On Decentralization. Part II

This is the second part of my Decentralization topic, started with http://igorartamonov.com/2019/02/on-decentralization-part-i/, based on my presentation about a role of decentralization for a public blockchain.

In my previous article I’ve written about factors that could possible affect decentralization of a public blockchain. And if you start applying them to existing blockchains, it becomes clear that most of blockchains are guilty of one or two of such factors.

It’s much easier to sell centralization disguised as decentralization, and is very profitable. It seems that nobody cares about decentralization anymore. Maybe decentralization doesn’t even matter?

What is the problem?

What is the problem with centralization? It’s obvious that a Central Point is a Point of Failure, but what kind of failure in this case?

Any central point can be used to get some advantage. Control of a public blockchain is a power, which governments, big corporations and criminals want to control. Humans are weak point, they are especially exposed if they are part of that central point. Not necessary to destroy, but force them to do what powerful actor wants.

Most people think it’s impossible to force any changes, “because it’s Open Source”. Unfortunately not every problem is easy to notice, otherwise we wouldn’t have software bugs. Some backdoors can intentionally be planted in a code and pass all verifications, only authors would know how to use them. There are many examples of that.


BitEther Coin on Ethereum Classic

Some time ago I deployed a token contract called BitEther Coin (BEC). The idea is simple — an ETC miner participating in this experiment is getting an additional BitEther token reward to Ether reward received from a block. The Miner gets both Ether (5 ETC per block) and BitEther (2 BEC per block).

This is not a modification of the protocol, nor is it a hard fork or soft fork. It is just a standard feature provided by the existing technology and capability of the ETC system.

By doing this I am trying to show that Ethereum Classic is not the same chain as others: it has more powerful technology which allows you to build your own blockchain layer on top of it. Security of the network can be supported by any participant or by any business building on top of the chain.

BitEther Supply Model

The BitEther Token follows the Monetary Supply of Bitcoin. My initial goal was to make it issue 50 tokens every 10 minutes, with a halving every 4 years.

In practice, BitEther «big block» time is less that 10 minutes, because an additional goal was to reach 99% of total token production at about same time as Bitcoin will. As a result, BitEther issues 50 BEC coins every 6–7 minutes, and halves every 3 years.



Why I’m against Ethereum fork

Please note that this post was written long before Hard Fork happened, it wasn’t clear how it will be implemented, there were no final decision at the moment of the post

I’ve never invested in The Dao, and even was against this idea.

I worried because people just gave money without understanding in what they’re investing. Too many people decided to risk their money just because they thought that it’s cool, without any due diligence or anything.


RESTful using Spring Framework

I don’t need to say that RESTful web services are very popular this days. So, you need it, for sure, but what to choose? I’ve tried different Java frameworks for REST, most times it was Jersey and Spring MVC, and think that for most cases Spring is the best option for building RESTful applications using Java.

If you already have a Spring app, then you don’t need to make complex configuration to start implementing RESTful API with Spring. Just configure view resolver for JSON, and use standard annotations like:


Yandex – most popular search engine in Russia

Yandex – an alternative to Google in Russia. Its same as Google, it’s a search engine, it’s a maps, mail, it’s context advertising, it’s blogs and blog search, news search, money (like Google Checkout, or Paypal), moikrug (= LinkedIn), etc, etc. Except Android, maybe. It even have an Yandex flavored version of Chrome, and Google Chrome suggests to use Yandex as default search in Russia (!!! can you belive???). See more at crunchbase

Yandex have about 60% of market in Russia, as you see Google isn’t so popular there. Why? Dont know. Its something different about the Russian, other mentality maybe?

Google is working hard. Maybe some Google products sucks in Russia, but not so much. Its Google Maps, for example, that have maps only for a a few major cities, Yandex Maps have good and more detailed maps for most cities in Russia. But it’s not the rule. Gmail, in other hand, much better than Yandex Mail.

As about search – russian language is complicated, but it’s must be not a problem for Google. They have offices in Russia, and also have a lot of Russian-speaking developers in other offices (as i heard that Ireland office has a lot of guys from Russia). They can hire smartest people, and they do, but no luck.

I know some numbers, and can say that there is no big difference in quality of search results. Maybe there is an other thing: people who want to see results in russian – they strongly prefer Yandex, because Google’s SERP is a mess of english and russian sites. Who wants to see results in english – prefer Google, but it’s not a lot of people. But even more, Yandex is trying to make a deal with this – it’s just released an improvement for search engine, and now it can understand what sites language is better for current search query and for current user. Its not so easy, btw.

Well, as you see, it’s doing very good, I really like this company, and… we’ll see.

Disclaimer: I had worked in Yandex some time ago as a product manager, btw i’m trying to be objective.


Internet in Russia

Decided to write few articles about Internet industry in Russia. It seems that it can be interesting, because it’s really unique situation there.

First of all – Russia is a very large country, but only small part of people are using Internet in their daily life, it’s about 30-40m active internet users there (143m people in total). Actually most of Internet users are living in Moscow. Or Saint-Petersburg. As for Moscow, there is about 6m active Internet users (15% of a whole country). For comparison, USA have a little more that 200m Internet users. Btw, Internet usage in Russian is growing very fast.

But most interesting part that some major, and popular worldwide, services like Google or Facebook isn’t so much popular there. Sometimes because there are some alternatives of them, or clones, that gain main audience. But many of US services is not popular there at all, even as a alternatives. I mean services like eBay or Digg, for example.

And there is totally different situation with web users. Most of them doesn’t speak English at all, or, for example, Opera browser is very popular there.

Okay, its just an introduction, I’m going to write more about different aspects