Jean Lievens: Is Blockchain a Threat to the Distributed Internet? UPDATED with 2 Comments

IO Impotency
Jean Lievens
Jean Lievens

Must  read.

The blockchain is a threat to the distributed future of the Internet


The need to replicate the whole chain of blocks on our computer is an insurmountable barrier to entry if you’re searching for an alternative to IBM, Amazon or Google. The Twister chain is still small, but think about how, to date, the initial synchronization for Bitcoin requires storage space of more than 65GB for the complete download of the blockchain.   . . .

The alternative on which we can build a great new Internet era is projects like GNU social, Friendica, Hubzilla, Diaspora, and efforts to design common protocols like ActivityPub, not on the blockchain. Without a doubt, the blockchain will be very useful for registering large corporate capital markets and making cross-border banking transactions, but as system for the development of everyday applications on the Internet, it’s a danger to the distributed structure of the network.

Neal Rauhauser
Neal Rauhauser

UPDATE 1: Neal Rauhauser

The blockchain bloat cited by Jean Lievens is a problem, but it gets less attention than the drama surrounding the attempt to upgrade Bitcoin to handle more than seven transactions per second. Even so, I can cite several pieces of good news in this area.

First and noisiest is The DAO, short for The Distributed Autonomous Organization. The DAO was announced on April 30th and has raised $150M from 19,000 investors in just three weeks. This 21st century blockchain enabled venture capital fund is stateless wealth, but its directed by the collective wisdom of its backers. This new method of organizing both capital and people is going to cannibalize every middle man with the sole exception being those who provide market liquidity by holding commodities on a short term basis. And there isn’t any central entity funding storage and computing power; they’re confident they can do this in a distributed fashion.

There are companies that provide software which stores information about data in the blockchain, rather than all of the data itself. If your business has to keep certain records on a monthly basis, all you need to commit to the blockchain is a cryptographic hash of the file representing your month’s worth of data. The file combined with the checksum are as secure as having put all of that content into the blockchain. The same principle applies to blockchains themselves – if the type of data tracked is amenable, a blockchain can be ‘pleated’. Transactions for the month accumulate in a monthly blockchain that begins with a root containing last month’s balances, and when the month ends the books are closed by writing a single monthly record, which is the root for the next month.

Some of the smartest people alive today are focused on this problem. Vitalik Buterin was just nineteen when The DAO’s enabler, Ethereum, was launched, and it’s now the second cryptocurrency to break the billion dollar market cap barrier. The problem Lievens addresses is real, but the prognosis is not as grim as he suggests.

Sean Brizendine
Sean Brizendine

UPDATE 2: Sean Brizendine

I believe it holds a lot of potential. However since its a voting platform with built in governance based on consensus its use in this aspect as far as approval and financing for projects presented by individuals, groups and start-ups the potential for abuse and tyranny of the majority could play a factor.

Even worse is that the brightest, wisest and fortunate along with the lucky ones will hold always the most votes due to them holding the most DAO tokens as each token should count as a vote and those with one token in their wallet will make little difference compared to those with 100k DAO Tokens in their wallet. Plus so far there is yet to be an open source explorer available to see which addresses hold the most DAO tokens along with the ledger showing the initial funding sources to see if the Ethereum Founders salted the egg basket with their own ether which would not be a problem unless they made it appear to be many instead of really being only a few until the free market reacted. I have some DAO Tokens and will give some to you so you can participate.

I do not think the Ethereum DAO is the proper venue for your World Brain Distributed Computer Global Intelligence Project for many reasons, nor is Maidsafe due to their lack of current knowledge, poor spending habits plus inability to let go of the past while trying to create the future with outdated thoughts and methodologies that do not represent the current structure of what we define as the Internet and their ability to create a decentralized network that is autonomous, secure and private yet parallel and well ported into areas of the the existing and ever evolving structure of the world wide web in order to not become the Jonestown of cyberspace alienated from the ability to gain supporters plus allow for everyday use where all the good commerce is located in the matrix and its soon to be $20 Trillion Dollar IoT Structure which is what they would like to do securely and privately yet lack the understanding of how to have the best of both worlds through leverage instead of just connectivity alone.

Tau-Chain I believe will be the same. I thought Ethereum would be the perfect venue, but I am not so sure after this new DAO structure which could become a daily meal consisting of two wlves and one sheep deciding whats for dinner when it comes to projects. Your best bet (Our if I am still part of the Core Development Team along with Mr. Arnold, Mr. Dover, etc..) is to either talk Stephen Arnold into taking over the Maidsafe project or me, you and Stephen and Rob build the World Brain in 30 days and then seek funding privately and publicly through a power point style webinar and name the Blockchain (Basic Ethereum Clone) or eventual super computer ‘Stallman’ and the Network Fuel be called ‘RMS’ Tokens. We could don this very inexpensively and achieve tremendous results now. Just a thought.