25 votes

Developer turns 'future of gaming' talk into a surprise attack on convention's NFT and blockchain sponsors

15 comments

  1. [14]
    babypuncher
    Link
    Cryptocurrencies are so bizarre to me right now. Clearly they are extremely popular. Even with the market collapsing, BTC is still over $20k. Yet I personally know practically nobody who doesn't...

    Cryptocurrencies are so bizarre to me right now. Clearly they are extremely popular. Even with the market collapsing, BTC is still over $20k. Yet I personally know practically nobody who doesn't think it's all a giant scam.

    16 votes
    1. [3]
      Rez
      Link Parent
      If you wanted to sell your BTC right now, then for most people (especially BTC which has the most casual interest), that'd be a loss they're locking in, and probably a pretty steep one. Most...

      BTC is still over $20k.

      If you wanted to sell your BTC right now, then for most people (especially BTC which has the most casual interest), that'd be a loss they're locking in, and probably a pretty steep one. Most people selling right now would only be doing so if they absolutely need the money and have no alternatives (or otherwise just want to to be out of crypto completely).

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        joelthelion
        Link Parent
        That still wouldn't be enough to maintain the current price if no one were buying. Which begs the question: who is buying bitcoin at the moment?

        That still wouldn't be enough to maintain the current price if no one were buying. Which begs the question: who is buying bitcoin at the moment?

        3 votes
        1. Tardigrade
          Link Parent
          Speculators who assume it'll go back up eventually? It historically has which I know means nothing but it's not an unreasonable gamble.

          Speculators who assume it'll go back up eventually? It historically has which I know means nothing but it's not an unreasonable gamble.

          4 votes
    2. [9]
      drannex
      Link Parent
      The technology is great, blockchain is wonderful, but being used primarily as a speculative asset is horrific.

      The technology is great, blockchain is wonderful, but being used primarily as a speculative asset is horrific.

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        Grendel
        Link Parent
        Just curious, what is great about the technology? I find it very interesting, but I've always questioned its usefulness. Looking at it from a tech perspective, just about all of the features it...

        Just curious, what is great about the technology? I find it very interesting, but I've always questioned its usefulness. Looking at it from a tech perspective, just about all of the features it offers can be accomplished through a traditional DBMS. People seem to really emphasize the immutability of it, but having proper permissions and logging on a DBMS seems to come "pretty close" to accomplishing the same thing in a MUCH more efficient manner.

        Why burn through energy in an environmentally unfriendly way to solve problems that have already been solved? It's also so much slower than a traditional DBMS.

        The only use I've heard of that I thought might be valid was to use it for public records that track asset/property ownership. And again, a well-designed database could do that on its own.

        14 votes
        1. [4]
          stu2b50
          Link Parent
          The immutability isn't really a defining feature of "the blockchain", that comes from a more basic data structure that "the blockchain" is built on - a Merkle tree. These are not particularly...

          The immutability isn't really a defining feature of "the blockchain", that comes from a more basic data structure that "the blockchain" is built on - a Merkle tree. These are not particularly expensive, and are used as extensively as mildly esoteric datastructures can be used extensively - Git's internals are a Merkle tree, for instance, and they're commonly used in audit logs (that way the auditor can make sure you're not cheating the entries).

          The main benefit of "the blockchain" is distributed trust. If you have a plain jane database, someone is running that database on their servers. They could boot up psql and overwrite some rows. They could just have bad programming and insert the wrong records. To some extent, you have to trust that the overseer of that database is both a good actor and competent.

          Hypothetically, with "the blockchain", that is no longer a criteria with - well, sort of. Instead of a person, you need to "believe" in the consensus method. Bitcoin has its 50% attacks, for instance, so you need to believe it's unlikely enough someone would pay for that much compute to screw you over. "Believing" is more and more non-trivial with the weirder blockchains.

          Again, hypothetically, you do not need to trust that any particular person in "the blockchain" is a good actor. They could all be trying to screw you over, but that's okay.


          (in practice there tends to be implicit trust anyway in most blockchain projects but this is just on the hypothetical technical merit)

          8 votes
          1. [3]
            Grendel
            Link Parent
            Thanks for breaking that down! So outside of crypto currency, what kind of use case would a block chain be the best fit for?

            Thanks for breaking that down! So outside of crypto currency, what kind of use case would a block chain be the best fit for?

            1 vote
            1. stu2b50
              Link Parent
              If you really bend the definition of "blockchain", I'd say the only real example I'd have is Bedrock DB, which, self describes itself as and is, evidently, used by a real company, that is at scale...

              If you really bend the definition of "blockchain", I'd say the only real example I'd have is Bedrock DB, which, self describes itself as

              Bedrock is Blockchain-based. This means it uses a private blockchain to synchronize and self organize.

              and is, evidently, used by a real company, that is at scale (where I work actually uses expensify for expense tracking).

              In terms of so called "public chains", in practice there tends to be a lot of centralization and trust required in the systems built off of blockchains. You can see this from the NFTs that are really own valuable because they hook into centralized systems (see, for example, the NBA NFTs, which come with their own terms of service), or the fact that smaller cryptocurrency's, when majorly hacked, tend to get forked by their developer (so much for decentralized) to revert that hack.

              Vanilla bitcoin is probably the closest? It's not a great currency, but it is somewhat of a marvel for, for the most part, working, even if inferior in many important attributes to mainframes and mysql based traditional banking. And, at least for now, it is the least centralized, even if rich mining pools have outsized power - it's better than the other blockchain projects.

              It's crude and unwieldy in many ways, but you can do unique things because of distributed trust, like buy illicit drugs or ransom people - those things aren't, uh, necessarily great for society, but from a technical side, it is unique.

              6 votes
            2. Adys
              Link Parent
              Distributed trust AND distributed ledger, to be clear. Distributed trust systems predate bitcoin; the innovation with the blockchain is more centered around the ledger. Check out this video for a...

              Distributed trust AND distributed ledger, to be clear. Distributed trust systems predate bitcoin; the innovation with the blockchain is more centered around the ledger.

              Check out this video for a solid and accessible explanation and further breakdown:

              https://tildes.net/~tech/118p/how_cryptocurrencies_actually_work

              Applications are quite niche beyond currencies, honestly. Ethereum is doing very interesting work, and I kind of believe in the possibility that there are applications we haven't really thought of yet, so "this existing" is not a bad thing per se. Even NFTs, technical proponents argue there is a case for public-chain-of-trust type usage, such as selling/reselling licenses to a product (eg. you own a steam game or a digital movie or something, you resell it to me, there's even a way for the original seller of the product to receive a cut from resales AFAIU).

              IMO, once the gold rush has fully died down and the smell of trash has finally left the room, both cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies will have their place as a tool/medium in the world of tech. Right now, it's just ... urgh.

              4 votes
        2. [2]
          imperialismus
          Link Parent
          Aside from what stu2b50 said, there's another use case I'd like to mention: when you can't trust the people deciding economic policy to be both reasonable and competent. Crypto has been quite...

          Aside from what stu2b50 said, there's another use case I'd like to mention: when you can't trust the people deciding economic policy to be both reasonable and competent. Crypto has been quite popular in parts of Latin America because their traditional centralized economies really aren't working very well. Here's a telling quote from an article about it:

          As the Venezuelan economist Aarón Olmos of the Institute of Higher Administrative Studies (IESA) told Rest of World, people in Latin America began turning to crypto as a way to circumvent their unstable or stagnant economies. He said that in surveys he ran with crypto users in Venezuela, the most common response was, “I would rather have a digital asset whose price goes up and down than a currency whose only real trend is down, thanks to the political economy.”

          Now, I don't know if cryptocurrencies will ultimately prove to be a good solution to this problem, or even a decent one. But I can see why reasonable people who have pure intentions might think so if they live in an economy that's been struggling for decades. I imagine most people on tildes live in a much better-managed economy than Venezuela's, so we have better reason to trust our centralized traditional economic systems.

          4 votes
          1. Grendel
            Link Parent
            Ah, as usual my monocular first world view hadn't considered the benefit to developing nations. Thanks for the insight!

            Ah, as usual my monocular first world view hadn't considered the benefit to developing nations. Thanks for the insight!

            2 votes
      2. Fiachra
        Link Parent
        Unfortunately it can be quite profitable as an investment asset, which means that investors, grifters and scammers will chase the money for as long as the going is good. It's not clear to me what...

        Unfortunately it can be quite profitable as an investment asset, which means that investors, grifters and scammers will chase the money for as long as the going is good. It's not clear to me what could ever stop it, to be honest.

    3. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      It's popular more in terms of money invested than raw numbers of people involved, is my guess.

      It's popular more in terms of money invested than raw numbers of people involved, is my guess.

  2. Fiachra
    Link
    No surprise that gamers immediately spotted the threat of microtransactions (their eternal enemy) behind the concept of digital scarcity.

    No surprise that gamers immediately spotted the threat of microtransactions (their eternal enemy) behind the concept of digital scarcity.

    4 votes