I am going to share some comments I heard during my time in the main room. Their speakers will remain anonymous. My comments are beneath the quotes which are in italics.
In response to a question about what we should do:
“I think we should do nothing and keep having talks until someone figures out how to scale bitcoin”
Based on the identity of the speaker, I interpreted this to mean we shouldn’t change the block size until we can find a way to increase the transaction capacity of bitcoin in such a way that that a doubling of transaction capacity results in something less than a doubling in block size. We also shouldn’t change anything that increases Bitcoin’s centralization.
Others interrupted this statement as an attempt to prevent progress.
On private blockchains and centralization:
“Once you’re willing to trust people, other solutions work really, really, really well.”
“Everything else would be true except for this minor bit where they can turn it off”
Bitcoin’s innovation is that you can have trust with having to trust other people. Private blockchains require you to trust other people. If you’re going to trust other people, there are usually better tools than a blockchain to solve your problem.
“Centralization starts working really well. It’s very non-obvious what the problem is”
It was really easy to create the first version of Facebook. We didn’t realize that it would become so important as to be a target for government censorship or an enforcer of real names until many years later.
The million dollar question is how much decentralization do we want and where should it go.
On centralization and data integrity:
“We don’t have a system where there’s any punishment for not validating”
“Let’s make it fail fast”
Building decentralization into solutions at the beginning is much harder. It’s not evident if companies that try to do this will be successful in commercializing their efforts quickly enough and staying alive long enough to grow.
“We don’t have a system where the problems are obvious at the beginning”
Have ever found yourself following someone on Twitter that you don’t remember following? Have you ever found that one of your tweets or Facebook posts disappeared unexpectedly?
Right now our centralized services little incentive to maintain integrity of data with which they are entrusted. When they change or lose data that we provide, it’s rarely obvious to users and when it is, user rarely have proof to support their claims.