A couple of weeks ago, I had a back-and-forth email exchange with one of my favorite podcasters (also Chicago-based!). They were going to interview the author of a recently-published book about blockchains and the potential of blockchains to change the way business records, transactions, votes and other interactions are executed and recorded, and this person requested my input on questions for the interviewee. Unfortunately, the questions I posed came just a tad too late. However, the few questions I wanted to ask this blockchain expert are currently relevant and worth asking of anyone who claims expertise in blockchains and cryptocurrencies, so I decided to share them here on this blog.
Here are a sample of questions I’d ask any blockchain expert today:
- Bitcoin has been called “The Internet of Money” or “The Email of Money”. Well, both email and the Internet are basically just a collection of core protocols, just like Bitcoin. One could argue, correctly, that the core protocols of email and the Internet haven’t fundamentally changed since their creation, and that their relative stability has led them to become great platforms to build on. Is the rapidly-changing nature of blockchain tech, and strife over Bitcoin’s protocol design, hindering blockchains‘ broader and sustained adoption as another core protocol?
- In your opinion, what are the relative merits and drawbacks of closed/private blockchains like Stellar or Ripple? Is there a use-case for them, or is he an advocate only for open blockchains like Bitcoin?
- (Keeping in mind that open blockchains like Bitcoin are most secure and resilient when they’re decentralized…) To what extent does he think that Bitcoin is centralized? Are there any risks created by centralization in each of Bitcoin’s three core economic areas: mining, exchanges and financial services?
- Investors like Marc Andreessen seem to be staunch believers that the potential of blockchain tech is inextricably linked to Bitcoin. This is to say, he’s a skeptic of blockchains that don’t build on top of Bitcoin in some way. Are startup investors right to be leery of companies that build on a blockchain and mining infrastructure other than Bitcoin’s?
- What are his thoughts on Distributed Autonomous Corporations (DACs) and how should startup investors think about companies aiming to build them?