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    Yeah, it looks to be a bunch of BS. Better to use existing law to make a group of non-profits in a number of countries that use traditional, banking techniques with logs, decentralized checking, and some kind of corrective mechanisms. Bankers can probably already tell how to do most of that. It’s all ancient technology. For the currency end, high-assurance engineer Clive Robinson always said just tie one to the value of all kinds of useful commodities or stable currencies. There was in fact one that did it although I can’t remember its name. So, efficient databases run by non-profits chartered to not nickle and dime the customers with distributed checks and optionally a currency-like instrument tied to stable, diverse, real-world commodities/currencies.

    EDIT: Most objections end up about what the people running the banks or governments might do. Those risks still exist for Bitcoin with a tiny number of individuals and miners having massive influence. Exchanges getting robbed all the time. Much worse than situation for traditional banking.

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      Yes, if governments allowed ultra-low-overhead user-friendly automatable money transfer, that would decrease the usefulness of cryptocurrencies somewhat. But they don’t, not in the first world. Look up KYC/AML laws. A notable third-world exception is mpesa, which has done very well.

      Those risks still exist for Bitcoin with a tiny number of individuals and miners having massive influence.

      Their incentives are aligned with the users of Bitcoin. Miners do well if Bitcoin prospers. The same is not true with the government and my finances. The government does well if they maximize the amount they take from asset holders. Have you ever had your bank account frozen? I have, due to a paperwork error by the state comptroller. That can’t happen with Bitcoin. It’s why I started using it, actually.

      Exchanges getting robbed all the time.

      That’s why only idiots keep their money in exchanges. This is a non-issue. A big part of the whole point of Bitcoin is that you actually control your assets in a very literal sense, unlike with a bank.

      Much worse than situation for traditional banking.

      In what way? It’s cheaper, easier, more flexible, better uptime, etc. etc. The only reason I use dollars is that not everyone takes Bitcoin, and dollars have lower short-term volatility. If you know WTF you’re doing, most of your assets won’t be in dollars anyway, so it’s not like the stability of the dollar is a huge benefit when you’re (hopefully) only holding them for a short time anyway.

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        So, efficient databases run by non-profits chartered to not nickle and dime the customers with distributed checks and optionally a currency-like instrument tied to stable, diverse, real-world commodities/currencies.

        This is pretty much what blockchain technology is though? It’s trying to be an efficient distributed and decentralized database. If postgres released a plugin that let it be distributed and decentralized would you call that a bunch of BS?

        Why is blockchain tech more BS than any other technology? Are you claiming that it doesn’t work, that it can’t scale, that there is any fundamental flaw with the design? Because otherwise I don’t see how you can call a database BS.

        Everyone here seems to railing against blockchain technology because they disagree with some particular use of it, not because there is anything inherently wrong about the technology itself. We all want to make distributed computing easier, blockchain technology aims to do that, but everyone is saying it’s “so complicated”; that’s because distributed computing is complicated and we, the programming world, are still trying to find good solutions to the problems, I personally think blockchain tech is one of the more promising approaches to solve the problems.

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          “ It’s trying to be an efficient distributed and decentralized database. If postgres released a plugin that let it be distributed and decentralized would you call that a bunch of BS?”

          That is quite a strawman. Blockchain is not a distributed postgres. Here’s some key features of popular, blockchain tech that wouldn’t happen in my model built on actual databases:

          1. Energy consumption of miners to create the money. My model either uses existing currencies or commodities or instruments priced against them. The creation aspect takes either nothing or calculations one computer could handle. Also, the current model increases odds that a given currency will become a pyramid scheme to shift most of the wealth to its creators. The mining model increases odds an oligopoly will form as difficulty goes up. Both happened in Bitcoin’s design.

          2. Commit costs are much higher than traditional, strongly-consistent databases. My MasterCard can do a transaction in one second. The bank might delay it further for some analysis. The network itself handles 30,000 a second, though. Blockchains don’t by design so far.

          3. Longevity. Distributed, OSS databases + nonprofits doing at least breakeven + currencies or commodities people already want is much more likely to last over time than startup model around blockchains.

          4. Trustworthiness. Theres several currencies that are very stable, well-managed, and stored in banks with good security. Leveraging that gives quite a headstart on secure, stable banking. The blockchain currencies haven’t been stable or secure.

          These are four examples where traditional tech and legal instruments are advantageous over blockchains. The mining cost, performance disadvantages, extra pyramid schemes, oligopoly pressures, and insecure exchanges all make me call BS on blockchains being the “solution” to the problems with ordinary currency and banking. So far, it’s added more problems than it solves.

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            1. There is nothing inherent to blockchain that requires “mining”, you need transaction confirmation which is part of any consensus algorithm, it doesn’t matter if you use Ethereum or Raft or anything else, if you want consensus you need some inter-node communication.

