by Benedikt Herudek
Blockchains are commonly compared to databases, for obvious reasons as they store transactions. However, one could just as well understand them as a middleware connecting endpoints via permanently stored transactions. Bitcoin works as a technology to exchange currency, which is a specific and simple form of parties exchanging information. If we could generalise and extend this notion of information, we would be able to build a decentralized middleware.
One hope one could connect to such a middleware would be that technologically and organizationally, it would leave no room for one data monopolist (Facebook, Uber, Airbnb et al) to mediate transactions and take too large of a cut. Just like bitcoin takes out banks from the middle – man position, a distributed middleware allowing exchange of any type of information (not just currency), might be able achieving something similar.
This post will not describe how such a Blockchain-ish’ distributed middleware could be implemented, one high level attempt can be found here. The attempt goes at great length attempting to avoid standards for data exchange formats.
Take Facebook as an example. Arguably, the main service a platform like Facebook offers is that it structures conversation such into one data format, that all on the platform can converse with each other. Imagine, we magically had a ‘machine babelfish’ that would allow applications to seamlessly converse with each other over the internet. A net we could image then would consist of many small to medium to large private Facebook-alikes, which might offer similar or different features but also would allow its members to talk to any other Facebook-alike in the net. If such a ‘machine babelfish’ existed, there would be no need for users to subscribe to Facebook. Users might stick with Facebook, but they might just as well prefer a Facebook-alike , where they might find some desired features, e.g. data protection and privacy or simple the colour of a button on the UI. The same argumentation would go for any trading platform: if small platforms could connect seamlessly, there would be no need for one Uber or Airbnb platform to unify them all to allow them to communicate and trade. We would have many small/ medium / large Ubers talking to each other and allowing members on those platforms to trade with users on another uber like platform. Features for specific user groups could out compete a ‘one size fits all’ approach, as long as these parties would be willing to connect to such a middleware, which all but the 1-2-3 biggest players would be.
We will call such a System a DAM (Distributed Autonomous Middleware), it would need to meet the following features:
- Shared infrastructure, rendered by network members incentivised by System tokens
- Ability to ‘log’ transactions in an immutable Blockchain
- Distributed Autonomous Organization maintaining code and deciding on a.o. fees
- Open Access, allowing anyone can connect.
- Ability to cryptographically secure and obfuscate data
- Economically viable for those providing the infrastructure, Miners in Bitcoin
- Appropriate Services (throughput, performance) to exchange information between Systems for users
- Any Application information can be exchanged
- There are no or hardly no fixed data format exchange standards
Points (1) – (7) can be found in one or other way in Bitcoin or the Bitcoin eco system. Of course, using these features for a real–live middleware requires some serious thoughts, a.o. around throughput and performance.
For a middleware connecting any application for any information exchange obvious (8) is an obvious demand – but complex: there is a myriad of use cases for applications communicating and even for one and the same use case, one can choose all kinds data format, be it an xml standard, a csv file, a binary format or any custom format.
So, shouldn’t we just have an industry standard, a consortium or board, where we have all parties discussing and agreeing on data formats ? Maybe we need Linux Foundation to come with some kinds of Blockchain Transaction standard for all these heterogeneous use cases. Possible & proven – but the problem with standards is that they tend to be inflexible, in need of maintenance and sometimes have a tendency to ossify. The moment you have a consortium board you at least have the risk of those getting hi-jacked by large players. This is not a necessity, but ideally a truly decentralised platform would rule out this possibility on the technology layer already (9) and be flexible enough to allow for any data exchange format.
It remains to be seen, if such a System could be built. There don’t seem to be reasons in principle, why this wouldn’t be possible. But it certainly would be a challenge to avoid standards or at least make the System very resistant against ossifying standards and a potentially resulting undesired power structure. One of the benefits of a decentralised autonomous Middleware would be that it could do to some large data monopolists what bitcoin tries to do the banks.
