Twitter Threads: Private and Public Blockchains


I feel this short thread is missing the point somewhat, and also engaging in some slight of hand with definitions.

The distinction is not between decentralised=good and centralised=bad.
The distinction is between which is actually useful and adding something.
Centralised systems, with memberships, barriers to entry and admins are inherently not censorship-resistant. Such ledgers add little to anything, I’d venture.

It sure is the reason I find them boring and not particularly innovative.
So, if you want to benefit from censorship resistance, don’t go with a private ledger. Simple as that. If you want something else, chances are pretty big that there are better solutions to what a private ledger can offer. There probably are exceptions, but it’s a reach.
Yes, there are “public” projects that are very centralised, and frankly, they are crap. They do not live up to their promise or their potential and either should fix it, which is near impossible, or at least be called on it.
The fact that there are such public ledgers does nothing to diminish the value of those that do live up to the promise, so I find it a bit of a non argument.

It’s like blaming a whole group of people for some misbehaving, and we all know that’s not correct or helpful.
The “slight of hand” I see is mentioning “private side chains”. As these are pegged to public chains, you cannot just swap them out for “private blockchains”. They are distinct and not comparable. Side chains lack some problems full fledged private chains have.
Lastly, I doubt many in public chains actually care what the CEO of this or that believes. You cannot just let go of censorship resistance and then bring it back in again. It’s a binary choice. If you lose it, it’s gone.
So if CEO X doesn’t “get” it, fine. They can hop on later, if they wish. No need to convince them if they just can’t make the jump yet. There’s work to be done, and frankly it’s not time well spent, just as it wasn’t with the CEO of Blockbuster.
What would be nice to see change is people actually looking at what the goal is, instead of the means. Decentralisation is a means, not a goal. It makes a system robust and resistant to meddling. That’s it. There’s nothing religious about it.
If a system is already compromised, no amount of decentralisation can help it. If you start out with a compromised chain, you can decentralise all you want, it won’t help.
Getting clear what the actual goals are and what the means is important. The constant nagging about decentralisation as a goal in itself is distracting and shows a lot of people don’t see or don’t get the goal and why it’s an addition to the world.

Bas Wisselink
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