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Relative truth


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Presentation given by Gavin Wood at the NYC Ethereum meetup on the 21st of November 2014 concerning the concept of relative truth and the need to rethink MMA system architecture with the paradigm of incomplete truth.

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Relative truth

  1. 1. Relative Truth Living without (as much) authority Dr. Gavin Wood, co-founder Ethereum
  2. 2. Absolute Truth For any given time, there exists an authoritative state. This is defined by an authority, e.g.: server, block chain
  3. 3. Example The Truth (database) Authority New Order Order book Execute Order Cancel Order Seller Buyer Executes or not? Authority decides
  4. 4. Advantages For any given point in time, all information in system is consistent: State is unambiguous. Comes at a great cost
  5. 5. Problems Scaling tough Central point of control Single point of failure Exacerbates security problems
  6. 6. And… As a model, doesn’t properly reflect reality: “Square peg, circular hole” Ubiquitous Absolute Truth tenable in the long term?
  7. 7. Why? Inflated version of that to which we’re accustomed… So accustomed that we often forget about the alternatives.
  8. 8. Ubiquitous Absolute Truth is expensive. Save it for the block chain
  9. 9. Relative Truth Each node keeps its own dynamically updated record of their knowledge. No node has complete knowledge. All nodes internally self-consistent.
  10. 10. Example Seller Buyer Authority New Order Please finalise Swap assets Some Truth (database) Swap assets Important Truth only (database) Some Truth (database)
  11. 11. JIT Consensus Consolidation of disparate truths only happens when needed.
  12. 12. Advantages Progression User gets actionable content as it becomes available Scaling Bottlenecks become O(1), not O(n) Reliability Perfectly graceful degradation Private & Secure Avoids bestowing unneeded authority
  13. 13. Problems New paradigm for MMA development. Means rethinking and rearchitecting. New APIs required (e.g. Ethereum’s Whisper, a secure, lossy, multi-DHT)
  14. 14. Not new… Fast-paced multiplayer games Fully-decentralised file-sharing networks
  15. 15. …but destined for fame Another piece in the puzzle in the quest for the Decentralised Application toolkit.
  16. 16. Questions?