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Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain

Another critical look on the blockchain and Bitcoin:

Each purported use case — from payments to legal documents, from escrow to voting systems—amounts to a set of contortions to add a distributed, encrypted, anonymous ledger where none was needed. What if there isn’t actually any use for a distributed ledger at all? What if, ten years after it was invented, the reason nobody has adopted a distributed ledger at scale is because nobody wants it?

Source: Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain

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Blockchain? It’s All Greek To Me… – Bozho’s tech blog

I’ve been skeptical for a while now about how everything seems to be solved by “blockchain”. Bozhidar Bozhanov seems to share many of my thoughts and wrote them up already:

I can’t see why it would be useful to abandon a centralized database that you can query in dozens of ways, test easily and scale trivially in favour of a clunky write-only, low-throughput, hard-to-debug privacy nightmare that is any public blockchain.

I can see how a pseudo-public blockchain can, for instance, be useful as a clearing-house mechanism between banks, but for now I’ll stick with a regular bank myself. They’re not perfect, but I think the time society has spent on regulating banks, and the service banks provide here in The Netherlands and Europe, still give me a lot more ease of use and peace of mind than the yahoo libertarianism of many blockchain advocates.

Source: Blockchain? It’s All Greek To Me… – Bozho’s tech blog

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Dimensional Models: Now More Than Ever

Do new technologies and methods render the dimensional model obsolete? The top question from readers of this blog continues to be: “Is the dimensional model still relevant?” It is easy to understand why people ask this question: Our BI programs have expanded beyond data warehousing to include performance management, analytics, and governance functions.

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As we move to treat information as a business asset, the dimensional model has become a critical success factor.

Source: Dimensional Models: Now More Than Ever

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An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

There are these stories about how long it took for radio, tv, the internet to reach a certain influence on society (less and less, some would like to extrapolate that to the Singularity). There also should be stories about how long it took for each technology to reach corporate dominance over that technology, preventing it to serve social justice and progress…

Source: An open letter to the W3C Director, CEO, team and membership | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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European datacenter is no solution, recent developments show

NextCloud’s blog has an overview of where things seem to go with US companies storing data on European servers. (Hint: “Trump”).

Many Software-as-a-Service companies from abroad are currently setting up European data centers, often together with European partners. With this, they hope to ease the growing European concerns around privacy, data protection and complying with existing and upcoming regulations like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But recent developments in US courts show this to be a risky proposition: the problem of privacy is far from resolved by ‘just’ putting data in Europe. For companies betting on Privacy Shield, using services from US companies directly or through an intermediary storing data in Europe, all this is very bad news.

Source: European datacenter is no solution, recent developments show – Nextcloud

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Ethereum Hacks

My reservation with block chains and crypto currencies: they disempower the ordinary person (or user)… instead of the Bad Guy On The Corner taking your wallet, now anyone anywhere can steal all your money, and you might not even notice it at first.

The press is reporting a $32M theft of the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Like all such thefts, they’re not a result of a cryptographic failure in the currencies, but instead a software vulnerability in the software surrounding the currency — in this case, digital wallets.

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This is my concern about digital cash. The cryptography can be bulletproof, but the computer security will always be an issue.

Source: Ethereum Hacks

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“Why isn’t tech for accountability working in Africa?”

Policy briefing by the South African Institute of International Affairs about transparency and accountability technology projects:

It seems that civil society organisations (CSOs) and governments often ‘re-invent the flat tyre’: experimenting with new tools without finding out what has been tried (often unsuccessfully) before.

The conclusion includes recommending a shift from project-oriented towards infrastructure-oriented investments:

[…] those with decision-making power in the wider innovation ecosystem, including donors and governments, need to change their models of support. These changes require an understanding that innovation is a long-term process that involves a commitment to learning and improvement within organisations and between organisations. Currently, there appears to be too much focus on a product-based search for inventions.

Source: policy briefing (via Eldis)