OK, the blockchain is officially “over” now.
It was cool for a while, but now it’s covered in the New York Times. Sydney Ember reports, among other things, about David Mondrus and Joyce Bayo recording their wedding vows on the Blockchain.
Let’s pause a moment and contemplate this. Everytime computer on the internet validates the Bitcoin blockchain, they process the wedding vows of these people. Is this a tad self centered?
One might also wonder just how brilliant this idea is. Are you really sure you want people reading whatever sappy nonsense you wrote, a century from now? Especially after that nasty break up in 2022.
And what problem is solved by this “innovation”? As far as I know, neither marriage nor marriage vows were “broken”, nor was there a crying need to publish them for the whole damn world to see.
The rest of the article has an accurate, if shallow, survey of the excitement over blockchain, as well as the lack of any pragmatic uses.
Like I said, if it’s in the NYT, it’s “over”.
And speaking of boneheaded applications of the blockchain, Pete Rizzo reports at CoinDesk about Augur, a new company that wants to do prediction markets using the blockchain. Sigh.
Prediction markets have been trendy for a while, if only because they work far better than they really should–until they don’t.
But most of them are basically just bookmaking, which the world doesn’t really need more of. It is, however, one of the applications that the blockchain certainly supports.
I’m not overwhelmed by the intellectual honesty of the Augur people. One remarks about his experience betting on elections through Intrade:
“It wasn’t gambling, there was no risk if you thought you were well-informed and that to me was a really powerful notion.“
With regard to the fact that these markets are, in fact, not legal, they say:
“There’s no law that prevents us from doing what we’re doing. We’re just writing code.”
Or, try this one:
“Krug went so far as to suggest that prediction markets could be used by doctors to more accurately diagnose patients.”
I note that their white paper is a bit more honest, where they say:
“Prediction markets are often disliked by powerful interests. As the experience of centralized prediction markets … over the past decade has shown, if governments or special interest groups want to shut down a website, they will.”
“Even the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency and Central Intelligence Agency were forced to end their foray into prediction markets as a result of Congressional interference.”
Oversight (however boneheaded) of the Pentagon by our democratically elected governments is “interference”?
You get the picture. They are building an international bookie joint, hoping that it will be immune to “interference” by law enforcement, tax men, or “special interests” such as the general public.