I have spent the past month compiling research that took place between August and the present day. This was much more of a collaborative process than my previous publications as I had to talk with not just 8 geographically dispersed teams to find out what their approach was in this nascent field but also find out who is working on ideas that are closely related to these projects (as seen in Appendix A).
The culmination of this process can be found in this report: Permissioned distributed ledgers
Fortunately I had the help of not just astute practitioners in the industry who did the intellectual heavy lifting, but the resources and experience of the R3 CEV team where I am an advisor.
I think the three strongest areas are:
- Richard Brown’s and Jo Lang’s description and visualization of smart contracts. I loathe the term smart contracts (I prefer “banana” and Preston Byrne prefers “marmot”) and fortunately they distilled it to a level where many professionals can probably begin to understand it
- Meher Roy’s excellent OSI-model for an “internet of money”
- Robert Sams mental model of the core attributes of a permissioned distributed ledger
I think the weakest part is in the beginning of Section 8 regarding TCP/IP. That is reflective of the fact that there is no perfect analogy because Bitcoin was designed to do many things that no other system does right now so there probably is no single apple’s to apple’s comparison.
While you do not need special internetcoins or fun buxx to use the internet (as it were), there is still a cost to someone to connect to the net. So perhaps, the frictional differences between obtaining and securing an internet connection versus obtaining and securing a bitcoin at this time is probably something that should be highlighted more if the report is updated.
For cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to do what it does best on its own terms, its competitive advantage lays with the native token and not representing real-world assets: its community needs to come to terms about what it is and is not good for. Because of its inability to control off-chain assets its developers should stop promising that bitcoins — or metacoins and watermarked-coins that use Bitcoin as a transportation layer — as a panacea for managing off-chain assets, assets the network cannot control. At most Bitcoin’s code base and node network operates as its own legal system for non-watermarked bitcoins.
Consequently, the advantage a cryptocurrency system has is endogenous enforcement of contractual terms — or as Taulant Ramabaja calls it: “fully blockchain endogenous state transition without any external dependencies.” Or on-chain, dry code to dry code.
I wonder if someone in the future will call themselves a full “dry code” stack developer?