Blockchain Myths & FAQ

From IIW

Blockchain Myths & FAQ

Day/Session:Thursday 3C

Convener:Greg Slepak

Notes-taker(s): Greg Slepak

Discussion notes, key understandings, outstanding questions, observations, and, if appropriate to this discussion: action items, next steps:

Summary Notes from Session:

Background of presenter

  • Greg Slepak
  • Researcher, entrepreneur
  • Read Satoshi's paper a year after it was published, became fascinated by blockchains
  • Read Aaron Swartz's "Squaring Zooko's Triangle", became fascinated by Namecoin and decentralized, human-readable namespaces
  • Worked on DNSChain, a DNS server that can do blockchain lookups for blockchain TLDs (top-level domains like .com, .org, .net)

Legitimate use-cases for blockchains

  • Quick overview of how blockchains can greatly improve the security of the Internet
  • Blockchains can change Internet's trust-model from "weakest link" trust model (X.509) to consensus-based trust through strong decentralized consensus algorithms like Proof-of-Work

Blockchain Myths

  • "Bitcoin wastes energy"
    • No, it doesn't, it uses that energy to secure its blockchain
    • It does things that no other system can do, including PoS (proof-of-stake) systems
      • PoW can distribute coins without having to receive them from somewhere else
      • It can measure time in a trustless way and provide strong guarantees like "proof-of-publication"
      • Its security is cumulative
      • It cannot be "captured" in the same way that PoS consensus can be captured permanently by a cartel with enough stake
  • "Bitcoin's energy use is bad for the environment"
    • Don't blame Bitcoin for humanity's choices when it comes to where it sources its energy from, this is not Bitcoin's fault
    • A few hundred square miles in the Sahara have enough solar energy to power the entire world
  • "Blockchains can't scale"
    • Description of the problem and introduction to DCS Triangle and DCS Theorem
    • Scaling solutions that work around DCS Triangle like Lightning Network by combing a DC system with a DS system


  • Answered audience questions