Man tries to sell Jimmy Wales on blockchain for Wikipedia's security problems--Wales doesn't buy it

Man tries to sell Jimmy Wales on blockchain for Wikipedia’s security problems–Wales doesn’t buy it


Commentary: It takes hubris to convey to Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, how to keep data.

Picture: iStockphoto/Iaremenko

Wikipedia has been all around considering that January 15, 2001. Considering that that time it has saved a lot (and heaps) of facts. At the time of this crafting, Wikipedia has about 6 million articles or blog posts and grows by additional than a single gigabyte of (compressed) text every calendar year. As a single of the world’s best-10 most frequented internet sites, Wikipedia is a main concentrate on for hackers.

As this kind of, it’s not astonishing that somebody would at some point recommend blockchain could solve all of Wikipedia’s stability difficulties. It’s also not shocking that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales would rip the concept to shreds.

SEE: Exclusive report: How blockchain will disrupt business (ZDNet) | Download the cost-free PDF edition (TechRepublic)

To the gentleman with a blockchain…

There is no shortage of people who will fortunately describe how the blockchain will revolutionize report-preserving, farming, and, effectively, every little thing. But there are number of as probably to do that as Daniel Krawisz, sometimes dubbed the “emperor of Bitcoin.” Bitcoin (and the associated blockchain technology) operates in Karwisz’s blood, as it were.

So possibly it was just a subject of time right before Krawisz provided to resolve a really serious Wikipedia information issue: Kid pornography. As Krawisz mentioned on Twitter, “It would be so cheap to document plenty of information about all Wikipedia interactions on the [Bitcoin] blockchain that you could possibly do away with all attainable boy or girl porn distribution on it for pretty minimal charges. Think of the discounts!” 

The concept generally sat there till another person tagged Wales, and then the questions from Wales began

“I really don’t have an understanding of what is becoming proposed.”

Krawisz, undeterred, stored beating the blockchain drum: “I was just contemplating about how you mentioned you didn’t like Bitcoin and imagining means that it could be utilised to boost Wikipedia. More typically, Bitcoin can aid any program to come to be more Byzantine fault tolerant.” The response from Wales?

“But what exclusively are you proposing?”

Once again, Krawisz persevered, telling Wales that he preferred Wales to “believe a lot more deeply about why Bitcoin is a fantastic idea,” additional stressing, “My issue is just that mainly because Bitcoin transactions usually leave documents, somebody who uploaded unlawful material would depart you with extra contextual information that you could track on the blockchain than you would have if there were not payments related with their interactions.”

And this is wherever the dialogue came to an abrupt halt.

…Almost everything appears like a dispersed, decentralized, community ledger

Even though Krawisz might think it’s a great strategy to pressure Wikipedia editors to spend for the correct to edit, that violates a cardinal rule for Wales: “That just isn’t how blockchain operates. That recommendation–to drive men and women to strongly recognize and fork out for the privilege of modifying Wikipedia–is a bad idea independently. And it would be easy and inexpensive to put into action without the need of blockchain.”

A single can quibble as to regardless of whether Wales is appropriate in his strategies on how blockchain operates (some definitely will not), his strategies on how Wikipedia need to be managed are not genuinely a dilemma about blockchain, or even a question of technological know-how. Wales insisted that Wikipedia by now outlets info and has not struggled to do so regardless of not utilizing blockchain. “We presently shop info. In a databases. It performs nicely.” In scenario this stage was shed on Krawisz, he recurring, “We shop knowledge making use of a revolutionary technology that modified the entire world: a databases.”

Which provides us back to Wikipedia. And the blockchain. And knowledge integrity. That Twitter thread keeps likely and devolves into nevertheless an additional exercising in trying to browbeat persons into believing that the blockchain will revolutionize offer chains, photograph sharing, and most almost everything. Meanwhile Wikipedia retains storing information. In a databases. As it generally has. With fantastic final results. Would it be much better on the blockchain? As Wales implies, which is probably the improper problem.

Disclosure: I perform for AWS, but practically nothing herein relates specifically or indirectly to my do the job there.

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