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Private distributed ledger technology or public blockchain?

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Private distributed ledger technology or public blockchain?

Some people think that permissioned distributed ledger technology can perform better than open blockchain because it is tweaked to address the issues of the latter. Such systems are also called “permissioned blockchain,” as if blockchain is a high-level concept and “permissioned” is one of its variants. But this statement is controversial and down below, you will come to understand why.

Is “permissioned” decentralized?

There are a lot of other options to choose from in DLTs: permissioned, private, enterprise, federated DLT, etc. And frankly, sometimes, it is not easy to distinguish between them. Therefore, for this level of discussion, let us compare just DLTs vs. blockchain.

A permissioned DLT and the mentioned variety thereof are not decentralized. There should not be any fallacy around this, as it might be fatal for a project. While some opponents to this statement might claim that decentralization can have a degree, and of course, permissionless blockchain is more decentralized.

Let us put it simply. If there is someone between two counterparties in a transaction, and you can do nothing about this, it is centralized. In a public blockchain, if an ordinary user does not want to rely on a miner for their transaction to be included in a block, they can draft their transaction, and mine a block themself. If the block is valid, the network will accept it. Of course, mining nowadays requires enormous computational resources, but there are no technical or formal barriers to it — you don’t need to seek permission to mine. In DLT, users of the network have different roles and authority, and ordinary users are not able to create and validate blocks. There is nothing wrong with having a centralized system; it is just a matter of understanding what you are dealing with.

Related: What is the difference between blockchain and DLT?

Permissioned DLTs can be decentralized only from one perspective, i.e., by having a consortium of independent members (organizations, companies, etc.) running the network with the exclusive authority to create blocks. Having a few affiliated companies controlled by one beneficiary will not make it decentralized.

And keep in mind, any consortium structure with independent members can be decentralized but only for these members — it will always be centralized for all those outside of the consortium.

Is DLT a cartel?

A consortium (private/permissioned) DLT can be considered a cartel. Sooner or later, an antitrust body may question this. A safe strategy would ensure that the terms and conditions of the consortium were built in compliance with the antitrust laws.

By the way, to be completely centralized system is much safer. But a centralized system will never achieve the same level of reliability and credibility that blockchain can. It will be vulnerable as any other centralized system is, and here is why.

A centralized DLT is not immutable. The ledger can be rewritten arbitrarily by the one (or more) who controls it or due to a cyberattack. Because of its open and competitive nature (mining, staking, etc.), any blockchain can achieve immutability and hence its records will be credible. Thousands of independent nodes can ensure an unprecedented level of resistance to any sort of attack.

Usually, it comes next after the discussion about immutability. How to correct a mistake? What if you need to change your smart contract? What if you lost your private key? There is nothing you can do retroactively — alteration in the blockchain is impossible. What’s done is done. In this regard, the DLT is usually the opposite of an alternative to blockchain. You will hear that DLTs can be designed so that those who control the network verify transactions on entry and therefore, non-compliant transactions are not allowed to pass through. But it would be a fallacy to think that censorship in the network will ultimately exclude all mistakes and unwanted transactions. There will always be a chance for a mistake. Then what? A retroactive change as the last resort? But if you can alter history, you undermine the whole idea of blockchain. No other technology can ensure such a level of the immutability of data. It is not one of the advantages of blockchain — this is its distinguishing advantage.

Related: Circling back to blockchain’s originally intended purpose: Timestamping

Nevertheless, immutability is perceived as something that impedes its legal application. Say, your circumstances changed, and you need to alter the smart contact. The answer to this is the proper design of an application that does not undermine the immutability of the ledger. The smart contract should be designed in a way that the user can attach a new transaction to reflect a change toward the previous one. Blocks are firmly chronological and only the latest transaction will reflect the current state of affairs, while all previous transactions will be a historical reference. You don’t need to change history. The blockchain is a public repository of evidence for everything that happened. There are different methods of designing applications that address all possible legal issues; for example, this and this academic paper proposed solutions to manage property rights in blockchain registries. These issues are also discussed in the series of articles that I published last year.

