Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

Published on
August 1st, 2018
Duration
29 minutes

Blockchain Beyond Bitcoin

The Big Story ·
Featuring Ash Bennington

Published on: August 1st, 2018 • Duration: 29 minutes

What if the intense media focus on bitcoin and other digital currencies is missing the big story of business blockchain? Real Vision’s Ash Bennington investigates, interviewing blockchain specialists from IBM and KPMG, the founders of cutting-edge blockchain startups, and independent experts in the space. Filmed in July, 2018 in New York.

Comments

  • ME
    Manbyt E.
    9 September 2019 @ 22:37
    Blockchain does NOT power Bitcoin. Mining literally powers Bitcoin, users and developers also powers Bitcoin, while the blockchain, originally referred to as the Timechain, is a by product of the security of the protocol. In short, the blockchain is an externality. All of these examples will be possible using the security of Bitcoin by either anchoring data into to main chain or building a new “Spotify” onto c-lightning. The most important thing to consider is the security. The more important the data/information, the more secure you want the network. The most secure network is Bitcoin.
  • SV
    Santiago V.
    9 April 2019 @ 14:32
    I've read through many of the comments below and discovered many fallacies or technical inaccuracies that need to be dispelled. 1. The Proof-of-Work mining algorithm employed by Bitcoin is not a value floor for establishing the value of Bitcoin. There is absolutely nothing precluding the price of Bitcoin (which is predominantly speculative in nature) from collapsing below the capital / O&M costs of mining operations. This needs to be understood for risk management. 2. The value of any digital asset is comprised of two components (with all other valuations a derivative of these two): (a) utility, (b) future presumed utility, e.g. speculation. The combination of (a) and (b) establishes the real-time "consensus" value of the market, people need to be using them and people need to be trading them based on how much they will be used / un-used in the future. It is therefore directly proportional to the consensus of the participants in the ecosystem (network value) and scalability of the asset in the future. 3. Blockchain only has value in a business to manage counter-party risk. It makes no functional sense for the internals of a business. Think where does "trust" lend itself to a possible pain point and that is where blockchain finds a use-case, otherwise it's an idiotic buzzword that is inherently inefficient compared to other technical solutions (centralized database). 4. A 51% attack is most certainly a credible event, despite the claims of historical non-occurrence for Bitcoin. This is because mining pools are typically comprised of uninformed actors that are not aware of where their hashing power is being directed. As a result, an attack vector arises when a malicious actor "rents" the hashing power for the period attack duration. They don't need to own the hashing power, just buy it for a short time to make a double-spend event occur (chain length dispute). By then the money is gone and with it the consensus behind it's security and so-called "store-of-value" argument. Complete nonsense. 5. PoW is inherently wasteful because the transactional verification is not where the energy is being allocated, it's being allocated to solving and algorithmic problem of arbitrary difficulty. This should not be confused with emergent blockchains that perform general purpose computing proof rewards to incentivize decentralized participation (think Proof of Transcoding, Proof of Machine Learning, etc.). The future of blockchain is tying them all together (non one blockchain to rule them all as sycophantic bitcoin maximalists would want you to believe). Interoperability of decentralized value networks will tie together customized chains / consensus networks. These separate networks solve specific problems that have problem/market fits, but that have relative value (which is what human economic activity is really about). The Interledger Protocol is a good example of what is going to happen as it has an analog to TCP/IP.
  • JL
    Jonathan L.
    29 December 2018 @ 09:03
    There seems to be many benefits to implementing blockchain. But forgive my ignorance. It seems to me that not many are talking about the costs of implementing blockchain technology, how to implement blockchain, and most importantly, the risks of the technology. All I seem to be hearing about the technology are the good things.
  • OD
    Orin D.
    12 August 2018 @ 00:24
    This is a great video for a beginner detailed intro to blockchain, really useful
  • OD
    Orin D.
    12 August 2018 @ 00:24
    This is a great video for a beginner detailed intro to blockchain, really useful
  • NG
    Nick G.
