Wednesday
Mar282018

Top Down? Bottom Up? A Survey of Hierarchical Design Methodologies

How do you optimize, synthesize, or evolve a design that has 10 thousand parts? 10 billion parts? Doing it flat could easily fail. There is a way! In many practical cases, we can recursively decompose the problem into many sub-problems. We then solve each sub-problem and stitch it together to solve the main problem. We can do this in a well-structured fashion: a hierarchical design methodology

Full post is [here].

Monday
Mar122018

Token Engineering Case Studies Analysis of Bitcoin, Design of Ocean Protocol. TE Series Part III.

In previous articles, I described why we need to get incentives right when we build tokenized ecosystems; and introduced ideas towards a practice of token engineering. We can use these tools to help analyse existing tokenized ecosystems, and design new ones. This article does exactly that with case studies in (1) analysis of Bitcoin, and (2) design of Ocean Protocol

Full post is [here].

Thursday
Mar012018

Towards a Practice of Token Engineering Methodology, Patterns & Tools. TE Series Part II.

How do we design tokenized ecosystems? This article is a first stake in the ground towards a practice of tokenengineering: the theory, practice and tools to analyze, design, and verify tokenized ecosystems.

The first section of this article relates token designs to other fields and explains why “engineering”. The rest of this article is an attempt to draw us closer to this goal, by leveraging existing fields in three main ways:

  • We can frame token design as optimization design, then use optimization design methodology.
  • Inspired by software engineering patterns, we can document emerging patterns for token design.
  • Simulators and CAD tools for circuit design have helped engineers analyze, design, and verify wickedly complex chips. We can look forward to similar tools for tokenized ecosystems.

Full post is [here].

Tuesday
Feb272018

Can Blockchains Go Rogue? AI Whack-A-Mole, Incentive Machines, and Life. TE Series Part I.

Arguably, the core feature of tokenized ecosystems, aka public blockchains, isgetting people to do stuff. Incentives are powerful. But similar to AI / optimizer design, getting incentives right is hard. Blockchains can even be framed as life. In this context, what if we end up with a rogue life form sucking the life energy out of the planet? More pointedly: has Bitcoin gone rogue? This article explores these questions, in the first installment of a broader series aimed at improving the token design process.

Full post is [here].

Wednesday
Oct042017

Stateless & Stateful Smart Contracts: Lessons in flexibility, scale, and security from digital circuit design

Smart contracts are part of the blockchain zeitgeist. And with reason: they are unlocking many useful applications. I’m writing this post to clarify that there are really two types of smart contracts: stateful smart contracts are the most flexible; stateless smart contracts have better scale and security.
Full post is [here]. 
Wednesday
Oct042017

Starships and Tokens--A Path to Human Self-Actualization: Tokenize Civilization

Many humans don’t settle for just barely scraping by; they improve themselves towards self-actualization. Could we do the same at the level of civilization? Rather than merely avoiding disasters, let’s truly reach for the stars.

In this essay, I describe a decentralized system for humanity to collectively graph the steps towards self-actualization, from conquering malaria and a shared planetary database, to universal basic income and even asteroid mining.

But vision is not enough. We need execution, and the resources to power it. There’s a new tool: the blockchain token launch. It’s a low-friction way for a community of aspirational thinkers to fund big ideas with big dollars, and to benefit from the success of those ideas. We start with a token launch for the map itself. That in turn propels token launches for the first steps of the map, which in turn propels the second steps, and so on.

Full post is [here].
Wednesday
Oct042017

Tokenize Bits, and Atoms: From information highways to… highways

So far, we’ve seen token launches for startups on internet infrastructure (bits). That gives at least two dimensions to extend:

  1. Type of organization that tokenizes. Startup → Enterprise → City → Country
  2. Type of infrastructure being built. For bits → For atoms.

Full post is [here].

Wednesday
Oct042017

Ocean's Top-Level Goals

For Ocean Protocol, this post covers:

  • Go for a “data commons” — a win for humanity, or for paid data — which pays the bills?
  • What’s the role of tokens?
  • What about individual data privacy? In light of quantum computing, in light of regulations? What tech can help?
  • What about network governance?

Full post is [here].

 

Tuesday
Sep192017

From AI to Blockchain to Data: Meet Ocean

What we needed was a protocol and network, on which data marketplaces can be built. This is Ocean. Its network (running the Ocean protocol) handles storing of the metadata (i.e. who owns what), links to the data itself, and more. On top of Ocean there can be thousands of data marketplaces and exchanges, all accessing the same data. 

We hope that Ocean will unlock our dream of a world-scale data commons. 

Full post is [here].

