Blockchain in a nutshell

Blockchain is an append-only database where mutually mistrusting entities all have to be able to edit every record.
Blockchain is an append-only database where mutually mistrusting entities all have to be able to edit every record.

People often try to claim blockchain use cases without much deliberation. Here is a condensed, quotable version of «Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blockchain» and «Data lifecycle questions, not only for Blockchains».

Blockchain is an append-only database where mutually mistrusting entities all have to be able to edit every record.

Marcel Waldvogel

A German 🇩🇪 version of this short message is here: «Blockchain in aller Kürze».

There are some more properties, such as, generally, an unspecified group of entities, public visibility and immutability (some of which follow from the above). More information and background in «Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blockchain» and «Data lifecycle questions, not only for Blockchains».

The following statement can be seen as kind of a corollary to the above.

Blockchain is too complicated and inflexible for most applications, as it is a specialized solution to a very complex problem, which is unlikely to occur outside decentralized cryptocurrencies.

Tiny simplifications of the problem result in massively simpler solutions.

Marcel Waldvogel

We can learn a lot from the blockchain experiments, predecessors, and alternatives; most often, you will, however, want to have a smaller, more manageable subset of blockchain functions, such as transparency (not immutability) or consistency (not consensus). A lot of this can be flexibly achieved with timestamping and is also easier to fit into existing legal frameworks.

More on the blockchain ecosystem here and especially in the simple, humorous, yet thorough article «Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Blockchain».

Blockchain ecosystem

More posts in the blockchain ecosystem here, with the latest here:

  • The FTX crypto exchange and its spider web
    Yesterday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its indictment against Sam Bankman-Fried. It details the financial entanglements of FTX, Alameda Research and more than a hundred other companies and individuals. We have tried to disentangle these allegations somewhat for you.
  • Web3 for data preservation? (Or is it just another expensive P2P?)
    Drew Austin raises an important question in Wired: How should we deal with our accumulated personal data? How can we get from randomly hoarding to selection and preservation? And why does his proposed solution of Web3 not work out? A few analytical thoughts.
  • Rejuvenation for Pro Senectute through NFT and Metaverse?
    Pro Senectute beider Basel, a foundation to help the elderly around Basel, launched its NFT project last week and already informed about its Metaverse commitment beforehand. According to a media release, Michael Harr, managing director of the 15-million Basel-based company, wants to use the purchase of these “properties” in a “central location” in two online […]
  • What is an NFT, behind the scenes?
    “NFT” is currently on everyone’s lips again, and not only because of Pro Senectute. But what is actually behind the full-bodied promises of the NFT advocates? For more insights on NFTs and the entire blockchain ecosystem, click here. You can also read this text in German 🇩🇪. “NFT” stands for “Non-Fungible Token” and is being […]
  • Offline digital cash?
    The question of using digital money in the event of a network outage comes up again and again. Here is an overview of the options and their pros and cons.
  • The NFT Danger Zone
    Susanna Petrin closes her NFT experiment with a dystopia of life after we destroyed our environment: Admiring our NFTs while strolling through the metaverse. I hope we can avert both.
, ,

Let’s stay in touch!

Receive a mail whenever I publish a new post.

About 1-2 Mails per month, no Spam.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Web apps