What can the blockchain do?
Different people have different views on what the blockchain can do. For example, the blockchain can bring a brand-new organizational form, which can construct a brand-new, trust-based production relationship; for example, the blockchain has the characteristics of immutability and traceability, and can be stored and traced; The chain can realize the separation of ownership and use rights through the use of ERC20, ERC721 and other tokens, which is suitable for scenarios such as sharing economy and leasing. Can be used for asset securitization and so on.
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My core understanding of blockchain is: Blockchain is a technology that enhances the confidence of information in transactions involving multiple parties, thereby increasing the efficiency of trust transfer, and thus improving transaction efficiency.
The greater the value of the transaction, the greater the gains / losses caused by the falsification of the information, the more unfamiliar the transaction parties are, and the longer the transaction chain, the higher the value of the blockchain.
Here, a transaction should not be narrowly understood as a transaction of money—things, money—services, as long as it is owned by two or more parties and exchanged for themselves, it can be considered a transaction.
In the following, I will elaborate on the above viewpoints, and take the "record-evaluation" scenario in education as an example for case analysis.
Second, point of view
In this section, I will elaborate on the viewpoint by explaining a few keywords in my viewpoint.
(1) Transactions involving multiple parties
At first glance, multi-party participation seems to be well understood. Generally, transactions are conducted between two or more parties, so are all transaction scenarios suitable for using blockchain?
Take an example that is not suitable for the use of blockchain: School A commissioned B evaluation agency to evaluate the abilities of the students and provide original data. After the evaluation is completed, institution B produces an evaluation report, and school A formulates the corresponding report based on the evaluation report. Strategies for teaching improvement.
In this scenario, although a transaction has occurred between School A and Institution B, as a provider of raw data and a receiver and user of transaction results, there is little reason to falsify the raw data. It can be seen that not all transaction scenarios involving multiple parties are suitable for the use of blockchain. In actual applications, they need to be screened.
(2) Information confidence
As long as the blockchain is mentioned, the information cannot be tampered with, which is one reason why the blockchain can increase the confidence of the information.
So how to ensure the authenticity of the information before the chain?
In fact, for most information, it is difficult to objectively and rigorously prove its authenticity. In most cases, as long as the confidence of the information exceeds a person's trust threshold, the information can be trusted. For example, the growth rate of China's GDP, the number released by the National Bureau of Statistics must be higher than the average person said, so the common practice of blockchain projects is to bundle some high-end scholars, government departments, well-known colleges and other publicity, to Increase confidence.
In addition, IoT devices (such as blockchain chips) can also be used to perform data collection and on-chain operations to minimize human participation.
Here, I want to mainly introduce a way to increase the confidence of information: multiparty signatures.
Multi-party signature means that a piece of information needs to be signed by all or some of its related users before it can be stored on the chain. For example, if you want to upload the message "A student scored 100 points in Chinese", theoretically you need A student, A student's guardian, A student's class teacher, A student's Chinese teacher, A student's classmate, others Teachers, etc. are directly and indirectly related to the information, and all persons directly and indirectly related to the information owner sign or confirm in whole or in part.
By confirming the 360-degree signature of the information (similar to the 360-degree evaluation in performance), it is relatively easy for a stranger B who has no intersection with A at all to see this information and increase the confidence of the information, thereby quickly Establishing B's trust in this information (now many crowdfunding platforms have a special section for relatives, classmates, colleagues, etc. of the crowdfunder to explain the situation, which is a centralized way to increase confidence.
The difference from the blockchain is that we have reasons to doubt whether the centralized crowdfunding platform is doped with fake confirmation information, and on the blockchain, the signer can be determined by the public key, and the corresponding private key is only The signer knows). Of course, this multi-party signature method will cause users a certain amount of learning costs and use costs, which will cause great resistance in actual use. It may be necessary to provide users with corresponding benefits at the same time to be successful.
(3) Trust transfer efficiency
The efficiency of trust transfer refers to the cost and speed of establishing trust between multiple indirect, direct, but unfamiliar or completely unfamiliar subjects. For example, Student A has a 100 mark in Chinese. The teacher, class teacher, and parents of Student A absolutely believe it, but when the teacher of Student A tells his child this information, the trust in the information will weaken, and the teacher Of children may think that this message was made up by their parents to motivate their students.
