Are Zombies the Cure for Scalability Woes? Only in Wonderland

Even drink napkins speak to me about Crypto (I need a Therapist)

Last year in October (2017) CryptoKitties exploded onto the Ethereum MainNet.  The viral success of the blockchain game that breeds digital kittens almost crippled the network.  It’s been written about a ton already so I won’t retell the story here.  After all I want to talk about Zombies.

Here’s a link to a good write up on how the Ethereum Community addressed the crisis.

As I’ve said before Scalability continues to be one of the main areas of focus for developers and entrepreneurs in 2018.  The blockchain is good for many things but throughput is not one of them.

Enter Zombies.  Loom Network’s ZombieChain (article here) is one offering tackling the scalability issue in hopes that the next CryptoKitties doesn’t end the world.

 

I don’t know, some people really hate @realDonaldTrump.  Time will tell I suppose; Casper is on the way and Plasma and sharding and DAGS and, and, …n.  Makes me think of this SuperLotto sign in front of the San Diego Convention Center.  (Seriously, I need a Therapist)

For those inclined here’s the 2014 Pegged Sidechains Paper

Sidechains

Aligned Incentives: Meditations at Crypto Con San Diego

Today I’m in San Diego for a cryptocurrency conference.  The weather is beautiful outside it’s a perfect day.  There are people here from all over the world.  Just had lunch.

My pockets are stuffed with business cards.  I hate business cards.  As I write this I’m listening to someone to my left talk about how they “pivoted” their business and created a token for runners…”kinda like Sonic the Hedge Hog”.  I love crypto.

The presenter is having problems with the audio.  It’s an awkward Friday afternoon.  I’m loving it!

Aligned Incentives

Why Blockchain?  It’s a simple question and sometimes I wonder how many people in this room and in crypto have taken the time to really ask it.  I’m asking it right now.

The project I’m working on is noble.  There are big ambitions which is why it’s worth my time.  I’m a sucker for Noble and Ambitious.  However, I’m also a realist.

Millennials are some of my favorite people.  I love their hope and willingness to rethink the world.  Technology is like the Marijuana and Free Love of this generation.

EarthCycle.io just dropped their video.  I wonder if they’ve spent as much time on their pitch and multimedia (which is impressive) as they have on the fundamentals of their business model and technology.  (Why blockchain?).

Anyway, back to Aligned Incentives.  Perhaps one of the strongest cases for Why Blockchain?  Is aligned incentives.

People are selfish.  We all want what we want.  I like beer for instance.  I really don’t care about the environment if I’m honest.  Sorry.  I’m not proud of that…just being honest for the sake of this point.

Aligned Incentives means that if EarthCycle.io figured out a way to get me my favorite craft beer like dollar shave club figured out razors, I’d be all about EarthCycle Coin…because I like beer, and they also had a cool video, but it would be more about the beer.

The power of aligning incentives on the blockchain is simple.  It means that an Irish jerk like me (think younger less angry Archie Bunker) with more regard for the stout at lunch than the beautiful blue sky hanging over this auditorium, could have joined the noble ambitions of EarthCycle.io to preserve that beauty for generations, if they’d only figured out how to get me that Stout at a discount and maybe also add drone delivery…also let’s make it on demand like Uber.

See No Beer (Misaligned Incentive)

Cryptocurrency Mining in 2018

There’s a lot to consider when you dig into the subject of cryptocurrency mining.  For developers this seems to be a topic of increasing importance.  Why?

Read this article from a blockchain developer who jumped into the world of mining, for a bit.

The State Of Cryptocurrency Mining – Sia Blog

The original Medium post here

If you’re building a cryptocurrency project with the noble aim of creating a decentralized cencorship resistant network…BitMain feels like Microsoft + IBM circa 1980.  Get rekt Apple.

Reading this article made me feel like Linus.

Not this one.

This one…

What is the Lightning Network?

Everybody was kung-fu fighting
Those kicks were fast as lightning
In fact it was a little bit frightening
But they did it with expert timing

In short, the lightning network is Bitcoin’s answer to the problem of scalability on the Bitcoin blockchain.  It’s a ‘2nd layer’ solution that creates a network of peer-to-peer payment channels that facilitate and record transactions off chain and then settle or sync back up with the main chain.

The idea is that by creating this second layer the transactions can occur much faster in real-time without having to be processed through the congestion and cost of the main chain.

To make it simple—it’s kind of like running an excel spreadsheet on your computer where random access memory (‘lightning network’) keeps track of the changes you’re making to a file.  This makes your experience faster and more efficient because your computer is using a faster temporary memory space to track the changes.  Then when you’re done making changes you save that file to your hard drive which makes all of the changes permanent by recording/updating the file to your hard drive (the Bitcoin blockchain).

In general scalability is a big problem for blockchain developers to address and there are many approaches to scaling and increasing ‘throughput’ (the number and rate of transactions).

Who’s Kung Fu will be strongest?

Here’s a video that explains the Kung Fu of Lightning in simple terms: