Author Topic: Blockchain and the future  (Read 484 times)

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Offline Smooth

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Blockchain and the future
« on: December 24, 2016, 08:45:59 AM »
I've been following this tech since Bitcoin hit the news a few years ago. I've been watching from the sidelines and the Bitcoin world is very interesting and often comical, since it attracts a lot of tin-foil hat types. But now, years after Bitcoin became news, it is becoming more clear that the underlying tech of blockchain is trully revolutionary.

Here's a primer on blockchain:
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/cloud/library/cl-blockchain-basics-intro-bluemix-trs/

I am guessing some folks here are also following the progress and I am curuoius to hear your impressions.

While Bitcoin and the riches the very early developers have gained make the news and spark the imagination, the real subject is the new technologies and platforms coming up in the wake.

For instance, launched May of 2016 an ambitious project was launched called the Ethereum platform blockchain. This platform includes a robust programming environment which allows the writing code for "smart contracts" or "autonomous agents" where trust is anonymous and secure.

In June the Ethereum platform DAO (Distributed Anonymous Organazation) was hacked and millions of $ of Ether, the native crypto currency of Ethereum, was stolen and caused quite a stir. Since Ethereum is still beta, the devs decided to "hard fork" the chain and Ethereum split in two.  The controversy is very interesting, with die-hard libertarians on one side, and the community of developers working hard to improve Ethereum on the other. The platform is gaining mindshare as Big Tech begins to adopt the Ethereum platform for enterprise applications.

The Ethereum process is very interesting, but blockchain itself is the real star of this unfolding technology story.

I am curious what the SGU forum folks think will happen in future with blockchain, crypto and distributed democracy? Do you have a prediction on which if any blockchain will predominate immutable distributed ledgers? Any opinions on the future of crypto coins?

I find myself rooting for Ethereum, since they are trying very hard to address the major problems and limitations of Bitcoin, and looking far past the simple popular speculation on 'coun' prices.

Disclosure, I don't speculate on crypto, but do have a few Ether I see as a donation to the project devs.

I am not posting about the value of a particular token, but on the value and future of blackchain itself.

Just adding this link.
http://www.softengi.com/blog/blockchain-hot-or-not
« Last Edit: December 24, 2016, 09:16:53 AM by Smooth »

Offline Andrew Clunn

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Re: Blockchain and the future
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2016, 12:00:32 PM »
The block chain is hitting some real scalability issues.  I'm loving the ideology, but think it may have been oversold.
I'm just the victim of my cognitive privilege

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Blockchain and the future
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 12:23:36 PM »
I know nothing about the subject, but I find it fascinating. I don't trust crypto currencies and don't own any, since I've seen the prices fluctuate so wildly, and (from my position of ignorance) they seem to depend on developers who may or may not be in it for the long haul. But I love reading about it.

Last I heard was I think a piece on the Planet Money podcast (IIRC, but not certain) about big lag times due to overloading of the system, and a split around some technical controversies among the developers. Distributed development can run into problems when the developers disagree among themselves.

I make no predictions for the future. I could see it all collapsing, or I could see it becoming a mainstream currency. But for the latter to happen, I think the value needs to be more stable and the mechanisms of transfer need to be more reliable.

I'll read the article later, and comment on it if I understand it.
Daniel
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Offline Smooth

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Re: Blockchain and the future
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2016, 09:02:54 AM »
From my amateur studies so far, currency is becoming the least interesting application for blockchain.

Also, the issues of scalability are real, but something that will be solved. 

My main question these days is whether the tech will be mostly private facing, to cut costs internal to corporations or sectors (energy markets, ecsrow, land deeds...), or if there will be a killer public facing application akin to bitcoin (healthcare records, identity, etc.) of course there is room for both.

Blockchain is very hard to understand and I am doubting the general public will ever recognize it.

However, there is an iteresting application developers are working on which is a decentralized, distributed social network, that cannot turn your private data into revenue generating ads and info mining.

Perhaps privacy itself will be the blockchain killer app.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Blockchain and the future
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2016, 11:54:41 AM »
[...]
Here's a primer on blockchain:
https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/cloud/library/cl-blockchain-basics-intro-bluemix-trs/

[...]
Just adding this link.
http://www.softengi.com/blog/blockchain-hot-or-not

Interesting stuff. The first link seems to be mostly an advertisement from IBM. The second at least mentions a few downsides.

I think the thing I read a long time ago was that the ever-growing length of the chain was a problem, requiring ever-growing amounts of memory and computation as the number of transactions grown. The declining cost of memory and computational power will mitigate this somewhat, but that seemed to be causing problems with bitcoin.

From a very uneducated perspective, I'd say the concept looks promising, but I'm not ready to trust it yet. Is a large network of small/amateur nodes more or less secure than a large, well-maintained commercial database? I'm not competent to form an opinion. But if someone gave me a bitcoin now, I'd sell it and take the cash. I think it's too speculative. Similarly, I'm not ready to enter into critical transactions in a blockchain network. I may change my mind if and when people I trust endorse it.
Daniel
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"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think long and hard before starting a war."
-- Otto von Bismarck

 

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