Digital Cash

What makes a good blockchain?

"Web3 crapto scammer nonsense"

There’s lots of scam artists out there, lots of bad actors in the blockchain space, and plenty of rubbish blockchains that shouldn’t really exist.

Good blockchains, such as the Cardano blockchain, aren’t the same. It is a blockchain created with a mission to help the 1.7 billion people in the world who are unbanked. Who don’t have access to basic, fair financial services that people in the developed world take for granted.

That’s why it was created, but it has become far more than that. It offers the technology to become the financial operating system for the world – if we want it. A fair system open to all, without corporations and gatekeepers in control, a system that gives everyone equal power, from the richest to the poorest. 

It also offers tantalising tools that can allow us to conduct government, voting, registration, traceability – many of the important bits of our societies – transparently, fairly and with complete trust.

It doesn’t seek to force any of this on the world. It is simply a set of tools. There if we want them. There for the new generation of pioneers and creators to choose and utilise, to create better.

What is a good blockchain?

A blockchain can be compared simplistically to a big computer database. It holds records of every transaction that occurs on it, organised into blocks, all time-stamped and using cryptographically secure signatures (very clever maths) that prove exactly what happened.

That on its own isn’t hard to achieve, the technology to do that has existed for a long time. What makes blockchains hard is the additional requirement for it to be decentralized. Once you add that to the mix and start thinking through exactly what that means (at the blockchain design level), things get much, much harder.

So, an ideal blockchain is:

Decentralized, which means

Not owned or controlled by any single entity or government.

Usable by anyone – no centralised entities or gatekeepers that must be used to permit access to its services.

Controlled and run by the whole global community it provides its services to.

Trustable, which means

Immutable – its history can’t be altered by anyone. Not won’t be – literally can’t be – as in it’s impossible to!

Auditable – anyone can verify every transaction that’s ever occurred, without reliance on a centralised party.

Privacy protecting – where it’s important, keeping your private information safe and under your own control.

These fundamental qualities of a blockchain are key to understanding why good blockchains are so important.

If you ask a room full of technical “experts”, you’ll likely find a good number of them think that blockchain is pointless, that everything blockchain promises can be provided better and cheaper by a database. But that viewpoint completely misses that it is impossible for a database to be decentralized. Databases are centralized by nature and therefore always controllable by their admin. That means their owners can always decide who can and can’t use them and they also can never be considered immutable – their content can be changed by whoever controls them.

Good blockchains remove the need to trust anybody. Their decentralized design solves a fundamental trust problem that no database can ever achieve.