30 Blockchain Buzzwords

Random Observation/Comment #546: “That’s an easy solution. Just put it on the blockchain.” ~All the hype

blockchain ahead

Why This List?

2 years of looking at blockchain technologies with financial institutions and VCs has led me to a lot of reading and a lot of meetings where buzzwords are thrown around by savvy strategists and media hype. Most of these are clever ways to explain what bitcoin, blockchain, and distributed ledgers can do for business changes, but we’ll see how far the 2015 year of blockchain hype goes as we round out the 2016 year of blockchain delivery.

  1. The underlying technology of Bitcoin – the most common phrase I’ve personally used to get people understanding the distributed and decentralized side of the technology.
  2. Transfer of value or “The Internet of Value – one of the first articles I read (which I won’t bother looking for because there’s a million articles on blockchain) compared blockchain to internet protocols TCP/IP, but with additional value transfer.
  3. Immutable distributed ledger – the concept that the database cannot be edited and can be agreed upon as a golden source.
  4. Chain of ownership – along with immutability of a data source also comes a saved version of all permissions around the token since the genesis block.
  5. Blockchain hype – a term used by media to explain the network effect and growth of blockchain company funding.
  6. Disruptive platform / “the Uber of finance” – not just a replacement of the existing system, but a whole new mindset across economics and technology
  7. Blockchain 2.0 – a focus less on the digital cryptocurrency and more on the applicability to decentralized Applications and financial assets
  8. <something>-ledger or <something>-chain – the uncreative list of names we’ve seen start-ups come up with for projects or task forces
  9. UTXO Blockchains – Unspent Transaction Outputs are the purest form of public bitcoin blockchains. The design style specifically looks at permissions to send tokens between addresses.
  10. Account-based Blockchains – Usually used to represent Ethereum or Ethereum-similar blockchains where the transaction header also saves full accounts. Smart contracts themselves are accounts that are executed on the Ethereum blockchain and the log of transactions (either transfer of tokens between accounts or invokation of specific smart contracts) are logged on the same blockchain.
  11. EVM stack – Ethereum Virtual Machine is what processes the bytecode data represented on the account. The adding of the word stack to it encompasses all companies that use this same EVM processing methodology.
  12. Blockchain agnostic platforms – the explosion of middleware companies had the right idea – let’s put all our money onto which blockchain will prevail, but instead build an adapter layer that can connect to any blockchain. Thus – agnostic to each blockchain.
  13. Certainty as a service – during the Bitcoin Maximialist days where people believed the bitcoin blockchain and proof of work are the only ways of ensuring a distributed and decentralized platform, people considered using OP_RETURN and transfer of a single satoshi to timestamp transactions and embed them onto the biggest blockchain ecosystem.
  14. Blockchain as an adjective – I just heard this one, but it focuses on representing storage with 1) an asset live on blocks, 2) immutability/cryptography, and 3) decentralization
  15. Blockchain fabrics – beneath all the technology are the building block fabrics that underpin the technology. Yeah – I don’t know either.
  16. Blockchain ecosystem – the list of all companies that contribute to all areas related to blockchain. The niches within these ecosystems are growing in breadth, but also getting more specific to use cases
  17. Adopt, adapt, or build – when applying blockchain to specific business use cases, consulting companies follow a more detailed buy vs build model through technical evaluations
  18. Smart logic – instead of the famed “smart contract” phrase that falsely implies some representation of a legal document, people have been using the phrase “smart logic” (or in my mind, dumb logic) to represent the code that runs on the blockchain
  19. Blockchain inspired technology – for the use cases that blockchain cannot solve, you can always build your own storage and network solution that uses the same hype. If you have the name blockchain in it, then you can probably sell it.
  20. Blockchain certification – this is the evaluation of the underlying technology to see whether or not it passes those initial tests
  21. Blockchain open source – After the creation of the Hyperledger project, I think all companies have agreed to go open source with their code and learn from each other. It’s a pretty amazing altruistic act, but the key is how much is open source and how much is still kept proprietary.
  22. Blockchain as a service – for infrastructure providers, blockchain as a service is an easy way to spin up blockchain nodes for companies to login and test with.
  23. Blockchain pilots – instead of running prototypes and POCs, pilots hope to connect to real data and test viability as a production environment
  24. Cash on Ledger – speaking of use cases, a lot of buzz out there from central issuing parties talk about issuing federal coins. The underlying payment rails is what people want to make sure they solve, which is getting cash on and off of distributed ledgers
  25. Identity as a service – another big use case is around identity. If you have all these different chains, what connects them all together? How do you operate between chains? Imagine if this was a database and you needed to manage accounts across all types of databases.
  26. Blockchain 3.0 – many people think the next steps around blockchain growth is getting government and large regulatory group integration. It’s a chicken and egg situation because large groups don’t want to commit to developing something if the regulators aren’t going to agree with it.
  27. Regulation 2.0 / RegTech – since regulation is such a big topic, we’re really looking towards unchartered territory of managing decentralized code
  28. Consensus fork – when consensus fails, each node would have different ideas of what the golden source looks like. The fork is just the disagreement and breakage of consensus.
  29. Net Present Value (NPV) of conversion – this is specifically for the intermediate state of blockchain technologies when being adopted by large institutions. If the technology is fully disruptive, you can create a new ecosystem on the side (like a blockchain-specific stock market from front-to-back). If it’s supplemental, you’d need to run hardware in parallel or even add more infrastructure and opening risks to connectivity between nodes.
  30. Clemcoin – it’s huge

~See Lemons put on a blockchain

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