- UC Berkeley Opens New Blockchain Lab – Steve Chen Appointed to Co-Lead Newly Formed Berkeley Blockchain Lab - December 10, 2017
- Peter Vessenes Announces Deluge Network To Support a Safe and Direct Way to Contribute Bitcoin Directly to ICOs - December 5, 2017
- EXMO Launches Token Sale with Blockstarter’s ICO Solution - December 5, 2017
- AdHive, A Blockchain-Based Native Advertising Platform, Engages with WINGS DAO Platform - December 5, 2017
- Perkins Coie Adds SEC Attorney in San Francisco with Fintech and Blockchain Experience - December 5, 2017
- Cryptocurrency Monero Announces Breakthrough Online Shopping Initiative Featuring Top Global Artists’ Music and Merchandise - December 5, 2017
- Bitcoin for a ‘bit’ of Caribbean paradise - December 5, 2017
- With the Launch of SunCoin, Solar Bankers Takes On the World’s Energy Giants - December 4, 2017
- Blockchain News Is Merging With Token Report - November 30, 2017
- Mira launches Pre-ICO for Mira – an Easy and Convenient Way to Buy, Store and Send Cryptocurrency - November 23, 2017
- Dash and KuvaCash Partner to Fight Inflation in Zimbabwe with Cryptocurrency - November 22, 2017
- INS Ecosystem Partners with Ambrosus to Overhaul the Grocery Supply Chain - November 22, 2017
- Global Debt Registry Unveils Collateral Pledge Blockchain Proof of Concept - November 22, 2017
- Ripple Appoints Former New York State Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky to Its Board and Ron Will as CFO - November 22, 2017
- Advised by the Co-Founders of YouTube and Twitch, Theta Announces a Blockchain-based Video Delivery Network - November 22, 2017
- Modex adds top advisor from Google ahead of ICO - November 22, 2017
- Decentralized Ad Exchange AdEx Partners with INK to Handle the World’s First Blockchain-based Ad Auction - November 22, 2017
- Zilliqa Lowers Funding Cap Despite Heavy Demand from Investors - November 22, 2017
- Health Startup Etheal Combines Blockchain Technology with Micro-Incentives to Build a Peer-Reviewed Global List of Health Professionals - November 22, 2017
- Bitquence Rebrands as Ethos.io, Charting a Course to Unlock Crypto and the Future of Investment for the Masses - November 22, 2017
- Eidoo Introduces User Friendly ICO Engine – Allowing Crypto Startups To Launch And Manage Their Own ICOs For Fundraising On The Blockchain - November 22, 2017
- Simdaq Launches Social Platform for Democratisation and Development of Cryptocurrency Trading - November 22, 2017
- Gameflip Shatters FLIP Pre-Sale Goals, Sets Sights on December 4, 2017 ICO - November 22, 2017
- Golden Alliance Gold Mining Launches Token Sale - November 22, 2017
- Genaro and Storj Labs Announce Collaboration and Product Integration - November 22, 2017
- Metal (MTL) Now Available on the Chinese Cryptocurrency Exchange - November 22, 2017
- Mark.space & Jaguar Land Rover Announce Cooperation - November 22, 2017
- Exscudo – EON Testnet Was Successfully Updated - November 22, 2017
- Valorem Foundation Launches All-new Cryptocurrency Platform - November 22, 2017
- WAX Partners with Xsolla to Offer Its Platform to More Than 2,000 Video Games - November 22, 2017
- Brave expands Basic Attention Token platform to YouTube - November 22, 2017
- Narrative Launches Blockchain Based Social Network That Puts Revenue In Your Pocket, Not Mark Zuckerberg’s - November 22, 2017
- Gladius Uses Blockchain and Spare Bandwidth to Revolutionize Cyber Security - November 22, 2017
- Indorse Announces Partnership with App Store Cryptocurrency, AppCoins, ahead of MVP Launch - November 22, 2017
- Secutix And The Paléo Festival Nyon Announce The Success Of Their Blockchain Pilot Project - November 22, 2017
- ING launches major addition to blockchain technology: Zero-Knowledge Range Proof solution - November 22, 2017
- Cofound.it Announces Teams Participating in Upcoming Live Crowdsale Event - November 22, 2017
- PUBLIQ goes public: The blockchain and AI company that fights fake news announces the start of its Initial Token Offering - November 22, 2017
- Blockchain for Business SophiaTX Reveals New Details of Platform; Confirms Date for Token Generation Event - November 22, 2017
- BCShop.io Launches Partner Program - November 22, 2017
- World’s First Social Entrepreneurship Platform Moms Avenue Challenges Etsy by Gearing Up With Blockchain - November 21, 2017
- WAX Partners with Xsolla to Offer Its Platform to More Than 2,000 Video Games - November 20, 2017
- Pundi X integrates NEM blockchain to Bring Cryptocurrency Payments Into Retail Stores - November 20, 2017
- Fujitsu Develops Security Technology to Safely Connect Blockchains - November 20, 2017
- Jibrel Network Announces a Highly Successful Pre-sale Round - November 20, 2017
- KRAFTWERK on Blockchain - November 20, 2017
- MintHealth: Empowering Patients to Take Control of their Health and Data via Blockchain Technology - November 20, 2017
- IBM Completes PoC Of Blockchain-based Shared KYC With Deutsche Bank, HSBC, MUFG And Cargill, IBM Treasuries - November 20, 2017
- LetsEnhance.io to process images on Neuromation Platform - November 20, 2017
- Blockchain And AI Researchers Propose A New Model To Return The Control Over Human Life Data To The Patients And Accelerate Biomedical Research - November 20, 2017