            2. There’s nothing inherent in blockchain design that can’t do 30k TPS. I grant you that that speed isn’t there in most implementations yet, but there’s definitely people working on it, and condemning a technology that’s a few years old because it hasn’t had the performance tuning at the same scale as MasterCard is quite a premature condemnation. Here’s an example of a blockchain implementation that can do 8k TPS http://kadena.io/

            3. What? There’s nothing in the blockchain technology that’s owned by anyone?

            4. I’m not even talking about currencies at all.

            Your beef is with Bitcoin, not with anything to do with blockchain tech. Git is basically built on blockchain tech, are you saying Git is BS too?

            Replace “blockchain” in all your posts with “bitcoin” and I can agree with you.

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              1. I believe it. Most Ive seen involve weird schemes for covering costs that could lead go inefficiencies, attacks, and so on. My model is simple: people pay for an account and/or companies providing service get fees for what they do. Proven model. Keeps the tech protocols simple, too. What’s the simplest, payment-oriented blockchain you know of without stuff like mining? Or even a list of them.

              2. Visa isnt hitting 30,000 a second due to massive optimizations: they’re using 1970’s technology throwing money at CPU’s and memory. Modern ones can do 1+ mil a second on under $100k of servers. Spanner does a crapload with strong-ish consistency on geographically separated servers but with 30s pause if you want ordering guarantee when availability takes a hit. Blockchains needing lots of optimizations to reach 1970’s mainframe performance on 2017 servers is a strike against them.

              3. I said longevity, not ownership. Lots of stuff coming and going with other stuff volatile in price. This is a problem dpecific to startups in general but happening extra for those using own currency.

              4. My bad then. Ill just stsy on blockchain points.

              Re Git. There are piles of threads about its problems on the Internet. It’s useful and even necessary to participate in a lot of FOSS. I certainly would argue it could be more efficient, available, and secure in its design. It was a good Worse is Better example in how it got popular.

              Re Bitcoin. Yeah, it’s the worst of them Ive seen. Glad we agree on af least that.

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          this is all well and good for folks privileged enough to live in countries with benevolent, effective governments, but for those living under unjust regimes, distributed digital currency is a game changer.

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            Currency unions seem to be a bad idea for the poorer countries. For example, Greece is unable to devalue their currency because they have the do Euro.

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              These currencies are also a game-changer for criminals who have been driven near to extinction benevolent, effective governments.

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                “Think of the criminals/terrorists/drug dealers/etc.”

                These arguments aren’t effective anymore. People are innoculated to them after they were repeated ad nauseam during the “war on drugs” and “global war on terror”. The arguments are just as hollow now as they were in the 70s.

                I’m also curious what makes you think that criminals were “driven near to extinction” and, beyond that, are suddenly resurging thanks to new currencies. Trends in criminology data support neither of those claims. Crime rates have been decreasing gradually, and they are still doing so.

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                  I’m actually more concerned by money launderers and corrupt government officials. The latter is indeed almost gone in the west, when was the last time you heard of someone having to slip the clerk a twenty under the table to get a driver’s license?

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                    The latter is indeed almost gone in the west

                    Money seems to control our political system at the highest levels, even if DMV clerks rarely receive bribes.

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                      I’m not inherently concerned by money launderers; “money laundering” (attempting to anonymize ownership) does not, in and of itself, hurt anyone. It’s a victimless crime. The only reason it’s illegal is that it’s easier to prosecute than whatever the target might actually be doing with the laundered money.

                      However, if you are concerned with money laundering, you shouldn’t be afraid of Bitcoin; multi-billion-dollar crime syndicates just use HSBC.

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                    There are no criminal people, only acts which may be labeled as​ criminal during some time period.

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                      I will note that most of my personal, hard earned, ethically earned, legally earned capital was eaten by an effective government’s currency controls.

                      The criminals in charge of that effective government had “legal” means not accessible to the person in the street to freely move currency around.

                      Strangely enough, currency, no matter how rotten the origin, is gladly welcome in all western countries.

                      Equally strangely, there tends to be some pretty amazing hurdles to cross for currency to leave…

                      I must admit my belief in the benevolence of some governments has been tainted.

                      Their bend over backwards willingness to accept and turn a blind eye to tainted assets coming in, is matched only by their reluctance to let it leave.

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                      Those countries tend to pass laws or otherwise take action to disrupt anything effecting their control. In a lot of them, US dollars or commodities like gold are very valuable vs their own currency. My scheme is a digital version of those whose banks will be in countries like Switzerland with paper or mobile methods of using the service.

                      That’s actually less risky than currency or banking in a poorly-governed area.

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                    I wish he used blockchain for comments. I got…

                    Update Malfunction

                    Error: Origin marshalling actuator unreachable; exiting


                    My comment…

                    I loosely follow https://www.sovrin.org as they seem to have a good handle on the tech and useful applications.

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                      I think the author may have looked into the technology and found it to not add anything (which I argue is false, one of the biggest benefits is inter-corporate communication, letting companies have their own clients and “logic” for contracts/payments but still be able to interop in a standard way). This might ultimately be a matter of opinion because there are many ways to solve something and blockchain isn’t the only way.

                      But his last statement of no-one trying to sneak this into orgs to solve problems is definitely false, I know people working at NASDAQ to use blockchain tech, J.P Morgan is doing massive investments into blockchain tech, there’s things like the electric car charging network, you have consulting companies like Consensys developing blockchain based solutions for companies and they’re not short of customers.

