Over the past few years, the buzzwords “Blockchain Technology” have been tied to literally every industry under the sun. Cryptocurrencies had a wild year in 2017 and it seems during that time distributed ledger technology has made it all the way to the ‘Blockchain 5.0’ era, but there’s a big problem — No one reporting on these projects has tried these networks.
Blockchain 5.0 & DLTs: The Ultimate Snake Oil
Back in 2009, a network was launched which produced the digital currency bitcoin and no one moved a muscle. These days cryptocurrencies are a hell of a lot more popular than those days but there are some people who have this idea that the technology “behind” digital currencies represents the real innovation. You’ve heard it time and time again, that ‘Blockchain Technology’ will revolutionize the world and every industry will be touched by this remarkable software. Supposedly, blockchains will transform finance, the clothing industry, movies, music, food, healthcare, and basically the entire supply chain, one block at a time.
Blockchain Immutability Is a Fallacy
There’s just one glaring issue for these distributed ledger projects that hope to change the world — No one uses these networks and some probably don’t even exist. But what’s worse is they also fraudulently claim they can solve an age-old computer system problem that cannot be solved — immutability.
Blockchain projects that claim immutability, which is a large representation of nearly every blockchain out there today, are misleading and these systems can never be 100% immutable. The well-known bitcoin evangelist, Chris DeRose, explained two years ago that “blockchain immutability is a perpetual motion claim.”
“While many have been caught up in the hype behind immutability, most of these claims will at best regress to the basic signing mechanisms that have been in place for decades, with little to differentiate their systems from incumbent message passing solutions,” DeRose explains.
On paper, immutability sounds nice, it seems to be a dubious proposition that some magically benevolent server will show up to perform this service. And certainly, blockchain will not make that benevolence any easier than it is with incumbent HTTP systems.
Most of Today’s Blockchain Technology Projects and Bankchains Are Merely Client-Server Network Databases, Word Salad Press Releases, and Pure Vaporware
Then there are distributed ledger technology (DLT) projects created by the very banks who once mocked bitcoin. There have been so many of these private blockchain projects announcing that they have the next great blockchain that will wipe public blockchains off the map.
Yet none of them have been revolutionary so far, and no one from the general public seems to be using these DLT solutions, unless it’s a ‘trial run’ wrapped up in fancy-wording wrapping paper and sent to publications like Forbes, and Bloomberg. Do they criticize a blockchain system they have never tried? — No, usually they write up a nice little article that makes these blockchain projects look good, even though the journalist never tried the system, or let alone seen it in action.
This Tuesday, the blockchain firm R3 released its ‘Corda Blockchain’ platform after initially making a big fuss on how Corda technology was not a ‘blockchain.’ R3 website visitors will see that the company clearly calls Corda a blockchain and according to the company, over 39 firms are testing this enterprise software. But what makes Corda so revolutionary? Or any of these bankchain projects, for that matter, who set up a bunch of privatized nodes that can relay and time stamp transactions. All we have is their word, no third party reviews, just a press release and decentralized word salad.
The fact is a very large portion of these blockchain projects are overhyped press releases that exemplify the true meaning of vaporware. Can we trust a group of incumbents that say on paper they’ve created some revolutionary blockchain? Just because it’s Visa? At least with Bitcoin and Ethereum (public chains) people can differentiate between something that works, something that is shit, and something that is vapor. With the bankchains and blockchain technology hype, it’s all based on words stemming from the horse’s mouth, and what they choose to tell you.
Have you tried Blockchain 5.0 yet? I sure haven’t.