A bit about blockchains

About blockchain technology - the longer version

In the last few decades, we witnessed the rise of digital technologies as the internet and public blockchains. Some of these new digital technologies are 'open protocols'. Open means accessible for all, where a protocol stands for a standardized, programmed set of rules. You could see these open protocols as languages used to share information (internet) and value (blockchains). New languages bring new possibilities. For the first time in human history, we can now speak transparent, open languages globally. Not a linguistic transfer of words, like English, but a digital transfer of value. Just as you can use English in many ways, we can also use these digital languages in many ways. They reform the way we connect and communicate digitally, just think about the impact of the https-protocol (internet) or the Bitcoin-protocol. They are radically reshaping the world as we know it, and we expect that these new technologies will heavily impact the ways we learn and educate. The Koios experiment is all about applying this new languages in higher education, aim for improvement in open fashion, and see what happens. In the mean time creating new courses, tools and networks, available for all.
Due to the open and global character, these languages evolve and improve fast. In a couple of decades, the internet fundamentally changed the way of sharing information. And yet, we are on the brink of another fundamental change thanks to blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is ledger technology and radically change the way we transfer digital values in two ways. Public blockchains act as fully open, transparent digital ledgers for the internet. Everybody can participate and access the ledger. Public blockchains change (1) ‘who’ records the data, from centralized to decentralized, and (2) the ‘way’ we record that data, from manual to automated smart contracts. So more ‘cost efficient’ and transparent digital infrastructures, because of the reduced role of intermediairies and the automation of the recording and transfer processes.
In a world where ‘data is the new gold’ and ‘software is eating the world’, this enables a fundamental shift of power because the governance of digital infrastructures and applications move from closed-off MegaCorps acquiring power from members (current web2) to open ecosystems distributing power to members (upcoming web3). Each public ledger has it own set of rules on recording valid transactions and reaching a global consensus about the ledger's state. You can therefore use each ledger for a different use-case. Some are fast, some are decentralised, some are secure, some claim to have it all. All still need to be proven in time, these open protocols enable the transfer of value across the globe—the Bitcoin protocol being the first and most famous example.
So the internet is used to share data (information) and public blockchains are ledgers which are used to record and transfer data (value). Blockchains are digital ledgers, but can represent values from the real world like certificates, you can’t control them as one person or party (decentral), everybody can access (open), propose improvement solutions (permissionless), can see all the transactions and recordings (transparent). And another very important factor, you cannot alter the past (immutable and censorship resistant). Each blockchain has its own design and mix in flavors of the properties above, and one blockchain is better suited for a particular use-case than the other. There are many different protocols, ergo the blockchain including the set of rules on how to determine/record valid transactions, being tested for different purposes. Done by great teams and communities around the world. And there are many parties applying these protocols in their field, whether that is a country like El Salvador experimenting with Bitcoin as part of their financial infrastructure, or Koios experimenting with Ethereum as part of the education infrastructure.
To make this a bit more complex, not only did the type of ledger change, the ‘who’, but also the ‘way’ we record transactions has changed. It is now possible to automatically record the transactions. Not done by a human, but done by a piece of standardized code, called a smart contract. Not really smart, and not really a contract, this piece of code can be seen as a transparent decision tree, where you can follow the transaction based on the inputs somebody or something gave it in advance. Just like a physical vending machine, where the input (insert money + selection button) determines the outcome (candy bar or cookie). Only this time digital, so applicable for creating all kinds of applications for example. Automated applications, combined with the transparent and secure properties of blockchains, are a powerful combination we believe harbors many benefits as an infrastructure.
Although people and systems need time to adjust, new infrastructures for value are in the making. Bitcoin is not the only one out there anymore. The genie is out of the bottle, and many other blockchains with value-sharing protocols and different smart contracts are deployed and being tested. Resulting in many scams, failed projects, or centralized commercial variants, but sometimes in better decentralized infrastructures and improved apps. Applications designed in automatic and transparent fashion, from won’t do evil (web2) to can’t do evil (web3), and where users become owners.
Last modified 16d ago
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