Engineering With Blockchains

by Dan Robles on July 11, 2015

Bitcoin uses Proof-Of-Work (POW) to create a new block in a blockchain.   This is analogous to the kidnappers taking a photo of the victim holding the daily newspaper to establish that they are still alive.  Consequently, no proof can last more than a few seconds until the next newspaper is printed.  In other words, the solution to the last puzzle becomes part of the solution to the next puzzle.  In the case of Bitcoin, if we assume that the newspaper has no other reason for existing except to prove that the victim is still alive, it is easy to see how POW can becomes energy and labor intensive.

Proof-of-Stake (POS) is a bit more like Poker. Only after a player shows their cards can a determination be agreed upon by the community of players permitting a payout and allowing the next round begin.

The information required for proof of stake is as follows: 1. the result of the last round of the game, 2. the identity of the card holder, 3. the timestamp that the poker hand was revealed.  4. The account balance of chips on the table, and 5. the result of the playing-card algorithm.

If an account has all of these components, then a new block may be formed. If one draws a rough analogy between POW and POS and compares that to the Professional-Of-Engineering Stamp (POE) Model – and by extension, all scientific validation marks – an interesting similarity emerges:

In an environment of construction, product development, or even research and development, the following is observed:   1. It is relatively easy to use the results of a test, inspection, or observation to establish that a condition exists.  2. The condition the prior event defines the state of play for the next event. 3. the identity of the adjudicator is established in their qualifications (or licensure or Curiosumé) 4. The value of the project is established contractually, by pro forma, or prior block 5. The design of the project represents the algorithm of the game.

Once this information can be established, a signatory can create the new block. The difference between POE (Proof-OF-Engineering) and PWO/POS is that POE has an intrinsic value which is stored in the asset being created (road, bridge, software, security, energy, education, medicine, etc).  Where multiple players engage with a shared asset, they are all intrinsically motivated to preserve the asset rather than consume or destroy the asset.  They will interact with each other accordingly.

Perhaps the bigger question is: Should society emulate cryptocurrencies or should cryptocurrencies emulate society upon our shared asset Earth?



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