In Search of ‘Real’ Blockchain? Good Luck with That

real blockchain

Last week, Kadena founder Stuart Popejoy questioned whether the IBM HyperLedger Fabric blockchain was a ‘real’ blockchain in this article on Cointelegraph.

His argument has several provocative points, but his central concern is Fabric’s consensus mechanism. According to Popejoy, “A blockchain is, at its core, a decentralized immutable ledger of events or transactions in which truth is enforced by a consensus mechanism” – a definition most readers would more or less agree to.

However, IBM “conveniently leaves out decentralized consensus [from its definition of blockchain],” according to Popejoy, “because Hyperledger Fabric doesn’t require a true consensus mechanism at all.”

Instead, Fabric uses the Kafka ordering service, which in Popejoy’s estimation, leaves Fabric with numerous vulnerabilities – as well as a plethora of other concerns including performance challenges and problems with how Fabric handles smart contracts.

Popejoy should know what he’s talking about. He worked at JPMorgan Chase researching and vetting blockchains for the bank’s potential use.

But whether you agree with him or not, there is still the larger question about whether any consensus mechanism will provide all the capabilities enterprises will require from blockchain.

After all Proof of Work (or what I call, give your money to organized criminals and/or a few guys in China) or Proof of Stake (aka let the richest people decide) both have fundamentally systemic flaws as well.

Will some other consensus mechanism finally give blockchain fans everything they’re looking for? Or is this whole blockchain thing a wild goose chase? Only time will tell.

IBM is an Intellyx customer. None of the other companies mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Jason Bloomberg neither owns, nor plans to own, any cryptocurrency or other cryptotoken, either long or short.

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