WTF is The Blockchain?
Mohit Mamoria
57K248

I’m happy to see you’re educating people and not only that, you’re giving that information to everyone, for free. That being said, I do find some of this fairly long text to be factually incorrect. I also understand that you have put some effort into simplifying things so that people not familiar to this technology would have easier time understanding the underlying concepts. You have selected to use words that people might find familiar, instead of using the terms that are the actual technical terms and then just refer to them in jargon boxes.

Now I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, but it’s not a service to the reader if the actual term is only referred to once and the simplified invented term is repeated often. I would assume the goal would be to teach the actual terms and after the concept is explained the correct term is used. This is just a personal preference, I don’t think I’m right more than you, your text still has value either way. It’s just an observation.

But there are some parts that I find issues with, I suspect that while trying to make it simple to understand, you over simplified. So not accusing you of lying or not understanding what you’re talking about.

That being said, the parts I found problematic:

a) You indicate that creating new blocks is somehow related to these pages becoming full, which it’s not, at all. New blocks are being mined, all the time and they are found in random intervals, but because the network adjusts the difficulty so that new block is found every 10 minutes (ithis is what bitcoin does, but some coins have different implementations)on average, that’s pretty much how often new block are found… on average. It’s the founder of the hash that determines which transaction will be included in the block. They can do this based on any criteria they choose to. Usually they seem to prefer getting payed, but they could as well just decide to not include something based on the address this transaction is coming from.

b) Everyone participating in the blockchain is not eligible for reward. Only the ones who mine (and actually find) new blocks get rewarded for doing so. Everyone participating in the blockchain is not mining after all. 99% of the users are actually not mining, I bet most of them are not even verifying the blocks, they just utilize a third party wallet.

c) you only explained how miners get a fee for finding a block, but that’s actually not the only way miners profit and this is not a thing you wan’t to not explain, because every cryptocoin that has a finite supply, would stop operating when the block rewards end. This is why there are fees that you need to pay to be included in the block. Well you could say you’re not forced to pay a fee and your transaction might still be included in the chain and this would be true in theory, but if there’s ever going to be a backlog of transactions, miners tend to choose to include the transactions they make most money off of.

d.1) when you explain this dishonesty part, you’re not really telling the whole story. You decided to omit how people actually spend these assets, so it’s not simple to explain what you left out. But there’s a limit to what a dishonest miner can do. Even a majority can’t spend anyone’s money. So even if 100% of the miners decided they’re going to royally scam someone, there is a limit to what they can do. They can’t say person #2 sent money to person #5, if person #2 actually sent to #3. Also they can’t change the amount of money being sent, even if they decided to rewrite the whole chain.

This is because it’s all based on cryptography. Only the person with the private key can spend money from the address that private key controls. There’s nothing the miners or anyone else can do about that. I find it weird you decided to not mention this at all, because it’s a very crucial corner stone of how these chains operate.

d.2) longest chain is not the honest chain. It doesn’t matter how many blocks you have more than someone else, if there’s even one in the middle that can’t be validated by rest of the network. Rest of the network will just not accept that chain. When that happens you run your chain and the rest of the network is running theirs and you can no longer transact to the chain that is being considered valid.

e) I think this might be the biggest error you made. You said “It is built on the assumption that the majority of a crowd is always honest.” while this is not actually the case at all. This might feel like a silly thing to complain about, but one of the ground breaking, if not the most ground breaking idea of the whole blockchain concept is that it’s based on the idea that it’s trust less. Everyone can verify everything and this is what the full nodes do, this is the reason why people are encouraged to run these even if they are not mining the assets.

Anyways, thank you for spending time explaining these things to people, much appreciated.

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