Change my mind? The more I learn about databases, the less I can find use cases for public Blockchain. I can think of so many ways to use an append only ledger for ill and personal profit, but that’s about it.

Examples:

Revenge porn, false rape allegations, or other compromising info attached to someone’s social token, (i.e. the thing they use to access services to prove who they are) forever public. And even transferring to a new token would require showing that it was attached to the old one.

Every transgression on social media? Every time you said something in anger or while drunk? Forever undeletable. And scanned by any employer or cop. Imagine forever being tainted by a “joke” with no way to ever delete it. Not people screenshotting you or anything, just publicly always available.

Imagine you get phished. And suddenly your social token or bank account or job credentials or health info gets moved to a wallet you don’t have the keys for?

Or imagine you’re doing distribution on a public ledger? Oooh, now I know exactly which store or warehouse has exactly what I’d like to steal. Or, I’m a competitor that’s not public, and I know what to screw you over on if you have excess inventory, or if I can negative PR your item at just the right time.

Transparency is great in a fair system, but damn, we are in a dog eat dog capitalist game where the goal is fuck over him before he fucks over you.

That scares me.

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27 thoughts on “Change my mind? The more I learn about databases, the less I can find use cases for public Blockchain. I can think of so many ways to use an append only ledger for ill and personal profit, but that’s about it.”

  1. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite so that it would benefit humanity. In other words, it’s not about the intended use, but about its usefulness.

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  2. I was in the same boat as you because I wanted to get involved with Blockchain and started thinking of all this but realized that Blockchain doesn’t have to replace something. It can add to stuff we already have.

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  3. Pretty interesting angle. Centralization is easy to trash on, but for some things a well thought-out regulation is what we actually need.

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  4. Web3 makes no sense to me. NFTs for real estate properties and public businesses on the other hand…

    Imagine that you choose any random restaurant and you can check a public record of their compliance with health, along with verified blockchain customers that paid for eating there and posted a review.

    Some things are public by default. What is scary about crypto is that you can see all the other purchases those customers made with their wallets.

    This is a technical problem that will some day be solved, there are several privacy solutions already, like Monero, and Aztec. Soulbound tokens have only been described so far. We are early. We may not even see some of these things in our lifetimes, just like a colony on Mars, don’t expect it soon.

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  5. Ever heard for Monero? That blockchain use-case is the most important among them all – finally a normal honest non-fraudulent money.

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  6. >Every transgression on social media? Every time you said something in anger or while drunk? Forever undeletable. And scanned by any employer or cop. Imagine forever being tainted by a “joke” with no way to ever delete it. Not people screenshotting you or anything, just publicly always available

    That’s already the case. Internet ain’t forget.

    >Imagine you get phished. And suddenly your social token or bank account or job credentials or health info gets moved to a wallet you don’t have the keys for?

    Identity tokens are not meant to be traded. They will be untradeable NFT, and can be destroyed on request by the emitter party (e.g. the social security government). Basically you got your wallet stolen, you go to the cops, then the Social service security will remove the NFT and create a new one to your fresh wallet.

    >Or imagine you’re doing distribution on a public ledger? Oooh, now I know exactly which store or warehouse has exactly what I’d like to steal. Or, I’m a competitor that’s not public, and I know what to screw you over on if you have excess inventory, or if I can negative PR your item at just the right time.

    Technology is still researched, but ZK-proof are the key here. You store a proof on blockchain which says “I have enough stock”. This evidence cannot be tempered, yet doesn’t give any useful information for an attacker. This is complex technology and I’m not in the mood to show some examples, but yeah it sounds like magic and it is magic.

    Now, since you didn’t covered the good part:

    Let say I build a service which require confirmation that you are US citizen and have a social security.

    Currently, I’m going to ask you for KYC, ask to scan some copy of your SS number, cross-check with the SS service, hoping it’s not down today. In terms of development, I will need to manage a lot of cases. What if you lie and use a fake ID? What if the Social security server confirming your identity is down? Etc…

    With blockchain, I just check that you have the token emitted by the SS service. As simple as that. If your account gets stolen, your token is revoked. My service can listen to the revocation event and close or freeze your account, as simple as that.

    Note: I’m working in big software for a government dealing with billions of dollars of contracts. Interoperability between systems and services is just the number one problem we face on a daily basis.

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  7. It’s dangerous for sure. Silk Road was a prime example in the yonder days.

    But then again, those same dangers lurk in Web2 and the deep web as well

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  8. That’s my opinion too. I can think of several cool applications that leverage private or invite-only Blockchain but it is hard for me to figure out any real use that can’t be abused for the public ones.

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  9. Defi is pretty cool. For example flash loans are something that were impossible in traditional finance. I think cryptocurrencies as a new asset class to invest in will bring much more interesting and unique financial technology that simply is impossible with traditional finance. Similar to how when derivatives came out it revolutionized trading strategies, defi will follow similar suit. Not going to take over finance, but simply allow for more financial tools to be used to generate returns.

    Whether or not people like that idea is up for discussion

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  10. The title made me laugh so hard. Databases are hardly a new technology 🤣🤣🤣🤣.

    Basically every single *thing* you use on a computer is running some database – large or small – somewhere in there

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  11. You’ve got it backwards. Don’t think about it as a database.

    Think of it more as a shared orchestration middleware with untrusted API harnesses (in trad IT terms).

