Blockchain & Distributed Databases
As previously discussed, the Blockchain is an effective network architecture for generating a reliable electronic public record of informational exchanges on a global scale. Such distributed databases solve what in Computer Science is termed the ‘Byzantine General problem’ and solving this problem is what makes Crypto-currencies like Bitcoin both possible and viable.
So we begin our discussion with an analysis of the ‘Byzantine General’ problem as a means of understanding distributed databases.
The Byzantine General Problem
The Byzantine Generals’ Problem is an agreement problem that was coined after the Byzantine army. This problem happens when a group of generals that each command a portion of the Byzantine army surround a city of 4 walls, with one group of soldiers at each wall. The groups need to be able to coordinate either a full-on attack or a full-off retreat.
If only one General attacks alone, he will be defeated, because he doesn’t have enough forces to win by himself.
The standard definition is that a computer system is “Byzantine fault tolerant”, if it solves a problem in a way that ensures that the Computers on a network exchange and record events on the network in such a manner that they all ‘agree’ on the correct sequence of those events. In the case of Blockchain, it is a ledger for recording specific events i.e. Bitcoin transactions.
To my surprise, Bitcoin is not Byzantine fault tolerant because there is no certainty that the Blockchain ledger reflects the correct sequence of events or transactions due to the manner in which Blockchain transactions are detected and validated by its current Protocol…The mysteries of distributed databases continue.
The Blockchain: Bitcoin Protocol
Bitcoin at its core is simply data, and like all data it functions on an Information Technology platform. In the case of Bitcoin, its Algorithm SHA-256 which facilitates the recording of Bitcoin transactions as events on the Blockchain by rewarding Bitcoin Miners with new Bitcoins (‘data’) each time they detect a Bitcoin transaction, which is to be added to the Blockchain ledger through a process called ‘Hashing’.
The problem with the current Bitcoin Algorithm is that at times two or more transactions or events can be detected simultaneously. This requires validation as to which transaction/s should be recognised as correct in order to avoid errors on the Blockchain which would compromise its integrity.
To deal with this problem, Bitcoin’s current Algorithm delays the validation of transactions on the Blockchain so as to ensure that the publicly displayed Blockchain ledger record is accurate and reliable. As a result, Bitcoin’s confirmation of transactions or ‘events’ is delayed, and one is never actually certain that the Blockchain’s confirmation of a particular event or transaction is accurate except by relying on the repeated appearance of the event or transaction as the Blockchain continues to extend.
This is in-effect a measure of high probability, but in reality there is no mathematical certainty, so Bitcoin doesn’t have Byzantine fault tolerance. For this reason, we are compelled to seek a remedy that enables an instant and accurate rendering of events or transactions across the Network…Enter Hashgraph an ingenious addition to distributed databases technology.
Hashgraph vs The Blockchain As Distributed Databases
The Hashgraph platform enables the creation of an instant and accurate distributable ledger by utilising a ‘virtual voting’ mechanism derived from a long established computing code called ‘Ghost Protocol’ which allows for large scale instant time-stamped exchanges of information across a Network.
This means there is no waiting period, and that transactions can be treated as correct the instant they appear on the Hashtag Ledger unlike with Bitcoin’s Blockchain which suffers from a delay in confirming transactions that at best can only be treated as highly probable as they are repeatedly confirmed by appearing on the record as the Blockchain extends, but they can never be treated as mathematically certain.
The Hasgraph Ledger is therefore superior to Bitcoin’s Blockchain both in terms of speed and in providing 100% accuracy.
However, as with all things there’s always a catch: Hashgraph has a patent, and is NOT Open Source. It’s disguised as a “distributed database” like the Blockchain, but because it is privately owned, it is Centralised, unlike the Blockchain which is completely Open Source and thus Decentralised.
The Bitcoin Revolution is taking off because the Blockchain offers a truly decentralised Open Source Ledger despite the speed and accuracy drawbacks which people are clearly willing to live with as a trade-off for the promise of freedom Bitcoin provides.
Ultimately, the issue is not whether the Blockchain or Hashgraph is superior, its more important to realise that we are now entering an era in which Algorithms that generate distributable information/databases will gain increasing prominence in our Social, Political and Economic system…Bitcoin and the Blockchain have been the first to demonstrate the endless possibilities that flow from a such a system, and its no surprise that the Blockchain is gaining wider mainstream adoption as Corporate organisations such as Banks are now adopting Blockchain Technology for creating their own localised Institutional Distributed Databases.
Conclusion: Dawn Of The Age Of The Algorithm
Our approach to data generation and retention is rapidly changing, and it remains to be seen where it will eventually lead, but the trend seems irreversible with efforts now centering on developing quicker and more reliable methods of generating distributable databases…Bitcoin and the Blockchain have already demonstrated the logic and utility of the distributable database, so the issue is no longer whether distributable databases are the way to go, but instead how we can create better ones in terms of both speed and accuracy.
Its also important to distinguish between Decentralised and Centralised Ledgers bearing in mind that Bitcoin works because it is Decentralised and accords with the shift from Central Banking and Fiat Currency.
The Corbertt Report has issued an excellent 30 minute video tilted ‘The Bitcoin Psyop’ which stresses the distinction between Bitcoin’s Decentralised Blockchain from the Mainstream Privately owned Centralised Databases now cropping up and misappropriating the term ‘Blockchain’ to refer to Centralised Private Databases.
We’ve now added it to our YouTube Channel’s ‘Freedom Ave’ Playlist.
The Age Of The Algorithm and distributable databases is clearly upon us.
Peep the links below for more on the Blockchain, Hashgraph and Distributable Databases including the eye-opening Hashgraph and Bitcoin Psyop Documentaries on our YouTube Channel’s ‘Freedom Ave’ Playlist.
Thats our unfinished business on Bitcoin and the Blockchain.
I will gladly come out of hibernation one last time to cover unfinished business on the Mars Colonisation project through the lens of Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien: The Covenant’ film released last year and Richard Dolan’s seminal book ‘UFOS & The National Security State’ before we kick off the new series of articles for 2018.
The Mars Mission is another entry in the history of Space Exploration since the days of the US-Soviet Space Race during the Cold War. Humanity has come a long way, and we have made lots of sacrifices in order to become an Inter-Planetary species, with the highest accomplishment being the Moon Landing.
We reflect on the History of the Space Program and our journey into Space courtesy of the Documentary ‘Moonwalk One’ which reveals the Positive effect the successful Moonlanding had on the Human Psyche and Spirit at the time we first landed on the moon. A successful Mars Mission will likely have the same effect, perhaps its effect could be even more dramatic.
For an excellent rendition of the struggles and triumphs in our quest to explore the Stars, you can view the documentary ‘Moonwalk One’ off the Home Page together with ‘Conquest: A History of Space’ which is available in our YouTube Channel’s ‘Science & Universe’ Playlist….Disasters such as NASA’s Columbia and Challenger Space Shuttle tragedies serve as reminders of the high stakes, and you can also view doccies on these disasters via our YouTube Channel.
Links & Credits
Bitcoin Hashing: https://blockgeeks.com/guides/what-is-hashing/
Bitcoin v Hashgraph: https://medium.com/@Lansana/i-was-wrong-hashgraph-is-actually-very-bad-bf7d9b2e8d99
Blockchain In The Mainstream: https://hackernoon.com/2018-will-be-the-year-blockchain-technology-goes-mainstream-heres-why-aa56f4fcdc42