Cai Weide: From the era of big data to the era of blockchain, new thinking and new architecture of Internet

1 Introduction

There is a prophet George Gilder in the U.S. tech community who was originally an economist. In 1980, he and other scholars proposed supply-side economics. In 1981, he published Wealth and Poverty. This is a reference book on supply-side economics, which served as a guide for the economic policy of the President of the United States at that time. He also became an economist that the President often talked about and survived. This theory has affected the US economy and politics for at least 8 years and has caused the US stock index to soar for many years. It has also been regarded by the conservative economics in the United States as an important theory for economic development in the past 40 years. The theoretical basis of China's often-speaked supply-side reform is from this school.

Later, he entered the scientific and technological field, using economics to analyze the development of science and technology, and became a well-known American technology prophet. In 1994, before the smart phone came out, the book "Life After Television" predicted that the combination of computers and communications (that is, smart phones) would change human life in the future. The book was published 13 years before the birth of the iPhone (2007).


"Life After TV" predicts that smartphones will change the world, 13 years earlier than Apple phones

In 2018, he published a new model of sociology of technology to challenge the social governance model behind technology companies represented by Google. In his view, the sociological concept behind Google violates personal privacy, and the overall technology system has fallen behind because blockchain is a new technology for social governance. These new ideas directly challenge the philosophical ideas behind the development of the Internet in the past 30 years, represent intellectuals' criticism of past scientific and technological development, and point out a completely new direction.

In the book, he did not challenge Google ’s technological superiority or Google ’s contribution to the U.S. economy. He also believed that Google might be the best company in the US technology company. But in the face of many countries, including the United States, beginning to seriously protect personal privacy, he publicly challenged Google. Previously, it was difficult to protect privacy because there was no applicable technology, but after the blockchain came out, Google had no reason to continue to use the old technology, not to protect customer privacy, and continue to use customer privacy information for profit.

The trend towards privacy protection is already very clear, such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) of the European Union. The EU GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018. This regulation is the biggest change in data protection legislation in the past three decades, and aims to strengthen the protection of personal data and privacy of residents in the EU. The GDPR simplifies the regulatory framework for multinational companies by unifying data and privacy regulations. GDPR through administrative agencies and courts to enforce administrative penalties can be fined up to 20 million euros, or 4% of the company's annual turnover. The EU ’s recent use of GDPR to punish Google can clearly see that many countries in the world can no longer tolerate a profit model in which companies like Google continue to capture and use user privacy information.


EU punishes Google with GDPR privacy protection law

2. Author introduction

Gilder is 80 years old and has attended Exeter Academy and Harvard University. At Harvard, he was a student of the famous American diplomat Henry Kissinger. He later returned to Harvard to become a researcher at the Kennedy School of Government and editor of the Ripon Forum. In the 1960s, he also served as the writer for several prominent officials, including Nelson Rockefeller (formerly U.S. Vice President), George Romney (former U.S. Minister and former governor), And Richard Nixon (former President of the United States Richard Nixon).


Gilder, a former economic adviser to President Reagan, is 80 years old and still active in the industry

In the 1980s, he and other scholars pioneered supply-side economics. This theory later became the basis of the eight-year national policy of the United States (that is, the eight-year administration of President Reagan). Today, many American economists believe that this theory led the United States from the decadent 1970s to the 1980s when the country recovered. In the process, he became the leader of American high-tech companies. In 1986, President Reagan awarded the White House Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence.

Several major prophecies in the past have become reality. For example, in 1989 he proposed "Microcosm", predicting the huge economic benefits of new electronic technologies (chips). The smartphone is also his famous prediction.

In 2018, he proposed Cryptocosm, again predicting that encryption technology would change the world. Cryptocosm, a term coined in Life After Google: The Fall of BigData and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy 2018 book . He also said that the United States has invested heavily, "Now there are tens of thousands of companies you have never heard of that invest billions of dollars in this area. Overall, they will spawn a new network, its most powerful The most important attribute of the architecture is security, and security is not considered after system design. Security is so important for this new system that such systems should be named after their most important technology, which is 'encryption' World thoughts. "


The name of Gilder directly pointed out that the era of big data was replaced by the era of blockchain

The book was published again at the age of 78, and it was a reform proposal for Google, the most successful technology company in the United States. I encountered many technologists who have unlimited admiration for Google, and when they visited Google in Silicon Valley, they also carried a pilgrimage mentality. So this time is Gilder's perfect prediction again in his life? Or is he wrong this time?

