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Author Topic: Developmentin Blockchain vs. Distributed Ledger  (Read 216 times)
manish9841
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May 19, 2018, 10:37:54 AM
 #1

Recently, i have been reading that blockchain is the subset of distributed ledger technology (DLT). As we all know that the principles behind bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, nowadays some of the enterprise and startup are making an assumption that DLT is the more superset term. Technically, I am not very much into development but I do want to understand the fundamental difference between two and how it affects the further development as a whole.

Here are some of my queries

1) If the technology behind bitcoin such as blockchain is suited to build decentralized infrastructure and apps, why some of them are moving to DLT. For example, I was looking into some of the startup such as Radix. They claim that they are an alternative to blockchain, however use DLT for maintaining decentralization. Until this, I thought only blockchain was available so far for building decentralized apps. Does that mean there will competitor to blockchain in the future within the scope of decentralization infrastructure and applications?

2) Let us assume that DLT becomes popular by time, does that give any threat to suitability of blockchain technology. Could it be considered that they have different value proposition to serve?

I am sorry if I mention any novice questions. I just wanted to know more and understand the fundamental difference from both technical and economical perspectives.
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May 19, 2018, 02:09:31 PM
 #2

Recently, i have been reading that blockchain is the subset of distributed ledger technology (DLT). [...] nowadays some of the enterprise and startup are making an assumption that DLT is the more superset term. [...]

That's your answer right there -- DLT is a more general term than blockchain. Blockchains are an example of DLT. The difference between those two is that one describes a subset of the other -- like public trains are a subset of public transportation or search engines are a subset of the internet. Therefore DLT and blockchains are not in competition to one another, it's just that the term DLT is more loosely defined than the term blockchain.

Which is probably also why many companies prefer the term DLT over the term blockchain -- from a technological point of view, blockchains are pretty well defined, despite the term being abused in marketing more often than not. The term DLT currently still means pretty much anything, which makes it easier for a company to claim using DLT rather than a blockchain -- because the first is still so vaguely defined that you're technically always correct, no matter how useless the concept. That's the beauty of using a term that both means everything and nothing.

So yeah, if a company says they are working with DLT, that's about as informative as a company saying they are working with the internet. It may be technically correct but doesn't tell you anything about the viability of their venture.

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May 19, 2018, 03:06:17 PM
Merited by joniboini (2), Welsh (1)
 #3

First and foremost, I am not a blockchain/bitcoin expert here, I'm just learning about it just like you.

Recently, i have been reading that blockchain is the subset of distributed ledger technology (DLT). As we all know that the principles behind bitcoin is based on blockchain technology, nowadays some of the enterprise and startup are making an assumption that DLT is the more superset term.

Personally, I disagree with this statement. I think this is just banks and corporates agenda to undermine blockchain technology. As far as I know, blockchain technology is not only the "chained block" itself, but also encapsulate consensus algorithm so that the network as a whole become open, borderless, trustless, decentralized, immutable, censorship resistant, etc., as you might already hear.

Read more: https://medium.com/@WayneVaughan/open-vs-closed-blockchains-let-s-end-this-madness-8313e4095ead

1) If the technology behind bitcoin such as blockchain is suited to build decentralized infrastructure and apps, why some of them are moving to DLT. For example, I was looking into some of the startup such as Radix. They claim that they are an alternative to blockchain, however use DLT for maintaining decentralization. Until this, I thought only blockchain was available so far for building decentralized apps. Does that mean there will competitor to blockchain in the future within the scope of decentralization infrastructure and applications?

We are still in early period of dApps, so I cannot say that blockchain dApps platform like Ethereum will be become "the one," but opcodes was present on Bitcoin and now being experimented on BCash. The problem with blockchain is that PoW is so expensive, and scalability in terms of tx speed still on going improvement. However, PoW is the best consensus algorithm to date, since the only battle tested consensus mechanism that can reach hundreds billion of dollar is PoW, other consensus mechanism is still in infancy.

When they moving to DLT, you should be asking question: is that a closed blockchain or really just a replicated relational database?

Watch more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ODDCx6VL2Y&t=496s

2) Let us assume that DLT becomes popular by time, does that give any threat to suitability of blockchain technology. Could it be considered that they have different value proposition to serve?

I am sorry if I mention any novice questions. I just wanted to know more and understand the fundamental difference from both technical and economical perspectives.

Nope, they are not a threat for PoW blockchain because of open, borderless, etc., that are the nature of open blockchain. You should ask questions: who can get copies of transactions (database)? Who will be able to validate transaction? Is there an incentive to validate transactions? Is it immutable? Maybe they better off using replicated relational database instead.

In my opinion open blockchain maybe will only suitable for cryptocurrencies or token-economy concept, where validator get some coins for doing the work.
Well, I'm just a fan of PoW. I'm skeptical about other consensus mechanism.