Permissioned is not blockchain

If anyone questions it regarding your system, they will be right. Further discussion about why permissioned is not a blockchain can be found in this academic paper, but in a nutshell: Not every chain of blocks is a blockchain. Connecting timestamped chunks of data with hashes was invented by Haber and Stornetta in 1991. But nobody has ever called it “blockchain” because blockchain is more than just a chain of blocks. It is about how these blocks are created and validated. Blocks that are created are the result of an open, decentralized and uncensored competition. This is the definition of blockchain and this is what Satoshi Nakamoto designed. Hence, anything that is centralized (permissioned, private, etc.) is whatever but not blockchain.

Unfortunately, anyone is free to attribute the word “blockchain” to any technology they want, as there is no legal copyright or any legal protection to this word. DLT proponents tried hard to erase the boundary between these concepts. But it is only a matter of time until a few high-profile knockdown hacks of private DLTs show the real difference between DLT and blockchain and dramatically change the situation. There is a big difference in how many nodes ensure the security of the network, i.e., a handful of known nodes in the DLT network, or thousands and anonymous nodes around the world in the blockchain network.

We can argue about this on the theoretical level, but when it comes to losing money due to vulnerabilities in the system, nobody will listen to enthusiastic speeches about DLT. People will start asking questions. If you use “private/permissioned,” you should be ready for this.

Related: Blockchain technology can change the world, and not just via crypto

If you still want permissioned

A safe strategy would be to use the word “DLT” in all communications. It might not address possible vulnerabilities, but you can then say: “We had never said it was blockchain.” By the way, ENISA (the European agency on cybersecurity) always uses “distributed ledger” instead of blockchain in their reports. Conversely, their colleagues in the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States used “blockchain” in their earlier report.

Do you want to create your own public blockchain network? It is not necessarily a good idea unless you have reliable technology and a robust plan. First, [permissionless] blockchain does not mean safe by default. To achieve a decent level of immutability and resistance to attacks (hence, credibility and a high capitalization of your coin), you need thousands of independent nodes all over the world. If you have enough resources to create your community on this hard path, your network will survive and you will reap the rewards. But what are the odds?

DLT economy

If you are still considering creating your private or permissioned network, think about how this infrastructure will be maintained. If this is solely your network, you can have a solution to this because its maintenance can be covered by the commercial applications that you develop on it. But you have to understand — the network maintenance is completely on your shoulders.

If you have a consortium of members, how do they redeem expenses on infrastructure? In a blockchain, there is a native mechanism to this — cryptocurrency. Independent nodes compete to mine coins. This is how the whole infrastructure is created and maintained. Those who develop applications on the blockchain need to worry about fees, not infrastructure.

But how about your DLT? Is your DLT only for private use among the members of the network? In this case, the end must justify the means, so the reason why independent players on the market created their own DLT network must cover the cost they bear to create and support it.

Consider another story about DLT by members who develop a network for outside users. Inevitably, you will need to design a viable economic model for the network members. No one will spend their resources for nothing or the resources will be applied unfairly — you will end up with a common tragedy. A possible solution to this is to create a native token of the network — say hello to cryptocurrency.

Private DLT o a blockchain?

Is a permissioned/private DLT better than a blockchain? This is not an appropriate question. They are different and their use depends on what you are trying to achieve. But it would be a fallacy to attribute the features of blockchain to a permissioned DLT.

Leading existing blockchains can provide you with reliable infrastructure for an application. The idea that immutability impedes the application of blockchain is a misconception. On the contrary, it is the major advantage as no other technology can provide such a level of credibility to records. Various methods exist to create mature applications without bumping up against the immutable ledger.

A solely controlled DLT is centralized and therefore requires as much attention to cybersecurity as any other centralized technology. A consortium DLT is decentralized for its members, but will always be centralized for outside users (if, of course, the DLT is designed for public use). At the same time, the use of such a DLT can be fruitful in a private application among independent members, but be careful with objectives as it can be considered a cartel and questioned by antitrust bodies.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Oleksii Konashevych is the author of the Cross-Blockchain Protocol for Government Databases: The Technology for Public Registries and Smart Laws. Oleksii is a Ph.D. fellow in the Joint International Doctoral Degree in Law, Science and Technology program funded by the government of the European Union. Oleksii has been collaborating with the RMIT University Blockchain Innovation Hub, researching the use of blockchain technology for e-governance and e-democracy. He also works on the tokenization of real estate titles, digital IDs, public registries and e-voting. Oleksii co-authored a law on e-petitions in Ukraine, collaborating with the country’s presidential administration and serving as the manager of the nongovernmental e-Democracy Group from 2014 to 2016. In 2019, Oleksii participated in drafting a bill on Anti-Money Laundering and taxation issues for crypto assets in Ukraine.