Cosm root is Greek, which means world, universe, or order, such as cosmos, cosmopolitan. Cryptocosm is a new synthetic English word. Crypto is the encryption technology. Now that Chinese has not been officially translated, this article is translated into "Cryptoworld Thoughts", followed by "Thoughts" because "CryptoWorld" is not the physical world, but the thought.

The idea of ​​cryptocosm (cryptocosm) indicates that some organizations, systems, companies, and individuals participating in the blockchain, and these units all take security, distributed (decentralized), and privacy protection as the most important pursuits.

3. Analyze Gilder's predictions

There is a joke on Wall Street in the United States that if someone is preparing a forecast (for example, to predict the trend of a stock market index), it must be prepared to keep forecasting. It means that if the prediction result is wrong, continue to make new predictions and divert everyone's attention. This means that any prophet is a man, not a god, and he or she may make a wrong prediction.

Gilder is also human, not God, and his predictions may be wrong. Therefore, the author believes that whether Gilder's predictions are correct or not is of secondary importance, mainly to interpret the basis of his predictions, and to take seriously the new ideas brought by these bases.

Gilder was not the first to predict the economic effects brought about by the chip, nor was he the first to predict the reform that the network would bring. In fact, when he mentioned the microcosm chip revolution, the United States has experienced at least 30 years of high-speed chip development and economic benefits; at that time (1989), many people thought that computers could not continue to develop at a high speed as before, but he Think that the real drama and huge economic benefits are still in the future. At the time, he was a former economic adviser to the President of the United States. With his influence, he led the United States to continue to develop on the chip. The chip really led the rapid development of the United States economy and made the United States economy flourish for many years. Until now, the United States chip is still leading the world .

His predictions were not based on crystal balls or dreams. Even his predictions only came from the development of new technologies. If you read his "Cryptoworld Thought" published in 2018, he rarely talks about technology, but most of it discusses social governance, law, economics, and philosophy. Most of his predictions for blockchain appear in 2019 articles. But in 2018 he has published a book that severely criticized Google in favor of blockchain. He said that his prediction for 2018 this time is mainly based on the research of social sciences (the development of the EU's GDPR should give him great inspiration). The predictions he made in this life are based on new technology, but the main analysis points come from economics and sociology. This kind of analysis that integrates technology, economics, and sociology is rare.

4. Comparison of the ideas of crypto world and big data

In 2019, he published an article comparing the future blockchain-based world with the current big data world, forming a very sharp contrast [8, 10]:

1) Google's first principle is to focus on users. This is Google's free services for users, such as search, email, maps and more. In contrast, the first principle of the crypto world is to focus on security. Related to this, no service is free (because wool comes out of sheep). When users use Google, their valuable information is taken by Google for big data analysis. Users actually pay a very high price, and the price is "lost the right to privacy of personal data."

2) Google's second principle is that an organization's most important thing is to do one thing well. This may be search (Google started with search kiss), but more broadly, it may now be artificial intelligence technology (powering products such as search). Of course, Google is very good at this. However, the idea of ​​the crypto world believes that it is best to create a foundation on which users can do many things.

3) Google says that faster is better than slow. The idea of ​​the crypto world is just the opposite. The third principle is that "human growth is more important than progress in computing." Blockchain focuses on building an infrastructure, that is, human beings can use the infrastructure to flourish, and these human progress is more important than the progress of computer chips and iterative algorithms.

4) Google believes that the Internet needs democracy, but the Internet is still in a hierarchical system. The idea of ​​a crypto world emphasizes the distribution of power. If power is divided, voting may not be required.

5) Google's fifth principle is that you don't need to know the answer at your desk. The crypto world thinks that if your phone is really smart, then it should at least suppress advertising (and this feature is provided by Google and other units).

