The Blockchain Finds Purpose on Richard Branson’s Necker Island
Will O'Brien

Thank you Will, I really liked the summary and insights about the event.

I feel one crucial part is always neglected when talking about “blockchain”, while setting Bitcoin aside.

As you have mentioned a secure and globally accessible ledger is the core building block in establishing many of the services currently dreamed of. I am pretty sure you are familiar with the following, but for the audience it can help.

Globally accessible ledgers are with us for quite some time, take DHTs (distributed hash table) as an example, however they lack the property of irreversibility/immutability. Blockchain as a technology creates a chain of trust, which has to be defended algorithmically to ensure the integrity of it and that no single entity has a power to change its contents or history. It is a really complex DHT, but shares the peer-to-peer principles with its forefather.

This new defense line is the consensus algorithm, the real innovation Bitcoin has brought. It operates based on a reward system (Proof-of-Work aka. mining) as that fits the currency model well.

As of today no other successful consensus system is present. Many of the altcoins follow the Bitcoin model, others (including Ripple) eliminate mining with a single entity controlling the majority of tokens, while some try to build alternative algorithms (e.g Proof-of-Stake).

The reality today is that any of the mentioned applications over the blockchain will exist over Bitcoin in the foreseeable future.

Ethereum hasn’t launched yet and therefore wasn’t subject to years of scrutiny. Factom lives on top off the Bitcoin blockchain, and so does Colored Coins (OpenAssets).

I am happy that blockchain as a concept finally gets the recognition it deserves, but we cannot just yet jump off and leave Bitcoin behind.

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