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Ledgers: When would you even...?

Ledgers: When would you even...?

Distributed ledgers: when are they a good fit, what are their key strengths, and where are we making trade-offs?

Ricardo J. Méndez

September 01, 2018
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  1. Ledgers - When would
    you even…?
    Ricardo J. Méndez
    SAP Inside Track Berlin, 2018
    September 1st, 2018 / [email protected]
    @ArgesRic

    https://mastodon.social/@ricardojmendez/

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  2. @argesric @samsungnext
    Ledgers: not just a
    fancy new database.

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  3. @argesric @samsungnext
    Here’s the plan…
    ● Give a quick overview of what they are, in case anyone’s not familiar;
    ● Talk about what I see as the requirements for them to be worth it;
    ● Give some counterpoints about trade-offs you are making.

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  4. @argesric @samsungnext
    About me
    Technical Director for Europe at Samsung NEXT
    in Berlin.
    We partner with innovators and invest in
    forward-looking deep-tech companies.
    Tech guy. Started companies. Done consulting.
    Seen more gross tool mis-applications than I
    can remember.
    Hope I can save you all some time.

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  5. Now, a warning!

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  6. @argesric @samsungnext
    (*) #notAllBlockchains

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  7. @argesric @samsungnext
    (**) Contains Opinions

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  8. What are these
    things even…?

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  9. @argesric @samsungnext
    Distributed database.

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  10. @argesric @samsungnext
    Yeah.
    Cryptocurrencies.
    Again.

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  11. @argesric @samsungnext
    Also authentication.
    Also a vineyard.

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  12. Characteristics and/or
    Requirements

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  13. @argesric @samsungnext
    The system needs to…
    ● Be distributed;
    ● Have an absence of trust;
    ● Require consensus;
    ● Demand disintermediation;
    ● Keep track of provenance;
    ● Be auditable.

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  14. @argesric @samsungnext
    #1 - Distributed

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  15. @argesric @samsungnext
    Distributed
    ● Do you want to have data spread across multiple servers?
    ● Do you want to run queries faster?
    ● Do you want some redundancy?

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  16. @argesric @samsungnext
    Those are all about you.

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  17. @argesric @samsungnext
    Management is still
    centralized.

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  18. @argesric @samsungnext
    Distributed
    organizationally.

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  19. @argesric @samsungnext
    #2 - Absence of trust

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  20. @argesric @samsungnext
    Systems have some
    implicit trust baked in.

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  21. @argesric @samsungnext
    We offset trust with
    recovery mechanisms.

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  22. @argesric @samsungnext
    Distributed ledgers
    don’t trust you.

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  23. @argesric @samsungnext
    #3 - Consensus

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  24. @argesric @samsungnext
    No ACL.
    Check Byzantine Fault
    Tolerance.

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  25. @argesric @samsungnext
    #4 - Disintermediation

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  26. @argesric @samsungnext
    Banks are
    intermediaries.

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  27. @argesric @samsungnext
    Validators are
    intermediaries.

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  28. @argesric @samsungnext
    Centralized APIs
    are intermediaries.

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  29. @argesric @samsungnext
    Distributed ledgers
    abhor intermediaries

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  30. @argesric @samsungnext
    Our system so far…
    ● Everyone involved has a copy of the data;
    ● Everyone can try to write to the shared state of the world;
    ● Every node involved agrees on if the change takes place or not.

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  31. @argesric @samsungnext
    #5 - Provenance

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  32. @argesric @samsungnext
    Provenance
    ● A system where the data can be out of our control,
    ● Where we don't trust anyone who may be writing to it,
    ● So we're going to need to design some mechanism to agree on the world's
    state,
    ● And which almost refuses to live behind an API wall.

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  33. @argesric @samsungnext
    Ledgers are ideal for
    tracking provenance.

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  34. @argesric @samsungnext
    Ledgers are append-
    only logs.

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  35. @argesric @samsungnext
    Logs are crap at
    queryability.

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  36. @argesric @samsungnext
    #6 - Auditable

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  37. @argesric @samsungnext
    Wait… Isn’t that good?

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  38. @argesric @samsungnext
    Not very selective,
    though.

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  39. Why is this
    important?

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  40. @argesric @samsungnext
    The sales pitch
    ● “Tool X has infinite applications!”
    ● “You get all this stuff for free!”

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  41. @argesric @samsungnext
    TANSTAAFL.
    You always pay for
    overhead.

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  42. Counterpoints
    and trade-offs

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  43. @argesric @samsungnext
    Counterpoints
    ● Be distributed;
    ● Have an absence of trust;
    ● Require consensus;
    ● Demand disintermediation;
    ● Keep track of provenance;
    ● Be auditable.
    ● Organizationally centralized;
    ● Trust structure;
    ● No need for consensus;
    ● Trusted intermediaries;
    ● Provenance alternatives;
    ● Controlling sharing.

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  44. @argesric @samsungnext
    #1 - Organizationally
    centralized

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  45. @argesric @samsungnext
    #2 - Trust structure

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  46. @argesric @samsungnext
    #3 - No need for
    consensus

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  47. @argesric @samsungnext
    #4 - Trusted
    intermediaries

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  48. @argesric @samsungnext
    Identity - online and
    offline.

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  49. @argesric @samsungnext
    Identity online doesn’t
    need intermediaries.

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  50. @argesric @samsungnext
    Identity in the real world
    has intermediaries.

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  51. @argesric @samsungnext
    Is there an external
    point of trust?

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  52. @argesric @samsungnext
    #5 - Other approaches
    to provenance

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  53. @argesric @samsungnext
    It’s not about tech.
    It’s about actual use.

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  54. @argesric @samsungnext
    #6 - Controlling sharing

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  55. @argesric @samsungnext
    Assume everyone can
    read everything.

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  56. Summing up…

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  57. @argesric @samsungnext
    Need most or all of these?
    Great!
    Otherwise…

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  58. @argesric @samsungnext
    Thank you.
    Contact: [email protected]

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