back to article Kill the blockchain! It'll make you fitter in the long run, honest

I am looking for a fit man. Sorry, did I forget to put that in quotation marks? C'est Mme D qui parle and she's staring at her computer screen. "I am looking for a fit man," she repeats in a monotone. I have a quick check around the room: nope, we haven't acquired an Echo, although she did say it twice (heh heh). Is she using …

  1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: ...the cat farts...

    "Don't forget the forsaken moaning of the arid wind, broken only by the piercing cry of a distant hawk in the parched, burning sky. Bonus points for a cow skull in the foreground!"

    I never knew SE London could be so interesting.

  2. Stoneshop Silver badge
    WTF?

    Re: ...the cat farts...

    Hawks? Vultures you mean.

  3. Zedsquared

    If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    Surely any blockchain project that *isn't* currency is going to have a really hard time persuading people to mine blocks and thus end up with what is basically just an inefficiently implimented centralised database which is open to insider abuse and mistrust by outsiders?

  4. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    Indeed, and there was a 51% attack on Bitcoin Gold (one of the many forks of Bitcoin) recently.

  5. Alistair Dabbs

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    Blockchain does not require anything to be mined. Only cryptocurrencies do that.

  6. Black Road Dude

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    Without an incentive such as mining a blockchain is just a shared ledger a distributed database if you like. There is nothing new or novel about a blockchain on its own. With the mining incentive it solves the byzantine generals problem and defends itself from attack.

    I'm sick of hearing people say it's the blockchain that's the real innovation. It's not.

  7. Charles 9 Silver badge

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    What a blockchain is (and the key is in the word itself) is a running ledger in which each new entry authenticates the stuff before it, and so on back. I suppose the book equivalent is to only use indelible ink on tear-resistant pages (both provide tamper-evidence similar to the signatures on the blockchain entries). But at least a blockchain is pretty easy to duplicate while preserving whatever authenticity it provides.

    I've been leery of articles that discuss blockchains as well, but I at least take the view of, "Why do you need to keep a running book of authenticated transactions?" It's just that everything I've seen so far apart from e-currencies lack that need, so I move on. There's probably some legitimate uses out there that I haven't seen yet (using a blockchain in a courier or delivery service, for example); it's just we're still at the "90% hype" stage.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    "Why do you need to keep a running book of authenticated transactions?"

    And especially one that's so compute intensive.

  9. katrinab Silver badge

    Re: If it's not currency, where's the incentive to mine blocks?

    If you have for example the Royal Mail parcel tracking service, what problem does it have that a blockchain would solve?

    Corruption of Royal Mails database is not something that I've ever seen happen, and if delivery staff were to input incorrect information to it, they could do that to a blockchain as well.

  10. Tim 11

    Real Gains

    However you call it, there's no doubt that a lot of people have made a lot of *real* money on crypto-currency speculation.

    All that's required to make money is that we're not at the top of the hype curve yet. That's why people buy houses and twitter shares and lots of other things that are hopelessly overvalued, not because they think they are undervalued but because they believe that someone else in the future will be even more gullible and will take said asset off their hands for more than they paid.

    Although like (presumably) Alistair, I haven't put my own money into crypto, I think a lot of the negativity that comes out of some commentators is because (like me) they're just pissed off they think they've missed the boat, and they want to justify it.

  11. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Re: Real Gains

    Though I'm not invested in his firm I think Warren Buffett is absolutely right. If you can't send a team round to see what's going on, inspect the books, look at the factory, talk to the customers and suppliers...don't invest in it.

    Obviously people get rich out of scams. Some of them get very rich. But they are mostly the ones that started it. Some of the initial marks taken along for the ride make a sizeable profit if they get out in time - you need people enthusiastically hyping your scam after all. But I also remember Taleb's advice; the best way to get rich if you want to trade rather than invest is to find something with a very big downside indeed and keep betting on the downside happening. You will lose money until you suddenly make a lot. With things like Bitcoin you can't really short them, which is one of the things that makes them suspect - the market can't tell you what it thinks.

