Adam Krellenstein is co-founder and CTO at Symbiont.io, Inc., a FinTech company focused on coupling traditional financial markets and blockchain technology. He is also the author of some of the earliest attempts to use the bitcoin blockchain for its more experimental uses.
This exclusive opinion piece is part of CoinDesk’s “Bitcoin at 10: The Satoshi White Paper” series.
Ten years after the anniversary of the publication of the bitcoin white paper – inarguably one of the most significant technical achievements in recent history – the community that it created, and that has rallied around its grand vision, is in a crisis.
Having worked for the past decade to produce protocols that go far beyond Satoshi’s original efforts in scale and ambition, we are still struggling to answer fundamental questions about the nature of the technology and the role it should play in our society. Yes, these still include fundamental questions such as “What is a blockchain?” and “What is a blockchain good for?”
We struggle to understand the relationship between bitcoin and blockchain technology, between token systems and smart contracts, and between public blockchains and permissioned ones. There is one camp that sees blockchain technology as being best suited for creating digital currencies (“tokens”) like bitcoin itself, and there is another that sees the technology as promising for creating new kinds of decentralized computer applications (“smart contracts”).
Simultaneously, another fight is going on about the value of different types of blockchain networks – specifically, whether blockchains should be “public,” so that anyone can join the networks, or “permissioned,” where the membership of the network is more or less fixed.