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Finance Committee Approves Legislation Delaying Crypto Tax in South Korea

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Finance Committee Approves Legislation Delaying Crypto Tax in South Korea

Finance Committee Approves Legislation Delaying Crypto Tax in South Korea

Changes meant to postpone the introduction of a tax on virtual assets such as cryptocurrencies in South Korea have been approved by an important parliamentary committee. The draft legislation seeks to delay Seoul’s plan to impose a 20-percent levy on gains from crypto transactions.

Ahead of Election, Major Parties Support Tax Break for Crypto Investors in South Korea

South Korean parliament is taking steps to suspend a planned tax on profits from digital asset investments for another year. The move has been supported by the ruling Democratic Party, despite disagreements with the government itself, as well as the leading opposition People Power Party.

The amendments, which also envisage the increase of an exemption on capital gains tax for real estate sales amid rising property prices, are viewed by Korean politicians as a popular proposition ahead of the upcoming presidential election in March next year, the Korea Joongang Daily noted in a report.

The Strategy and Finance Committee at the National Assembly passed the changes to the respective provisions during a meeting on Tuesday. The voting followed the approval of the revisions by its subcommittee on taxation during a session on Monday.

Authorities Need More Time to Set Up Taxation System for Crypto Assets

The two Korean parties have agreed to postpone the adoption of a 20% tax on annual profits from virtual asset investments exceeding 2.5 million won ($2,102). The government planned to introduce the tax on Jan. 1, 2022, but the recent voting indicates the tax is likely to be suspended until 2023.

The Democratic Party has been pushing for the delay as investments in cryptocurrencies have become quite popular with young voters who also find it very hard to save enough money for a home amid skyrocketing property prices. The party also hopes that the raising of the capital gains tax exemption for single residence owners who sell from a price of 900 million to 1.2 billion won ($1 million), will help to increase the availability of homes on the market.

DP representatives have argued that Korean tax authorities need more time to establish a proper tax system for virtual asset investing. However, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki opposed the delay, stating that “The government is ready to immediately tax virtual assets.” He nevertheless noted that the executive power will comply with any decision by the parliament, which is expected to vote on the amendments in early December.

Do you think South Korean lawmakers will support the proposed amendments concerning crypto taxation? Tell us in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Jack Dorsey Resigning as CEO of Twitter Is Bullish for Crypto, Says Fundstrat

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Jack Dorsey Resigning as CEO of Twitter Is Bullish for Crypto, Says Fundstrat

Jack Dorsey Resigns as CEO of Twitter — Fundstrat Says Bullish for Crypto

Twitter now has a new chief executive officer after Jack Dorsey resigned Monday. Dorsey, who is still the CEO of Square Inc., previously said that he wants to focus on bitcoin. Fundstrat Global Advisors’ managing director and head of research explained why Dorsey’s departure from Twitter is bullish for crypto.

Twitter Has New CEO: Jack Dorsey Steps Down

Jack Dorsey announced Monday that he has resigned from Twitter. In his letter to the Twitter team, the former CEO explained that it was his decision to leave. Parag Agrawal, who served as Twitter’s chief technology officer, is the new CEO. Dorsey is still the CEO of Square Inc., which is currently working on several bitcoin projects.

Tom Lee, managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, believes that Dorsey’s resignation from Twitter is bullish for the crypto market. In an interview with CNBC Monday, he was asked what Dorsey’s exit from Twitter means for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Responding to the question, “Is it bullish for crypto?” Lee affirmed:

Yes, it’s bullish for crypto.

“One thing to keep in mind is that crypto is the intersection of financial services and technology. That’s literally 60% of the economy. Really, financial services is the other half of GDP, so it’s a huge market,” he elaborated. “And there isn’t enough capital allocated towards crypto innovation, so it takes people like Jack Dorsey to really marshal focus and I don’t think the space is overinvested yet.”