Saturday
Aug192017

From 0 to Action with Blockchain Technology

A fellow nerd recently asked for a nerd-version primer on “blockchain” with an eye to action. Here was the core of my response.
Full post is [here].
Saturday
Aug192017

Blockchain as a Field

To me “blockchain” is best used as a label for a field, just like “AI” is the label for the field of artificial intelligence.
Full post is [here].
Saturday
Jul152017

Blockchain Infrastructure Landscape: A First Principles Framing

Manifesting Storage, Computation, and Communications

How are Ethereum, IPFS/Filecoin, and BigchainDB complementary? What about Golem, Polkadot, or Interledger? I often get questions like this. So, I decided to write about how I answer those questions, via a first-principles framing.

The quick answer: there’s no one magic system called “blockchain” that magically does everything. Rather, there are really good building blocks of computing that can be used together to create effective decentralized applications. Ethereum can play a role, BigchainDB can play a role, and many more as well.

Full post is [here].
Tuesday
Jun062017

Tokenize the Enterprise …And Melt It Into the Community. Rinse, Repeat.

Just when everyone thought that blockchains were hot enough, everyone realized that tokens *are* the business model for Web 3.0. So far, only startups have launched tokens. But what about enterprises? Could we tokenize Facebook? What about Amazon or IBM? How? What would be the benefit?

Full post is [here].

Friday
Mar242017

BigchainDB 2017 Roadmap

In early 2016, we released BigchainDB. Throughout the rest of the year, we iterated rapidly with early adopter users. We crystallized our vision: we’re building a decentralized database for the internet

For us, 2017 is about execution: making sure that BigchainDB meets the needs of our lead users, to be able to ship their applications in production. Three streams: Core/security, UX, and IPDB.

Full post is [here].

Tuesday
Mar142017

Three Pre-Blockchain Planetary Networks: Visa, DNS, and Sabre/Amadeus

“Blockchain technology could change the world!” But how? If an industry gets a single shared source of truth, what happens? If you’re in the blockchain space, you may be working hard to paint a possible picture to answer that. You may be using logic and extrapolation, but wishing that you had something more tangible.

Here, I give you a new tool: three tangible examples of how a common substrate can change the planet. They are Visa, the DNS, and Sabre/Amadeus...

Full post is [here].

Tuesday
Jan032017

Blockchains for Artificial Intelligence: From Decentralized Model Exchanges to Model Audit Trails

Blockchain technology could transform AI. Some applications of blockchains to AI are mundane, like audit trails on AI models. Some appear almost unreasonable, like AI that can own itself — AI DAOs. All of them are opportunities. This article will explore these applications...

Full post is [here].

Friday
Nov182016

Blockchains for Big Data, From Data Audit Trails to a Universal Data Exchange

Big data has its challenges, which include control, data authenticity and monetization.

First, who controls the infrastructure when there are multiple actors involved? For example: why can’t there be data just “out there” as a single shared source of truth that no one on the planet owns or controls, per se? Rather, data would be a public utility like electricity or the internet itself.

Full post is [here].

Sunday
Nov062016

A Decentralized Content Registry for the Decentralized Web: Coala IP + IPDB + IPFS

For me, Bitcoin was an inspiration that you could have a global shared database for the planet, especially for creative works and for self-sovereign personal data...

I believe the decentralized Web needs a decentralized content registry. That registry is a shared global database, that anyone can use, that helps creators get paid for their works... using COALA IP, IPDB, and IPFS...

Full post is [here].

Sunday
Nov062016

Where Does Blockchain Scalability Matter? Specific Use Cases, from Digital Art to HR

In a recent Reddit thread, a user asked:

What’s the intended use case of BigchainDB? [the scalable blockchain database]

... Put yourself in the shoes of a developer who’s built a career building applications for the web. You’ve become very good at using databases like MongoDB to manage mountains of data. You insert, retrieve, and update data using a query language. It handles massive scale — millions of records in a heartbeat.

You want one of the blockchain benefits for yourself, and decide to deploy a blockchain database. Great — learn the BigchainDB interface and use it side by side with your other databases...

Can you be more specific or concrete in the use case? 

It was my pleasure to respond to this one! Here are a few...

Full post is [here].

Friday
Nov042016

Where Does Blockchain Scalability Matter? Specific Use Cases, from Digital Art to HR For blockchain tech to go mainstream, it needs to scale

Put yourself in the shoes of a developer who’s built a career building applications for the web. You’ve become very good at using databases like MongoDB to manage mountains of data. You insert, retrieve, and update data using a query language. 

Now… imagine you’ve just heard about blockchain databases, and want the benefits: shared control (decentralization), audit trails (immutability), or assets that just “live” without a substrate that owns it (native assets). You decide to deploy a blockchain database. Great — learn the BigchainDB interface and use it side by side with your other databases.

Full post is [here].