I’ve started doing some proper background reading and research for my upcoming talk at the ACCU Conference 2019. This is something of novelty. All my previous talks have been on a subject I’m comfortably familiar with, either because it’s quite a tightly defined topic or because I was speaking from my own experience. Consequently, I just needed a bit of firming up around the edges to fill things out.
This time though, my topic is rather broader and my knowledge rather more incomplete. Given the title I chose, Snakes Into Snake Oil - What Blockchains Are And Why They’re Terrible, (described by a friend as a bit clickbait-y) I’m clearly flagging my opinion. Disappointingly, nothing, absolutely nothing, I’ve read so far has given me any reason to reassess that opinion.
In the abstract for my presentation on the ARCHANGEL project, I wrote it’s about the only blockchain application you’ll hear of that doesn’t immediately make you feel dirty. I meant it as a joke but it’s increasingly turning out to be true.
As a single small example, browse around State of the ÐApps, a website that lets you discover the possibilities of the Ethereum, EOS, POA, and Steem blockchains with the definitive registry of ÐApp projects. It groups the various apps it lists into various categories. The three largest categories are games, gambling, and "high risk". The bulk of the games are variants on collectable card games. The majority of the gambling apps look to be some form of lottery. Finally, "high risk" appears to be a euphemism for "scam". Absolutely world changing stuff.
In the categories the blockchain tubthumpers have told are ripe for disruption, insurance say or energy markets, there are some apps listed. They all, however, seem to be entirely notional. They don’t exist - either they have no code, or in the unlikely event they have code then they have no users.
From top to bottom, it’s a catalogue of utter crap.
Right now, I feel like ninety slides all saying Blockchains are a pile of shit (each slide containing the SHA-256 hash of the previous slide, obviously) would be as informative and useful as whatever it is I do end up writing.