    4 August 2018 @ 10:26
    I am relatively old and non-techie. So my comments might even be stupid and I accept that. I get the potential usefulness of blockchain in many applications, as described in the video. I understand that there are many problems, as outlined, to make it useful in all cases. However, I have never understood the link to bitcoin. Why do you need bitcoin (or any other digital currency) to make blockchain work? And if you do not, what is bitcoin but a "rare coin" that you might want to collect just as a numismatist might collect ancient Roman coins, for their beauty as opposed to their value? What is the difference? I have asked some "very smart" people and never really got an answer. Since you should never invest in something you do not understand, this LINK between blockchain and bitcoin (or other coins?) is something RealVision should do a video about! Please!!!
    • RK
      Robert K.
      4 August 2018 @ 19:36
      Short answer: You do not need bitcoins for running "a" blockchain. You obviously need bitcoins to participate in "the" Blockchain. Longer answer: Blockchain is the/a protocol that implements a "decentralised consensus" which is a mechanism where participants on the infrastructure achieve a high level of (irreversible) certainty that nobody fiddled with the history of all the previous transactions (the ledger). To achieve this confidence you need participants confirming the transactions independently which requires computational effort - also called "work". This computational work obviously requires (at the moment a lot) of energy. So you need to motivate the workers to perform their proofs. This is done through a (monetary) reward in a form of a newly minted bitcoins (when we talk about Bitcoin's blockchain). A blockchain as a generic open protocol does not need 'bitcoin' but you need to find a reward mechanism to have a high number of nodes competing in the independent transaction verification process. You may have private blockchains where the participants (or nodes) have other motivation to join your network. Since the Blockchain that ran nothing else but a ledger of transactions of Bitcoins gained massive adoption we have now a fairly decentralized network of nodes. That is basically what reflects "some" of Bitcoins value. Fundamentally this value should be the cost of energy put into the proof of work effort plus some hysteria premia. For a comparison consider the TCP/IP protocol that now runs on every single device that is connected to a computer network. This protocol solves transfer of data packets on the wires and it was agreed to by the first players (DARPA etc). The blockchain is also a protocol and it solves independent verification of transactions among (optionally) anonymous parties that is authoritative and (if all goes well) cannot be hijacked. In a way, running around and promoting "blockchain technologies as a business model" should sound as idiotic as running around and promoting TCP/IP or other protocols. Protocols indeed have value and blockchains solves the very interesting problem of trust but it is the applications that will be "investable". Microsofts and Googles appeared decades later after TCP/IP was created.
    • NG
      Nick G.
      5 August 2018 @ 15:34
      Thank you!
    • NG
      Nick G.
      5 August 2018 @ 15:38
      Follow up question, if I may: a lot of people are calling Bitcoin up based on enlarged use of the blockchain technology, as you describe in your answer, Robert. Would it not be more logical for BTC to actually settle to the "value of the work" (mostly energy costs + small margin?) price, as you describe? Which would make it stable at an economic price to run the technology? Any views?
    • RK
      Robert K.
      5 August 2018 @ 16:16
      Important question Nick. Given the volatility we are obviously at a very speculative stage. As you suggest creating alternative widely adopted blockchains should be detrimental to BTC's value. Which is indeed contrary to the current mania. Creating new block-chain networks can be done literally in a few hours by a teenage enthusiast. Gaining critical mass of adoption by the community is the actual challenge. I think these factors could play an important role in determining the fate of BTC: [1] large scale adoption: quite grim given the limited capacity of the network (only 1 block every 10 minutes by definition). People are fiddling with the size of the block to improve on this (so more transactions can fit in a single block). Looks very hack-y. It is basically impossible to see a scenario where there would be a world-wide adoption of Bitcoin and you'd be able to pay for your groceries with BTC. [2] mining costs: humongous*. Price paid for "trust" seems to be huge. I honestly think given all the carbon footprint and environmental pressures there is a serious risk Bitcoin mining will be banned by governments. In my book this would be the ideal scenario for bitcoin so it could go back to its original purpose - allowing anonymous transactions of anonymous parties run by independent private participants. This scenario was basically hijacked by mass adoption and retired ex - Wall Street hedge fund blokes who after doing soul searching on Goa got bored and discovered a new playground (like Novogratz). In this scenario BTC would be probably valued dramatically lower. * https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption
    • PG
      Petter G.
