From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Information icon.svg This is not a RationalWiki article!

While its author, Rabbitseatcarrots, believes this article would fall under point 2 of the mission, documenting the full range of crank ideas, it is not in mainspace because they consider the subject not notable enough for it. Do not add categories to this article.

If you believe this article deserves a spot on mainspace, you may need to rewrite some of it, as it is written from the POV of the author

A cynical person could easily think that this is all hype, there's lots of scams, there's lots of fraudulent activity in this whole space
—Peter McBurney. Not just cynical persons, if I may say so myself
Someone is wrong on
The Internet
Icon internet.svg
Log in:

As I connect to my favorite Invidious instance, I see a video right on the main page that caught my attention: Alternative Uses for Blockchain - Computerphile, where professor Peter McBurney of Kings College London is going to explain to us why the Blockchain is right on par with the WWW as one of humanity's greatest inventions.

Normally, I would just ignore these videos, but I just so happened to have some free time today, so, let's see what this professor has to say.

ProfessorRabbit guy

Sharing information in a tamper-proof way[edit]

Why I think that's revolutionary is that the distributed ledger or the blockchain technology allows us to share data in a tamper-proof way. (that is, intermediaries have not modified the message from one computer to the other)

While not wrong, blockchains are far from the only system with this property. Perhaps the professor would like to read about the tamper-proof properties of much more used and infinitely more efficient systems, such as TLSWikipedia and good old Bittorrent. He kinda talks about it as if this is unique to the blockchain, which makes me think he doesn't know these protocols exist, or doesn't know they have this property.

Blockchain is not crypto[edit]

The professor explains that the first blockchain developed was for Bitcoin, and that, while the technology is new, it's components were not. He says that he, along with his students, worked at a unspecified major bank to develop an internal blockchain to see if they could transact with it and avoid having to do SWIFTWikipedia transactions. He then goes on to say that this platform (the blockchain) could be used to transact with physical or virtual assets and something about shorts and promises. He closes with stating that France has a system where they keep track of every degree issued by an institution so that employers can verify that applicants indeed have a degree in X from Y institution.

Neither the components, nor this way of putting them together was new. Before Satoshi released the holy whitepaper, Git already existed, and uses a similar concept to that of the blockchain, but is actually efficient and useful, unlike the blockchain.

The "internal/private blockchain" idea defeats the purpose of a blockchain in the first place. If it is a system where only a few people will have write and read access, why not use Git or a Git-like platform, which provides the same benefits without all the blockchain bullshit.

The France stuff is much of the same, they are not using blockchains because private blockchains defeats the purpose and introduce security considerations. If I had enough money to pay the gas fees to introduce a fake degree into that system, would it make it true? It is in the blockchain, thus it must be the truth. This is known in cryptocurrency communities as the oracle problem, a term used specially in the context of smart contracts that rely on information from a third party outside the blockchain, more commonly known as the Byzantine Generals problem. If it's a system where only a few people (in this case, university staff) are allowed to add info to this database and there's a need to verify that no one has tampered the info after it had been sent to the servers, there's no reason to use blockchains and bear with all the negatives it includes over something like Git, or just plain digital signatures from keys controlled by the university attached to the data.

Blockchains are being used already to exchange digital goods. No-one really likes using blockchains for this, apart from speculators.

The social argument for blockchains[edit]

He argues that, while a lot of technical criticism for blockchains are mostly valid, there are still reasons for using it. He presents an example that boils down to

Lorem ipsum

See also[edit]