I was involved in the very early attempts to develop blockchain technologies in the late 1980s. Then, the idea was to use token rings to distribute data processing tasks across large numbers of cross-linked computers, parsing out pieces of the jobs to different machines, ,using their idle time to process data. The whole experiment, however, was being a conducted at a time when individual pcs lacked the processing power to handle large jobs such as fetching data from large, complex databases. As personal computers grew in power to the point where they rivaled old fashioned mainframes, the entire enterprise became non-viable. Blockchain relies on the same premise but focuses on data storage rather than data processing. That’s why it takes so long for Blockchains to process simple requests.

Insofar as decentralized data storage is concerned, one of the earliest rules I learned as a software developer was that your active data files should never be replicated because divergent data becomes almost inevitable when you store the same data in several different places….let alone millions of them.

Ethereum was selling at its all time high of $1,389.18 USD coin on January 14 of this year. At last check, it was selling for around $212.78 USD. That’s an 85% loss of value over just nine months. With 102,015,46 coins in circulation, that represents a mean net loss of value from $141,717,839,501 USD to $21,257,675,925 USD. It is impossible to determine from available data whether an 85% decline in value was due to traders selling off their coins or an increase in the number of coins in circulation resulting from increased bit mining operations.

It does not, however, matter what caused the decline in Ethereum’s value. The fact remains that there are no controls over the value of a bit coin and therefore no bitcoin is a responsible repository storage of value. Since the security of a blockchain is completely dependent on continued bitmining operations (during which algorithm that provides the “security” for the blockchain is being constantly tested and updated by bitcoin mining operations), all blockchain technologies face an end point in their predictable future at which point the total number of bitcoins to be placed in circulation will have been reached, at which point there would be no incentive for bitcoin miners to continue mining that particular bitcoin and therefore the algorithm would no longer be secured.

The only reason that there are so many different bitcoins in the market is the realization by market makers that their investment in bitcoins is highly vulnerable and therefore it behooves them to move their assets from one bitcoin to another as the current bit coin reaches the point at which diminishing returns lure bitcoin miners away from that currency and toward currencies that are offering a better return on their investment of time and energy.

Right now, I will predict that Ethereum is going to improve in value because the blockchain publishing venture Civil is requiring applicants to purchase at least $1,000 in Ethereum coins in order to join Civil, which is promising members access to blockchain data storage and retrieval via Ethereum blockchain. I can’t predict the size of the bump but I will predict that it won’t be long-lasting, because the bump will attract bitcoin miners back to Etherium., driving the value back down again.

Note that Civil has expressed its membership fee requirement in U.S. dollars not Ethereum units. That should tell you something.

As long as blockchain fetches are passed through internet connections, the ability to surveil and interdict those transactions remains feasible. The only existing alternative is through direct connections between machines, which brings us back to the days of telephone lines and modems. The next billionaire will be the one who figures out how to speed up modem communications to the point where token rings could again become viable.


Alan is a poet, journalist, short story writer, editor, website developer, and political activist. He is the executive editor of BindleSnitch.com.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Alan Marshall Milner

Alan Marshall Milner

Alan is a poet, journalist, short story writer, editor, website developer, and political activist. He is the executive editor of BindleSnitch.com.