[LINK] Blockchain's time is nearly up
kim at holburn.net
Sun Feb 17 09:43:39 AEDT 2019
Interesting post by Bruce. The commentaries he links with in his blog are also interesting. Part of the problem with cryptocurrencies is they they show up some of the inherent properties of money itself and these don't necessarily look good from the outside. All types of "money" suffer from similar problems and cryptocurrencies are no exception.
Here is an interesting blog post about money by Yuval Harari:
> Gold coins and dollar bills have value only in our common imagination. Their worth is not inherent in the chemical structure of the metal or paper, nor in their color or shape. Money isn’t a material reality—it is a mental construct. It works by converting matter into mind.
> People are willing to do such things when they trust the figments of their collective imagination. Trust is the raw material from which all types of money are minted
> Money is accordingly a system of mutual trust, and not just any system of mutual trust: Money is the most universal and most efficient system of mutual trust ever devised. Even people who do not believe in the same god or obey the same king are more than willing to use the same money.
> What created this trust was a very complex and long-term network of political, social, and economic relations. Why do I believe in the gold coin or dollar bill? Because my neighbors believe in them. And my neighbors believe in them because I believe in them. And we all believe in them because our king believes in them and demands them in taxes, and because our priest believes in them and demands them in tithes. Take a dollar bill and look at it carefully. You will see that it is simply a colorful piece of paper with the signature of the US secretary of the treasury on one side, and the slogan “In God We Trust” on the other. We accept the dollar in payment, because we trust in God and the US secretary of the treasury. The crucial role of trust explains why our financial systems are so tightly bound up with our political, social, and ideological systems, why financial crises are often triggered by political developments, and why the stock market can rise or fall depending on the way traders feel on a particular morning.
> On 2019/Feb/16, at 10:11 pm, Roger Clarke <Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au> wrote:
> [I held off writing about blockchain for quite a while.
> [But, in Sep 2016, I wrote this:
> >The blockchain movement has all the hallmarks of a short bubble. It is mystical. It is promoted by means of invocation of ideas in good standing that have very tenuous connections with the notion and the technology. The interests of many of the organisations that are supporting it would appear to be served by the movement (if it is what it says it is) being still-born.
> [And then I discovered that Steve Wilson had got into a similar space a few weeks before I did:
> [And, as is generally the case, when Bruce Schneier says it, it's read by more people, and makes a lot more sense the them. (Although it took even Bruce an extra couple of years, in order to achieve clarity).
> [See Bruce's posts this week:
> > ... I have looked at many blockchain applications, and all of them could achieve the same security properties without using a blockchain -- of course, then they wouldn't have the cool name. ...
> >To answer the question of whether the blockchain is needed, ask yourself: Does the blockchain change the system of trust in any meaningful way, or just shift it around? Does it just try to replace trust with verification? Does it strengthen existing trust relationships, or try to go against them? How can trust be abused in the new system, and is this better or worse than the potential abuses in the old system? And lastly: What would your system look like if you didn't use blockchain at all?
> >If you ask yourself those questions, it's likely you'll choose solutions that don't use public blockchain. And that'll be a good thing -- especially when the hype dissipates.
> Roger Clarke mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
> T: +61 2 6288 6916 http://www.xamax.com.au http://www.rogerclarke.com
> Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
> Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law University of N.S.W.
> Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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