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Blockchain

Distributed database that maintains an append-to-only ledger.
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Mozilla Icon Mozilla

Innovating on web monetization: Coil and Firefox Reality

Coil is a web monetization effort where you subscribe for $5 a month and get access to various exclusive content things on participating websites. I think of it like Brave meets Patreon.

Firefox Reality is “mixed reality” (AR/VR) games and experiences from around the web.

The news here is that Mozilla is adopting Coil to experiment with monetization on Firefox Reality. Coil is for-profit, which adds a wrinkle to things. It uses Interledger to move money, which means creators can work in whichever currency they like. Lots of details and explanations in the linked post from Mozilla’s blog.

Twitter Icon Twitter

Twitter wants an open / decentralized standard for social media

Jack Dorsey:

Twitter is funding a small independent team of up to five open source architects, engineers, and designers to develop an open and decentralized standard for social media. The goal is for Twitter to ultimately be a client of this standard.

Color me surprised and impressed. My first thought was, “why create something brand new when smart people have been working on open standards for a long time already?” Then I read on:

For social media, we’d like this team to either find an existing decentralized standard they can help move forward, or failing that, create one from scratch. That’s the only direction we at Twitter, Inc. will provide.

Verrry interesting, indeed. What do you think will come of all this?

Michael del Castillo forbes.com

Shell invests in Ethereum

This is a really interesting usage of blockchain technology to ensure you are really getting what you think you bought. Michael del Castillo writes on Forbes.com:

The fifth-largest oil and gas company in the world, valued at $262 billion, is investing an undisclosed amount in LO3, a New York startup using a modified version of the ethereum blockchain to make it easier for individuals to buy and sell locally produced energy using the existing network of power cables.

While the bitcoin blockchain lets users track the flow of value without the need of banks to audit the system, LO3’s platform, called Exergy, is designed to track the flow of energy as it is added to a shared, local energy network, giving the neighbors who purchase the energy absolute certainty it really came from a windmill, a solar panel or a gerbil running on a treadmill.

Medium Icon Medium

Why decentralization matters

Chris Dixon on Medium:

Early internet protocols were technical specifications created by working groups or non-profit organizations that relied on the alignment of interests in the internet community to gain adoption. This method worked well during the very early stages of the internet but since the early 1990s very few new protocols have gained widespread adoption.

Cryptonetworks fix these problems by providing economics incentives to developers, maintainers, and other network participants in the form of tokens. They are also much more technically robust. For example, they are able to keep state and do arbitrary transformations on that state, something past protocols could never do.

What Chris is advocating is the protocols of the past weren’t made for the internet of the future. The next era of the internet is being built with Web 3.

Preethi Kasireddy medium.com

Fundamental Challenges with Public Blockchains

Preethi does a great job of bringing some sanity to the (somewhat justified) hype around Ethereum and friends:

blockchains have several major technical barriers that make them impractical for mainstream use today… it could be many years before trustless systems are ready for mainstream use at scale.

We discussed these issues with Preethi in-depth at the tail end of The Changelog #277.

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

What Is a Blockchain Smart Contract?

If you’re new to or learning more about blockchain, this is a great post that breaks down the semantics of what a blockchain smart contract is and is not.

Mike Bursell:

The first thing to know about blockchain smart contracts is that there isn’t a contract, they aren’t smart, nor are they necessarily on a blockchain.

Smart contracts could, I suppose, be smart, but for me, that means complex and able to react to unexpected or unlikely situations. I think that people call them “smart” because they’re embodied in code.

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