Daily Links 9/21/15: 21 inc Makes Something Strange, Storj Gets Big, Another Blockchain Lover Doubts BTC

Verizon Venture Capitalist Loves Blockchain, Doubts Bitcoin: CoinDesk

Bank of America Patents Bitcoin-less Blockchain For Wire Transfers: CoinDesk

Storj Network Grows Over One Petrabyte: Bitcoin Magazine

21 Inc Announces “Bitcoin Computer”: Wall Street Journal

The comments by Verizon’s Ed Ruth have become a big trend in the finance community. They all seem to love the blockchain but have a less favorable view of the currency that powers it.

In many ways, it is reminiscent of what some people said about the Internet. People had all sorts of complaints about the Internet, it was too complex, too slow, too limited. They theorized that something more streamlined would come along, they sometimes dubbed it the “information superhighway” as it turned out, the internet was simply improved and it became the information superhighway.

This has a bit of a different feel because unlike the information superhighway predictions, these are coming from the people Bitcoin could usurp. They have some experience about the field we are talking about. Still, it is hard to imagine a decentralized ledger like the blockchain working without an incentive mechanism. Maybe Verizon will get their employees to maintain the ledger in exchange for employee of the month points. As has been pointed out by many others recently, it is hard to see what benefits a private blockchain has over a shared database.

The 21 Inc news is big and came in fairly late today, so I am still digesting it. My initial reaction is of confusion. I have heard a lot of people talk about mesh networks and the internet of things but I just don’t see it. Anyone who wants to mine bitcoin will buy a real miner, anyone who wants to use a computer will buy that. 0.17joules is nothing to scoff at, but the numbers they are putting out aren’t going to be enough to change people’s finances. Selling resources (bandwidth, storage, computing power) of the computer is fine, but I can’t imagine it’d be more effective than using a more powerful traditional computer to do the same thing, with a few applications handling the grunt work. We’ve already seen that concept work with Storj.

I might be missing out on something visionary, but I can’t help but wonder who this machine is targeted at and what it’ll be used for that other machines can’t already do? It is hard not to feel like they took a Raspberry Pi 2, stuck an ASIC on it, installed some custom software, threw in a 128 GB SD card and put a $400 price tag on it.

No one has seen the software behind this bitcoin computer or what, exactly, they plan to do with it, so the final verdict will have to wait until we know more. If you think that a computer that does bitcoin things sounds better than a computer that does everything, then you can pre-order it now here.
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