It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (2/3)

Are blockchains to credentials what the embalming fluids are to thanatopraxie, a means to keep the appearance of life to the dead?

In the previous post, we examined some of the blockchains shortcomings: over-hype being second to their defective and noxious relationship to trust—and the human race in general. In this post we are looking at one particular application of the blockchain technology in the field of education: Blockcerts1. While an interesting piece of engineering (with still a number of serious issues to be solved) my contention is that it is the wrong solution to a false problem, or to be more specific, it is the exploitation of an immature technology in a attempt to solve a problem with a vision anchored in the past: the [antediluvian] credentialing system, when a credential was for life.

Thanks to the blockchain priests, credentials are not just for life anymore, but eternal life! We will die, for sure, but if we believe in the Blockspell our credentials will survive us, eternally!

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It’s about Trust, Stupid! Why Blockchain-based BlockCerts are the wrong solution to a false problem (1/3)


Metaphor for blockchain-centred systems—when a part becomes the whole

Why Blockchains?

The rationale for the initial development of blockchain technologies like Bitcoins, was to solve the problem of double spending while simultaneously:

  • Getting rid of regulatory bodies — the dream of the proponents of anarcho-capitalism also called libertarian anarchy, one of the ideologies widely shared between the alt-right, Trump and Silicon Valley (c.f. their track-record in tax dodging).
  • Getting rid of the need for trusted authorities to secure transactions — which resulted in creating an ecosystem that works best when everybody is at war with everybody. Trust is a mortal sin as trust between the miners could lead to collusion and cheating.

“Cryptocurrencies are among the largest unregulated markets in the world. We find that approximately one-quarter of bitcoin users are involved in illegal activity. We estimate that around $76 billion of illegal activity per year involves bitcoin (46% of bitcoin transactions), which is close to the scale of the US and European markets for illegal drugs.” – Foley, Karlsen, Putniņš, Sex, Drugs, and Bitcoin: How Much Illegal Activity Is Financed Through Cryptocurrencies?

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