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May 19, 2018, 03:51:54 PM
Merited by Welsh (1)
 #4

As far as I know, blockchain technology is not only the "chained block" itself, but also encapsulate consensus algorithm so that the network as a whole become open, borderless, trustless, decentralized, immutable, censorship resistant, etc., as you might already hear.

[...]

The problem with blockchain is that PoW is so expensive, and scalability in terms of tx speed still on going improvement.

Technically speaking, a blockchain is really just that: A chain of blocks that builds block upon block, as to provide a gapless, immutable (transaction) history. So in the narrowest sense of the term it really is just that: A data format, a type of ledger.

Whether a blockchain is secured by PoW, PoS, some other Proof-of-Resource or a different consensus algorithm altogether is a different question.

A blockchain does not necessarily use PoW. PoW does not necessarily apply to blockchains only. The data structure itself (eg. blockchain) is a separate component from the consensus algorithm (eg. PoW).


That being said, you point out a very important aspect of this whole matter: That consensus is key.

The blockchain as a data-structure is a rather boring matter. The consensus algorithm (ie. PoW in the case of Bitcoin) is where things get interesting. It's the heart of the matter, enabling blockchains to provide secure, trustless and permissionless (monetary) transactions.

However PoW is a weird solution to a hard problem. It's not an easy sell. And companies in general don't care about trustlessness or permissionlessness -- quite the opposite actually, as it's a liability both legally and economically. There's more money in building walled gardens, rather than open ecosystems. Hence the focus on blockchain, rather than the consensus algorithm. Hence the focus on DLT, whatever that may be.

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May 19, 2018, 07:04:43 PM
 #5

There’s nothing like a novice question 👍🏽
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May 19, 2018, 07:41:06 PM
 #6

Thank you for such constructive responses. Now, as far as I understand, DLT and blockchain works side to side..and sometimes used interchangeably. Blockchian is more focused on what it is, where as DLT being the more general term.
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May 19, 2018, 10:24:36 PM
 #7

A distributed ledger (aka DLT, the abbreviation for distributed ledger technology, also known as shared ledger) is a ledger replicated across a peer-to-peer network that runs a consensus protocol to synchronize digital data.

One definition of the blockchain can be the following: a decentralzied, immutable ledger secured by a consensus protocol that enables trustless transfer of value.

Bitcoin is a special kind of blockchain that enables furthermore permissionless access and provides an incentivization mechanism to sustain and secure the network. The cryptoeconomic layer involves a token in form of a cryptocurrency - bitcoin - that is provided by the network itself to miners that secure it and further to users that proliferate it.

Nowadays more and more DLTs have a cryptoeconomic layer in order to achieve openess, permissionless, trustless transfer of value while maintaining decentralization, censorship-resistance (security) and immutability.
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May 20, 2018, 01:45:15 AM
 #8

Technically speaking, a blockchain is really just that
...
However PoW is a weird solution to a hard problem. It's not an easy sell. And companies in general don't care about trustlessness or permissionlessness -- quite the opposite actually, as it's a liability both legally and economically. There's more money in building walled gardens, rather than open ecosystems. Hence the focus on blockchain, rather than the consensus algorithm. Hence the focus on DLT, whatever that may be.

Yeah I know, I won't argue about blockchain technical definition (per se).
About PoW, it is still the best consensus algorithm to date, and I don't see it can be replaced in such a huge network, like Bitcoin. I guess we can only wait how this "closed block chain" or "distributed ledger" can play a role in businesses. But I'm skeptical about it.

There’s nothing like a novice question 👍🏽

A distributed ledger (aka DLT, the abbreviation for distributed ledger technology, also known as shared ledger) is a ledger replicated across a peer-to-peer network that runs a consensus protocol to synchronize digital data.
...

What are you doing here? Keep your shit spam posting on megathread!

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May 20, 2018, 12:29:34 PM
 #9

Bitcoin is a special kind of blockchain..

Bitcoin is NOT a 'special kind of blockchain'.
Bitcoin is utilising a blockchain in order to achieve its goals (fast, trustless transfer of wealth).

'Blockchain' is simply just a data structure. It is a way to organise/verify/share data in an immutable, trustless way.


If you want to find out what a blockchain is and what it is used for, read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blockchain

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May 20, 2018, 02:25:02 PM
 #10

Blockchain in my opinion is  superior to Distributed Ledger but they're still both unique in their own ways: Distributed Ledger is good for large files while Blockchain is good for Cryptocurrency. However with Blockchain you have more control your data.



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May 20, 2018, 05:50:47 PM
 #11

Bitcoin is NOT a 'special kind of blockchain'.
Bitcoin is utilising a blockchain in order to achieve its goals (fast, trustless transfer of wealth).