Lee added that it is still the earliest days for the crypto space, not only for projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum but also “the amount of crypto equities and businesses built around crypto.”

Earlier this month, Twitter set up a dedicated team to focus on cryptocurrency and decentralized apps.

Dorsey said at the Bitcoin 2021 Conference in June, “If I were not at Square or Twitter, I would be working on bitcoin.” The former Twitter CEO emphasized, “If [bitcoin] needed more help than Square or Twitter, I would leave them for bitcoin,” noting:

I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on.

His other company, Square, is “focused on helping bitcoin reach a mainstream audience while at the same time strengthening the network and ecosystem,” Dorsey said during Square’s Q3 earnings call early this month. “Our focus is on helping bitcoin to become the native currency for the Internet … We have a number of initiatives toward that goal. Cash App is just one.”

Do you think Jack Dorsey resigning from Twitter is bullish for bitcoin and crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

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RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

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On November 27th, 2021, RChain‘s founder Greg Meredith and blockchain scientist Atticbee were invited as guests to an AMA hosted by the Hoo Exchange. Hoo is a Dubai based innovation driven crypto exchange and has their in-house developed public chain, HSC, built for the global cryptocurrency market. In this session, Greg Meredith and Atticbee shared the latest developments in RChain and remarkable ideas about the future of the blockchain and metaverse.

RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

Built as A Coordination Technology, Instead of Payment Platform

According to Greg, RChain focuses on blockchain as a coordination technology to provide a means for global coordination as conditions get more and more severe due to climate change. RChain is designed as a scalable global computer and storage mechanism, rather than a payments system. It is impossible to build a general purpose computer out of a cash register, while to build a cash register out of a general purpose computer is like a walk in the park.

This is the first blockchain that scales linearly. This means that as you add nodes/hardware it gets faster, not slower. The current test data shows that the testnet gets roughly 1,000 tps per node per CPU. So a network of 10 nodes with 10 CPUs each gets 10,000 tps. 20 nodes with 20 CPUs each gets 20,000 tps, etc. Data can be realistically stored, updated, and searched on-chain.

RChain’s smart contract language Rholang, is a concurrent transactional query language, reconciling the best of SQL and NoSQL. It means one can write sophisticated queries to search stored data, which distinguishes itself from systems like IPFS. Smart contracts can be statically checked for concurrency and security errors. So, errors like what caused the DAO bug will be caught at compile time not in deployment. Imagine what would have happened to Ethereum if they had been running at 40K tps when the DAO bug was exploited.

Synergy Between Metaverse and RChain

In the AMA Greg explained his long involvement in the metaverse area. He worked directly with the pioneers of VR/AR, was hired at the research lab where Kim Fairchild did SemNet, by Kim Fairchild himself. He also was the one who suggested to Alan Wexelblat the title Software.

However Greg expressed his concerns about our real world. Yes, the metaverse is hot, but planet Earth is even hotter. In fact, in as little as a decade we are likely to see more than 1.5C temperature rise making the tropical zone uninhabitable, with wet bulb conditions — where the humidity and temperature are so high your sweat cannot cool you off — making it so that people will not even know that they are dying of heat exposure. Unfortunately, about 40% of the world’s population lives in the tropical zone. So, in as little as 10 years, 2.8B people are going to become climate migrants. Unfortunately, those 2.8B people will not be able to move into the metaverse. It won’t be any cooler for the servers running the simulations.

Atticbee later commented that this question needs to be answered: what is the role of blockchain in the metaverse? If metaverse only uses blockchain to trade game props, virtual real estates etc as NFTs, then the current technology may be good enough, at least if the transaction volume is low. However if Metaverse tries to simulate the real world, and uses blockchain as the trustable computing layer, RChain’s computing model is much closer to how the real universe works than the state machine used by virtually all other projects. As Greg Meredith said before, evolution has already picked out the best concurrent computing model, and the sequential Turing machine is never the chosen one.

