back to article Blockchain study finds 0.00% success rate and vendors don't call back when asked for evidence

Though Blockchain has been touted as the answer to everything, a study of 43 solutions advanced in the international development sector has found exactly no evidence of success. Three practitioners including erstwhile blockchain enthusiast John Burg, a Fellow at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), looked at …

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Re: FWIW

"but that doesn't mean there aren't some great ones out there. Cryptocurrency isn't going away. If you believe all this negative news nonsense saying it's going to 0, you're just being played again like all the fools that believed it was going to go up forever and bought at 20 grand."

Sure, there may well be use cases for blockchains, but does buying Bitcoin give you exposure to them?

Anyone can write their own blockchain or fork an existing one, and many people have and the alternatives mostly address some of the problems that bitcoin has in terms of speed and scalability.

Another thing. Isn't TfL's Oyster Card a cryptocurrency of sorts? It isn't stored on a blockchain obviously, but it has been very successful. If you had bought £5 of Oyster Credit in 2003, how much would it be worth now? The answer is, it would be worth £5. Buying a bitcoin is exactly the same as buying Oyster credit.

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Devil

Academic question

Just wondering, how you define "technology consultancy and marketing" in a manner that is robust enough to fit a legal usage?

And talking about "academic", if we had laws that ban folks from working after they have been shown to be peddling hype, that could really shake up the academic world. After all, in academia if you have an idea you want to research you need to "sell it" (probably with plenty of hype) in order to get funding. And that funding may result in no gain other than a negative result. Ergo an academic can no longer work in academia after their first failed research project.

Now I think about it, perhaps that would be for the better.

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Blockchain is perfect

"Block" and "chain" both sound solid and reliable. Put them together and it sounds really solid and reliable.

OK, so it might mean fuck all for all I know. But it sounds, ahem "Strong and stable".

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Re: Blockchain is perfect

Stable genius.

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Flawed study

Because it did not projects also including artificial intelligence, machine learning and virtual reality. Every entrepreneur knows you need those elements to guarantee success(*).

(*) getting lots of investor money

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Terminator

So no buyers...

For my Artificial block, intelligence-chain that underpins the 52nd Industrial revolution running on WEB 3.1415926536?

Comes as an entire chain (22 yards) of plastic blocks in the shape of a Möbius strip.

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Coat

Re: So no buyers...

For my Artificial block, intelligence-chain that underpins the 52nd Industrial revolution running on WEB 3.1415926536?

I'd like a bit of that Pi

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Re: So no buyers...

Raspberry flavoured ?

I’ll get my coat...

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Coat

"the industry is itself opaque"

Maybe, for more transparency and trust, they should develop blockchain technology (a meta-blockchain?) to add transparency and trust.

Sorry couldn't resist. I'll get me coat, it's beer o'clock over here

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Blockchain tutorials

Can anyone provide a link to a tutorial that explains what blockchain is, that doesn't read like a parody of techno-gibberish or marketing hype?

When I asked this question on another forum a few months ago, I only got one response. The article they referred me to was 95% nonsense. The other 5% was a vague admission that it may have scalability problems.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

"The article they referred me to was 95% nonsense."

All non-techie articles about blockchain that I've ever seen have been 95% nonsense. The techie articles do better, at around 50% nonsense.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

Try searching for "Merkle Tree". That's what a blockchain is.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

The Wikipedia explanation is full of circular gobbledygook, but at least gives an impression of what it's all about, and links to some of the technologies that underpin it. Including that Merkle tree.Which I may read one day.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

Oh, so I've been doing blockchain for years. I guess I'd better get on that hype train sharpish!

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Boffin

Re: Blockchain tutorials

The basic of a block chain is this: you have a start block containing some information(usually of a fixed size); you then add a second block, which includes the hash of the first block's data. A third block gets added, again with the hash of the second block's data(which includes the hash of the first block), and so on and so forth. This means that the value of any block is dependent on the value of the entire chain before it, so it's theoretically impossible to pull a fast one without rewriting the entire chain.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

Just Google up the origin Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto. You'll find it is a complete description of the system, dry and hype and jargon free.

