate Merckle at least 6,000 years, but it's possible that Merckle trees could be the only construct for maintaining a working ledger over an asynchronous network. You don't need Merckle trees to close out on a clay tablet when your supervisor is in the same room, but you need something like that when other interested parties are on a different continent
The Terminal Phase demo is relevant because, in order to close out a transaction in the ledger, all parties involved need to be at a singular point in space-time (even if it's virtual) or you need an undo stack. I proved this for my own requirements a couple years back. It doesn't have to be a Merckle tree, but you do need scoped undo levels and having a vocabulary to identify specific states (as opposed to relative levels) is very useful
You don't need double entries a la both a debit and a credit in the same ledger for the same event, you can generate those later if anybody wants them, but in a distributed environment you do need a record for each of the participants including their signatures.
Holochain recently worked thru a detailed demo, which I can find if wanted.
I don't know Merckle trees well, but the Scuttlebutts discussed them at length recently and I can find their discussion if anybody wants it.
Right. The actual requirement for a working ledger is an agreed upon degree of redundancy to assure the ongoing accuracy of the system, not adherence to double entry accounting as that particular methodology or standard. The clay tablet containing the world's oldest known math mistake was a ledger, not double entry but generally sufficient for their purposes
With modern information theory it should be possible to reduce the space and processing requirements for this overhead compared to double entry. Since that's not what's happening with blockchains, we need to challenge that
> Mark S. Miller, who was standing next to me, smiled and gave a very interesting followup: "There is only one case in which you need a blockchain, and that is in a decentralized system which needs to converge on a single order of events, such as a public ledger dealing with the double spending problem."
Great quote! I will re-use it often, citing both of you. Hope that is ok.
@cwebber While CapTP is the long-term goal, I've been thinking about proposing a system for collectibles using the existing @activitypub protocol (e.g. Offer/Accept/Reject plus collections Add/Remove). Would you be interested in collaborating? The goal is to provide an NFT alternative that avoids financialization but keeps the fun of collecting & ability to trace artist provenance. More like achievements than trading cards
@datatitian @activitypub I'm not interested in building that on AP myself, but I'm interested in doing a writeup in terms of "supporting artists and programmers on the internet" which will include the idea of "digital trading cards" (and attempting to kick the term "NFT" into the trash, and then light the trashcan on fire). If you're interested in providing feedback on that and maybe even helping with it, and maybe we could even include your examples (and i could review them), then great!
Ultimately, blockchain is equivalent to the "eternal log file" as on https://second.wiki/wiki/ewige_logdatei
What Bitcoin adds on top, is defining what contents of each "log message" (which is called a block) mean, verification of those properties, and a decentralized consensus mechanism as well as protocols to collect more than one piece of information into each block.
What Git adds on top, is defining what contents of each "log message" (which s called an object, and can be one of multiple types) mean, merges (a trivial but important addition) and a centralized consensus mechanism (branches, tags, both being just "refs").
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