  12. Black Road Dude

    Re: Real Gains

    Yes you most certainly can short them. There are exchanges that offer this or if your more old school there are about 6 large banks offering futures now.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Real Gains

    However you call it, there's no doubt that a lot of people have made a lot of *real* money on crypto-currency speculation.

    Yup. Key is the realisation that the coin itself doesn't generate the value, it's the trading in it (and all the other contributing factors that affect the trade value such as scarcity). If you want to be really honest, it's not all that different from FX trading - after all, we;re no longer dealing with money (= tied to a commodity such as gold) but currency (= whatever a government decides it's worth, just that in the crypto coin world there's no such thing as a central government).

    I may have some of that wrong, not exactly an expert :).

  14. Steve K Silver badge

    Re: Real Gains

    Not sure if a house is a good example here - unlike shares/bitcoins you can at least live in it.

    Additionally its value is also dictated by location - i.e. to live somewhere with amenities valuable to you (and others) you have to pay more.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Real Gains

    Houses are also subject to pump and dump, though. Get a few lifestyle journalists to move to your area, before long articles appear about it in the magazines and newspapers, people from London or the Midlands think it looks a nice place to live and house prices start to rise. Soon nobody is building any affordable housing (who would, when they can advertise in London and find ready buyers), prices rise still faster, and before long shop prices are rising as rents increase and infill starts to happen removing amenity spaces. The very things that attracted people in the first place disappear.

    At some point people will get tired of the pressures of growth, profit taking will start and things will return to normal. But some people will be left with huge mortgages, the price of other people's profits.

    I suspect that the analogy with cryptocurrencies is pretty close except that you can't go into a cryptocurrency and buy a chai latte and gluten free brownie.

  16. NotMyRealName

    Wut?

    tracking providence?

    providence: The guardianship and control exercised by a deity

    If a blockchain could do that, it would be a singular feat!

    "tracking provenance" makes more sense.

  17. Alistair Dabbs

    Re: Wut?

    Bah. I'd blame autocorrect but I have no idea what I must have typed. Provenance, of course.

  18. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Re: Wut?

    "Provenance, of course."

    Or maybe Provence would make Mme D feel more a t home?

  19. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Joke

    Blockchain - a future proofed bandwagon

    The most remarkable thing about Blockchain in the fast moving world of IT bandwagons, is that its inventors had the foresight to incorporate a then future IT bandwagon - AI - into its very name. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: BlockchAIn

  20. Roger Kynaston
    Joke

    blockchain?

    bollockschain shirly.

  21. Potemkine! Silver badge

    An advice for Mr. Dabbs.

    Keep this article somewhere, you'll be able to reuse it a few years with just replacing "blockchain" by the next hyper-hyped technology. Et hop, Blockchain will offer you a quite work-free column with a simple "search and replace".

  22. ma1010 Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Those blockchains can be dangerous, too!

    See obligatory Dilbert

  23. Stoneshop Silver badge

    Re: Those blockchains can be dangerous, too!

    One like this. And that's just a portable version.

    Now imagine a block of concrete as used in roadway barriers or seawall strengthening, fitted with a length of anchor chain as used on ocean-going shipping.

  24. LeahroyNake Bronze badge

    I read it twice

    On the second go I swapped out Blockchain for Cloud and it was hilarious.

  25. Electric Panda

    Blockchain is yet another daft IT bandwagon hype trains and I'm getting mighty sick of those.

    I am now exploring alternative careers to escape the iT industry entirely. It'll mean a pay cut and a lot of hard work, but I'm absolutely well up for it.

  26. Notas Badoff Silver badge

    One word: 'Miming'. I hear a bit'o'miming is very profitable these days.

  27. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Memo?

    Did someone at Vulture Towers forget to send M. Dabbs the memo about cryptocurrencies?

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/22/register_ebook_micropayments_trial_satoshipay/

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