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Re: WebDHT weparation of concerns (was Re: A Decentralized Hashtable for the Web)

From: Michael Bumann <hello@michaelbumann.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2015 11:23:40 +0200
Cc: Web Payments <public-webpayments@w3.org>
Message-Id: <4ACAFD72-3044-4219-888E-65C34FAC3076@michaelbumann.com>
To: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>

On 04 Nov 2015, at 08:23, Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com> wrote:

> On 11/03/2015 05:43 AM, Michael Bumann wrote:
>> it sounds interesting. I am posting before I haven't fully 
>> read/understood the spec, which maybe is not a good idea :)
> 
> Yes, please read the spec. :)
> 
> It helps us not repeat things that are already in the spec on the
> mailing list. :)
> 
>> But somehow it reminds me of the Bitcoin or Namecoin block chain and 
>> some projects that happen around there.
> 
> Yes, the goal is similar to Namecoin, except that this is not attempting
> to take the Bitcoin blockchain and make it do something it was never
> designed to do.
> 
> Part of our work here is to figure out the really interesting pieces of
> the Bitcoin blockchain and reduce each thing to first principles,
> implement those first principles as modules, and then construct new
> things from those modules.


I guess some quite some people/projects would disagree. Just look at the blockstack/onename/factom projects. 
Also we should not mix up namecoin and bitcoin. Namecoin is a fork of Bitcoin which takes the block chain idea to create a decentralized information registration system. 
So even if we say the Bitcoin block chain is not intended to do something like that, namecoin from what I understand is. 


What I am missing in the WebDHT spec is some incentive for running a node or a securing/consensus mechanism, but I guess that would only be needed for unique human readable aliases or unique names (like domains). 

> 
>> Can it be reused?
> 
> Digital Bazaar's position is that we shouldn't re-use the Bitcoin
> blockchain for something it was never intended to do.
> 
>> The Bitcoin keys are basically also some kind of identifiers. In fact
>> the usecase of domain ownership is one that especially namecoin tries
>> to solve - being a "decentralized open source information 
>> registration [...] system". Easy speaking it solves the issue of 
>> deciding about ownership of an unique name in a decentralized 
>> system.
> 
> Yes, the downside being that you have all these other things that are
> going on in the Bitcoin ecosystem that don't enable you to optimize for
> that problem.
> 
> For example, the recent scalability discussions around block size in the
> Bitcoin community have almost nothing to do with determining identifier
> ownership. The WebDHT is not a blockchain by design, so it doesn't
> suffer a number of the downsides that a blockchain design based approach
> creates when dealing with identifiers.

Yes, you have this discussion because of a "consensus" about ownership that the network has to reach. 


> 
> To provide an example of how the problem could be decomposed:
> 
> The WebDHT has no memory. If a memory is desired, a separate ledger
> format (aka blockchain) should be specified that can be written to /in
> parallel to WebDHT operations that should be archived/. It could be
> argued that this is the proper separation of concerns because you enable
> the WebDHT (decentralized identifiers) to evolve at a different pace
> than the ledger mechanism (long-term memory). There are certainly
> downsides with that approach, but the point here is to have the proper
> separation of concerns.

What I might not understand is how WebDHT reaches consensus about ownership of identifiers? 
The spec uses domains as an example. But I don't understand from the text how unique ownership of such an identifier is secured. 


> 
> Don't get me wrong, I think Bitcoin is important and was a world
> changing technology. That said, if we are to look at this from a systems
> engineering standpoint, we have to understand the composable bits to
> ensure that whatever we try to standardize will stand the rigorous W3C
> standardization process. One of those hurdles we will have to overcome
> is proving that we have the proper separation of concerns.
> 

yep, totally agree with that. And your inspiration/ideas are really great. thanks! 



Btw. what do you think about OKTurtles/DNSChain? https://okturtles.com/ 

> -- manu
> 
> -- 
> Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny, G+: +Manu Sporny)
> Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
> blog: Web Payments: The Architect, the Sage, and the Moral Voice
> https://manu.sporny.org/2015/payments-collaboration/
> 
Received on Wednesday, 4 November 2015 09:24:31 UTC

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