When Student A tells this information to a completely unfamiliar third party, such as the foreign school he is applying for, the third party's trust in the information will be weaker, and the student will often need to provide other materials to prove it (improving confidence). And the information is transmitted through the blockchain, and the information is obtained under the dual support of the trusted subject's endorsement (such as schools. When an effective multi-party signature strategy is used, even the trusted subject's endorsement is not required) and the blockchain's immutability. People can quickly identify and trust information without the need for others such as backsliding, providing more proof materials, etc., thereby speeding up the transmission of trust.
(4) Transaction efficiency
There are two main aspects that affect transaction efficiency: the symmetry of information and the efficiency of trust transfer. Many articles think that blockchain can solve problems such as information islands and information asymmetry, but I think whether the information is symmetric depends on whether the person or institution that owns the information is willing to disclose the information, and the role of the blockchain in it is relatively limited.
In the transaction of the blockchain, the core problem is the trust transfer efficiency mentioned above. Under the same information symmetry, the blockchain improves the efficiency of the transaction by improving the trust transfer efficiency.
The mainstream application of blockchain in China is as a trusted distributed database. In this context, the core of the blockchain project is where the data comes from and how it is used.
At present, a mainstream idea of blockchain + education is "record-evaluation". Under this idea, data comes from schools and is used in the evaluation of students.
If everyone started paying attention to the blockchain two or three years ago, you will find that many articles on blockchain + education are derived from the idea of "record-evaluation", such as blockchain + certificate, blockchain + education Data, so why are there no outstanding solutions to this day?
In fact, the "record-evaluation" thinking alone is correct, and it is in line with the characteristics of the blockchain and the personalized development trend of education. I was also deeply influenced by this view, but later I was thinking and It has been found in practice that this idea itself has certain limitations.
First, we start with the evaluation, that is, how the data is used for analysis. What kind of evaluation is needed, or is it worth using the blockchain?
With reference to the explanation of the “multi-party participation transaction” above, similar to the data provided by the students, the output evaluation results are used for the scenario of self-improvement by the students, and it is not worth using the blockchain. Under the idea of "record-evaluation", the most important aspect of the value of the blockchain is the selection of talents. By using the blockchain, the institutions (schools or companies) that select talents can be separated from those that select talents based on their grades and academic qualifications. Instead of focusing on the credible past experience, comprehensive quality, and skills of talents, the change in selection methods will also affect the cultivation of talents, and promote the development of cultivation methods to the direction of individual education and personalized cultivation. Mutual promotion, virtuous circle.
However, this evaluation scenario that is most suitable for blockchain is indeed the most difficult to achieve. On the one hand, education is the foundation of a strong country, and the state is cautious about any education-related reforms, not to mention changing the selection methods of examination forms such as the middle school entrance examination and college entrance examination, and objectively speaking, whether it is talent reserves, economic foundation, It is difficult for the teaching mode to support the change of this selection method.
On the other hand, the change in the selection method is very sensitive and requires long, gradual progress and strict supervision to allow society to be accustomed and accepted. In the past few years, only the increase of the university's autonomous enrollment scale has a lot of concerns and negations. sound.
It can be seen that selecting talents through blockchain data instead of exams requires a very long process, both at the national policy level and the level of public opinion. The role that companies can play in it is relatively limited. To borrow the words of Teacher Liang Ning, this matter is Valuable, but not profitable, few companies or investors may be able to tolerate this long payout over a decade.
Of course, in addition to the talent selection method of the college entrance examination, studying abroad and university independent enrollment are also suitable for the blockchain scene, but it is still very difficult to build a blockchain project that can be recognized by universities at home and abroad, and the number of students related to it Just a few, which in turn affects what we will say next, where the data comes from.
Under the idea of "record-evaluation", the data mainly comes from the entry of educational institutions. But on the one hand, the core appeal of educational institutions is mainly in recruiting students and cultivating students' abilities in some aspects. Blockchain is hard to play a role in them. On the other hand, there are very few students who may benefit from blockchain technology. Under the current situation of higher education work intensity, educational institutions do not have enough benefits to drive them to register data on the blockchain.
In addition, under the current technology level, student data often depends on teachers' manual entry and editing, and multi-signature also has the problem of increasing the workload and cognitive burden of teachers, students, and parents. Therefore, data The problem of confidence cannot be solved well.
In summary, in the long run, the application of blockchain in "education-evaluation" is in line with the development trend of education and is likely to achieve great success, but at least in the next few years, it will require investment from companies that do not return, and the government gradually Intervention, constant argumentation by experts and selfless cooperation of educational institutions.
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