Tuesday
Oct112016

The Benefits x Verticals Grid: A Tool for Generating Blockchain Application Ideas

At BigchainDB, people often approach us with their “next great blockchain idea.” At least 8 times out of 10, that idea could be best implemented by a traditional database. But sometimes, the ideas are genuinely applicable.

Here’s a way to generate applicable ideas more efficiently: combine one of the known blockchain benefits with one of the most applicableverticals.

You can make a grid of it, where each cell in the grid has opportunity:

Full post is [here].

Tuesday
Oct112016

Six Blockchain Application Verticals (+1 Bonus): Opportunities for Your Next Project

We see six key verticals where blockchains are being applied. Each of these has many business opportunities.

  1. Intellectual property (IP)
  2. Identity (ID)
  3. Finance
  4. Energy
  5. Supply chain
  6. Government

A bonus vertical is: infrastructure for the other verticals!

We’re still in the early days of blockchain and the broader decentralization movement, which means there is still plenty of opportunity in each vertical.

Full post is [here].

Tuesday
Oct112016

Three Blockchain Benefits: How Blockchain Technology Helps, Above and Beyond Traditional Databases

In you’re thinking about business opportunities for blockchain technology, it’s useful to avoid getting over-excited about an idea that a traditional centralized database could do just as well. How do you parse which is which?

In building BigchainDB, we started with a traditional centralized database that had scale and built-in querying, and added blockchain characteristics. This forced us to think deeply about the characteristics, as benefits. We asked the following.

What specific benefits do blockchains bring compared to traditional databases? We found three.

  1. Decentralized / shared control,
  2. Immutability / audit trail, and
  3. Assets / exchanges.

Full post is [here].

Thursday
Aug182016

The Bandwidth++ Scenario

The Bandwidth++ scenario is, in my view, the most pragmatic response to the threat of AIs controlling all of humanity’s resources. It puts us on equal competitive footing with silicon, and it can happen incrementally using today’s market forces.

In the scenario, bandwidth between our selves and computation gets to the level of bandwidth between our selves. And then it keeps going. Eventually, we can unplug...

Full post is [here].

Thursday
Aug182016

AI Waking Up is Closer Than It Appears

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could “wake up”: it could achieve human level intelligence. Why?

  1. Money going into chips which drive AI,
  2. Money going into AI directly,
  3. Decentralized computing is coming of age, and
  4. There are no fundamental roadblocks.

...

Full post is [here].

Thursday
Aug182016

Why "Are Brains are Unique" is Wrong: A Dynamical Systems Perspective

Many suggest that humanity is about our brains (and our nervous systems and bodies too). This is wrong. Here’s why, from a dynamical systems perspective. 

...

Our brains (and bodies) house patterns of intelligence. They are simply dynamical systems.

Full post is [here].

Thursday
Aug182016

Humans Don’t Have Exclusivity on Creativity: A Lesson from a Recovering Bio-Narcissist

Do you believe that creativity is a uniquely human endeavor, that AI will never be creative? If yes, don’t fret, since it’s a widespread belief. 

Full blog post is [here].

Wednesday
Aug172016

Moore’s Law is Dead, Long Live Moore’s Law

When someone tells you that Moore’s Law is dead, or dying soon, be skeptical. Physics is not the constraint, it’s the economics, and there is a lot of money at stake.

Full blog post is [here].

Sunday
Jul102016

The DCS Triangle

In this post, I introduce the DCS (Decentralized-Consistent-Scale) triangle as a way to compare tradeoffs among some of today’s popular decentralized systems, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, IPFS, and BigchainDB. Each system has its own complementary uses. As engineering progress is made, I envision systems that are fully DCS.

Full blog post is [here].

Tuesday
Jul052016

The AI Existential Threat: Reflections of a Recovering Bio-Narcissist

AIs could end up with control of all our resources. This is an existential threat to humanity. How do we prevent it? Safe AI is a mirage (sorry, Elon). There’s another way: join the machines. We can even do this incrementally using today’s market forces. But we have to get past our bio-narcissim.

Full blog post is [here].

