Depth | Seventeen golden ideas in the blockchain that help the real economy

time:2019-01-26 11:15:00

·Controversial blockchain

From the emergence of a technical concept to the subversive innovation that the public expects to become a new computing paradigm, the blockchain has been widely discussed by practitioners in various industries, and its connotation and extension are developing rapidly. The blockchain concept consists of a comprehensive solution of multiple information technologies and their combinations. Through the organic integration of various information technologies, the blockchain system has the advantages that data security is difficult to tamper with, system robustness is strong, large-scale participation in the whole network, and logical automatic enforcement are more reliable than traditional systems. As a result, blockchain systems have been tried to apply in all aspects of the real economy to increase business credibility or create new new business models based on trusted blockchain systems.

The idea and concept of blockchain is often interpreted as decentralization, distributed accounting, and transfer of trust. This is of course the advantage of the overall blockchain system solution, which has led to innovative business thinking models. change.

However, the overall blockchain system solution also has obvious shortcomings, including the problem that the processing capability is relatively weak, the performance and scalability are difficult to balance, the data protection and data security are difficult to balance, the business transformation and the landing cost are high.

·The excellent ideas contained in the concept of blockchain

This article is devoted to discussing and summarizing the subtle ideas and concepts contained in the blockchain concept. These ideas and ideas are embedded in the concept of blockchain, but they can exist from the blockchain system, including the blockchain system technology design idea, the concept of blockchain concept to the transformation of existing business systems, and the incentive mechanism empowerment business. Marketing and more.

Starting from the engineering design concept of common blockchain projects such as Bitcoin, through the analysis of its specific working mechanism, we try to discover the independent design ideas for systems or mechanisms in the blockchain system. It is hoped that these ideas hidden in the concept of blockchain can be used individually or in combination to empower practitioners in more fields, so that the value of blockchain can be improved faster and better by improving the non-blockchain system. The display makes up for the problems of high cost of deployment of the current blockchain system and difficulty in widespread application.

It should be noted that since the blockchain system is a new type of system with multiple technologies integrated, the absence of any one element may cause it to be called a blockchain system. Therefore, the reader may encounter a problem similar to "If you only use this one idea design system, not a complete blockchain system" in the reading process. Indeed, most of the relevant improvements in the text are to more fully reflect some of the design ideas of the blockchain, focusing on improving the capabilities of certain aspects of the system, not limited to optimization based on blockchain systems, but rather to emphasize good ideas as much as possible. Landing reality, really helping the real economy.

The article will summarize relevant ideas from five perspectives, including: improving system security controllability, enhancing system credibility, streamlining processes to reduce costs, scientific incentives, blockchain system optimization, and blockchain are not omnipotent.



A. Improve system security controllability


1. Data accessibility helps improve security - multiple copy storage mode for timely data broadcast

In the blockchain system represented by Bitcoin, both the transaction initiation information, the transaction package information, and the transaction confirmation information will be spread to the entire network at the first time, synchronized by each node, and left in as many places as possible. Traces of data manipulation. The information broadcasting mode, which seems to be inefficient and wastes resources, brings about greatly reducing the probability of information inconsistency, reducing the loss caused by information conflicts, and improving the ability of information to be recovered after being tampered with.

On the one hand, in the case of damage to single-point data, it can be recovered in time with other nodes;
On the other hand, when the data may be tamper-attacked or the error occurs, each service can verify the data and discover the problem at the first time, prevent the malicious data from spreading, and recover the problematic data node.

Although this idea is a very important idea of the blockchain and it is the ultimate, it is not the original blockchain system. Many traditional financial institution business systems, data center systems, and big data technology frameworks have already designed multiple copies of backup data, and are committed to improving data security and recoverability and high-speed transmission capabilities.
2. Emphasis on process data records - raw process data contains more information than the resulting data

The design of the transaction process using the Unpriced Transaction Output (UTXO) in the Bitcoin system is very subtle. The total balance of the account is not recorded in the system, but the transfer status and ownership of each value unit (ie, bitcoin) that can be transferred is recorded. The transaction process is reflected by the transfer of ownership. Through a simple data structure design, the total amount control and source tracking of limited resources are guaranteed, which not only completes the accurate record of the transfer process, but also reflects the user's assets at various time points.

