Prerequisites to Becoming a Blockchain Expert – Part 3

Getting involved in the blockchain space is pretty simple. Study the underlying fields of computer science that brought blockchain technology into being. Cryptography, Distributed Computing, and Mechanism Design are these fields. They were all studied for years alone, but when they were brought together by Satoshi Nakamoto it created a new revolution. If you get involved in this space, studying these will greatly mitigate your risk. Compared to being a crypto investor, or even a solidity developer, it is a more robust knowledge base to have as it is less certain that solidity will be around in 10 years compared to these fields of computer science (see Lindy Effect). Knowledge in these fundamental fields is highly sought-after in blockchain space, and the amount of people putting in the hard work to learn these topics is disproportionately skewed to the amount of money flying into space, meaning your time to study them will definitely be worth it. These basic topics have been around for decades, and due to some hype cycle, they have not changed. This tech is here to stay, whether the bubble crashes or falls. 

Mechanism Design

A simple mechanism design definition would be “if there was a baby in computer science and game theory, it would be called mechanism design.”

This is another piece of the puzzle for blockchains. A cryptographer alone can secure data, but in order to have any value (and prove it can’t be spent twice), there must be an incentive to own that data. And a distributed computer engineer can connect a computer network to distribute data, but if there is an imbalance in the built-in incentives, it makes the network less secure and effective (such as torrenting sites). Mechanism design brings together these fields to create working blockchains, and the field is constantly evolving, as we can see from Bitcoin study.

From the beginning, Bitcoin had an incredibly inventive design. But with the invention of ASIC miners, a large part of the mechanism was upset. It created a concentration of mining power in the hands of people with capital to buy ASICs and construct large mining farms with the creation of these miners. Bitcoin’s ability to mine with a personal computer CPU was lost, weakening Bitcoin’s decentralization. Satoshi was envisioned thinking long and hard about how to prevent something like this from happening, but a decentralized global network is always open to ever-evolving vectors of attack. This is the nature of the design of the mechanism when digital assets are secured.

Continued blockchain testing and building will lead to more robust and secure algorithms that help people become involved in a global network of trust.

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