Berlin Blockchain Week 2018
Last week was Berlin blockchain week. I attended some great events including the Zero Knowledge Summit and Dezentral put together by 1kx.
Notes on the Berlin Blockchain Community
My immediate impressions of the Berlin Blockchain Community
- it is tech first, then down to business, speculation last
- it is altruistic, with a hope that technologies and solve problems and help people
- it is socially, not technically, ideological
- it is diverse, with independent, commercial and governmental participants
While there were several projects concentrating on scaling and throughput, emphasis was on privacy and solving business and social problems.
Discussions between sessions ranged broadly across using identity chains to underpin aid projects, ensuring that payment systems respected individual privacy, and zksnark computational overhead. I did not hear crypto prices mentioned, nor was an ICO promoted or sale discussed.
There is also a lot of work going on around the edges of the ecosystem; creating tools, libraries and standars for the industry. This was particularly interesting and educative – leaving me with a lot of homework.
It was very impressive to see such a strong community together.
Some Take-Aways for Saito
Scaling is needed
This has two outcomes:
- there are a lot of single use chains and projects
- many projects are open about the difficulties they face due to the limitations of the chain, or layer on, on which they are built.
These problems are usually related to inability of existing chains to support either transactional data at volume or micropayments themselves. Saito is in a fantastic position to assist with these situations.
This demonstrated the need, for projects, like Saito, to provide a genuinely scaleable chain on which to base this software.
Privacy and Metadata
A core theme of the Zero Knowelge Summit was privacy – distinguished from confidentialilty. Many of the presentations there concentrated on user privacy and metadata leakage. This is an area we need attend to at Saito. This does not mean that we should necessarily build any tools for this into our protocols. Rather, we should look into projects and tools we can collaborate with and ensure that these are easily implemented.
A world of projects
I noted above that the Berlin events were all about building. There was a really broad variety of projects presenting and contributing.
Some of my favourite amongst these projects were:
Fluence offers decentralised database services with low latency and strong query features. Saito could both support transport of queries and return data but could also use Fluence database for storage.
A privacy focused broswer. Saito’s advertising model is at odds with Brave’s. Brave are tying to create a contained centralised system wher Saito only provides the tools for an open infrastructure. Using SAITO as the BAT, would solve a lot of problems for this project.
Mix Networks and other tools for enabling privacy on Chain. NuCypher’s tools would be very useful in allowing private, vs confidential, communication on Saito. This could be baked into tx routing or at the edges.
Identiy Management. Saito and Saito keys will become central to user’s lives. How users build up personas and identities using these will be an important part of the realities of using Saito.
Big Technical Take-aways
We need to learn about and find partners in:
- Mix Networks
- ZKSNARKS and Ring Signatures
- Identity Management
The Berlin Scene is alive and vibrant. I look forward to working with people I met there and to returning.