The data in the business system can be divided into two categories: one is the original process data generated by the business process, and the other is the statistical result data processed by the original process data. We can refer to the original basic data as a process record and the statistical result data as a result record.
In the blockchain system, each transaction needs to record to generate a new unspent transaction output or raw process data, recording the ownership transfer process of the unexpended asset previously owned by the user. The balance owned by each person is not directly recorded, but the calculated statistical data can be output by counting all unspent transactions related to the user, and is also the result data of the wealth possessed by the user at a certain point in time.
The blockchain system tells us that the agreement of the original data is the key to ensuring the consistency of the global data. As for the statistical result data, regular preservation or statistics can improve the efficiency of data processing, but it is not used as a global synchronization for consensus. And the necessary content to reach a consensus.

The idea of recording process data combined with the concept of timely broadcast of data can solve many problems that require fairness and security, such as preventing business data from being manipulated and preventing fraudulent events. Help limit the possibility of fraud by multiple parties through real-time supervision.

3. Full communication and efficient implementation - multi-party participation in voice, the only lucky person in power record

The stable blockchain system represented by Bitcoin has a low access requirement. Complex systems that have a wide range of capabilities in all aspects of the node are easily pulled down by the worst nodes, both from a security perspective and an efficiency perspective. As a system of participation by all people, Bitcoin has pioneered the full communication and efficient implementation of all nodes in the system through a clever consensus mechanism.

In the case that all nodes have the opportunity to book accounts, the mechanism of competing for the full participation of the whole people is utilized. The system randomly generates the lucky bookkeepers to make the actual writing of the system data unique and meet the unpredictable randomness. . This system with complex consensus mechanism and simple writing mechanism is a perfect interpretation of complexity and simplicity, security and efficiency.
The design concept reflects a complex system involving multiple parties. If there are high security and fault tolerance requirements, try not to let too many parties have the right to write data. If this is not possible, all nodes All need to have the ability to write, it is necessary to design a reasonable mechanism to transfer the write permission of many nodes through centralized processing, avoiding the huge scheduling synchronization cost brought by multi-point writing, and ensuring that multiple parties fully participate in the consensus. The system has higher reliability and lower probability of error.
4. Use data structure to ensure controllability - chain data structure unidirectional linear growth, controllable expansion

The data of the blockchain system can't be changed again once it is confirmed, and the data can only grow linearly in one direction. This way of data recording reflects the designer's desire for data with good controllability and manageability. Controllability lays the foundation for building a globally complex consensus. The data that needs to be agreed upon across the entire network is concentrated in the latest blocks, so that the nodes participating in the consensus can focus on the part that needs to be agreed without worrying about the consistency of other data. This is a big advantage of the blockchain system that distinguishes it from traditional systems.

However, this advantage is often overlooked, and people are more concerned with the monotonic growth of the overall size of the blockchain storage data. How can a system that only increases data and cannot reduce data be trusted and used for a long time? Compared with transaction processing ability and consensus ability, this is the problem that most blockchain systems are difficult to avoid.

The author believes that the concept of the blockchain reflects the controllable, and linear one-way growth does not mean unlimited growth. By adding some design to the design mechanism of data structure growth, the blockchain can control the expansion by continuously discarding historical information. Controlled expansion here means that the amount of data in the system increases as business data increases, but some historical data that does not affect current or future consensus can be discarded or not recorded by each participant. Historical information is verifiable and has a non-destructive modification, requiring only a small number of node records to be retained.

Currently, the blockchain represented by Bitcoin does not solve this problem. Why is Bitcoin currently experiencing the problem of excessive data volume, but still need to save the entire network data to be safe? Bitcoin chains cannot be truncated, and historical blocks are discarded because some UTXO data is recorded in the previous block. If UTXO has not been transferred, there will be no relevant information in the new block. Therefore, in the future operation of this ancient UTXO, it will be necessary to trace back to the information in the very old block. Of course, this problem is not unsolvable. Introducing the blockchain system through other mechanisms can completely make the blockchain slim down while ensuring system security.

In addition, the author believes that this data structure can also lay the foundation for the introduction of data failure mechanism in future blockchain systems. Synchronize the entire network for data that is forgotten by the system in some legal frameworks. Nodes that do not want to synchronize the information of forgetting can also be regarded as untrusted nodes by other nodes, and future data growth will not be based on these nodes, thus achieving the effect of global trusted forgetting. Of course, forgotten here refers to the consensus of consistent business data destruction, not the removal of data in the global trace. Because the data is reproducible, once it is copied, it is difficult to completely erase the traces.



