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Blockchain Is a Bust, says the Man Who Introduced Bitcoin to Millions

Blockchain Is a Bust, says the Man Who Introduced Bitcoin to Millions
There has been a change of heart for Stefan Thomas who introduced millions of people to bitcoin.
He wrote in an essay titled “ The Subtle Tyranny of Blockchian” that blockchain, the ledger software that makes the digital currency possible, is too rigid to gain wide adoption. A wide range of industries including finance, international trade and health care would be revolutionized, believes the technology’s backers. Consensus from a huge collection of software developers and so-called miners who make up the bitcoin network would be necessary for tweaking the software. Many believe that this will inevitably be necessary as pioneers bring it to new areas.

“Blockchains are a pain to work with,” wrote Thomas, the chief technology officer of Ripple Labs.
“Harmony and consensus are valuable. But harmony taken to the extreme becomes a detriment. In the Lego Movie utopia, ‘everything is awesome’ only on the surface. Behind the scenes, there is tremendous diversity and a rapidly changing world, which doesn’t match the established consensus,” he added. A picture of the authoritarian President Business from “The Lego Movie” is included in his essay.
Thomas’ website bills itself as “a single resource” where the currency is “explained for the average non-technical user” and he was the one who five years ago helped make bitcoin easier to use and this comment therefore is a stark departure for Thomas. And for startups trying to bring blockchain to the masses, it’s a warning shot.

A few of the potential uses of blockcahin include radically changing how payments are tracked, securities and derivatives trades are processed, and health records are stored and therefore industries from finance to health care to utilities are working with blockchains such as the one powered by ethereum to achieve those goals.
In finance, executions can be vastly sped up and settlements and clearing could be made simpler than it is today due to the ability to connect everyone in a market on the same database, with pre-loaded securities and cash to pay for them.
But there are still many hurdles. Getting Wall Street firms to cooperate on the same network and trust one another is one.  Since a majority of miners who run the software must agree to deploy the update before it can be rolled out, experimentation and improvements to the software are hampered in a blockchain system, Thomas point out as another reason.
Consensus can be struck to be sure. Enough ethereum users decided to update the network so that it was as if the theft hadn’t happened after a smart contract known as the Distributed Autonomous Organization, or DAO, was hacked and millions of dollars worth of ether were removed. However blockchain users believe the purported immutability of the technology is one of its most compelling attributes as that decision has raised the ire of blockchain users.
With wider adoption following if the change proves useful, Thomas favors a system like the Internet where breakthroughs can be deployed by anyone.
“The fact that one corner of the system can be updated and good ideas can eventually spread to the system as a whole has been essential for the Web’s ability to keep pace with technological innovation,” he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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