Debating Satoshi Nakamoto’s Original Vision Between Blockchain Ledgers or Tokens
According to Adam Krellenstein, co-founder and CTO at Symbiont.io, says that ten years after the anniversary of Bitcoin’s creation, the community is in a crisis. Symbiont.io is a fintech company that focuses on traditional financial markets and blockchain technology.
Mr Krellenstein says that he has been working during the last decade in order to produce new blockchain protocols that go beyond Satoshi’s original proposal. However, it seems that the industry is still struggling to answer important questions related to the nature of this technology and how it should improve society.
The author explains the struggle to understand the relationship between Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology (DLT). For him, there are some blockchains that want to create smart contracts, while others aim at creating tokens. Additionally, there is a debate on whether blockchain networks should be permissioned or not. Krellenstein believes that token systems are more useful than smart contracts when they are based on a public blockchain consensus protocol.
He mentions that Satoshi Nakamoto was right about the best use of blockchain technology. In this way, he created a payment system and a virtual currency (Bitcoin) that is nowadays the most popular and, perhaps, one of the most resilient in the market.
However, Krellenstein says that he spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and that he analyzed it very well when he created the cryptocurrency Counterparty and Symbiont. He goes on describing how Counter-party and Symbiont work and how they were created.
On the matter, he explained:
“Counterparty is a public blockchain smart contracts platform, albeit one focused on token issuance and trading, while Symbiont is a fintech company that develops and licenses its permissioned blockchain-based smart contracts system to improve the infrastructure of traditional financial markets.”
He said that while working on Counterparty and watching Ethereum – one of the largest virtual currencies and blockchain networks in the market – he saw that although both systems were built to support smart contracts, they were primarily used to create and transfer tokens.
Moreover, he explains that their vision was to create a trustless network of decentralized finance, and in order to do so, they implemented smart contracts for token balances, prediction markets, transparent elections and many other features. Nonetheless, those using Counterparty were focusing around its token rather than on other applications.
Krellenstein says that Ethereum makes it difficult to create real applications using the Solidity language. For him, one of the most advanced Ethereum smart contracts is related to CryptoKitties, something that is very similar to other games launched on Counterparty before. Although both platforms, Counterparty and Ethereum, were created to perform many other powerful things, they are exclusively used for tracing tokens.
This is why he thinks that smart contract systems for the general public are not a good idea. Additionally, he says that efficiency is sometimes more important than universality and that interaction among individuals is not yet as complex enough to justify a not efficient decentralized computer program.
Permissioned blockchains could work properly for some participants such as insitutions, governments or corporations. With these blockchains, it is possible to improve consistency and correctness of the current infrastructure.
This is something that some companies such as JP Morgan are already implementing and something that they properly understood.Quorum is the network that has been developed by the recognised bank and that is being used by different institutions and parties.
Krellenstein explains that blockchain can be valuable when replacing a consistent centralized system with a consistent decentralized one. He concludes saying that blockchain technology could become valuable as well when turning an inconsistent decentralized system into a consistent decentralized system.
“The conclusion that I’ve come to is that, just as was originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto, the greatest use of a public blockchain is in fact as a digital currency and payment system,” he says. “Generalizations of Satoshi’s innovations in the time since he launched bitcoin, manifest partly in the enterprise DLT space, are not competitive with bitcoin.”
Perhaps, instead of replacing fiat currencies, blockchain technology could be used to build new databases that support workflows that are un-amenable to management within traditional client-server frameworks.