ChainSkills was born out of a growing interest in a new concept called the blockchain. To put it simply, the blockchain is a relatively new technology that makes it possible to collaborate on a data set in a completely decentralized and distributed way.
Before the blockchain, the best way to have several actors collaborate on a common data set was to store that data set on a central server, and to have each actor connect to that central database. Then all you had to do was to secure access to this database in such a way that only certain actors could read or modify the data (authentication) and you could determine which actor could access which data in which way (authorization). Also, you had to put some code in front of the database in order to orchestrate access to that database. Security and integrity of the database was thus enforced by centralization. But this approach poses a certain number of problems:
- If some malevolent actor wants to corrupt that data, all he has to do is to gain access to this central database and all other actors will access corrupted data (integrity)
- If some authority wants to censor that data, they can simply change the rules to access the central database, or even alter the central database
- If the central database is destroyed because of a technical failure of some sort, then all the actors lose access to that database and the system can suffer major damage, if not complete destruction
In addition, in principle, this way of organizing software systems is in direct contradiction with the design principles of the Internet it is using as an infrastructure. And it just so happens that the Internet was designed in a completely decentralized and distributed fashion precisely to avoid those problems, at a network level.
The blockchain is essentially an attempt at producing a software database paradigm that also works in a completely decentralized and distributed fashion, all while keeping the ability to maintain integrity, security and accessibility on that shared data.
Historically, the very first implementation of that new paradigm was part of the Bitcoin digital currency created in 2009. But since then, a lot of people have started to realize the opportunity to use this same technique as a foundation for many other use cases.
And this is where we come from.
We are not cryptography experts.
We are not cypherpunks.
We are not crypto-currency traders.
We are not security researchers.
We are not dogmatic, we don’t do things a certain way only because Satoshi Nakamoto or Vitalik Buterin or any other authority said so.
We are software developers.
We are curious experimenters.
We are lean entrepreneurs.
We are machine creators.
We are French-speaking (and a little bit of English too, obviously)
What we are going to do in this blog is simple: we want to get to understand more about this new paradigm created by the concept of a blockchain. We want to learn more about it, about all its subtleties, about the opportunities it creates, about its limitations too. And of course we want to explore these opportunities in a pragmatic and experimental way.
And we will use this blog to report our findings, share our experiments, document our progress and get the community’s feedback.
Our approach here is that of an open learning experience.
Of course, we already have plenty of concrete ideas about how we could use that new knowledge some day. But we also approach this with a humble perspective: we have to acquire the knowledge first, to know whether our ideas make sense. And if they do, we will share those ideas with you too.
So buckle up, and enjoy the ride.