Believe it or not, but plenty of powerful and mainstream firms, and even some governments are particularly interested in the technology behind bitcoin.
Despite the fact that cryptocurrencies are often associated with security issues, price fluctuations, and illicit goods markets, bitcoin’s underlying public ledger authenticated by a network of independent computers able to facilitate payments, manage corporate databases, and improve work processes, keeps attracting users.
As far as cryptocurrencies and the blockchain are closely linked, it’s natural that there are either bitcoin haters or those who think that the coin and blockchain are inseparable. “Without bitcoin, they say, the blockchain would not be backed by multi-million-dollar investments in expensive mining infrastructure; anybody could just take over the network, which would render the blockchain useless,” reads an article by WSJ bloggers Mr.Vigna and Mr. Casey.
About a week ago, Tim Swanson, a cryptocurrency consultant, published a paper (see it below) in which he “argued that decentralized cryptocurrency systems such as bitcoin are deeply flawed, in part because the anonymous, unidentifiable miners that stand behind the blockchain’s legitimacy are incompatible with a real-world legal system that requires identification,” reports WSJ.
The author of that so to speak provocative paper is concerned about the fact that one day, somebody can take over the network and delegitimize past transactions. According to Mr. Swanson, it can discourage large financial companies from looking to use the blockchain technology.
In addition, Tim Swanson draws attention to 11 companies which develop permissioned blockchains. Swanson’s list of firms includes Ripple Labs, payments system provider, Eris, the company building blockchain solutions, Hyperledger, which is concentrated on settlement solutions for financial firms, and some others.
According to WSJ, the bigger issue is whether such a model of permissioned and centralized blockchains can still fulfill bitcoin supporters’ grand, Utopian vision of a technology to empower individuals and break down monopoly power.
Preston Byrne, the London-based co-founder of Eris Industries Ltd, told WSJ: “There are two ways to go about the ‘change the world’ thing: sledgehammer, trying to break down the gate, [or] surreptitiously through a back door. We’re after the latter.”
Thus, it’s still possible that the structure of bitcoin’s decentralized model can be changed. In any case, tensions over centralized model and decentralized one are growing.