What should government do on the blockchain?

Satoshi Nakamoto said Bitcoin would be “very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint”. The pioneers of cryptocurrencies were cypherpunks or crypto-anarchists who wanted to use this new invention to escape the state’s monopoly on money.

We’re sympathetic to this — as we argued in our last Medium essay ‘Byzantine Political Economy’.

But the state is not so easy to escape.

Not only are there many blockchain use-cases for government, but it is possible that positive government action could help the blockchain revolution along.

… and it just keeps getting better from there. My RMIT colleagues Chris Berg, Jason Potts and I have another essay up at Medium on promise of blockchain technology.

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13 Responses to What should government do on the blockchain?

  1. Confused Old Misfit

    Nothing. They’ll only foul it up if you let them get involved.

  2. Once the state embraces it, it loses the ability to escape the state. So I’m not sure why anyone who likes blockchain would want the state to get involved.

  3. jonesy

    Whoever controls the node controls distribution. I still see the end game of this as one mega corporation controlling everything. No one owning anything…contract with…a megacorporation controlling the flow of the data enabling the value of the chain. Remember! The web flows only along a network of backbone cable…think of one giant NBN….and who will hold the key? The most basic is a 1 and a 0 data bit when it is broken down. What is the alternative? RL Johnny Mnemonics running around with downloaded blockchain data embedded in their brains?

  4. jonesy

    I shouldn’t work on Sundays…..

  5. a better question might be, what can government do on the block chain…ask China

  6. Not gonna happen. There isn’t enough computing power to run a Global Blockchain.
    I say save your time, money and resources.

  7. rickw

    Nothing.

    None of their fucking business.

    (Unless you want it fucked sideways 8 different ways.)

  8. Bad Samaritan

    OK Cats. I can now reveal that I’ve been working on this matter for some months with a group of Nigerian Princes who contacted me via E-Mail, out of the blue one day.

    Basically I’ve sent all my outmoded fiat-type cash over to them which they are now mining into Bitcoins and the like so’s we’ll all make an absolute fortune. After they patiently explained that my Mrs; the bank manager; my motor mechanic; the retarded morn down the street…and all the other doubting Thomases…..had it majorly wrong about the whole thing being run by some bloke named Ponzi (ha…they are Prince Adedayo, Prince Chikezie, Prince Ekarevba…and more besides, but NO Prince Ponzi…WTF!), I second-mortgaged the house for that extra killing capability. And that’s where we’re at. Any Catsters interested in further information on this can request the PO Box number of my associates at any time.

    Meanwhile I’m returning to the Tulip patch down the back where I’m growing a whole plot of of the latest variety “La Bulle de la Mer du Sud”. A French guy tells me these are the next big thing after Cryptos and wind farms.

    Hope this helps everyone get ahead. And no need to thank me in advance. Cheers

  9. Kneel

    “Not only are there many blockchain use-cases for government, but it is possible that positive government action could help the blockchain revolution along.”

    The “use-case” is an interesting question – should govt authorities accept bitcoin payments? Well, do they accept payments in other foreign currencies? Usually not. So to make best use, they’d need to create their own block-chain currency. That would require either usage of distributed database on non-govt servers, or some official “server of record” they use. No-one would want the second, only the first. Govt would want, perhaps insist on, the second. They would have to legislate to force this as a replacement for cash. Ugly. Can’t see that working – the trust would simply evaporate if this one place was the only one that was “believable” or usable in a legal dispute etc. The scope for fraud and corruption would be immense. And of course, it breaks the whole concept.

    “There isn’t enough computing power to run a Global Blockchain.”

    Rubbish. There is plenty lying around unused. That one fitbit you’re wearing, it has more CPU, RAM and storage than all the Apollo missions planned (which is more than were actually completed) combined had in the actual rockets, and probably more than NASA had overall.
    Harvesting it is the key. This is do-able – you may even be able to make a tidy profit from it, if the market for it was available. 5 billion smart phones is a LOT of CPU, RAM and storage, most of which is unused most of the time. Ditto desktop PCs, tablets, smart TVs, set top boxes, internet modem/routers, fitbits, watches, fridges etc. Google will GIVE you 100GB of storage FREE – anyone. Buy a Google Pixel 2 phone, they say you can NEVER fill it up with photos, because it is all synched to the cloud.
    Capacity is NOT the problem, even harvesting it is NOT the problem – that tech already exists. Enabling it to be harvested – now THERE is the issue. Paying you a small amount to run an app on your smart phone to use a small amount of CPU,RAM, Flash storage and network access and then selling the resultant distributed, redundant and highly resilient “product” is not done yet, but could be, and undoubtedly will be soon enough – if it’s required, which I doubt.

  10. cuckoo

    Yes, but will Blockchain restore my hairline and make me irresistible to 20-something Brazilian beauty queen heiresses?

  11. Kneel
    #2551400, posted on November 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    “There isn’t enough computing power to run a Global Blockchain.”

    Rubbish. There is plenty lying around unused.

    I Kneel before thee.
    Take out the word “computing” from my comment. My misunderstanding.
    Now please read the following article about the inordinate amounts of power currently used by Bitcoin.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/policy/the-ridiculous-amount-of-energy-it-takes-to-run-bitcoin

  12. Kneel
    #2551400, posted on November 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm
    “There isn’t enough computing power to run a Global Blockchain.”

    Rubbish. There is plenty lying around unused.

    I Kneel before thee.
    Take out the word “computing” from my comment. My misunderstanding.
    Now please read the following article about the inordinate amounts of power currently used by Bitcoin.

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/policy/the-ridiculous-amount-of-energy-it-takes-to-run-bitcoin

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