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Mod replaced original link Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don’t call back when asked for evidence with primary source.

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    This is ginned-up a bit from the original blog post:

    http://merltech.org/blockchain-for-international-development-using-a-learning-agenda-to-address-knowledge-gaps/

    That is, it isn’t a “study” per se, it’s just a blog post in passing about something they did.

    It rings true, however. I contact publicised blockchain stuff frequently asking for actual detail, and rarely if ever get details. This includes many interactions that go like this:

    1. press release in my inbox with remarkable claims
    2. contact PR person asking really obvious questions
    3. they know nothing, refer question to tech lead, who is on tour/unavailable/in another dimension this month
    4. tumbleweeds
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      “Are there less-expensive, more appropriate, or easier to execute, existing technologies that already meet each group’s MERL needs?”

      Like a free database running on cheap servers whose signed state and/or updates are checked by a few different people who can raise an alarm and/or sue for breach of contract. Total, monthly cost on tech side: about $5-25 a month per VPS per party checking things. Split jurisdictions and currencies using Prgmr, OVH, Vultr, etc. Use different OS’s and other components in hardened configuration for robustness.

      Initial setup could cost something. I bet still cheaper than what VC’s are paying cyptocurrency startups. Volunteers and/or inexpensive people maintain it working at non-profits or public benefit companies chartered to behave well. Existing one’s might donate a little time from their staff. Still cheaper than about any other scheme with at least as good results as those methods already get.

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        Digital Transformation Authority to Australian Senate:

        For every use of blockchain you would consider today, there’s a better technology.

        transcript (which goes into more nuance and “possible” use cases)

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          If anything, they gave it too much credit. Regular databases with cross-checking, kind of like banks do, could handle every use case they mentioned. Glad someone was at least mentioning considering alternatives, though.

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        Thanks, I’ve replaced the link.

        Submitters: please prefer primary sources to breathless rewrites, especially from marginal sources like The Register.

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        This resonates with my feeling that it’s a solution looking for a problem. That’s not saying a good application won’t be found, just that it’s entirely premature to hype for everything.

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          This reminded me of a friend’s take on Blockchain in funding proposals:

          Whenever I get a proposal into our ███ program that says “blockchain” I just rewrite it with “database” and then submit it. Tell the participants that I’m trying to maximize their flexibility, since the language ends up in a contract. Works well enough. Often the ideas are terrific … it’s just the blockchain solutionism that’s an issue. Trying to maintain the spirit and excitement of the proposal while gently steering them away from any one particular approach.

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            One filter that has worked for me so far when coming across blockchain articles is to completely ignore what the “thought leaders” are saying, and instead listen to people who are actually building things.

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                I had to immediately look for April 1st in the date on the article. Disturbing that it wasn’t there.

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                  “We have a license for IBM Blockchain, what do we do with it?”

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                    And in related news, Bitcoin is down 1.8% after the announcement. Whereas, Walmart’s is up 0.37% due to increased confidence in their tech strategy by some investors who also have money in Bitcoin.

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                I see absolutely no reason why anything except cryptocurrency needs “blockchain”. And I’m the kind of guy with a bitcoin sticker on his laptop.

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                  I think DNS alias NameCoin is a good idea. Adoption is an unsolved problem though.

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                    Namecoin is a cryptocurrency. (coin is right in the name!) Yes, it’s neat that you can attach name registration to cryptocurrency, but you still have A Cryptocurrency and everything associated with that (51% attacks, PoW power waste or unproven experimental PoS schemes, etc.)

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                      Namecoin is the quintessential cool idea with no usage. Its main use case seems to be academic papers.

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                        NIST has this flowchart about blockchain use, which contains the question “Are the entities with write access having a hard time deciding who should be in control of the data store?”

                        I’m not in the DNS business but it seems that the current system of centralized control is good enough for all involved parties. There is probably some conflict about that, but not in public.

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                    Sounds about right.