    Ceramic network would be more equivalent to a database – Ethereum actually does computation and execution and only very minimal data storage/reference.

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  12. I think that except intra-bank transfers, no real application has been found… yet. It’s great technology but IMO for sure will be used differently than we think.

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  13. This is basically why not everything should end up on blockchain.

    It’s main use cases are money and finances in general, but everything that may have pürivacy concerns is highly questionable.

    People here tend to also forget how ineffective blockchain is as well. And all this just to solve a problem (double spending), that only exists on decentralized databases (or ledgers in this context).

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  14. Currently I don’t see many practical use cases either. Like there are plenty of use cases for sure, but the real question is, why not use something better established. Everything you can do with crypto, you can do without it.

    The main things I see potential in, is that is is completely transparent system, which opens up quite a few possibilities if it has main stream adoption. ( However, privacy/anonymity is a major concern for this use case )

    And the second thing is a unmatched level of autonomy that that it allows. You can have processes in place that can be driven by a community of people without the need for a greedy third party taking a large profits along the way.

    Unfortunately, all ideas I can think of require mass adoption, so it is a chicken and egg problem. Crypto can only be useful once, lots of people use it

    That being said, there is this relatively simple idea I have though. Imagine a smart contract that dictates that you cannot sell a concert ticket for more than its bought at. It would remove all incentives to scalp tickets for popular artists.

    Or having a “lottery” for concert ticket, so everyone gets a fair chance to buy it, instead of everything bought up by bots. Lock up the cost of a ticket, and at a specific date the tickets get randomly rewarded, and everyone that doesn’t win a ticket gets their money back.

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  15. I think it depends on your world view. If you think centralized power has weaknesses then blockchain is a solution for that. I believe centralized power is a huge problem in many fields. Censorship, identity theft, data breaches, corruption, ticket scalping etc are some of many problems that a blockchain solves across fields such as finance, cloud storage, social media platforms, ticketing, and so on.

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  16. You need to learn more about databases and expand the model by learning about sociology and economics

    edit: and cryptography math, specifically zero knowledge proofs

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  17. I will leave out financial use cases as I feel those are well understood by this point.

    The 2 big up-and-coming use cases for web3 are identity (wallet) & licensing/tickets (NFTs).

    The silly thing is that neither of these require excessive expense, and are not investment vehicles. Blockchain supports a nearly limitless number of wallets (identities/users), creating wallets is usually free or cheap. And using NFTs as a license to access content means lower costs are better (pennies or dollars to mint & exchange, so that it doesn’t add on a large cost to whatever you’re gaining access to: software, movies, games, songs, MMORPGs, and so on).

    If you’ve logged into any web3 apps with a crypto wallet, you’ve probably enjoyed a superior experience:

    1. Don’t need to create account to login
    2. Don’t need to enter/remember a password
    3. Payments already setup: you can “checkout” by approving the transaction in your local wallet, if you buy something. No need to enter credit card numbers.

    Now in terms of NFTs there’s this huge misconception that uploading an NFT makes it “on the blockchain” where it “can’t be deleted”. That’s an incorrect notion. An NFT is just a receipt with a link to the content that verifies “ownership” or “license”. If content is illegal it can still be taken down, and any NFTs linking to it just point to a broken page. That’s a good thing.

    Say you buy a Disney movie: this is why NFTs as speculative vehicles is stupid. Disney wants to sell it’s movies to as many people as possible, to maximize revenue. People might pay $20 for a copy, but probably wouldn’t pay $10k, $50k, whatever.

    Disney can mint NFTs that grant access to a given movie, and they have the ability to trace the NFT to who minted it. “Did I, Disney, mint this NFT to grant access? If yes, they can watch. If not, then no access.” So you visit the Disney app, or the Disney web page, or wherever you go for movie streaming, you scan a QR code, and then you sign the request (click “approve”) to sign indicating your wallet holds the NFT. Disney’s website/app/wherever confirms this, and the movie starts streaming.

    This gets more interesting in terms of transferring ownership. If you want, you can sell the NFT on an approved marketplace, and some % of that revenue goes to the original minter (Disney), but you get the rest, and the NFT goes to whoever bought it. Alternatively, you can use a smart contract to delegate ownership blockbuster style, someone pays a fixed cost and some % goes to Disney, then when the time is up ownership reverts to you.

    One question is “wouldn’t people be able to pirate content?” And the answer is “yes, absolutely. But they can already and many don’t if the legal route is sufficiently easy & reasonably priced.” On average people follow the rules & behave ethically. And a lot of people are happy to support content creators they enjoy.

    **edit: it also becomes much easier to prove who pirated digital content, so enforcing existing laws would be a lot easier. Incentives for pirates decrease.**

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  18. I have 2 things to say about it.

    1. Isn’t that what Facebook does?

    2. That is why non private chains exist, such as monero or secret

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  19. I must say that I feel similarly about most use-cases. New L1 techs are neat, but certainly not necessary. I keep coming back to the only one that has a clear use-case that is absolutely necessary, in my opinion: Monero. And it doesn’t do all the “neat” stuff that the other L1s do, like coupons, tickets, education records, smart contracts, supply chain logistics, etc. It is just fungible, fast, cheap and easy to use, but most importantly **completely private currency**. Not flashy, but effective.

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  20. That qr code on you pack of medicine could be the best use of blockchain. Evry member of the product process scan the ingredients they use, xonnected to lab results, and the actions they perform to become the subproduct

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