Archive for August 20th, 2016

Quote note (#276)

Fernandez on the escalation of irreversibility:

In Orwell’s view the mutability of the past was the foundation of tyranny. “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” To ensure this the Ministry of Truth was honeycombed with Memory Holes into which any inconvenient fact could be dropped and be disappeared. […] But just to illustrate how things have changed for the State we now know that Orwell was wrong. The mathematically dominant method for recording transactions, whether they involve the transfer of financial assets, intellectual property, health records or any type of information is probably going to be the blockchain. It has three important properties. First the entire record can be reproduced by anyone from a Genesis cryptographic starting such that all records will have the same signature if and only if they are the same. Second, no part of the record can be altered without regenerating the entire block chain from the beginning. Third, it is impossible to rewrite the block chain without incurring enormous real costs in electricity and computing power, as guaranteed by the laws of thermodynamics. […] The first property means that blockchain by nature it is a public ledger. The second ensures the database can only be falsified in its entirety. The third makes it prohibitively expensive to do so. …

There are still countless fools advising Cnut the Great to defy the waves, but time is not on their side.

August 20, 2016admin 28 Comments »