Are Bitcoiners against innovation?

Today, a company I advise, Chronicled, got some good press. But then something happened that really bothered me.

Ryan Orr and his team could have played it safe and built a centralized system and their business case would have been ironclad — they would own the platform. Instead, they decided to take a risk and develop a system that could be made a public utility. This complicates their business model, as the technology and platform can succeed without them succeeding.

They felt that the attractiveness of an open platform would make it easier for competitors to cooperate to build a vibrant ecosystem. They believed that using a blockchain could allow them to build a system that competitors could feel they equally owned and controlled and thus all embrace.

This is a great group of talented folks developing exciting hardware and software around a new use case for blockchains. They’re developing tamperproof RFID tags that can do crypto operations and stand up to being stepped on thousands of times. They’re developing client applications that interact with smart contracts to enforce system rules without a central authority.

So what do they get from the Bitcoin community? Well,  on a reddit page in the Bitcoin subreddit, this:

This has got absolutely nothing to do with Bitcoin.

This is just a centralised nfc/rfid database tracking/authentication service.

… [W]hen the article mentioned they are creating their own sneaker blockchain, then it became clear that they don’t value the benefits of a public, transparent and tamper-proof blockchain.

You would think the Bitcoin community would embrace exciting use cases for Bitcoin technology. This doesn’t compete with any existing project in any way that I can think of. It’s innovative. It grows interest in blockchains and Bitcoin.

Now this may not be the very best example of what I’m ranting about, but I think it is an example of a rampant reflexive negative reaction to innovation in the Bitcoin community.

The pie is small, we need to grow it, not fight over scraps. Do we want to see every innovation as a potential threat to a status quo we are satisfied with? Or do we care about making the world a better place through developing new technologies and exciting use cases?

Author: JoelKatz

CTO at Ripple and one of the original architects of the XRP Ledger. Known in many online communities as "JoelKatz".

2 thoughts on “Are Bitcoiners against innovation?”

  1. Not against innovation, just logical thinkers. No reason to build your own blockchain that lacks hashpower if you can use one of the 600+ altcoins with virtually no hashpower. Remember the more people mining, the more secure the blockchain is. So we have to keep it within reason. Sidechains are a great solution. Anything using Bitcoin’s blockchain will be more secure than anything using any of the top alt coin blockchains. We are not against innovation, just against miseducation, manipulation, and falty ideas. And there are always people in the cryptocurrency world that will take advantage of others, so there is a higher level of precaution on any idea.

  2. “No reason to build your own blockchain that lacks hashpower if you can use one of the 600+ altcoins with virtually no hashpower.”

    So if you’re experimenting with different possible ways to use Ethereum contracts, repeatedly throwing everything out and starting over from scratch, you should do it on the live Ethereum network? Sorry, I can’t possibly agree. People absolutely should be building their own blockchains and experimenting with new technologies on them. That’s innovation, and you’re saying there’s no reason to do it because there are blockchains already. You seem to be illustrating my point.

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