Interesting and Important Blockchain Pathways For Technocrats
The world has been, and is, in a state of perpetual flux in terms of scientific and technological trends and advancements. Each succeeding generation has benchmarked increased processing power raising it on a pedestal as the superhuman and tagging it the ‘supercomputer’ pivotal to the growth and development of society.
A step ahead and lo! We have crossed the threshold onto Quantum Computing witnessing its progression by leaps and bounds. Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, World Computer, Decentralized Computer are the lynchpins around which businesses revolve in the present era. I doubt anyone is really talking about the supercomputer anymore… as functionalities are getting more specific with time… the complexities changing the notion of what we refer to as ‘super’ now. However, if the echo is still there in the background, I’m not surprised at a few!
We have all heard about the bitcoin, its related problems with the fiscal sector, and the blockchain, the fuel that powers the bitcoin. Yet, many of us wonder with awe the technology stack and the machines used to run this entire system of computers! The simple answer is, it is the same computer that does everything else! The complex answer is, it is a multitude of varying schools of thought, nuances, and perceptions, then of the technology itself!
Let me give you a simple analogy.
When it comes to losing weight, some people believe Crossfit is the best, others HIT workout is the best, still others, consulting a nutritionist or dietitian works best… it is a never ending list… trying and testing some or a mix of this pilates before concluding what suits our bodily needs best, or none! The same holds true for curing any affliction… allopathic, homeopathic, alternative medicine, home remedy…a never-ending list again…
Now, how to deliver a successful IT Project? – PMBOK, AGILE, SCRUM, KANBAN, LEAN…the list goes on ad infinitum! The bottom line, to achieve one result, is that there are many ways of navigating it… each blowing its own trumpet, of being the best of the best! Surely, you will try out many before actually concluding which one works best for you in your own individual interests, or the larger interests of the community, you are supporting.
The Crypto world, too, has its own phenomenology. For a layman, they start with the different types of currencies available, for a technocrat, they are the philosophical system based on well-defined protocols…or simple rules of the game. Follow the rules and you remain a player in the field…violate the rules and you lose the game…
These different backend technologies, protocols, or rules, whichever way you may like to address are ETHEREUM, RIPPLE, BITCOIN, ALTCOIN, BANANACOIN etc..with a plethora of literature on each of these…
I am not comparing the market fluctuations in cryptocurrencies. I am simply talking about the school of thought behind each technology…hoping we understand what school of thought means if you have read it this far…
A lot of people are engaged in running this network – say community. Why would an individual spend time and money to run a community? Why? He would need some incentive, wouldn’t he?
Why would you work free for an employer? Unless its a start-up and there is a great cause behind it, you harbor a strong conviction that someday there will be massive dividends reaping from that startup to your advantage!
The initial reward concept for being a member of the Bitcoin community and ensuring the community runs with integrity and trust was called the Bitcoin. It was a compensation mechanism for members of the network, to run the network…makes sense, now?
Later, as the network evolved, more and more systems jumped onto the bandwagon… the social media community, the online video community and so on…With this, the stakes also grew. The supply and demand curve. You never stand to lose when something is cheap because no one makes a mention of it… You tend to lose when stakes are high and you lose big time, then everyone is talking about it… That is what makes the Bitcoin popular and unpopular at the same time!
Bitcoin is not owned by anyone. Even its creator is not known. Bitcoin has a mining hardware and is produced by the people, for the people, who have turned their computers into large global mining networks.
Ethereum calls itself the ‘world computer’! When we say ‘world computer’ we are not referring to a single computer, but, a network/community of distributed computers disseminated all around the globe. Again, people run this network individually, or in pools. The cumulative power of all this is the ‘world computer’. The underlying concept being decentralization of the centralizers, like existing non-scalable financial institutions that are not built around a super fast collaborative community.
The problems with existing fiscal systems are they cannot scale to support the needs of the ever-growing global needs for money transfers/exchanges etc. Hence, Ethereum continues to gain popularity.
The philosophy behind Ripple is opposite to that of Ethereum. Ripple is not mined. The company is responsible for all the processes that crystallize within the Ripple network. To get XRP, the currency of Ripple, you need to make investments in it. It cannot be mined or rewarded to you. There is no mining hardware for XRP. The concept behind Ripple is to act as currency for the banks and financial institutions in order to speed up their transactions. Ripple corroborates the existing centralized nature of financial institutions by facilitating, strengthening, enhancing and fortifying their processes.
In the end, you alone need to identify your grey area, align it with the technology stack you feel strongly affiliated with and have a firm conviction for, set course and traverse the charted territory to reap the harvest!
Fahd Saifuddin is a Technology leader, Project Manager, Consultant and Architect. Fahd has been working in the mobility, web, intelligent systems, ECM and business intelligence space for over a decade. He has a keen eye on Blockchain solutions architecture, particularly IBM Hyperledger and Ethereum. Fahd believes in solving real-world problems through technology and positive leadership. Apart from management, writing, coding, reading he is passionate about fitness and outdoor living.