Next, we will talk about the value and risk of consensus.
The consensus cost determines the value of a public chain, not the application. The application only affects the risk of the value, which is a very subversive view.
For this reason, we need to further explore:
Imagine that we have a bunch of code, such as Bitcoin code. When we ask what it’s used for, it goes into product thinking.
Product thinking is in line with our intuition. If something has no use value, it is not worth our attention. But there is a drawback in product thinking, that is, the products we see are all provided by companies or individuals, and have a strong central directivity. This makes it seem that when we understand the product, only I interact with the product itself and the service provider behind the product. The use value of the product is mainly reflected in the product itself or the service provider. Sometimes good product development may determine the number of users.
But Bitcoin is different.
When we use Bitcoin, it’s not Bitcoin code or an organization that provides us with services, but tens of thousands of miners behind the code that provide services, which is quite different from the centralized products.
First of all, the code itself is not very valuable. (Note: if there is a lot of value, the code is open source, you can copy one and provide services for free. Do you want to switch to the new code?)
Secondly, a person is running this code and making your transfer transaction go smoothly, which is not very valuable.
Only when the miners are big enough and scattered enough can the transfer have “value”.
It’s a little similar to the difference between ink weather and wechat. As long as ink weather is running, anyone can get the service they want by opening the ink weather app. But wechat is not, if their friends don’t use it, Tencent has a million servers there, which is of no value to you. This kind of mutual dependence between users is similar to that of Tencent Consensus depends on the same.
Therefore, when we “consume” Bitcoin, we are not “consuming” Bitcoin code. Because this code can be copied by anyone, its own value is very low, but in the “consumption” of the consensus provided by tens of millions of miners.
These consensus include the unity, authenticity, and non tamperability of the data on the chain, as well as the recognition of the intrinsic value of the special currency, and various expectations of the future use scenarios, which are different from the consensus thinking of product thinking.
Consensus does not necessarily point to a certain application, nor does a certain application determine the value of blockchain.
What’s the use of blockchain? It’s not pre-set from the beginning.
Although most blockchain systems have initial function definitions, this function will eventually move towards abstraction, i.e. the application may exceed the designer’s imagination, only the most abstract level is the same as the preset.
For example, Bitcoin was intended to be used for payment, but now it does not have the conditions to become payment, instead, it turns to value storage, but both of them are consistent on the level of transfer. Another example is Ethereum. The applications it advocates in the white paper have not been carried forward, while various decentralized financing and decentralized finance have developed, but these applications all use the function of smart contract.
Those who are always looking forward to a specific application to drive the development of a decentralized system are a bit willing to give up.
If the consensus itself has not been built, that is to say, the cost of consensus embodied has not yet come up, then the application is difficult to develop based on a single software function; and even if the subsidy is stiff, it will eventually return to the original appearance of things. Finally, it depends on the construction of consensus. The way of using the back-end to pull the front-end is crude, and the possibility of success is very small.
Let’s focus on the construction of consensus, which contents are defined by each blockchain system. For example, some are consensus of transaction data on the chain, some contain consensus of smart contract, some contain consensus of market price, etc.
Every consensus has its intrinsic value and needs to pay a cost. Moreover, consensus does not eliminate the friction of the world and let water flow to the lower place like ordinary products; on the contrary, consensus is to form a new value and let water flow to the higher place. Therefore, the higher the consensus cost, the greater the value, which is also the special feature of the blockchain decentralized system.