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Started by spartak on 27-Nov-2017 16:50:49
What is blockchain?

In plain simple words please. Thanks.

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johnnythesailor - 27 Nov 2017 21:33:21 (#1 of 144)

It's a distributed ledger with proof of work.

phantlers - 27 Nov 2017 23:42:43 (#2 of 144)

cor, end of thread.



BAM!

machiavelli - 28 Nov 2017 03:05:19 (#3 of 144)

Mining bitcoins is a thing, apparently. My junk mail is full of messages assuring me that I'll make a fortune.

spartak - 28 Nov 2017 03:10:27 (#4 of 144)

Is it ‘just’ a programming language that can be used for various purposes?

Bleu11 - 28 Nov 2017 03:13:29 (#5 of 144)

It is data.

Bleu11 - 28 Nov 2017 03:15:59 (#6 of 144)

I'd say it is a distributed spreadsheet if I am allowed to steal from the internet.

johnnythesailor - 28 Nov 2017 04:25:21 (#7 of 144)

It's data and a set of algorithms. You can use it in any situation where you need to account for something without a centralised authority. For example, it's been proposed for (amongst many other things) tracking royalties for music.

TinyMcOtter - 28 Nov 2017 04:44:20 (#8 of 144)

?????/((/)/):$:&:????????

johnnythesailor - 28 Nov 2017 05:16:29 (#9 of 144)

Here's something that nearly matches:

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/27
/bitcoin-mining-consumes-electricity-ireland


Mining a bitcoin will set you back 300KWh of electricity. Not exactly a get rich quick scheme.

machiavelli - 28 Nov 2017 05:24:48 (#10 of 144)

About £40 per bitcoin. They're allegedly worth over £7k so that would be a tidy profit. If the conversion didn't drop to £39 tomorrow.

johnnythesailor - 28 Nov 2017 05:31:14 (#11 of 144)

About £40 per bitcoin.



Not counting the capex.

machiavelli - 28 Nov 2017 05:34:42 (#12 of 144)

Sorry, I'm diverting - there's a thread for Bitcoin. My ex bubbled about it but I went "Meh". I hope she's not going to waste money on it.

AlanII - 28 Nov 2017 07:14:29 (#13 of 144)

I’m seeing a few viruses masquerading as Bitcoin miners.

browserbutton - 28 Nov 2017 07:29:44 (#14 of 144)

I thought this was a thread about gangsta golden bling.

hailesaladdie - 28 Nov 2017 10:28:14 (#15 of 144)

Also, blockchain is the technology underpinning bitcoin, it's not bitcoin itself. Its uses are only just surfacing.

This is really going to impact the financial services industry. If you can have an immutable ledger, you can establish trust for any set of transactions between any two established parties. So why do you need banks in their current form?

We're a little behind in this regard, but look to neobanks setting up all over Europe in the consumer sector. Like bunq in the Netherlands or N26 in Germany (now available as a preview here). And currency transfer services like TransferWise and Revolut. I have accounts with these (cheap transfers, Maestro cards, SEPA, Sofort and iDeal are really useful for me and used to be impossible to get hold of).

So if that's for consumers, imagine the possibilities for companies, where banking is expensive. They can automate almost all their transactions, they just need a blockchain-based platform to manage it. Enter the Fintech sector, full of plucky little startups who can enable this, very simply, far more efficiently and cheaply than banks.

(London should be great at this, but places like the Nordics are doing far better right now. There are other posters here far better placed to talk about it than me, however...)

And then you can get away from banking to plain old contracts. Why bother with lawyers when you can use something digital and secure to record an exchange in seconds? Companies already do it internally, and it's extending to peer-to-peer transactions. The means to use it for consumer transactions is just around the corner.

So it will be interesting to see what happens.

Bonusy - 28 Nov 2017 10:29:24 (#16 of 144)

Spar, Tra posted this a while back:

https://blog.chain.com/a-letter-to-jamie-dimon-de89d417cb80

A long but clear and thorough read on the subject, I'd recommend it.

Beefie - 28 Nov 2017 10:49:54 (#17 of 144)

And then you can get away from banking to plain old contracts. Why bother with lawyers when you can use something digital and secure to record an exchange in seconds? Companies already do it internally, and it's extending to peer-to-peer transactions. The means to use it for consumer transactions is just around the corner.

This is something we've looked at a little. The problem with 'secure contracts' is they have to be written with just as much care as regular contracts, but by software developers rather than lawyers.

Beefie - 28 Nov 2017 10:53:36 (#18 of 144)

This is really going to impact the financial services industry. If you can have an immutable ledger, you can establish trust for any set of transactions between any two established parties. So why do you need banks in their current form?

One of the theoretical concerns with Bitcoin is that the ledger is only secure if half the computing power involved in validating it says so. If more than half of that is in China, say, which it is I believe, can you be certain that its reliable?

I don't know whether all Blockchain implementations rely on this 'majority agreement' protocol but I do know it will be a massive barrier to popular adoption of the technology.

Bonusy - 28 Nov 2017 10:56:55 (#19 of 144)

And from the article I posted, the underlying problem is that DLTs are not actually inherently better - you trade convenience and speed for decentralisation. It's only worthwhile if you have reason not to trust a centralised source. If you have no reason not to trust a centralised source, you do not gain anything, you lose.

In fact, on almost every dimension, decentralized services are worse than their centralized counterparts:

They are slower

They are more expensive

They are less scalable

They have worse user experiences

They have volatile and uncertain governance

That’s because there are structural trade-offs that result directly from the primary design goal of these services, beneath which all other goals must be subordinated in order for them to be relevant: decentralization.

Beefie - 28 Nov 2017 10:59:22 (#20 of 144)

It's only worthwhile if you have reason not to trust a centralised source. If you have no reason not to trust a centralised source, you do not gain anything, you lose.

Yes, that is exactly my understanding, and it baffles me that in the hysteria about the technology this is being ignored.

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