New technologies bring the promise of exciting new services, but they also encourage those looking to make a quick buck at the expense of others.
Email is a prime example of this. When the Internet began its rise to popularity in the 1990s, it was obvious the technology could be utilized to provide an easier way for people to communicate.
However, email’s no-cost model enticed many people who saw it as a cheap advertising medium, quickly creating a plague of annoying spam messages that advertised often-undesirable products.
More recently, bitcoin’s public ledger, the block chain, has been recognised for its potential to serve as a low-cost means of recording cryptocurrency transactions and also other types of digital information.
Some, though, fear that unscrupulous actors will leverage this feature to turn the block chain into a cheap place to publish new types of spam, and that it could become ‘bloated’ as a result – in effect, overloaded with data that has nothing to do with its primary purpose.
“I believe that it’s a big waste of resources to bloat a public ledger with information that’s irrelevant to that specific ledgers purpose. If the ledger’s purpose is to facilitate high-speed, transparent transactions online, then that should remain the sole purpose of that particular ledger.”
Junk in the block chain
The block chain’s ability to use cryptographic hashes as a permanent and public way to record and store information is impressive.
This, in turn, has attracted the efforts of projects such as Monegraph and Proof of Existence, which provide software to help people hash things such as art or software to prove authorship of the works.
Now there is concern that, while the above concepts are being created to utilize the block chain in a positive way, others might try to use it as a wasteful advertising method.
“I remember on Valentine’s Day this year, someone made a cute site at thenoteblock.com. The idea is to embed messages into the block chain, encoded in the transaction output addresses.”
- ^ Jackson Palmer (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Monegraph (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Proof of Existence (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Coinwall (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ thenoteblock (www.thenoteblock.com)
- ^ the sending of (www.reddit.com)
- ^ 0.00000001 BTC (www.reddit.com)
- ^ Blockchain (blockchain.info)
- ^ Hello, block! (helloblock.io)
- ^ Bitcoin Core version 0.9.0 (bitcoin.org)
- ^ side chains (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ actually lowered earlier this year (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Blockchain.info (blockchain.info)
- ^ Why Bitcoin Matters (dealbook.nytimes.com)
- ^ Trustwave (www3.trustwave.com)
- ^ Spamhaus Project (www.spamhaus.org)
- ^ BitHalo (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ Information flow image (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Block Chain (www.coindesk.com)
- ^ spam (www.coindesk.com)