blockchain

from Richard Fernandez at PJ Media, The End of the Memory Hole

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 point 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 the branch.  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 is a public ledger.  The second ensures the database can only be falsified in its entirety from the point of change.  The third makes it prohibitively expensive to do so.  Readers of Ray Bradbury’s The Sound of Thunder will recognize these attributes.  From his story we learn you can’t change the past without altering everything; that by crushing a butterfly in the Jurassic we alter not one item in the record but create a whole alternate history.

The possibility of a immutable record is revolutionary in itself.  History has always been a “fiction agreed upon” — until now.  What happens when you can’t lie boggles the mind. The elites are of course working to get on top of it as they did with the Internet and every other disruptive technology. Central bankers from 90 countries, including Janet Yellen, have met to discuss its impact on the financial industry and they are considerable.  It will make it possible for individuals to make universally verifiable ownership claims over their data. When the technique is applied to currency, as with Bitcoin, blockchain makes it impossible to print “free money” since each new block requires actual computing power to generate, giving blockchain currency something of the guaranteed scarcity of gold. In a world built on a pubic ledger, you can’t change the past without invalidating the ledger.  Drop something down the memory hole and the Ministry of Truth burns up with it.

HKO

I confess that I am still trying to wrap my head around this concept.  Perhaps Wikileaks is the prose version of Blockchain: information out of the reach of those who can control it for their own ends.

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