[community] Revisiting the discussion about blockchains...

Jutta Treviranus jutta.trevira at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 14:10:47 UTC 2016

Last year I broached the topic of blockchains to many people on this list, asking what the implications and opportunities were for inclusive design. How could we make use of a fully decentralized immutable technical system without intermediaries (e.g., trusted diversification of academic credentialing without academic institutions as gatekeepers) and what were the risks for an area currently dependent on regulations for intermediaries (e.g., regulating UBER for ridesharing vs. a completely distributed person to person ridesharing system)?

Several of you gave very good arguments for dismissing blockchain technologies. I spoke to Tim Berners Lee about the implications of blockchains at the WWW2016 conference and he maintained that the same functionality can be derived from existing Web technologies and standards. He said the same later in his keynote address. 

Since then Don Tapscott and his son have released a book on the potential of blockchains: http://dontapscott.com/2015/06/blockchain-revolution-the-brilliant-technology-changing-money-business-and-the-world/ <http://dontapscott.com/2015/06/blockchain-revolution-the-brilliant-technology-changing-money-business-and-the-world/>

….and our friends at the Internet Archive co-hosted a summit on the topic (unfortunately I couldn’t go because of all the things happening here this week) that included Tim, Vint Cerf, Brewster Kahle and others. See: http://www.decentralizedweb.net <http://www.decentralizedweb.net/>

I wanted to revisit this discussion…. not necessarily limited to the use of blockchains specifically (for one thing the power consumption of maintaining and growing them seems to be prohibitive) but how to achieve the functions that blockchains promised.

What are your thoughts?


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