Blockchain: the revolution we’re not ready for
Haseeb Qureshi

This blog impressively (impressionistically?) sketches some profound potentials of blockchain technology. I want to add two caveats.

  1. Blockchains don’t do anything directly to address our deepest problems in designing information, organization and communications systems. For example: making inclusive decisions and agreements between large groups of people. (I work in these areas and prioritize them.)
  2. Append-only distributed databases do not inherently require verification via an immense (and exponentially growing) global network of trustless peers. In fact, such a monolithic network seems inefficient for most networking purposes. It can in theory be (greatly) outperformed by a system which integrates an option for “trustless” interactions with localized systems for communities of mutually responsible peers. (For instance, the members of a household, an “organization” or any intentional community.) Such systems can use secure cryptographic IDs & messaging without using cryptographic “proof-of-work” puzzles, which are (1) artificially expensive and (2) typically (although not inevitably) enable people to profit from making artificially expensive computations.

I should note, I don’t care much whether we call all append-only distributed databases “blockchains” or not. I like the term fine, in itself. Anyway, I favor a system which provides a “trustless” option while depending mainly on networks of mutually responsible peers.