It is easy to understand and once you do, it will be clear that the idea of "blockchain" separate from digital cash doesn't make all that much sense, because the database is only as distributed as people are motivated and able to run nodes.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

A linked tree. Sounds a bit like FAT. You can verify the integrity of the tree... but nothing is stopping you from dropping older segments. They will clearly be corrupt if a scan and calculation of the whole tree is made, but how often would that happen?

Using the anology of the File Allocations Table, you would only find corruption when you accessed the data and found that pointers to the data were missing or invalid... or when you ran chkdsk, which was not a daily occurrence... now on a distributed file several gig long, I don’t see a sanity check of the entire chain happening on a regular basis either, or have I missed something?

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

It is more like ZFS than FAT.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Blockchain tutorials

here you go

https://anders.com/blockchain/

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Holmes

Re: Blockchain tutorials

No, or at least not in a way that would make you pay for it.

As far as I can tell (and I could be wrong) it's a way of packaging data so that it can be verified as uncompromised while allowing you to add records to it, a distributed database relying on good encryption and cross checking multiple sources. I haven't been able to think of any use for it that can't be done more easily another way either.

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Re: Blockchain tutorials

Just reading these comments - so maybe not very representative- the only ones that are positive about blockchain are the ones that say you can still make money ( i.e. speculate) with them. So a currency that only exists for speculation or money laundering. A bit like casino chips then.

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Of course

That's expected, because blockchain tech is squarely in the "snake oil" stage right now. New tech often follows a defined path:

1) Innovative solution to a narrow problem is invented

2) People into that tech scout around for other uses

3) Tech get proposed as a magic solution to everything (this is the "snake oil" phase)

4) The shakeout happens, and the tech goes back to being used mostly for its original purpose.

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Re: the tech goes back to being used mostly for its original purpose

Which is : allowing criminals to reap the rewards of encrypting clueless user's data.

Thanks, I think I'll pass.

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Re: Of course

Spot on. I’ve worked in IT since the Dark Ages, OK since1983, and the two leading drivers have always been snake oil and bullshit. The latest big thing is inflated way beyond its actual usefulness or it just doesn’t work. The other major theme is to put new clothes on an old concept and rename it. Still, as long as there is money to be made......

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Blockchain solves real problems

Blockchain solves the problem of maintaining a central database when there is no trusted third party. See here,

https://cryptoindex.guru/2018/05/20/1402-bitcoin-solves-the-double-spending-problem/

This is ideal for use cases such as development aid. We want to give money to johnny foreigner but we don't want his corrupt government to steal it. Building blockchain applications is hard but give it a few years and they will be ubiquitous.

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Re: Blockchain solves real problems

It solves this problem if *anyone * can run a node and lots of people are motivated to do so. A lot of these so-called blockchains solutions miss this part and are just distributed databases with central control and a lot of bloat.

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No Shit..

This is all.

There is no evidence, the people selling it don't understand it and it's actually embarrassing that I work in tech when stuff like blockchain happens. It has uses, they are few and far between, most stuff people are trying to "solve" with blockchain can easily be solved with other existing and well tested and understood processes and technologies.

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MGL

Re: No Shit..

For there to be any point in a DLT/Blockchain solution you need an appropriate usecase. It is true that valid usecases are few and far between but they definitely do exist, and as more people understand what it is (and what it isn’t ) good for there will be more.

The major sticking point however is in order for there to be any point in using the tech, you essentially need multiple parties who wish to transact with each other who do not currently have a trust relationship with eachother. Getting enough of those people in a room together to work together to solve a business problem to make the effort worthwhile is a bit of a challenge, but it will, and is happening.

Finally, Can I interest you in my ico? I have a T-Shirt and everything.....

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Paris Hilton

@MGL

"you essentially need multiple parties who wish to transact with each other who do not currently have a trust relationship with eachother. Getting enough of those people in a room together to work together"

|I need this spelled out, there is only a point to blockchain if people who don't trust each other (or an intermediary) want to do business AND to get them to use blockchain they need to work together to agree on that? Surely if they're in the same room working on the problem, whoever assembled them can act as trusted intermediary?