Monday
Jun272016

Wild, Wooly AI DAOs

We’ve seen the rise of The DAO. On its heels are AI DAOs, which are more powerful than just AI or just DAOs on their own. If you thought DAOs were troublesome (e.g. The DAO hack), then consider what would happen if the troubles were 1000x worse. That’s the territory AI DAOs might take us into. Let’s start to explore the societal implications now, to see if we can mitigate potential downsides before real damage is done. How? Here, I use an “ArtDAO” to explore how to get an AI DAO soon, how it might become wildly more powerful (and more dangerous!), and why it really matters to think about it now.

Full blog post is [here].

Saturday
Jun182016

AI DAOs, and Three Paths to Get There

DAOs have arrived. This post explores what might come next, and how we might get there. There are at least three ways to do an AI DAO.
  1. AI at the edges (of the smart contract).
  2. ...
Full blog post is [here].
Saturday
Jun042016

Recent SF Readings on Singularity & Decentralization

When thinking about the future, I find it much easier to interpolate than to extrapolate. To interpolate, one needs some well-defined possibilities of what the future might hold. That’s where science fiction (SF) can help tremendously...

Full blog post is [here].

Friday
May132016

BigchainDB: Where it Came From, Where We’re At, Where We’re Headed

In summer 2013, we started working on a project that became ascribe: blockchain-based intellectual property (IP) attribution. When we described it to others, the response was usually “huh?”.

...

In late 2014, one potential ascribe customer with 20 million users had more than 100,000 works a day going through their system. That’s roughly the same number of transactions that the entire Bitcoin network had per day...

...

Full blog post is [here].

Wednesday
Mar092016

The Writings of Leslie Lamport (abridged)

If you’ve ever done even half-serious work on consensus algorithms, then you will know that Leslie Lamport is a central figure. Paxos, Byzantine Generals, TLA — if any of these are familiar to you, well, Lamport is behind them. (And LaTeX too!)

What follows is papers and nuggets from his homepage, biased to blockchain relevance. It’s as much for my own reference as anything:)

30. SIFT: Design and Analysis of a Fault-Tolerant Computer for Aircraft Control, 1978PDF

The origin of the Byzantine generals problem and its solutions, reported in[41].

...

Full blog post is [here]

Wednesday
Mar022016

Towards a Public BigchainDB

Some have asked: is BigchainDB private or public? The answer is: “N/A”. BigchainDB is a database technology. It is not a network. People have to deploy it for their own context. When deployed, it can be deployed for public use or more private use. It all depends on the permissioning.

BigchainDB can be, and will be, used for public deployments...

Full blog post is [here].

Wednesday
Feb102016

New paper: BigchainDB: A Scalable Blockchain Database

This paper describes BigchainDB. BigchainDB fills a gap in the decentralization ecosystem: a decentralized database, at scale. It points to performance of 1 million writes per second throughput, storing petabytes of data, and sub-second latency.

The BigchainDB design starts with a distributed database (DB), and through a set of innovations adds blockchain characteristics...

Full paper is [here].

 

 

Thursday
Jun252015

New paper - "Towards an Ownership Layer for the Internet"

At ascribe, we've been working with DNS architect David Holtzman on technical strategy and more. David and I wrote a whitepaper. Check it out here.

Tuesday
Jun022015

PyData Berlin Wrapup: Video & Slides of Keynote

I was honoured to keynote the PyData Conference in Berlin on May 30, 2015. My talk was entitled "Rewiring the internet for ownership with big data and blockchains".

Here's the video:


And, here's the slides:


Note: this post originally appeared at blog.ascribe.io.
Saturday
May092015

In Getting Work by Ella Frost, We Just Ate Our Own Dog Food!

We're big fans of Ella Frost's work, so we reached out to her about having work on our landing page.

We asked ourselves: how do we get the rights to use Ella's work for our page? And it struck us: use ourselves! So, that's what we did:

  • Ella and I agreed on numbers by email
  • I wired her the payment via PayPal, and
  • she wired us the IP via ascribe. (She registered her works, then transferred the ownership to us.)

That was it! Now we've got two great pieces by Ella on our landing page. [>>Full article]