Further, it seeks to enable blockchain structures to have more expansive coding for communication, ultimately using the collection of data into blocks as a way for those involved in the database management to agree on its history.
In practice, Byrne says Eris is a set of tools that include Eris:db, a database and smart contract management system, and Eris Worker, which allows developers to build libraries of smart contracts and related applications.
However, Byrne indicated that he can’t “go into specifics” about the clients Eris claims as users.
“The use cases are far and varied,” he said. “This can range from asset trading to something like compliance functions.”
Because of its focus on non-financial applications of the blockchain, however, he said it is less involved with projects that involve asset trading, clearing and settlement.
The COO was equally opaque about Eris’ revenue model, which he characterized as “service-based”.
Network of blockchains
In practice, Byrne proves more moderate in his opinions than pundits such as R3CEV advisor Tim Swanson, though it’s these critical takes on bitcoin’s design that have helped to propel his company to the forefront of industry conversation.
Rather than believing that private blockchains will replace bitcoin, Byrne believes bitcoin’s killer use case will come from serving as a trusted way to verify that activities on these private networks are occurring as their owners claim.
“If you ask yourself, ‘What do blockchains do that nothing else does?’, it’s you have a consistent web server or SQL application with no central server. What does bitcoin do that nothing else does in the blockchain space? It’s the most resilient to destruction and attack,” he said.
These properties, Byrne said, would make a public blockchain like the bitcoin network an inexpensive way for companies to show proof their records have not been tampered with. As for what prompts users of private blockchains to use a public blockchain for this purpose, Byrne also has a clear thesis as well.
“If you combine a private blockchain with a public ledger verification mechanism, what you have is a very inexpensive way to create a data infrastructure without really doing a whole lot of scaling in a classical sense,” he said, adding:
“It’ll be smaller organizations that really benefit from this the most, financial startups have a burden to preserve their data and preserve your data and then on-demand by a regulator produce evidence that that data is correct.”
Focus on applications
Byrne also discussed the work currently being done by Blockstream, which is broadly seeking to improve the bitcoin protocol through efforts such as the Lightning Network and sidechains, the later of which seeks to allow users to create alternative blockchains which are then interoperable with the bitcoin blockchain.
The COO suggested that he believes such projects, while well-funded, are perhaps misguided in their allocation of resources. As a competing system to cash payments, Byrne asserted, bitcoin needs more reasons for mainstream users to fulfill its original value proposition.
He spoke out against the idea that everything on a blockchain needs to be tied to a token with independent value, a development he called impractical. That’s not to say he doesn’t see the need for systems that can creatively govern these types of assets.
“If you want a currency to be used you have to have an infrastructure in which it makes sense to use it,” he continued, suggesting that projects like a distributed Reddit, YouTube or Spotify would prove the most valuable in onboarding new users.
He believes that it is this application layer where the network can excel, as opposed to instances where data structures are less reliant on value, such as in corporate environments.
“If bitcoin is an internet currency, that’s great, but it doesn’t make sense until you can have services rely on bitcoin to work and there are people saying, ‘Give me this currency, I’ll give you a service. There are not enough peer-to-peer applications.”
Image via Sid Kalla for BTCGeek.com
- ^ Eris Industries (erisindustries.com)
- ^ evolving debate (www.paymentssource.com)
- ^ antagonistic nature (twitter.com)
- ^ blockchains can exist without bitcoin (prestonbyrne.com)
- ^ $300 (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Tuesday (www.americanbanker.com)
- ^ $100,000 bounty (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Bitcoin Foundation (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Ethereum project (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ touted an unreleased smart contract system (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Eris:db (erisindustries.com)
- ^ critical takes on bitcoin’s design (www.ofnumbers.com)
- ^ Blockchain Technology (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Eris (www.coindesk.com)