The early empty promises of blockchain
The first idea, that John dispatched with speed, was the mythology around early blockchain as some sort of brand new technology with mysterious healing properties. Although all the investors on the panel knew better, business leaders at home have seen blockchain hyped for years: sometimes as one of the key engines of the fourth industrial revolution; the technology that would propel unified world currencies such as Bitcoin and its successors to dominance; or the force that would reorganize entire industries and government processes nearly overnight.
This enthusiasm reached into the business world at the highest levels. At Davos in 2015, blockchain was noted as one of the technologies that would bring on a world tipping point, where a World Economic Forum survey suggested 10% of global GDP would be stored on blockchain by 2027.
In an excellent McKinsey Digital Report (2018) by Brant Carson, Giulio Romanelli, Patricia Walsh, and Askhat Zhumaev, the optimistic predictions from Davos 2015 were revisited. The authors concluded blockchain technology, while having potential, was still immature.
Indeed, blockchain’s practical value (here at Geeq, in 2020) is exciting. However, it is not because blockchain is a new invention out of whole cloth, like the transistor radio or the computer chip. It is because blockchain combines existing components to fashion a new, versatile, cheaper and decentralized data service in ways that suit some purposes better than traditional, centralized databases. However, these valuable properties of blockchain are only realized if, as John pointed out, “it is done well”.
The essence of blockchain: its security model
John explained it is only possible to unlock the new and valuable properties of adopting blockchain as a decentralized data backbone after re-evaluating the traditional approaches to cyber-security. Only then would blockchain be able to prove its worth as a reliable, cost-saving, and efficient new kind of data service.
While the blockchain and crypto fields are filled with brilliant and innovative futurists who have pushed the frontiers of cryptography, finance, and development, some of their attitudes toward securing the blockchain databases were old-fashioned. Broadly speaking, the two approaches used were either (a) to make attacks increasingly expensive or (b) to build up more elaborate methods to try to keep cyber-attackers out.
The fatal flaw? In the new digital era, the only rational expectation is that cyberattacks will become more sophisticated and powerful. New data structures, such as blockchain-based services, cannot be adequately protected with cybersecurity arms races. As John explained,
Building walls is ultimately a self-defeating technology, because someone could always get a bigger gun. It’s a race of cannon versus fortress.Geeq Chief Economist and Proof of Honesty protocol creator, John Conley
Furthermore, if a security strategy is based on adding cost or complexity, it increases the total cost of using blockchain. Why would anyone be persuaded to adopt a database that might fall behind in a security race? After all, robbers choose to attack the least well-defended houses; muggers choose the weakest targets.
Geeq’s Unique Approach to Security
Geeq is a company dedicated to providing blockchain data services that are clearly superior to conventional, centralized databases when the situation is right. The key to Geeq’s technology is its innovative and proprietary security model. Proof of Honesty does not rely on firewalls or permissioning. It is designed to provide security even if, as John says, one assumes that barbarians are already behind the gate.
In addition to added security, reliability, decentralization, and lower costs, Geeq’s Proof of Honesty is an enabling technology that scales without limit to billions of commits. As Ric was quick to remind their listeners, the combination of innovative technology, added value, and need provides the basis for a very solid business model indeed.
Those who are just beginning to learn about blockchain technology will find this video an interesting introduction to the debates behind the scenes. Even blockchain experts may enjoy John’s use of fake news as a metaphor for Proof of Honesty’s 99% Byzantine Fault Tolerance.
Geeq’s technology is certainly suited for these times and beyond.
Geeq thanks our friend, Sonny Mohanty at LATOKEN for organizing yet another, smoothly-run, globe-spanning, live stream session on the Laws of Investments During the Covid-19 Pandemic.