Thursday, March 08, 2018

‘Blockchain’ is meaningless - The Verge

Final paragraphs from a bitcoin reality check (subtitled "‘You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means’")

"Lemieux is also well-acquainted with misconceptions about the capabilities of blockchains. “The concept of trustworthiness — at least from an archival science perspective — goes far beyond what the blockchain can do, or even promises to do, in most cases,” she said. This idea implies that records are accurate, “which is not something typically in scope of a good number of blockchain solutions” and exaggerates their reliability, which is an “issue if you have poorly written smart contracts or novel and untested consensus algorithms.” It also exaggerates claims of authenticity, which relies on the robustness of whatever identity system is paired with the blockchain. “Finally, immutability implies permanence, and there’s no guarantee that ledger records created and kept on chain will last, even with lots of copies around, because of technological obsolescence and the fact that incentives to keep the system going may die off after a time,” she said.

Establishing a clear definition will help clear up some of these misunderstandings. “Developing a more precise understanding of what blockchain technology is will help us address its shortcomings and improve upon it so that it can better be used to in the transformative ways that its proponents envision,” she said. “It’s difficult to have a conversation about advancing a technology or using it when we all mean different things when we speak about it.” Unfortunately, she estimates the terminology standard will take approximately 18 months to be finalized."
‘Blockchain’ is meaningless - The Verge

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