It's still sort of crazy to me that these obvious flaws in blockchains' core principles and governing entities exist, but smart people keep investing in them anyway. I guess they truly lack any sort of faith in regular governments. There's a need for "digital government journalists", who are neither embedded in old-world politics (like EFF & others) nor untrustworthy orgs who are biased by positions they hold with cryptocurrencies (like Coindesk, or other "bitcoin news").

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@johnhenry not taking it as an insult or anything, but what do you mean by "embedded in old-world politics" in this context?

@mala Well, most people in EFF and similar organizations are busy fighting actual political battles, reporting on congressional activity, and trying to keep the current internet intact. They don't have as many resources or time to investigate or advocate on behalf of victims of crazy future crypto nerd money, and understandably so.

@johnhenry ohh I get it! well, people often abstract a complex ecology of digital activism (including journalism) into "EFF etc", where we play a very narrow role, and I don't think that would be part of it even if we had the resources. But trying to set up the environment so that would come into existence *is* part of our job I think

@johnhenry my impression of how these things play out is that the first wave of critiques are from people who dismiss everything, and are not very useful or accurate, because there's no incentive for someone who doesn't like bitcoin per se to look any further. It's just silly craziness, let's move on...

@johnhenry and then you get (what I guess we're in now) essentially internecine religious debates about the correct approach, which isn't really grounded in popular reaction or established results or experimentation, because it's too early and too warped by mental (and financial!) investment

@johnhenry and then you get into a space where there's enough level of understanding and context for people who are both good at understanding crypto, society, and writing are able to be able to create a community of intelligent criticism. I hate that bit! That's the sign it's time to move on! :)

@mala I imagine there's a lot of overlap in values / goals, even if EFF's charter is different. I'm slowly building an organization to explain / report on "next generation" internet architectures, so imagine that at least some conversations or partnerships would be fruitful for people experienced in digital activism and outreach, broadly speaking.

@johnhenry well it's not so much a charter thing, as a theory of change. At heart, EFF is lawyers. Our skills are trying to keep things open enough so you can talk about that, and people can experiment, without getting thrown in jail just for doing so.

@johnhenry Biggest problem I have with the fundamentals of blockchain is that its core premise - that digital proof-of-work will force decentralisation of processing - has been proved flat wrong. Processing has centralised with those who have the cheapest power (ie three companies in China). That core algorithm failure means the game is over. Time to go back to the white-paper stage and rethink.

@johnhenry Eg even Curtis Yarvin in that linked article admits this core failure:

"Ironically, mining power in Bitcoin is quite centralized -- a small number of Chinese mining-pool managers, who have every opportunity to collude, could roll back anything. But they never have and they probably never will.

Even if a single pool controlled 51% of Bitcoin mining power, they'd have no incentive to break the rules -- quite the converse."

So if math isn't protecting the db, just use an ordinary one.

@natecull @johnhenry this is a flaw of the specific proof of work algorithm of the very first viable blockchain not of blockchains in general.

@johnhenry While I'm sure you're right, I'd like to hera what you consider an obvious flaw. In my perspective there are tons and tons of flaws, but none of them are very obvious considering the wide variety of usecases a blockchain can have.

For some scenarios blockchains are totally pointless, for some dangerous, for some just perfect. But if there's some all-encompassing superflaw that I don't know about, I'd love to hear about it.
@mmn For me, the biggest (and thus far unmitigated) is the accumulative nature of the security mechanism (proof-of-work and proof-of-stake).

I.e. if you have resources, PoW/PoS will get you more.

@pettter @mmn +1. Blockchain kinda solved the escrow and source of truth in decentralized systems issue, which is amazing. But we need to find a way to make it not lend itself to economies of scale, as this breeds centralization.

@rysiek @mmn Well, the easy way is limit participation to trusted participants, and just use the blockchain mechanisms to solve the consensus issue or (as the case may be) highlight conflicting assertions.

@johnhenry did you hear about the new thing in Sweden re: blockchains for property?

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