It is a special type of blockchain in the way it uses PoW for security, is open and permissionless and has a built-in incentivization mechanism to sustain it; the "special" adjective I used is to describe the underlying cryptoeconomic layer; there are also other blockchain implementations in the form of different cryptocurrencies.

'Blockchain' is simply just a data structure.


The data structure is called hashed linked list;

It is a way to organise/verify/share data in an immutable, trustless way.

The immutability property is given by the consensus protocol; in Bitcoin's case it's the Nakamoto consensus protocol; do some research before commeting without undestanding the points in the post.
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May 20, 2018, 06:17:05 PM
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It is a special type of blockchain in the way it uses PoW for security, is open and permissionless and has a built-in incentivization mechanism to sustain it; the "special" adjective I used is to describe the underlying cryptoeconomic layer; there are also other blockchain implementations in the form of different cryptocurrencies.

No. Bitcoin is a protocol. The miner inside the bitcoin network use PoW to create blocks and ensure security.
Bitcoin uses a blockchain as a public transaction ledger.



'Blockchain' is simply just a data structure.
The data structure is called hashed linked list;

A blockchain basically IS a linked list.



It is a way to organise/verify/share data in an immutable, trustless way.
The immutability property is given by the consensus protocol

No.
The immutability (or better: resistance against modification) is given through the blockchain. The blockchain is resistant against modification by design.



do some research before commeting without undestanding the points in the post.

 Roll Eyes

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May 20, 2018, 06:29:27 PM
 #13

No. Bitcoin is a protocol. The miner inside the bitcoin network use PoW to create blocks and ensure security.
....
 Roll Eyes

I should get some popcorn before Mr. Professor arrives and do more damage  Grin

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ProfessorZ
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May 20, 2018, 09:29:39 PM
 #14

No. Bitcoin is a protocol. The miner inside the bitcoin network use PoW to create blocks and ensure security. Bitcoin uses a blockchain as a public transaction ledger.

Bitcoin is "A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" - re-read the whitepaper; Bitcoin uses a blockchain architecture, a consensus protocol based on PoW (known as Nakamoto consensus) and an incentivization mechanism to maintain an open, permissionless and public distributed ledger of transactions within a peer-to-peer network of nodes without identities that tolerates byzantine adversaries. I recommend further reading here: https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/454.pdf

A blockchain basically IS a linked list.

This IS an oversimplification.

No. The immutability (or better: resistance against modification) is given through the blockchain. The blockchain is resistant against modification by design.

Your statement is invalid; blockchain is resistant against modifications that do not follow the consensus rules.
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May 20, 2018, 09:32:13 PM
 #15

It is a way to organise/verify/share data in an immutable, trustless way.
The immutability property is given by the consensus protocol

No.
The immutability (or better: resistance against modification) is given through the blockchain. The blockchain is resistant against modification by design.

ProfessorZ is not wrong though. Or rather, it's a question of semantics.

On one hand you could define a blockchain as the canonical transaction history of a cryptocurrency. In this case it is indeed only as immutable as the consensus algorithm is secure -- both in quality (eg. PoW vs other proof-of-resource schemes) and quantity (amount of work put into the chain).

On the other hand you can view PoW as a consensus mechanism that selects one blockchain as the canonical one amongst many, the other ending up as chain splits and orphans. In this case each blockchain is indeed immutable, it's just that only one gets to write history -- literally.

I think both perspectives are valid and highlight different ways to look at consensus. Regardless of that it shows how difficult it is to meaningfully decouple blockchain as a data-structure from its consensus algorithm -- both technically and conceptually -- which is probably why so many blockchain-the-technology projects seem to lack in substance.

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May 21, 2018, 12:53:19 AM
 #16

C'mon guys, arguing about definition is pointless. Grin
I can say bitcoin is the internet of money and still correct;
I can say blockchain is a continuously growing list of records and still correct;
Let's not deviate from the main topic.

This video sums up all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MlkASchodc

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ProfessorZ
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May 21, 2018, 02:22:23 PM
 #17

Let's not deviate from the main topic.

The main topic is the discussion around advantages and disadvantages of different types of distributed ledger technologies; but to do so, one need to understand the inner workings and principles of the underlying technology.

Here are some of my queries

1) If the technology behind bitcoin such as blockchain is suited to build decentralized infrastructure and apps, why some of them are moving to DLT. For example, I was looking into some of the startup such as Radix. They claim that they are an alternative to blockchain, however use DLT for maintaining decentralization. Until this, I thought only blockchain was available so far for building decentralized apps. Does that mean there will competitor to blockchain in the future within the scope of decentralization infrastructure and applications?

For example Radix; they have a distributed ledger secured by their consensus protocol called Tempo; whitepaper link here: https://papers.radixdlt.com/tempo/

Making assumptions like them about synchronized clocks and timely network behavior can unexpectedly turn into vulnerabilities that can undermine the network's security and stability.
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