Saturday, April 04, 2015

Ethereum, Bitcoin 2.0 and Web 3.0

Time to make an update to my thread on decentralization manifesting into our world though technology.

Since my Bitcoin Has No Competitors ? post in Feb 2013 about DOS attacks, I left Bitcoin as I had already talked about the implications of Bitcoin as a technology a number of years prior. Its all been fairly obvious stuff since then.

But if you dont know about Ethereum, a generalization of the core block chain technology (introduced through Bitcoin), its a good idea to be aware of what it offers and what is coming. Its also a great step toward creating a general purpose distributed crypto compute platform at the same time.

Regarding code generalizations, this is a common shape in technology evolution. I have seen often this shape of software trend. Even in my personal field of 3D graphics. I created some of the fastest 3D rendering code of the day. The RenderMorphics RealityLab system that sold to Microsoft to become Direct3D. Our 3D code was very specifically optimized for specific functions of rendering, that is how it did what it did so well. But over the period of a few years we developed general purpose shading compilers. We first did this as an experiment at RenderMorphics but it continued to be generalized and emerged in later years as shader compilers, these enabled the GPU. A general purpose computer for doing massively parallel simple tasks. Which just so happens to be great for graphics, but its great for many other things too.

Over in the world of distributed computing, Satoshi delivered the block chain using it to implement Bitcoin, a sort of digital implementation of gold due to its scarcity properties. The block chains arrival in bitcoin was the unveiling of what could now be done technologically from 2009 forward.

Ethereum delivers the full potential of block chain technology in a clean and functional general purpose computing platform.

Ethereum is an example of the natural generalization of a technology once it is well understood.  This generalization signals the maturity of the technology. Again using the 3D analogy, 3D rendering could not be called mature until the shader languages first were generalized and then settled down enough for GPU's to be built. The block chain could not really go into all the other potentials it offers until the right and mature API came and sat on it.

As far as i have been able to tell so far, Ethereum has the required features done right to do the job required. So that means we now have a distributed computing API that the world can move to. An intermediary distributed compute system for the future internet/web to run on. For the software developer world on the font end, and the hardware world on the back/bottom end.

Ethereum has first mover advantage. There can be only one as they say.. and there only needs to be one, protocol for the next generation on the internet.

I am becoming more confident that can become both the Bitcoin 2.0 and more importantly Web 3.0.

(Note: using the term Web 3.0 is not fully accurate as Web really refers to the combo of a) internet back end for connectivity and storage b) A streamed interpreted graphical front end defined by the HTML protocol. Ethereum only covers the connectivity/store component of the next stage on the internet's evolution. The apps running on it can express their front ends with HTML, but they don't have to. For example a massively multiplayer online game could run on Ethereum and not use HTML at all.)

But in this sense what are we talking about in human terms when we say Web 3.0 ? Now that we can see what Web 3.0 actually is. Just like when we first saw bitcoin, (say money 2.0, or money done better), the financial and cultural ramifications became obvious (though only just beginning to play out) We can further now codify the world into which we are heading.

We now have a general purpose crypto compute platform readily available to everyone. This has world wide reach and can connect across the whole planet.  As long as you have an internet connection (and even this is not so essential now with peering to other local connected nodes) Everyone has access to a fully democratized massively connected highly scaleable crypto secure computer.

I could talk about some of the things we are going to invent and how it will change our society. But some of my early blogs cover this already. The trend to decentralization was clear long before Bitcoin. But we did not yet know how it would be technically implemented, Bitcoin was a massive step in terms of that implementation. It was clear that block chains would be the way to run a distributed p2p system of the future. Ethereum has come along and provided the generalized version of what a bock chain can do for developers to use.. We have the next step already in place.

If you have not seen anything on Ethereum, this is a decent summary of some possibility.




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