                      If you actually followed the community in any detail you’d see thousands of people trying to sneak the tech into their companies. I have no idea whether they’ll succeed or not, but they sure are trying. I don’t know how the author can justify saying that this isn’t happening “in the slightest”.

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                        there’s things like the electric car charging network

                        But why? Why are they trying to make something simple so complicated again?

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                          Handling a distributed network of semi-connected machines that need to sync up to a consistent state is hardly simple? I think you should try programming that yourself first before you say “why would you use an out-of-the-box solution for this?”

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                            There’s out of the box solutions for that which outperform Bitcoin etc on creating, updating, or deleting records. They can be cheaper to operate. They can use existing currency and banks. QED.

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                              Absolutely, that’s why I would never use Bitcoin for it, but there are many other use-cases of blockchain technology than Bitcoin. Bitcoin happens to be one use, you can’t condemn a whole area of technology because you don’t like Bitcoin. That’s like saying you’re never going to use the Raft algorithm because Docker Swarm is using it.

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                                Neil Postman has some interesting stuff to say about this, as does Evgeny Morozov in “To save everything click here”.

                                This as an antidote to the knee-jerk response to every problem, real or imaginary, to solve it with ever more technology without considering whether it is appropriate, proportional or actually solves the problem! I’m also guilty of this, because technology is cool, but I try to be aware of that.

                                So whether or not Bitcoin/blockchain is great awesome elegant technology is not relevant, as it doesn’t solve any real problems that can’t be solved in a much simpler and cheaper way.

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                          Formal investments and large consultancies developing solutions is emphatically not sneaking it in. Instead, that’s formal projects with real money to fund them and consultancies knowing what they can charge for maybe managing to understand slightly better than their customers. Computing history is littered with such majorly hyped projects, funded in such ways, which have seen some traction inside this sort of customer. DCE (Distributed Computing Environment) is one such example, which has seen traction inside financial institutions, but is hardly a mainstay of typical computing today.

                          The author is speaking about the tech which gets snuck into companies and embedded as critical before management finds out about it, because the people at the coalface just need to get things done. This is how a lot of early Linux adoption happened, how … all the author’s examples happened, I think, but some of them predate me. :)

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                            So sneaking something in has to be non-public and not known outside the small sphere of people working on doing it. How does the author know this isn’t happening?

                            I know it’s happening in several places because I know people working on these things, the author is directly contradicting my experience and has no evidence to back it up. I’m not saying I’m right, maybe I’m in a bubble so small it doesn’t count, but at least I have anecdotal evidence, the author just blatantly claims that this isn’t happening without even anecdotal evidence.

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                              What are your peers doing with blockchain technology in their organizations?

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                            But his last statement of no-one trying to sneak this into orgs to solve problems is definitely false, I know people working at NASDAQ to use blockchain tech, J.P Morgan is doing massive investments into blockchain tech

                            They bought a ton of Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, overpriced consulting, and so on. I guess those are better than the competition at everything they do, too. Wait, they’re the thing holding businesses back now. The blockchain acquisitions might be the same thing later. Further, I’d look into how groups like Bank of America are patenting the hell out of any application of blockchains. It’s more likely the bankers see a new fad they can push hard to increase valuation a portion of which will be their own profit. Plus, they like controlling anything that’s a threat to them. It was a few of them, not governments or militaries, that destroyed Wikileaks when it was in peak, profitable form.

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                              Or, it’s because banks have problems that are solved by distributed byzantine fault tolerant consensus, and blockchains happen to be one of the easier ways to implement this, and not some conspiracy theory.

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                                There’s no conspiracy theory. Investing in stuff that might make a return is standard for banks. It might also solve a problem for them at same time. Distributed, signed, hash chains are a simpler, cheaper technology that’s existed for some time in secure auditing schemes. A portion of it done by digital notaries, too. That plus a consensus algorithm is all they need.

                                The combo would be faster, cheaper, and easier to assure than most blockchains. Additionally, retaining the settlement approach means they can keep transactions they’re liable for internal instead of all in a public database. The distributed database just needs to happen for exchanges and so on. They can evem delete internal logs when no longer needed by them or retention laws. Saves vast amount of CPU, storage, and energy vs blockchains like Bitcoin. Interledger even has a middle component for such a module with formal specification done already per one commenter elsewhere.

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                            Most of these conferences, foundations and consortia are just about corporations trying to ride the “blockchain” hype for profits. Most of them don’t actually need or want a decentralized, permissionless, immutable database.

                            However, I believe there are valid use-cases and need for real blockchains. Bitcoin provides censorship-resistant, pseudonymous value transfer. The blockchain is only meant as a settlement layer, because byzantine fault tolerant global consensus is indeed slow and expensive. Scaling solutions are being built on top of it, providing throughput comparable to VISA (see lightning network). The guys over at Syscoin are building a decentralized marketplace backed by a blockchain, kind of like OpenBazaar but without the need to run a node 24/7.

                            Don’t write off blockchains yet. If you look behind the hype, you’ll find true value there.