B. Streamline processes to reduce costs


5. Reduce multi-party record verification costs - unique and consistent global synchronization data record

An efficient business model must be able to agree and agree on business data. The consistency of data records is the most basic and traditional information exchange requirement. The emergence of information systems is to improve the consistency and processing efficiency of data records.

The impact of the establishment of information systems on the efficiency of information processing is spiraling upward. In the early days, in order to record consistent data, different stakeholder entities needed to maintain their own data and repeatedly check and verify at various stages of the data lifecycle (recording, use, periodic verification, change, transfer, destruction). The overhead caused by information system docking, information transmission, and information processing is unavoidable.

Therefore, a large number of centralized information systems have emerged. Information mediators collect relevant data and perform unified processing through centralization, thereby reducing data verification costs and improving business efficiency. As the business becomes more complex, the social division of labor becomes smaller, the number of service entities increases, and important business information data is held by a large number of business-related entities with different functions. Leading business entities to focus on the reliability, objectivity, independence and security of information mediation.

As the number of information mediators continues to increase, information is continuously replicated, and processed separately, business systems become redundant and complex in the context of multiple mediations, which in turn leads to greater information synchronization, verification, and management costs. To a certain extent, it offsets the efficiency gain brought by a single information system.

Thus, the emergence of the blockchain system subtly gives a solution to the above problem - through a unique and consistent global synchronous data record, to break through the complex and inefficient bottleneck caused by the global multi-copy data storage mode.

At present, this idea is most widely accepted by the industry, and it is also the core idea of the industry trying to apply blockchain. Many projects in the industry have made good use of this idea to reduce the cost of multi-party record verification and simplify the data verification process, thereby reducing the overall cost of the business.

However, the idea of maintaining a data record rather than multiple records does not require the application of a complete blockchain system, nor the decentralization or de-intermediation modes. If only to reduce the risk of inconsistent multi-party accounting, the existing system can be solved by centralizing (participating in business entities or third-party institutions) accounting or multi-agent participation in mutual supervision and multi-party real-time synchronous verification. It also improves efficiency. In fact, the author believes that many of the business problems that many alliance chains and private chains attempt to solve can be solved by this method.

6. Reduce the information interaction process of business related parties - de-intermediation (de-modularization), and ultimately the business side-to-point interaction

Deintermediary thinking is different from "decentralization" or "multi-centeredness." More to the center or multi-center emphasizes the concept of equality, while de-intermediation emphasizes the concept of simplification. De-intermediation refers to the organic integration of information systems with directly related business and data interactions. It will be redundant by clarifying business boundaries, rationally designing business data permissions and controls, and increasing the timely verification of business links. Participate in the main body, operation links, permission processes, and external interactions to simplify. In the specific system design, it is reflected that the redundant system modules are removed or integrated to simplify the overall processing flow. In essence, de-intermediation does not change the logic and authority of business participants, and some centralized management agencies still exist.

For the blockchain system such as Bitcoin, the accounting, confirmation and transaction processes are completely integrated into one system, which greatly simplifies the multi-system mode of trading system, clearing system and settlement system involved in traditional transaction accounting. Among them, some relatively objective business processes can be completely replaced by built-in programs, avoiding manual or system intervention as an intermediary, increasing the processing links, ensuring the objectivity and efficiency of processing, and making the participants more transparent. The entire transaction process is monitored to facilitate multiple parties to identify problems, communicate and solve problems in a timely manner.

De-intermediation reflects system integration, modularization, multi-level integration of system design ideas, and ultimately business-to-point interaction. This is in conflict with the traditional complex system design, the function layering, modularization, as much as possible to simplify the single module or a single level of processing functions, improve the overall reliability and scalability of the system. For very complex systems, the practice of this idea is relatively difficult. It requires system designers to clearly sort out and recognize business intermediaries and system intermediaries. It requires very clever and reliable design to balance efficiency and reliability. Sex.

Therefore, if the processes and links involved in the business system itself are very complicated, you can consider integrating and optimizing only the parts of the business model that have little change in scalability, and the other parts remain modular and hierarchical. Separate the risks between layers to make the system stable and scalable.

7. Information transparency - streamline information dissemination processes and reduce information dissemination costs

Another key idea of the blockchain system to improve efficiency is information transparency and sharing. In the real world, the disclosure of information and data requires cost. The cost includes system construction costs, information maintenance costs, and the cost of officially confirming the release of the investment. Who is going to publicize the information, how to publicize it, who is wrong?