The Blockchain Immutability Myth

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Where flexible thinking is preferable to dogmatism “The highest good, than which there is no higher, is the blockchain, and consequently it is immutably good, hence truly eternal and truly immortal.”— Saint Augustine, De natura boni, i, 405 C.E. (with minor edits) If you ask someone well-informed about the characteristics of blockchains, the word “immutable”… Read more »

How to spot a half-baked blockchain

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When chains and blocks serve no useful purpose About 18 months have passed since the finance sector woke up, en masse, to the possibilities of permissioned blockchains, or to use the more general term, “distributed ledgers”. The period since has seen a tsunami of activity, including research reports, strategic investments, pilot projects, and the formation… Read more »

Understanding zero knowledge blockchains

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How to show you know something without showing what you know Last Friday saw the launch of Zcash, a new public blockchain and associated cryptocurrency that attracted a lot of attention. By now, there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies, so any budding young entrant needs a serious differentiator to rise above the fray. In the case… Read more »

Smart contracts and the DAO implosion

Posted by & filed under Private blockchains, Smart contracts.

The tragic combination of inevitable bugs and immutable code Last week witnessed a catastrophic event in the Ethereum ecosystem, when The DAO, a smart contract less than two months old, began rapidly leaking funds to an unknown party. Looking at the current set of Ethereum contracts, filled with casinos and self-declared Ponzi schemes, this might… Read more »

Four genuine blockchain use cases

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Where shared ledgers add real value in enterprise IT Almost a year after first releasing MultiChain, we’ve learnt a huge amount about how blockchains, in a private and non-cryptocurrency sense, can and cannot be applied to real-world problems. Allow me to share what we know so far. To begin with, the first idea that we… Read more »

Blockchains vs centralized databases

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Four key differences between blockchains and regular databases If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you will know by now that blockchains are simply a new type of database. That is, a database which can be directly shared, in a write sense, by a group of non-trusting parties, without requiring a central administrator. This contrasts… Read more »

Moving on from big blockchains

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What we gain in flexibility by losing proof of work When it comes to using blockchains for inter-enterprise coordination, there’s an elephant-sized problem in the room. In my view, nobody’s talking about this issue enough, whether due to denial or the need to keep the hype going. The problem, in a nutshell, is confidentiality.

Avoiding the pointless blockchain project

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How to determine if you’ve found a real blockchain use case Blockchains are overhyped. There, I said it. From Sibos to Money20/20 to cover stories of The Economist and Euromoney, everyone seems to be climbing aboard the blockchain wagon. And no doubt like others in the space, we’re seeing a rapidly increasing number of companies… Read more »