      7 August 2018 @ 08:01
      Great points Robert! A few comments: > One should not see the Bitcoin blockchain as a payment system but rather as a settlement layer. Each confirmed block (1 block every 10 minutes) contain many many transactions. And each of these transactions can represent the *net value* of thousands of other transactions made on a separate payment system (such as the Lightning Network). So a global payment system powered by Bitcoin is not impossible at all. In fact, it is already possible. > The world energy consumtion have always risen. If this is inherently something negative then there's lots of other stuff that should be banned as well (electric vehicles for instance). With that said, I agree that it would be good if the power consumption could be reduced, but I don't think it will be what determines the fate of of Bitcoin.
    • VE
      Viktor E.
      10 August 2018 @ 22:02
      Blockchain has become a BIG buzzword. It is a type of a database and there's nothing magical with it. It's a relatively slow technique that's hard to update and maintain when it's up and running. But it's found one big use case, money. Bitcoins blockchain makes it possible to have a decentralized and immutibile ledger. That means, no one can change the money supply and no one can censor transactions. Everything that's added to the blockchain needs to follow the consensus rules. Anyone that solves a Bitcoin "mining-pussle" can add new transactions to the blockchain (as long as it follows all rules), that means that no transactions will be censor since someone is gonna add them.
    • JL
      James L.
      6 September 2019 @ 19:59
      Bitcoin is just a proof of concept. It proves that the Block Chain ledger is secure and decentralized. You can use Block Chain for more than just something to store value. Many different application are in the works.
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    3 August 2018 @ 23:54
    Very interesting!
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    3 August 2018 @ 23:54
    Very interesting!
  • PN
    Paul N.
    3 August 2018 @ 13:13
    These guys promoting blockchain solutions for enterprise are hand-waving away the most difficult issues they face and just assuming that organizing data into a linked list is better: 1. Why is replicating data across dozens or hundreds of computers more efficient? (it isn't) 2. What is the consensus mechanism that secures your database? (Proof of Stake is theoretical hand-waving that has never been deployed at huge scale, Proof of Work is extremely expensive on purpose, Central Administrator means you probably don't need a blockchain) 3. How do you securely LINK the database you've created to the physical good or service it's supposed to record (you can't). For example, the organic food use case makes no sense at all. Who puts the data about your organic banana into the chain? Who ensures that that data is correct? How do you know that its not referring to a different banana? What if that QR code gets swapped with a different vegetable accidentally or just gets lost? Does that banana no longer exist? The blockchain has no idea whether whatever data you're stuffing into it is accurate or relevant and it has no idea who is putting in that data - all it can say is that X data was entered in at X time. And if the company decides that a different history of transactions is the truth, it can just discard the original. It's not immutable in any meaningful sense. What is actually going to happen is that they'll realize a single database does in fact make their system better but it won't be a 'blockchain' in any way relevant to satoshi's invention. There is no byzantine generals problem to solve, and no censored market need. Yes, storing data in linked lists makes it easier to detect attempts to edit the early parts of the ledger (because the rest of the chain changes). But it is NOT immutable or a reliable timestamp without proof of work, and it does NOT tell you whether the data someone stuffed into it is true or enforceable or relevant at all. Just ask the guy who "proved" he created the Mona Lisa by putting it into the blockchain. https://bitcoinist.com/leonardo-da-vinci-mona-lisa-blockchain-verisart/
    • PN
      Paul N.
      3 August 2018 @ 13:17
      ^The comments section on this website really needs to allow you to paragraph your posts. It just stuffed all my paragraphs into a wall of text, ugh.
    • AL
      Andrew L.
      3 August 2018 @ 15:09
      Spot on critique. There is a lot of buying the dream assuming it will get figured out by smart people. Here’s the thing. If you stamp the Id from the block chain onto the banana and distribute the ledger such that third parties can audit it then you will have a had time swapping an unsightly fact out with a newly generated chain.
  • AL
    Andrew L.
