Video - Bitcoin Q and A What Should Not Go On a Blockchain

Want to hear more about Bitcoin and open blockchains?


What should NOT go on a blockchain? 80% of what people are saying should be implemented on “blockchain.” Right now, “blockchain” is a hammer and everything that looks like a nail is getting hit, which is mostly breaking things and not producing anything useful.

Nobody really knows what a blockchain is, and it’s being defined in such a ridiculously broad way. “Blockchain” is ultimately a meaningless word. Trust, transparency, and immutability are not properties of the blockchain; they are properties of a system that combines a blockchain, an open consensus mechanism with a proof-of-work investment in extrinsic energy, and a native asset that creates a game-theoretical reward system.

They all work in conjunction to massively increase the decentralisation of the system until its decentralisation range is so high that immutability, security, transparency, and openness emerge as characteristics. You can’t just say “let’s do all of that without the decentralisation.”

If you are currently involved in a large proof-of-concept project where some consultant is selling you the abstract noun “blockchain,” and they’re telling you that the system you have now can be replaced with all these magical characteristics, take the word “blockchain” from the proposal and replace it with “Microsoft Sequel Server, Data Center Edition.” If the proposal still works from an IT perspective, buy that instead.

If you’re using “blockchain” to mean “database,” plus some hashes and signatures, you are missing the point. The magic of this technology is the decentralisation, and to remove that is to remove the magic; that is the measure for success from which all the interesting characteristics emerge from. Aviation analogy.

Written by Andreas M. Antonopoulos on December 20, 2016.