Also the underlying blockchain technology and the upper layer metaverse will mutually stimulate and evolve. Just like in history – when we only had steam engines, we could only build trains and ships. After we created the combustion engine, we could do cars, airplanes etc. Every tech breakthrough will open new doors for tomorrow’s world. With RChain’s concurrent computing, seamless sharding and on-chain storage, Metaverse will be reshaped by RChain’s breakthrough technology.

Click to Play VS Click to Pay

When asked about RChain’s plan for ecosystem development, Greg answered that RChain focuses on a transaction volume driven route.RChain is looking at applications, such as self-sovereign data, online advertising and sponsorship, and social networks that generate large transaction volumes. The economic argument is simple. Currently, proof-of-work miners are making millions per day. What would make them want to switch proof of stake validators? If you lower transaction costs, you are just going to cut into their profits. If you cut transaction costs by a factor of 100, but raise transaction volume by a factor of 1,000, then they stand to make 10X, and at a fraction of their power consumption. Now, you have a real argument for them to move to proof-of-stake.

Once you understand that transaction volume is where the action is, then you just have to look at the Internet. How many times do you click to pay versus click to “Play”? That is, how many times do you click to post on Instagram or Twitter or WeChat versus to pay a bill or a vendor? How many times do you click to stream on YouTube or Spotify versus to pay someone with PayPal, Venmo or WeChat? It’s hundreds (if not thousands) to one. All the transaction volume is in click to “Play”.

And wherever you play, there are ads. In fact, online advertising is the largest economy in the world. It’s bigger than oil. So, RChain wants to help people make lots and lots of decentralized clicks to play DApps: social networks, streaming services, logistics services, data services, etc. And it wants to stream sponsored content through those decentralized services, but do so in a way that it eliminates surveillance capitalism. It also wants people to have a say as to whether their data is sold and if it is sold and get a cut of the profits.

Migration From Other Public Chains’ Ecosystems to RChain

RChain’s sharding solution allows other chains to be mounted as shards. This means that smart contracts can be written as if other chains were just RChain resources. In this case, for the RChain side, there is a very easy migration.

The biggest stumbling block to migration is the mismatch in the computational model. RChain operates concurrently while most other blockchains operate sequentially. This means other chains cannot handle RChain’s execution demands. RChain execution requests to other chains will queue up and queue up as they process them one at a time.

Of course, going the other way is simple, but it means that RChain has to slow down to match the sequential semantics of the other chains.

Toward a Leaderless Global Computer

RChain has been in mainnet for just under 2 years. Last year it released a major feature: the last finalized state, which means that new validators can synchronize to the chain without having to go all the way back to the genesis block. This year it is releasing a major performance improvement called block merge, that gives the linear scaling. It’s the culmination of Greg’s research of architecture and mathematics in the last 30 years, some of the work can go back to Microsoft’s BizTalk Process Orchestration that Greg worked on 20 years ago.

As Atticbee explained, there exists the following relationships btw “traditional computer” and the blockchain “global computer”:

  • Traditional Computer : Blockchain computer.
  • Multithreading : concurrency of block merge.
  • Multiprocess : sharding (composability).
  • Firewall : on-chain formal verification (behavior type system).

All these 3 parts are necessary for a truly useful global computer. And the computational layer should be carefully chosen so that all these parts can be supported, it means the chosen computational model should support concurrency, composability and a behavior type system.

RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

Figure: Computational Model Comparisons

Unfortunately that leaves very few choices. From the above table, only Pi or Rho-Calculus can provide all the required features. Rho-Calculus is the upgraded version of Pi-Calculus. With reflection with much more expressive power. It is the first process of calculus suitable as a smart contract language. And Greg Meredith is the founder of Rho-Calculus.

RChain and Hoo: The Arrow Has Already Been on the String

Figure: The Knowledge Graph of RChain

With the coming “block merge” milestone the multi-threading/concurrency capability will be demonstrated. After that RChain will have a “seamless” sharding solution that makes many shards “look and feel” like one. Finally in the Venus milestone, a behavior type system will be implemented to allow thousands of contracts to safely cooperate with each other. Above that it will be possible to add a smart contract orchestration layer like a decentralized Kubernetes. Without a carefully chosen computational model, all these are impossible and the platform will be locked in as a payment solution, rather than a global computer that can handle a global scale, all-in-one computing infrastructure to serve Web 3.0.


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Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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