6) Google's sixth principle is that you can make money, but not do bad things in the process of making money. The idea of ​​the crypto world states that real money is good. Here "real money" corresponds to "scandalous money." He wrote another book, "The Scandal of Money," in 2016, which critiques US national monetary policy. His position here is not to make a profit under an unreasonable system or economic model, such as selling personal information. If you make a profit under an unreasonable business model, you will make “scandalous money” even if the unit does not think it has done anything bad.

7) Google's seventh principle is that information is always increasing, and we should pursue this data (for example, by providing free services). The idea of ​​the crypto world is that information belongs to its owner.

8) Google believes that the need for information is across national borders. The crypto world thinks that anyone, unit should respect the boundaries of your computer or device.

9) Google's 9th principle is that users leak some information to get other information. Cryptoworld thought that you should be able to use services and transactions, but you do not need to disclose any information.

10) Google believes that greatness is not enough. The idea of ​​the crypto world believes that it provides a secure architecture and platform for users to become great users.

5. New Blockchain Design

The "Life After Google" in 2018 discusses the philosophical ideas of new technology and challenges the ideas of the current era of big data, but there is no breakthrough in technology. In 2019, Gilder began publishing articles recommending new blockchain designs [8], such as the Gorbyte system ( This system proposes 3 innovations: crypto networks, security mechanisms, and digital identity certificates. For example, nodes use hardware to protect the system, and wallets also use hardware. This system does not have a mining mechanism and a high-speed consensus mechanism. Users have all the rights to their data, without the user's permission, no one or unit can see this data.

It can be clearly seen that Gilder's prediction of the blockchain is that the overall technology system needs to be improved. For example, the blockchain system needs to be improved, and the network needs to be improved. Security and privacy are the first priorities. These improvements are very close to the idea of ​​the digital society proposed by MIT in 2012, and they are also consistent with the Windhover Principle of MIT's digital identity principle. Later, many similar digital ID frameworks appeared, such as the Sovrin Framework. Digital society is the reason why I set up a digital society and blockchain laboratory in Beihang University in 2015. It's a pity that MIT did not use blockchain at the time, but Gilder's recommended system used blockchain. The author thought in 2015 that if MIT adopted blockchain technology at that time, their influence would be even greater [11].

According to the above analysis, we can see that the main basis of Gilder's prediction:

Many countries, including the European Union, attach great importance to privacy protection. The EU also has special legislation for this, which means that the EU will not easily change this direction and will continue to strengthen its efforts in the future.

An important privacy protection technology is digital ID cards. Digital ID cards require a new type of security mechanism, and customers have control over their own data, not systems such as big data platforms, or service providers such as Google. Systems and service providers can only provide services and have no rights to these private data.

Traditional systems, including the Internet, big data, and operating systems, do not give top priority to security, causing fraud to become more and more serious on the Internet. People can no longer tolerate such insecure systems. System speed is no longer an issue. Security and privacy protection are the issues.

When engineers design systems with security as the first priority, they will have huge differences from traditional systems, including the Internet, big data, and operating systems. This is the concept I have been mentioning in the past.Blockchain is an important opportunity for China to become a technological powerhouse, because these traditional systems will change.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are not the future systems predicted by Gilder, these are at best early demonstration systems in the future. The author has read an evaluation report of these two systems by a master in Silicon Valley and believes that these two systems only provide new system design ideas with safety as the priority, and these two systems are far from practical applications.

What exactly will be a security-first system in the future? Gilder doesn't give the answer. In fact, he didn't know yet because the field was still evolving. He just gave directions.

6. Design Principles of the New Interchain Network Architecture

Since Gilder mainly focuses on the social science viewpoint, the author here supplements the scientific viewpoint on 3 points. For example, he mentioned the encrypted network, but did not explain whether the encrypted network is built on the current network or does it need to be built on a new secure encrypted network? I think the latter is the right way. In addition, he valued privacy protection, but did not mention government regulation, nor did he mention how to use technology to achieve these needs.

