It is high time to end the hype. Bitcoin is a slow energy-inefficient dinosaur that will never be able to process transactions as quickly or inexpensively as an Excel spreadsheet. Ethereum’s plans for an insecure proof-of-stake authentication system will render it vulnerable to manipulation by influential insiders.And Ripple’s technology for cross-border interbank financial transfers will soon be left in the dust by Swift, a non-blockchain consortium used by all of the world’s major financial institutions. Similarly, centralised e-payment systems with almost no transaction costs – Faster Payments, AliPay, WeChat Pay, Venmo, PayPal, Square – are being used by billions of people around the world.Today’s coin mania is not unlike the railway mania at the dawn of the industrial revolution in the mid-19th century. On its own, blockchain is hardly revolutionary. In conjunction with the secure, remote automation of financial and machine processes, however, it can have potentially far-reaching implications.Ultimately, blockchain’s uses will be limited to specific, well-defined, and complex applications that require transparency and tamper-resistance more than they require speed – for example, communication with self-driving cars or drones. As for most of the coins, they are little different from railway stocks in the 1840s, which went bust when that bubble – like most bubbles – burst.
We won! Legalised marijuana on the blockchain concept was awarded by police in the public safety track of the blockchain hackathon 2018! #bc1718 #TNO @ministerieJenV @VNGemeenten @gem_groningen @blockchaingers https://t.co/gCCuWSRLz8 pic.twitter.com/trs6PHciYs
— Arnout de Vries (@ADeVries23) April 9, 2018
We won! Legalised marijuana on the blockchain concept was awarded by police in the public safety track of the blockchain hackathon 2018! #bc1718 #TNO @ministerieJenV @VNGemeenten @gem_groningen @blockchaingers http://www.blockchaingers.org
Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future. Its failure to achieve adoption to date is because systems built on trust, norms, and institutions inherently function better than the type of no-need-for-trusted-parties systems blockchain envisions. That’s permanent: no matter how much blockchain improves it is still headed in the wrong direction.
The entire worldview underlying blockchain is wrong
You actually see it over and over again. Blockchain systems are supposed to be more trustworthy, but in fact they are the least trustworthy systems in the world. Today, in less than a decade, three successive top bitcoin exchangeshave been hacked, another is accused of insider trading, the demonstration-project DAO smart contract got drained, crypto price swings are ten times those of the world’s most mismanaged currencies, and bitcoin, the “killer app” of crypto transparency, is almost certainly artificially propped up by faketransactions involving billions of literally imaginary dollars.
In this article, we’ll assess the foundational business functionalities for the main enterprise facing platforms including Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda in terms of where the software acquires its influence and how the system is overall optimized, whether through traditional distributed systems or a contemporary blockchain basis.
In a global economic landscape of hyper-commodification and financialisation, efforts to assimilate digital art into the high-stakes commercial art market have so far been rather unsuccessful, presumably because digital artworks cannot easily assume the status of precious object worthy of collection. This essay explores the use of blockchain technologies in attempts to create proprietary digital art markets in which uncommodifiable digital artworks are financialised as artificially scarce commodities. Using the decentralisation techniques and distributed database protocols underlying current cryptocurrency technologies, such efforts, exemplified here by the platform Monegraph, tend to be presented as concerns with the interest of digital artists and with shifting ontologies of the contemporary work of art. I challenge this characterisation, and argue, in a discussion that combines aesthetic theory, legal and philosophical theories of intellectual property, rhetorical analysis and research in the political economy of new media, that the formation of proprietary digital art markets by emerging commercial platforms such as Monegraph constitutes a worrisome amplification of long-established, on-going efforts to fence in creative expression as private property. As I argue, the combination of blockchain-based protocols with established ambitions of intellectual property policy yields hybrid conceptual-computational financial technologies (such as self-enforcing smart contracts attached to digital artefacts) that are unlikely to empower artists but which serve to financialise digital creative practices as a whole, curtailing the critical potential of the digital as an inherently dynamic and potentially uncommodifiable mode of production and artistic expression.
If your requirements are fulfilled by today’s relational databases, you’d be insane to use a blockchain.
So am I saying that blockchains are useless? Absolutely not. But before you embark on that shiny blockchain project, you need to have a very clear idea of why you are using a blockchain. There are a bunch of conditions that need to be fulfilled. And if they’re not, you should go back to the drawing board. Maybe you can define the project better. Or maybe you can save everyone a load of time and money, because you don’t need a blockchain at all.
Decentralized systems require governance to function well. Ideally this governance should be clear, open, and effective without impacting the decentralized nature of the system. This post describes the governance of the Sovrin network. Our approach is a constitutional model based on an agreement we call the Sovrin Trust Framework that informs and guides everything from code development to the responsibilities of the various actors in the system. The Sovrin Trust Framework enables decentralized governance of the Sovrin network.
FileCoin and IPFS are courageous projects for sure. FileCoin is also a nice example how Blockchain technologies strive to not only create new decentralized use cases, but also new markets. It remains to be seen if these new markets can get established with the necessary balance between users and providers.
To ensure public safety and security, it is vitally important for governments to collect information from businesses and analyse it. Such information can be used to determine whether transported goods might be suspicious and therefore require physical inspection. Although businesses are obliged to report some information, they are reluctant to share additional information for fear of sharing competitively sensitive information, becoming liable and not being compliant with the law. These reasons are often overlooked in the design of software architectures for information sharing. In the present research, we followed a design science approach to develop a software architecture for business-to-government information sharing. Based on literature and a case study, we elicited the requirements an architecture that provides for the sharing of information should meet to make it acceptable to businesses. We then developed the architecture and evaluated it against the requirements. The architecture consists of a blockchain that stores events and rules for information sharing that are controlled by businesses. For each event, two parties use their private keys to encrypt its Merkle root to confirm that they know the data are correct. This makes it easy to check whether information is reliable and whether an event should be accepted. Access control, metadata and context information enable the context-based sharing of information. This is combined with the encryption and decryption of data to provide access to certain data within an organisation.
Blockchain refers to a range of general purpose technologies to exchange information and transact digital assets in distributed networks. The core question addressed in this paper is whether blockchain technology will lead to innovation and transformation of governmental processes. To address this question we present a critical assessment of the often exaggerated benefits of blockchain technology found in the literature and discuss their implications for governmental organizations and processes. We plea for a shift from a technology-driven to need-driven approach in which blockchain applications are customized to ensure a fit with requirements of administrative processes and in which the administrative processes are changed to benefit from the technology. Having sound governance models are found to be a condition for realizing benefits. Based on a critical assessment we offer directions for further research into the potential benefits of BC applications in e-government and the role of governance of BC architectures and applications to comply with societal needs and public values.