    3 August 2018 @ 06:52
    You could easily have any of these use cases implemented without blockchain, you simply need a central authority to trust. Guess what the entire market functions on this exact principal. It's called the Depository Trust Clearing Corporation. When they wanted to do more electronic trading they had to come up with a solution to holding and transporting physical stock ownership. Think you own that stock you just bought? LOL its all in the hands of the DTCC and assigned to brokerages who maintain their own databases of IOUs. There is great rundown of how they had to manually clean and re-record over a trillion worth of physical shares flooded in Superstorm Sandy. Sounds horrible right? Hopefully we will replace all this with blockchain transactions.
    • AL
      Andrew L.
      3 August 2018 @ 06:53
      http://www.dtcc.com/annuals/2013/superstorm-sandy-recovery/index.php
    • AL
      Andrew L.
      3 August 2018 @ 07:11
      https://www.americanbanker.com/news/you-dont-really-own-your-securities-can-blockchains-fix-that
    • RK
      Robert K.
      4 August 2018 @ 19:47
      very good example. a thumb up ;)
  • AB
    Adrian B.
    3 August 2018 @ 05:50
    Doesn't really deal with the alternatives to Blockchain, such as Hashgraph and IOTA type solutions. Consensus on the infrastructure going forward needs to be established IMO. Is it like the BETA vs VHS type situation? Or which railway track gauge to use? Backing the winner could be profitable but its not clear who that will be at this stage.
  • JH
    Joseph H.
    3 August 2018 @ 04:13
    Outstanding production. Really thoughtful and nuanced. Smart, incisive questions. Truly helped make an esoteric concept comprehensible. I also liked the examination of the practical applications in energy and accounting. The discussion of private vs public blockchains was fascinating. It seemed to suggest the counter-intuitive notion that public blockchains are safer, because they are inherently "anti-fragile". The more nodes, the more stable the consensus-based integrity of the system is. Really impressive work. Would love to see more in this vein.
  • AC
    Adrienne C.
    2 August 2018 @ 18:09
    This really helped me get an understanding of what blockchain is all about and what it can do. The interviewer really asked some excellent questions.
  • AC
    Adrienne C.
    2 August 2018 @ 18:08
    This really helped me get an understanding of what blockchain is all about and what it can do. The interviewer really asked some excellent questions.
  • MN
    Michael N.
    2 August 2018 @ 17:05
    I'm really surprised to see so many thumbs up here I would have called this an intro to blockchain video nothing really new here for me but I'm glad to see that some folks are getting something out of it.
    • WS
      Will S.
      2 August 2018 @ 23:38
      Understanding the technology and its application's is not out of reach but it's also not simple. It is nuanced enough that even very seasoned and excellent money managers could pass is it off because they aren't sure about it, missing out on historic gains. S curve playing out in real time for all of us. I humbly estimate that we're in the middle portion of the S and ascending, with respect to this tech. The early, insanely rapid gains are over...but there's a 2nd half to the S and it is just as potent...it's large scale adoption growing on the condensed early starters (the currencies) like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash, etc. will yield numerous winners in companies who properly implement the technology. The currencies, in my view, will appreciate long term and sometimes at a rapid rate...but blockchain companies providing legitimate hash power and companies that use the ledger to track data rapidly will have very good to incredible equity valuation gains.
  • JG
    Jory G.
    2 August 2018 @ 16:54
    It is my understanding that no one knows for sure who created the block chain technology. Is it not possible that the individual may know a way to crash or rob the whole system?
    • AB
      Ash B. | Real Vision
      2 August 2018 @ 17:03
      It's a good question. My understanding is that the core public key algorithms are thought to be cryptographically secure, even though the Satoshi author (or authors) remain unknown.
    • DS
      Doug S.
      3 August 2018 @ 07:07
      The blockchain software is open source. The underlying logic for the network was 'no single point of failure' and that applies to the code as well.
  • bs
    bob s.
    2 August 2018 @ 15:55
    LETS GET MOREHEAD BACK ON PLEASE. MAYBE TIME FOR A TECHNICAL AND HISTORICAL CORRECTION TURN AROUND VIDEO? THANK YOU RV-ALWAYS A PLEASURE
  • bs
    bob s.
