Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Wed Aug 17 11:17:49 EDT 2016

Mike Kerner wrote:

 > Richard Gaskin wrote:
 >> Mike Kerner wrote:
 >> > If I have my mobiles on the same network, and a blockchain, maybe I
 >> > don't even need a central server.  If I have a blockchain, maybe a
 >> > cell phone that is on my network can be communicating with the
 >> > outside world when the wifi or wired-only devices can't.
 >> Don't most carriers allow Internet data over cell networks these
 >> days? The connectivity method would seem independent of the
 >> distributed storage system, no?
 > This isn't about connectivity.

Perhaps not, which is why I asked about your reference to cellular 

I've not built blockchain systems and I'm not at all shy about admitting 
a nearly complete ignorance about them, so I ask questions to learn.

Regarding connectivity/distribution, if all parts of blockchain 
document/element are kept on a single local machine, what would be the 

In my naive view, I had thought the main benefit was to allow trusted 
sharing, which would imply connectivity/distribution.

If that's not the case I'm unable to understand your earlier mention of 
cell networks.

 > This is about surviving a catastrophic failure at a central
 > authoritative data source, by eliminating the need for a central
 > data source.

Given our industry's long history of failover best practices (Delta 
Airlines notwithstanding), how do blockchains improve on existing 
failover options?

 > Blockchains are not used to distribute data. Blockchains are, in
 > effect, streams of timestamped checksums.  Embedded in them are
 > all the other timestamped checksums for the chain.  Therefore,
 > blockchains enable you to determine who has the most current data
 > (or, who has the most recent copy of some piece of it).

That seems a good summary, but one challenging for my currently ignorant 
self in that it seems again to imply an inherently distributed nature to 

I've had a tough time finding good primers on blockchains.  Like IPFS, 
the discussions I've found so far have been either too high-level to 
really explain much about the use cases or implementation, or too 
low-level to be graspable for the newcomer.

Is there a blockchain primer you'd recommend?

For us LiveCoders, maybe it would be helpful to learn what sorts of 
tasks you're using blockchains for, and which libraries you're wrapping 
to make that happen.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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