Can Bitcoin and Blockchain Be Separated
The revised title does reflect the views of many people who want to distinguish virtual currencies such as bitcoin from blockchain technology. In fact, this is a long debated issue. Is bitcoin and blockchain, the "currency" representing economy and the "chain" referring to technology separable or inseparable?To discuss this issue, you can go back to Nakamoto's paper bitcoin: point-to-point e-cash system and the context of his technological invention. The bitcoin invented by Nakamoto is not the first and certainly not the last thing to try to create value in digital space. According to the statistics of Jimmy Clark in the article "the long road to bitcoin", there are hundreds of similar systems, among which PayPal is well-known and still in actual use in the world. Of course, for the current Chinese, we are more familiar with the Internet payment, such as Alipay and WeChat wallet. As for the design method of currency and other things representing value in the digital world, paypal and others actually use credit. When we pay, what we pay is actually credit, which is recorded and confirmed by them.However, there is another unsuccessful attempt in the technology circle, that is, trying to use the idea of cash to create something so that people can use it like cash in the digital world. Predecessors have made many explorations, but none of them succeeded until Nakamoto invented bitcoin, a "cash" - bitcoin. It is worth mentioning that David JOM first put forward a complete and feasible idea more than 30 years ago. In 1983, he first proposed to use encryption technology to create a kind of cash in digital space, and in 1989 he founded a company to realize his idea commercially. Bitcoin can be regarded as a wonderful improvement on JOM's original idea. Now we will not recognize it as a circulating currency equivalent to cash in the real world, but it technically realizes something logically similar to cash.When referring to the "cash" of bitcoin, I put quotation marks on the word cash, because if we go back to 2007, Nakamoto does not want to invent something equivalent to cash in the real world or change the status quo, but to solve a technical problem and build a game. To create such a toy, Nakamoto has to solve many problems, including two. In Jimmy Clark's words, the first is how to "issue money out of thin air" and the second is "record all information in the account book". First, although it is only a toy, it is still necessary to choose an effective mechanism. The mechanism chosen by Nakamoto is that a certain amount of mathematical calculation can be carried out to generate new "cash". What people say now, such as "mining" and "decentralization" known by the public, or professional "computing power" and "workload proof" (POW), are related to this mechanism. Second, the ledger is now known as the "blockchain". The foundation of the blockchain is a large distributed, open, interconnected and tamper proof ledger. Nakamoto has made several very important changes to the technologies and mechanisms related to blockchain. His design truly invented "blockchain" and made it the basis of a series of innovations.In the history of Internet development, there are many such toys. Tim Bonas Lee invented the world wide web (WWW), Linus invented the operating system Linux, Mark Anderson developed the m osaic browser (he later developed the Netscape browser), and even Larry Page and Sergey Brin first developed Google. By analogy, I mean that no matter what people think of bitcoin at present, whether it is regarded as currency, commodity or asset, one of its important attributes is a technical toy. In fact, for quite a long time before the price of bitcoin soared, it was a toy. Technicians liked to tamper with and modify toys. There were also cases where someone exchanged 10000 bitcoins for a pizza. After a technology is invented, what practical use it can eventually find and how much impact it can have on the world are other things.As can be seen from the above discussion, Nakamoto created a wonderful toy in the process of solving problems: he created a basic technology, namely blockchain (ledger), and an application, namely bitcoin ("cash"). More specifically, the things invented by Nakamoto include three layers: the bottom layer is the technical blockchain (account book); In the middle is the bitcoin protocol based on blockchain; At the top is the application, the "cash" of bitcoin. Ledgers have both technical and economic meanings. The economic meaning of ledgers will be discussed in detail later.Next, people in different fields further agitated the toy and gradually wanted to make the potential toy practical. People first created a variety of coins similar to bitcoin, and then many people tried to separate coins from chains. Later, the team represented by Ethereum tried to create blockchain 2.0 system and turn it into a "next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform". Now more organizations are trying to develop a new generation of systems, claiming 3.0 and 4.0. Interestingly, Ethereum has not actually become a new generation of operating system that can run applications. Issuing tokens that meet its erc20 standard has become the core application scenario of its smart contract. In this way, there are many more application tokens all over the world, which is the scene of virtual currency from mid-2017 to now.Anyway, at this time, bitcoin and blockchain technology as a whole have developed to a new stage. It no longer only has the function of issuing "cash" like toys, but also has the function of issuing tokens / tokens. The emergence of pass has opened up the economic possibility and application prospect of blockchain, and the two wings of blockchain, technology and economy, have gradually taken shape. Although it is difficult to predict how the last two will develop, the "currency" representing economy and the "chain" representing technology, economy and technology are intertwined. In a sense, it is a bit like saying at the beginning of the development of the Internet that the Internet is only used to transmit information and should not develop e-commerce. At present, the high price of bitcoin and other virtual currencies and the speculation around them may not be expected by everyone. The chaos of virtual currency speculation should indeed be standardized, but only emphasizing technology, its development may fall into a misunderstanding. Blockchain technology and blockchain economy are intertwined and inseparable.