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This post has been deleted by its author

This story reminds me about the "Cold Fusion" hipe of the '80s

Let's archive the blockchain under the same door mat .

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Re: This story reminds me about the "Cold Fusion" hipe of the '80s

I'm trying to work out whether your writing "hipe" instead of "hype" was a clever pun that has sadly eluded me completely, or just a spelling error?

...but to answer your implied question: The difference, of course, is that cold fusion would have been enormously useful had it been real, whereas blockchain is real, but isn't particularly useful.

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Wrong end of the blockchain

The very nature of blockchain is decentralisation. So by definition there are not going to be companies making loads of money (apart from the icos to get them off the ground). Centralisation of profit is what Facebook et al enjoy at your expense. A company is a centralised entity so you are studying the wrong end of the stick as it were. You'd do better to ask end users of say the Brave browser or Dent mobile data exchange about their experience; has it made or saved them money? Of course there are a lot of frauds and fakes about and it might take ten years for the dust to settle and see what works best centralised and what works best decentralised.

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Trollface

Cunning plan

Anyone selling blockchain should only be paid in cryptocurrencies

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Anonymous Coward

you know what's missing with the blockchain tech? its not used to deliver porn.

if there was some way the tech could benefit the delivery of porn, then you'll see adoption rates rise.

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Blockchain has only one true application, and that's enabling cryptocurrencies. And cryptocurrencies have only one application, and that's criminal money-collection and laundering. Unless you count 'being a hobby for millennials' as an application.

The blockchain is a brilliant way to run a database where transactions take up megawatt-hours of energy, and the whole thing isn't centralised. The whole concept is tarnished by the twattishness that surrounds it - from the weird Japanese does-he-doesn't-he exist inventor, to the fact that mainly criminals seem to benefit from it.

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Yes! I guess you know a little bit about bitcoin

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It's all Greek to me this

But other than for digital currency I can't see it having much use in the real world or by now we'd see it out in the wild.

This article just suggests it is indeed emperor's new clothing as I'm sure any successful applications would've be exploited by the marketing droids behind it.

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Ripple Uses Blockchain

Dont be prejudice. A corporate blockchain co Ripple successfully implemented remittance solutions across international banks. if you close your eyes doesnt mean the whole world is dark.

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For the non-believers of blockchain - explain why Bank of America were awarded 52 patents this year directly related to blockchain.

Please explain why Amazon won a patent in April of this year that enables networks to detect Bitcoin users.

Why did Visa apply for several patents a couple of months ago - one that speeds up transactions on the Bitcoin network.

Mastercard also received several patents recently related to cryptocurrency/blockchain.

Why are automakers beginning to test incorporating blockchain into all future vehicle productions?

Vechain's blockchain is set to be implemented in all BMW autos by 2020 in which odometer readings and all maintenance performed will be recorded to the blockchain to ensure a true record of a vehicle's history.

Explain why every bank in the world will soon be using XRP?

Why is the parent company of the NYSE is opening a cryptocurrency exchange named Bakkt on January 24th, 2019 that caters to institution investors?

Do some research fellas - blockchain is more revelutionary than the internet. It's impact will propel technology to heights unbeknown.

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Please read the original blog to learn the truth

My name is John Burg and as one of the three authors of the MERL Tech blog (link pasted at the bottom of this comment) about blockchain and learning agendas I am greatly dismayed that our message has been so drastically distorted. Our purpose was to share one of several approaches to mitigating knowledge gaps during the design phase of development efforts, specifically related to monitoring and evaluation, which was technology neutral. It just so happens that interest in blockchain among our peers pointed us to look at that particular technology. We did not debunk anything, nor was our goal to debunk anything. And, this blog is not affiliated to any organization, and was simply our experiences as we sought to learn more and share our learning in our personal time.

I would encourage everyone to go read the entire blog for themselves, including the string of comments where I have attempted to set the record straight on the purpose and message of the blog.

Thank you,

John

http://merltech.org/blockchain-for-international-development-using-a-learning-agenda-to-address-knowledge-gaps/

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