Can't build tall buildings on the beach—the need for a new network

Now that the Internet protocols are insecure and unreliable, how do you build a secure and reliable Internet on an insecure and unreliable network? This is as dangerous as building a hundred-story high-rise building on the beach. It ’s like the Bible ’s words, “Whereever you hear me, do it. It ’s like a wise man building a house on a rock. Rain, water, wind, and hit the house, the house never collapses. Because the foundation Stand on the rock. Anyone who ca n’t hear what I say is like an ignorant man who built a house on the sand. Rain, water, wind, and hit the house, and the house collapsed. And it collapsed Big."


The blockchain systems mentioned abroad are all built on the current Internet, like building tall buildings on the beach

The author established the Blockchain Internet Lab in Guizhou in 2017 and kicked out the need for a new encrypted interchain infrastructure and a new network protocol. Because the Internet requires a secure and reliable infrastructure. As mentioned in the author's China Dream article on blockchain in 2018, [12], the infrastructure needs to include a new operating system, a new database, a new network protocol and architecture. It is the blockchain mechanism that needs to be put into these traditional systems, not just running on these traditional systems.

At the Hangzhou conference on January 6, 2020, the author pointed out that the current blockchain infrastructure is actually a "dumbo" model, that is, all blockchain software is built on the existing network and operating system. This model will have huge risks in the future, and it will definitely have problems in the future, because it is like building a tall building on the beach. But this is also a huge technology opportunity in China for 100 years, because the world will start a new infrastructure, and it will all be at the same starting point.


Now the blockchain system is a "Dumbo" model, flying at high altitude, but big and heavy

Internet is not a place outside the law-privacy protection and regulatory mechanisms must coexist

Just as the Internet is not a place outside the law, neither is the blockchain or the Internet. If the blockchain is just an application, criminal evidence can still be outside government regulation. Because the account exists at the application layer and is not processed at the bottom, only all transactions must be processed at the bottom to ensure the integrity of the transaction.

And the first generation (Bitcoin) and the second generation blockchain (Ethereum) were designed to escape regulation. The Bank of Canada's 2017 blockchain experiment report pointed out that the Bank needs to obtain all transaction data to meet the needs of national regulation. Some chains specifically designed for financial markets have not been evaluated by the Bank of Canada because these systems are unreliable and difficult to regulate.

In the future, the blockchain will not only need to be able to monitor, but also actively support supervision [6]. These two ideas are different:

After the design of the supervisory representative system is completed, the supervisory mechanism can be added later. The chain of evading supervision is that it is impossible to add an effective supervision mechanism; when a system supporting supervision is designed, the supervision mechanism is put into the system to ensure that relevant transactions can be supervised. Here the author's team proposes to put the supervision mechanism into the operating system's underlying kernel [1, 2, 3, 4], because only at the bottom, all related supervision transactions can be traced, because all execution must pass through the operating system The bottom. If the supervisory mechanism is placed at the application layer, such as the design of the Dumbo model, the supervisory mechanism may not be in place. Before that, all regulatory mechanisms were at the system application layer, such as on big data platforms.

In the future, the blockchain design will support supervision. This is the idea proposed by the author in the first and fourth blockchain Chinese dreams written in 2018 [12, 13]. In the first dream, there will be a "supervisory network" on the network that specifically supervises transactions on the inter-chain network and can be monitored in real time; in the fourth dream, it is proposed to use the blockchain to supervise, protect consumers, and protect regulators. .

This is also where Gilder didn't see it. It is incomplete to talk about protecting privacy without government regulation. Even the Bank of Canada, which advocates freedom, has proposed to regulate financial transactions, saying that there is no contradiction between government regulation and privacy protection. In fact, the emergence of blockchain is also a way to protect transaction parties (and regulators), because using blockchain, regulators will not be able to produce false evidence.

The reform of the Internet is not a reform of a single dimension-the blockchain is a comprehensive reform

The current reform of the Internet is a comprehensive reform. This is a technological opportunity that China will encounter once in a century [1, 2, 3, 4]. Such comprehensive reform can become an important breakthrough for China's science and technology. If it is only a one-dimensional reform, it is very likely to become a "Dumbo" model, just following the foreign science and technology development route, without its own innovation route. The following is the new internet system proposed by the author in December 2019.


