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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 / ricardo@samsungnext.com @ArgesRic
  2. @argesric @samsungnext Ledgers: not just a fancy new database.

  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.
  4. Who am I?

  5. @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.
  6. Now, a warning!

  7. @argesric @samsungnext (*) #notAllBlockchains

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

  9. What are these things even…?

  10. @argesric @samsungnext Distributed database.

  11. @argesric @samsungnext Yeah. Cryptocurrencies. Again.

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

  13. Characteristics and/or Requirements

  14. @argesric @samsungnext The system needs to… • Be distributed; •

    Have an absence of trust; • Require consensus; • Demand disintermediation; • Keep track of provenance; • Be auditable.
  15. @argesric @samsungnext #1 - Distributed

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

  18. @argesric @samsungnext Management is still centralized.

  19. @argesric @samsungnext Distributed organizationally.

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

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

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

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

  24. @argesric @samsungnext #3 - Consensus

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

  26. @argesric @samsungnext #4 - Disintermediation

  27. @argesric @samsungnext Banks are intermediaries.

  28. @argesric @samsungnext Validators are intermediaries.

  29. @argesric @samsungnext Centralized APIs are intermediaries.

  30. @argesric @samsungnext Distributed ledgers abhor intermediaries

  31. @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.
  32. @argesric @samsungnext #5 - Provenance

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

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

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

  37. @argesric @samsungnext #6 - Auditable

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

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

  40. Why is this important?

  41. @argesric @samsungnext The sales pitch • “Tool X has infinite

    applications!” • “You get all this stuff for free!”
  42. @argesric @samsungnext TANSTAAFL. You always pay for overhead.

  43. Counterpoints and trade-offs

  44. @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.
  45. @argesric @samsungnext #1 - Organizationally centralized

  46. @argesric @samsungnext #2 - Trust structure

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

  48. @argesric @samsungnext #4 - Trusted intermediaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

  55. @argesric @samsungnext #6 - Controlling sharing

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

  57. Summing up…

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

  59. @argesric @samsungnext Thank you. Contact: ricardo@samsungnext.com