PS: In the end there is always a server involved.

Originally published at: https://adlrocha.substack.com

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In a project I have been involved lately, I’ve been considering migrating all the system to a serverless infrastructure. I was searching for a way of saving costs in the infrastructure layer, and (at least for now) making the infrastructure 100% a variable cost. The project is in such an early stage that I don’t want the infrastructure to be a fixed cost draining my resources, i.e. I want near zero costs while no one is using the system.

Of course, a serverless infrastructure has many other advantages apart from the cost model, such as simple scaling, minimum infrastructure operation, flexibility, etc. I was achieving all of this with my current container-based approach, but the fact that at least one container had to be on 24x7 in the system, made me enter the serverless adventure. …


Also published at: https://adlrocha.substack.com

A while ago I wrote an article discussing the different types of consensus algorithms out there, what they consisted in, and its virtues and vices. One of the points I wanted to stress in the publication is the importance of choosing an optimal consensus algorithm while developing your blockchain use case. Of course, there are many other design decisions you need to take into account while developing your brand new Dapp, but choosing a good consensus algorithm in your design may make your developers lives way better.


I am moving out to my personal newsletter

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Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

This may be my last article in Medium, at least for a while (you know, never say never). For the last few years, Medium has been the destination of almost all my writing pieces. I have written articles with a greater or lesser frequency, getting more or less acceptance depending on the article. I had the chance to write for some of the coolest tech publications around here, such as Coinmonks and Hackernoon; and I had the enormous honor of even getting paid for writing (obviously, I am not some kind of idiot, if someone still wants me to write a tech article for them I am open to any kind of offers ;) ). …


For pessimist I’m rather optimist.

*** Originally published in #adlrocha’s ***

Today I want to share with you my thoughts (and maybe open a more than needed discussion) about a topic I have always been really sensitive to. With the impressive amount of tech talent that we have in Europe (and even in Spain, if you let me), how is it possible for us not to have any global tech monster such as US’s FAANGs, or China’s Alibaba and Tencent.


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By Alfonso de la Rocha on ALTCOIN MAGAZINE

Originally published at https://business.blogthinkbig.com on July 1, 2019.

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Photo by Stanislaw Zarychta on Unsplash

It’s been almost a week since Facebook’s public release of Libra Blockchain, a decentralized programmable database promoted by Facebook to support a low-volatility cryptocurrency. Opiniated rivers of ink have been already poured in favor and against this project. Once the initial storm of opinions has passed, and after processing Libra’s whitepaper while trying not to read too many reviews in order not to pollute my own opinion, in this article I would like to share a technical overview about Libra and what, in my humble opinion, means for the blockchain ecosystem.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this document is to share a technical analysis of Facebook’s open source reference implementation of Libra. …


… Duct Tape B*S* jobs

Let’s get things straight, I love open source. I am a great advocate of this model, it is one of the greatest things that could have happened to the development of the software industry (in terms of innovation, openness, and security). However, open source software has a dark side, the appearance of associated Duct Tape Bullshit Jobs. In case you are wondering, yes, I took this “duct taper” concept from David Graeber’s book (if you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend you do, it will definitely change the way you think about work).

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Photo by Victor Grabarczyk on Unsplash

So, what do duct tapers do? “Duct tapers are employees whose jobs exist only because of a glitch or fault in the organization; (…) basically, we have two kinds of jobs. One kind involves working on core technologies, solving hard and challenging problems, etc. The other one is taking a bunch of core technologies and applying some duct tape to make them work together. The former is generally seen as useful. The latter is often seen as less useful or even useless, but, in any case, much less gratifying than the first kind. The feeling is probably based on the observation that if core technologies were done properly, there would be little or no need for duct tape.”. …


Developing a Quantum Key Distribution and understanding Qiskit.

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Photo by david latorre romero on Unsplash

I had such a good time in Qiskit’s first hackathon in Europe, and I learnt so much, that I decided that it deserved a set of dedicated posts to share my experience and, hopefully, teach you a bit of my limited knowledge about quantum computing.

Before this hackathon I knew almost nothing about quantum computing (to be completely fair I read a few books about the topic, but I don’t have a PhD in Physics in case you are wondering). Apart from this I knew a bit about cryptography and computer science, and that’s it.

First things first, for the profane in the matter, what is Qiskit? Qiskit is an open-source quantum computing framework. In short, with Qiskit we are able to build, test and simulate quantum computing circuits and algorithms easily in our local machines. To add some excitement to the library, Qiskit also lets you run your quantum circuits and algorithms in one of IBM’s quantum computers (you can run your programs in a 5 qubits or a 16 qubits quantum computer. More than enough to have a glimpse of how quantum behaves in real life. Small piece of advice? Beware of the noise :) ). …


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Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

Reaching consensus in a trustless blockchain network is not an easy task, but don’t take me from granted and ask our friend Satoshi. He faced this problem while designing and implementing Bitcoin, how did he fix it? Proposing a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm, i.e. forcing nodes in the network, miners, to dedicate their hardware resources to fix a hard-mathematical problem.

The solver of this problem would be allowed to seal the next block in the chain, decide the order of transaction, and be consequently rewarded for its services helping to keep the network.

After a decade operating on a production system such as Bitcoin, proof-of-work has been shown a solid consensus algorithm, widely accepted by the crypto community and almost impossible to attack. However, proof-of-work still poses certain drawbacks such…


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Photo by Arget on Unsplash

Today I want to share with you the reason why I embarked on the development of goxyq, a http proxy server with an embedded queue to sequentialize asynchronous and parallel calls to a system.

But first, let me give you some background: we were building a brand new blockchain-based system. The data model was based on a set of assets stored in the ledger. Due to the specifics of the use case, certain information in these assets could be modified by several users, even if they weren’t the asset owners. We had the system ready for its beta phase when we faced an “uncomfortable problem”. During our alpha tests, when two users tried to modify an asset at the same time, one of them was getting an “invalid transaction” error, and his transactions was being rejected. The reason? Two users were trying to consume the same asset at the same time, i.e. they were trying to consume as input of the transaction the same asset output. The feedback we got from users? …


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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Dear Mr. Hyperledger Fabric, now we need you to behave as a grown-up for the sake of DLT technologies (and our own sake). Let me tell you a story… MY story. When I started working four years ago in research exploring the use of blockchain technology to make interdomain routing protocols more secure, I only knew of the existence of Bitcoin. …

About

Alfonso de la Rocha

Research at Protocol Labs | Avid reader seeking for constant innovation. [https://twitter.com/adlrocha] [https://adlrocha.substack.com/subscribe]

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