[NetBehaviour] Work in Progress: Blockchain Temporalities

Rhea Myers rhea at hey.com
Thu Jun 10 03:02:56 CEST 2021

I also liked the sound of Iota, but:




Each block in a chain does have every previous block as a (grand-)parent
through the trail of hashes linking them. Making this an immediate
relationship would be interestingly anti-patrilinear.


The space between the blocks is invisible onchain. Offchain, the time
between blocks is spent gathering transactions for the block after the
one being currently mined. These are very different universes.




On June 9, 2021, NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity
<netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
> rhea, wonderful, thank you. a few thoughts-
> I've been looking at Iota lately. While coinbase and others describe
> Iota as a 
> blockchain, their documentation says they are not a blockchain, but
> rather 
> a different form of distributed ledger. They claim they're not a
> blockchain 
> because each block refers to multiple parent blocks. In a tangled
> blockchain 
> like Iota, blocks can share the same height.
> I wonder about a theoretical blockchain where the number of parents
> approaches 
> the total number of blocks. While technically impossible, as a thought
> experiment 
> it seems like such a thing would collapse the temporality by bringing
> all blocks
> to a block height of 1 and 2. Each block simultaneously being the
> genesis block 
> and the first child block.
> From the perspective of any block on this impossibly tangled chain,
> it would be the most current description of the state of the chain,
> and every block, including itself, would be the combined origin of
> the entire chain.
> I know a block can't hash itself and no one can be their own grandpa,
> but it seemed like this thought experiment shared some characteristics
> with multiplicity and other things.
> --
> There's also something interesting about the space between the blocks.
> In the same way that motion is a perception our brains construct when 
> multiple static images are shown in quick succession.
> Seems like the succession of transactions in bitcoin is a kind of
> montage of value exchange, and it makes me curious about what
> other mental models we're perceiving in the space between.
> with admiration, bz

> On Tue, Jun 8, 2021 at 7:34 PM rhea via NetBehaviour
> <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> <mailto:netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>> wrote:

> Bitcoin secures itself by rewarding the people who run it with
> payments in Bitcoin. To get the rewards for publishing new blocks of
> transactions to the Internet every ten minutes (on average), Bitcoin
> miners compete to solve simple but time-consuming cryptographic
> puzzles. When Bitcoin launched, miners could use desktop computers.
> But as Bitcoin became more valuable it became worthwhile to use more
> and more powerful hardware in larger and larger amounts to continue
> competing for the block rewards. Bitcoin was written to handle this.
> Its difficulty algorithm creates a new target schema for the block
> reward puzzles This algorithm targets ten minute block times, and it
> will make the block puzzles as easy or as difficult as is required to
> do this.
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