Michal Zalewski’s “The Deal With Bitcoin“, læst sammen med David Graeber’s “Debt: The First 5000 Years“, burde læses af alle. Jeg tror at Bitcoin’s betydning er overvurderet, men sammen med Graeber’s bog får man en bedre forståelse af hvad penge, og valuta, er.
In essence, BTC is a global, decentralized fiat currency: it has no (recoverable) intrinsic value, no central authority to issue it or define its exchange rate, and it has no anchoring to any historical reference point – a combination that until recently seemed nonsensical and escaped any serious scrutiny. It does the unthinkable by employing three clever tricks:
- It allows anyone to create new coins, but only by solving brute-force computational challenges that get more difficult as the time goes by,
- It prevents unauthorized transfer of coins by employing public key cryptography to sign off transactions, with only the authorized holder of a coin knowing the correct key,
- It prevents double-spending by using a distributed public ledger (“blockchain”), recording the chain of custody for coins in a tamper-proof way.
Jeg er enig med Zalewski i at blockchain ikke er så vigtig ift. Bitcoin, men mener at der stadig er masser af potentiale i grundprincippet i en blockchain. Måske tager jeg fejl, for som Kai Stinchcombe skriver i “Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain” (selvom at det er fokuseret rigtig meget på Bitcoin’s implementering):
There are four additional problems with a blockchain-driven approach. First, you’re relying on single-point encryption — your own private keys — rather than a more sophisticated system that might involve two-factor authorization, intrusion detection, volume limits, firewalls, remote IP tracking, and the ability to disconnect the system in an emergency. Second, price tradeoffs are entirely implausible — the bitcoin blockchain has consumed almost a billion dollars worth of electricity to hash an amount of data equivalent to about a sixth of what I get for my ten dollar a month dropbox subscription [min fremhævelse]. [Thirdly], systematically choosing where and how much to replicate data is an advantage in the long run — the blockchain’s defaults on data replication just aren’t that smart. And finally, Dropbox and Box.com and Google and Microsoft and Apple and Amazon and everyone else provide a set of valuable other features that you don’t actually want to go develop on your own. Analogous to Visa, the problem isn’t storing data, it’s managing permissions, un-sharing what you shared before, getting an easy-to-view document history, syncing it on multiple devices, and so on.