RE: Jeremy Epstein’s Piece Titled “Why blockchains fail and decentralisation succeeds”
Jeremy Epstein’s piece confuses stuff a little. It distinguishes blockchain from decentralised system. Yet, without a blockchain, we can’t have a decentralised system. Before blockchain came, there’s no decentralised system. Blockchain is decentralising everything — from financial services industry, accounting, real estate, voting, medicine, law — all spheres of human transactions and endeavours to only-God-knows-the-future.
The title says "Why blockchains fail and decentralisation succeeds". First off, blockchain is a decentralised technology by nature. Decentralisation is not a purpose of blockchain. Rather, it’s the very essence of blockchain. Blockchain is a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The most fundamental characteristic of the blockchain technology in theory and practice is its both distributed and decentralised nature.
Further, and more pinpoint illustration below reflects a fine light on this:
Blockchain is an ultra-inclusive, decentralised technology built by cryptoanarchists world-weary of centralised control, regulation, exploitation, privacy invasion, manipulation and marginalisation by governments and corporations. The cryptoanarchists legally justified as a free expression, their right to release encryption source codes, during the 20th-century Crypto-Wars.
Blockchain is a trustless system. It needs neither my trust nor your trust. It’s a decentralised and trustless system that simply works as the “ultimate source of truth”. Even Decentralised Applications (D’Apps) are being built on the Ethereum blockchain. If blockchain is a centralised system, building D’Apps on it wouldn’t be possible. And this has only just begun:
Even Jeremy observed that some people entertained fear about what happens when there’s no space left (is this possible?) on the Ethereum blockchain, but that Vitalik Buterin is unburdened by the prospect. And this is no rocket science since the blockchain grows in leaps and bounds.
Awhile ago, I watched Blockchain 101- A Virtual Demo by Anders Brownworth, and I thought to myself whether the nodes and miners can even control the hashing process, and unravel the mystery, after hashing out data into cryptographic encryptions. This, definitely must be why the oldest Bitcoin blockchain has never been successfully hacked, almost nine years after, and with over five hundred million financial transactions processed so far.
Below are Jeremy’s most fundamental concerns in the piece:
Q. 1: "What happens when everyone puts all their data and contracts on Ethereum?"
A: Looking at the 100.18 GB size of a blockchain, when smart contracts, tokens, etc are all developed, and everything is full, a sidechain will be developed, or the blockchain may be hardforked (whichever serves best, the purpose of continued decentralisation, as there’s no other possible way). Better still, as i said, this is never going to happen.
Q. 2: "Won't the blockchain size get SO big that only the biggest computers can run it?".
A: No. That’s a centralised thought process. Plus the fact chips are getting smaller and blockchain is getting bigger is a good one. There are no any "biggest computers" or supercomputers that will run the blockchain as it gets bigger. That time has come and passed, when there were mainframe computers used by governments alone, and for military purposes to levy endless wars where human lives were wasted in droves. This is the 21st-century, and the millennials are rising. And besides, this question is otherwise sufficiently answered above already.
More to the point really, the blockchain scalability question is what Jae Kwon’s Tendermint & Cosmos Network are addressing. Jae had told me in a conversation, and I heard him say it on one of his YouTube vids. This is being done through interoperability — a seamless communication process among blockchains on the Internet, which would prevent any “centralized system susceptible to control” from happening.
Q. 3 "If that happens, wouldn't we have a centralized system susceptible to control, thereby defeating the very purpose of blockchains?"
A. That’s an invalid "if", on the strength of the analysis above in the answers to the prior questions. We can’t have a centralised blockchain. There’s no way this is possible. The whole piece advanced a centralisation argument, and yet both concealed and confused it with arguing that blockchain doesn’t mean the same thing as decentralisation. Blockchain is synonymous with decentralisation, and vice versa.
As i said before, decentralisation isn’t a "purpose", but an intrinsic and innate essence of the blockchain. With an Internet of Blockchains, it’s a goodbye to "centralised systems" and the attendant exploitative tendencies. Nothing is "susceptible to control" anymore. We’ll have a trustless world, where there’ll be no incentive to commit crime, as everything will be done, based on social credits.
In a decentralised blockchain election for instance, if I vote for Allison Kayana as the President of Egypt, or any country of our globe, I’ll be 100% sure that my vote can’t be stolen, and the whole election can’t be rigged. Isn’t that amazing!?
Blockchains have not failed, and will never fail. Success of blockchains means success of a completely decentralised system through the Internet. As the blockchains grow in size and shape, the globe continues to decentralise in a trustless, open, verifiable, and hacking-proof system where the governments and corporations will not be forced anymore to do good, as good is already built into the system, through the Blockchain Revolution.
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