Blockhain post reaction to Alex M. Pawlowski

“Blockchain technology isn’t just reshaping industries; it’s rewiring the very fabric of trust in our society. By providing an incorruptible ledger of transparency, accountability, and security, blockchain isn’t just a tool, it’s a revolution that empowers us to build a future where trust is no longer a leap of faith, but a product of technology.”

I read this post from Alex yesterday and it got me thinking. As a placeholder, I commented on that post with the dreaded 🤔 emoji.

Whilst I agree there are elements of Blockchain technology that – when used cleverly, and once the technology matures – can be quite useful, such as the cryptography wrapped around Blockchain, there are other aspects that I consider – to say the least – questionable.

The first big one for me is the aspect of “replacing trust as a leap of faith with a product of technology”.

Trust is the key ingredient upon which our societies, its institutions, businesses, schooling, non-profits, religions, communities and individuals among themselves are built on.

Without the trust that the other person, or other instituion is a good actor and is here for its intended good purpose, such socienty as we know it today cannot exist.

Everything is build upon trust and that trust cannot be replaced by a system.

Imagine a society where every day you would have to go through the following thought proces: “well, I don’t think I can trust Bob, but let me check what the Blockchain thinks, ahh it says I can trust him”

Without basic trust beween people and businesses, you will not be able to trust your baker that he does not make poisoned cookies. You will not be able to trust your car mechanic that he changed the oil for you. You will not be able to trust the other business you work with that the verbal agreement and handshake you did is still in place tomorrow.

The other concern is the Blockchain technology and its massive overhead, wasting resources (and no, I am not talking about electricity here. It’s the storage & computation issue).

For simple things that a centralized database that is operated by a trusted authority can do, in Blockchain world you need several block producing nodes and multiple validators.

Assume you have a decent blockchain that has 10 block producers and 990 validators, that is 1000 nodes in total. You have decent number of transactions (our test project did 30M transactions ia asingle year, the blockchain DB per node grew to 500GG).

That is 488 TB of the copy of the same data across those 1000 nodes that require significant bandwidth to propage blocks among them. And that require computing power to verify/validate transactions (I am not talking about PoW or PoS for including transactions into blocks, this is about the computations required by the node when working with inputs / outputs for a specific blockchain transaction and whether it is valid on chain or not – but let’s don’t jump here into technical details). That is 4000 vCPU (assume a single node is 4 vCPU) of computing force.

The Blockchain technology as of today has sever limitations that prevent it to be used outside of some of the cryptocurrency usecases (let’s name Bitcoin and its forks and Ethereum and its lookalikes to start with).

Several businesses ditched their Blockain divisions after giving it a go for a good few years (IBM is the good example here).

Some of the former Blockchain enthusiasts and advocates with significant real-life hands on experience (Ken Bodnar is a good example) became skeptical about blokchain and how useful it might be (myself included).

In my personal view, in order for Blockchain to play a significant role, it needs to be reconsidered what role it should play in our society. Replacing human-based trust with a system-based trust is a no-go. Additionally, the technology itself, by the looks of it, needs at least another 20-30 years of development to be anywhere near useful.

Photo by Magda Ehlers: