Blockchain vs. The Internet

Is Comparing the Blockchain and the Internet Really a Worthy Comparison

On the state-run TV segment for China Central Television, broadcaster described blockchain 10x more valuable than the internet. The reasoning behind this pronouncement was that the internet only aggregates information, while the blockchain decentralizes the fabric of the internet and takes out the middle man like Silicon Valley tech companies. Here is the exact quote from the segment called “Dialogue” via Zhang Shoucheng, a physics professor at Stanford University:

“While the real value of the internet is aggregating individual pieces of information into one place, which is exactly what Google and Facebook does, we are now entering an era where information is being decentralized so that individuals can own their individual data. And that’s the real value of blockchain that makes it exciting.”

Many believe that Bitcoin is nothing but the beta-test of the blockchain. In fact, Ethereum continues to be more interesting for some traders because the technology underneath it is considered to be a primary building block of digital transactions and possibly the primary layer of the new internet that is being born.

Furthermore, Ethereum already has a growing community of developers underneath it. 250,000 developers are on Truffle, Infura has 2 billion requests each day and MetaMask has 500,000 active users.

In this space as well, ICOs are being funded that shore up and expand the architecture of Ethereum and the blockchain. More and more offshoots and uses of social contracts are being built, and sure, some of them may not be around forever, but the infrastructure and the idea will be.

In that case, many believe that blockchain is not really the new internet, but really an open-source kernel for something much bigger that has yet to happen.

In the meantime, we are still a very long way away from the universal blob of the internet for blockchain. We need more interoperability, simplicity and standards that everyone can agree on. There are so many cooks in the kitchen right now and the more people on a chain, the harder it is to change. We have seen splits and hard forks, we have seen an inability to change things because of the lack of consensus, etc. It can get quite unwieldy to maintain a network or to scale it up in order to stay relevant with the times.

Furthermore, Blockchains are still very slow. As an example, Hyperledger can only handle around 1000 transactions per second. The Bitcoin transaction rate per second is limited to seven.

David Gilbert of IB Times writes in his article: “The problem relates to how transactions are processed on the Blockchain, the decentralized, distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin.The average time it takes for a Bitcoin transaction to be verified is now 43 minutes, and some transactions remain unverified forever.”

Blockchain systems need to evolve to instant or near-instant levels to reach internet level ubiquity.


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