Blockchain: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Welcome back to our series of posts about blockchain technology. Today’s post will explore some fundamental characteristics of blockchain-related projects. According to Alexis Roussel, our guest speaker, a number of misconceptions exist about what the purpose of blockchain truly is.  The current hype around the topic and the attention it gets from the media make it hard for novices to make the difference between the myths and the realities of blockchain.

“If you can replace “Blockchain” by “Database” and it still makes sense, then it is probably a database.”

The “Good” Blockchain Principles

So, what are the characteristics that should be shared to create and succeed in a true blockchain project?

  • Permissionless
  • Open source development
  • Community-based
  • Open p2p network
  • Neutral
  • Censorship resistant
  • Tokens must have intrinsic value

From the above follows that an initiative that limits the number of participants, adapts a restricted access policy, is closed source or based on a private network or is not token-based immediately loses a part of value that a real blockchain technology could bring such as enhanced security and resilience.

Interestingly, this is exactly the case of the OTC Swiss Blockchain Consortium project launched in 2016 in its demo version to facilitate over-the-counter trading. It has a custodian bank and a supervisory authority, ignoring the fact that the whole goal of a technology like blockchain is letting the network and the protocol to make and ensure respect of the rules. If you don’t respect the rules, you’re out of the network. “The project is doomed to fail.” – Alexis Russel ensures.

An example that would qualify as a real blockchain platform? Augur, the prediction market software, based on the “wisdom of the crowds” principle could be since it has:

  • An active slack community with developers
  • Open source code
  • Open tools and test net.

By keeping in mind these principles we can have a feeling on whether the project will be a “good” blockchain project.


You want to see what else was discussed during the Innovation Leaders 2017 Conference ? Have a look below: