Blockchains and performance

Chris Dixon

Blockchains are computers that can make commitments.

Computers that can make commitments
Chris Dixon’s blog.

You pay some performance overhead for this property.

If someone says something like “blockchains are slower than traditional computers” — yes that is true.

It’s a trade off between performance and making long term commitments to users and developers.

The performance delta between computers that can make commitments (=blockchains) and computers that can’t (=Google/AWS servers) will shrink over time.

An awesome feature of blockchains is that anyone can join permissionlessly and become part of the network as miners/validators.

But we also need some system for screening participants to avoid spam/ attacks.

Hence proof-of-work and proof-of-stake.

If someone wants to debate the trade offs here of this design— great 🙂

Notice, in practice, all the counter arguments are ad hominem and don’t answer the core argument.

That’s because their arguments aren’t sound and they need to try to make personal insults to try to win.

I’ve seen many arguments against web3 (and me and my friends) over the last few months, from people ranging from Google execs to Berkeley professors to Facebook/web2 security execs.

All the attacks I’ve seen have been ad hominem.

We’d be very happy to engage on the issues.

An interesting question: how do you create a computing network that is open to anyone and openly democratic but not easily spamable/DDOS-able?

This is what is known as Sybil resistance.

Proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are the best known methods for doing this democratically.

The other method is the web2 way— you need to be an exclusively named access person.

Is it surprising that senior Google/FB execs wouldn’t understand the value of computing networks that are not run by Google/FB execs?


Originally published on December 17, 2021