    2 August 2018 @ 15:55
    LETS GET MOREHEAD BACK ON PLEASE. MAYBE TIME FOR A TECHNICAL AND HISTORICAL CORRECTION TURN AROUND VIDEO? THANK YOU RV-ALWAYS A PLEASURE
  • bs
    bob s.
    2 August 2018 @ 15:55
    LETS GET MOREHEAD BACK ON PLEASE. MAYBE TIME FOR A TECHNICAL AND HISTORICAL CORRECTION TURN AROUND VIDEO? THANK YOU RV-ALWAYS A PLEASURE
  • LC
    Lloyd C.
    2 August 2018 @ 09:15
    Permissioned systems are just more robust databases. The really powerful technologies are in decentralised public blockchains that are able to scale in a decentralised way. You may want to cover plasma scaling. And graphene blocks on Bitcoin cash.
  • DB
    Daniel B.
    2 August 2018 @ 06:33
    Not a bad introductory video. But very "blockchain 1.0" focussed. Very little focus on smart contracts, which is where the most potential and real world application lies.
    • EF
      Eric F.
      2 August 2018 @ 15:21
      Good idea, lets see another video on smart contracts. Would love to see some more videos covering bonds etc.
  • SS
    Steve S.
    2 August 2018 @ 06:14
    Great for those who need an intro to blockchain. But I'm personally looking for something far more deeper than this. Would be great if these guys came back and did a far more advanced deep dive into blockchain and how its being used in areas such as Trade Finance.
  • IS
    Ian S.
    2 August 2018 @ 05:33
    Very well put together. If I had a suggestion however, it would be to go a little deeper into the 51% attack. The video made it seem way to simple and scary, than is realistic. A reference to Bitcoin and how it’s never successfully been done, yet attempted very thoroughly over the last 9 years, would have been a good way to give context. Even better, follow up with an example of a network that has successfully been 51% attacked i.e. VERG. Describing how blockchains work in general is a great start, but the next step is to discuss the major trade offs, and how they can affect the sustainability and/or features a blockchain has.
    • JW
      Joe W.
      2 August 2018 @ 05:45
      Some of your questions on 51% attack and how blockchain works can be found on-line if you wish to read more about them. Just let you know if you have some understanding of how pub/private keys and comp. sci. background works will help.
  • TA
    Truitt A.
    2 August 2018 @ 03:36
    Great coverage / overview of the blockchain technology. Nice work!
  • WM
    William M.
    2 August 2018 @ 02:24
    Best coverage and explanation of blockchain technology yet. Nice job!
  • BS
    Bill S.
    2 August 2018 @ 02:09
    Earlier post..Get a one vis one Ravikant equivalent episode. Excellent idea. This entire space about "disruption" and it's possibilities are enormous. The interviewer on this episode fantastic and whomever layed out the script in it as well. Kudos.
  • BS
    Bill S.
    2 August 2018 @ 02:04
    Wow, well well done.. Great production making a tech subject clear for your average layman. More, more. Divert resources from Knock On please 😎
  • SD
    Samy D.
    2 August 2018 @ 00:50
    Great production! Quality interviews and good insight into the upcoming applications of the block-chain vs. the oversold hype.
  • SC
    Sean C.
    1 August 2018 @ 20:46
    I think Raoul said here on Real Vision that he expects that Blockchain will become a commoditized service and that the price will trend to zero just like cloud computing (his example not mine).
  • MN
    Maverick N.
    1 August 2018 @ 20:32
    Hey RV, Please get Naval Ravikant & Raoul to sit down and chat about all things crypto....!!
  • JW
    Joe W.
    1 August 2018 @ 17:37
    Would be interesting to see if RV can get Patrick Byrne on to talk about this topic.
  • RB
    R B.
    1 August 2018 @ 14:53
    nice to see more crypto content!
  • GS
    George S.
    1 August 2018 @ 14:08
    Great execution!
  • SZ
    Scott Z.
    1 August 2018 @ 12:14
    Why is there no "Download Audio" option for this episode?
    • MF
      Michael F.
      1 August 2018 @ 17:33
      I was able to download the audio, you might wish to try again.