Republished from Adam Lake, who is asking for comments and answers:
“First, to be clear, this is not about Bitcoin, it’s about the blockchain and its potential as a framework on which to build egalitarian P2P networks of all types. Ethereum seems to be making great strides in this direction saying their platform will be the android for distributed applications enabling distributed dropbox, DNS, web search, social networking, and P2P corporations. This concept is revolutionary. The problem with Ethereum and Bitcoin, as well as other cryptocurrencies, is that it’s based on a currency that benefits those with early access creating highly unequal currency holdings mirroring the gross inequality we see in society. Cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, as of yet, have not lived up to their promise of creating a level playing field for participants, but I believe they will.
I am trying to figure out how the blockchain and the Ethereum innovations can be used to create a truly level playing field enabling people to freely associate and cooperate in P2P schemas. My questioning goes as follows. I would appreciate any and all feedback on this matter.
• Is there a way to operate the blockchain in a way that does not require a currency?
o Some have asked what would then be the motivation to provide work, the processing power required to maintain the network. The incentive would be the benefits users receive from the mutual benefit generated from the P2P network. For instance, with a car sharing application you would provide proof of work because you want to obtain the benefits of being part of a P2P car sharing network—inexpensive access to a variety of vehicles.
• Could the work needed to maintain the blockchain be done based simply on reciprocity of proof of work? For example, if bittorrent required users to seed as much as they download. Or, in the case of a distributed dropbox, users would have to provide as much storage space and processing power to the network as they request from the network. Is it possible to require reciprocity of work without those work credits becoming a currency?
o This way, new users are not at any disadvantage to early adopters—all they have to do to participate in the P2P network is provide proof of work in equal amounts to the work they request from the network.
• Bittorrent Sync is an interesting project that allows users to share selected folders and files without an intermediary. What advantage does the blockchain have over this? Perhaps this functionality can be expanded and combined with the blockchain if the blockchain is the group contract and consensus piece to the puzzle.
So, what combination of these or other features would provide an Android-like platform on which to build an array of P2P applications such as diverse local currencies, consensus-driven P2P corporations, a p2p facebook like app, and crowdfunding, without a disadvantage to late adopters?”