Under the new system, every layer has new technology

In this system, each layer of technology can be renovated as follows:


Summarizing the above discussion, the following compares the same and complementary aspects of the blockchain system proposed by Gilder and the new blockchain system proposed by the author.


7. Summary

Everyone can think back, what happened to the world when Gilderty thought of the crypto world (2018)? At that time, the currency circle was experiencing major blood loss. The US SEC vigorously suppressed digital tokens, the currency price fell and fell, and the currency circle began. despair. At that time, many people expressed their opinions that blockchain has no new technology. The development of blockchain only needs to pay attention to applications, and the alliance chain has no value. Only public chains that can issue coins have value. At that time, at the China Blockchain Conference, the financial community publicly criticized blockchain as useless and disrupted finance. At that time, the author wrote that the stablecoin will change the world, thinking that it is a must for financial soldiers (after the Facebook white paper was released in June 2019, the world's central banks and commercial banks only recognized that the stablecoin is indeed important). This all happened in 2018.

It was at that time that Gilder put forward the idea of ​​the encrypted world in the United States, and the author proposed that the Internet in the East was a great opportunity to lead China's science and technology [12]. Gilder is mainly based on social sciences, supplemented by science and technology. He predicted that humans will leave the era of big data represented by Google and enter the era of encrypted worlds that protect privacy. The author's thinking is mainly based on science and technology, supplemented by social sciences. I believe that many technologies will change greatly due to the advent of blockchain. Both Gilder and the author's analysis are fusion analysis because the blockchain is multidisciplinary.

Gilder has had many brilliant success predictions in the past. Will he succeed again this time? The last time he predicted that smartphones, Apple phones only appeared 13 years later. If it also takes 13 years this time, Gilder will be 91 years old before seeing this scene. Gilder, a veteran of science and technology, deserves our study.


[1] Cai Weide, "What is the core technology of the Internet", 2020. 1.14.

[2] Cai Weide, "Blockchain is an opportunity for China's leading global network technology", 2019.12.23.

[3] Cai Weide, Jiang Xiaofang. "Blockchain-Opportunity for a Powerful Technological Power That Is Difficult to Encounter in a Century", 2019.12.31.

[4]. Cai Weide. "Top 10 Research Directions of Blockchain", 2019.12.08.

[5]. Cai Weide, Jiang Xiaofang. "Regulation sandbox has proved difficult to implement, China should actively deploy industrial sandbox", 2020.1.12.

[6]. Cai Weide, "Authentic and Stable Coins! Blockchain Needs Supervisability", 2019.05.28.

[7] George Gilder,

LifeAfter Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy 2018

[8] George Gilder, "Blockchain paves theway for trust and security", 2019.10.4,

[9] George Gilder, "Exclusive: 'Lifeafter Google', 10 Laws of Cryptocom", 2018.7.17.

[10] Shannon Voight, "George Gilder's Tenlaws of Cryptocosm", February 28, 2019

George Gilder’s Ten Laws of the Cryptocosm

[11] Cai Weide, "From MIT's Digital Society to the Road to Blockchain China", 2019.02.12.

[12] Cai Weide, Liu Lin, Jiang Xiaofang, "One of the Chinese Dreams of Blockchain: Blockchain Internet Leads China's Scientific and Technological Progress", 2018.8.7.

[13] Cai Weide, Jiang Xiaofang, "The Fourth Chinese Dream of Blockchain: RegTech Weaves a Comprehensive Security Dream", 2019.10.26.

Cai Weide
Director of Beihang Digital Society and Blockchain Lab, Chief Scientist of Tiande Technology, Leader of Major Projects of Ministry of Science and Technology, Dean of China Information Industry Blockchain Research Institute, Blockchain Internet Lab of National Big Data (Guizhou) Comprehensive Experimental Zone Director, Dean of Tianmin (Qingdao) International Sandbox Research Institute, Honorary Dean of CCDI (Qingdao) Blockchain Research Institute, Chairman of China Asia Economic Development Association Blockchain Industry Professional Committee, Beihu Gold Blockchain Specialist Committee director