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In 10 years we have no blockchains

Will Murphy is the blockchain vice president at, the company behind Botchain, a blockchain for autonomous intelligent agent management.

I predict that in 10 years blockchain technology will improve to such a level that calling it "blockchain" will no longer be a useful term.

Let's think about this for a moment. Why do we call it a blockchain? The three most interesting parts of the blockchain are:

  1. Mechanisms of consensus
  2. Management Mechanisms (meta-consensus on how to manage future improvements in the global chain)
  3. The structure of the blockchain itself

The last one affects the size of the network, the speed of transactions, etc. And the structure of the blockchain is why we call it a "blockchain".

So, what do we mean by "blockchain"? Let's break the terms of the two components:

Block: A pile of grouped transactions.

String: Cryptographically connected blocks in a linear fashion.

Bye-bye blocks

I think that in the future, the block will no longer be needed. In its place will be a system where transactions are interrelated and can confirm previous transactions.

To submit your next transaction, you must validate the others in the queue. In order to get what you want (your transaction submitted), you must do some work for others.

Why do that? Transaction times in this model would be faster than, for example, bitcoin transaction times today. The minor is technically retired and each transaction validates past transactions. Transaction times can actually decrease as more and more people use the system.

Ciao with chains

I also think that in the future, the chain will not be a single chain of blocks. I think it will look more like a mesh (or graphic). Perhaps we could have a non-linear set of branches that go in many different directions, where many parallel transactions take place.

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So, maybe we'll call it a transaction chart. I've also seen the term Tangle (in the IOTA protocol) for similar early concepts.

Maybe we'll call it "the graph" the same way we talk about "cloud" today. We will store all information and transactions in this global chart (whether we know it or not).

Enter the DAG

The closest thing I've seen up to here that fits my imaginary trajectory is a directed acyclic graph.

What will a future "blockchain" look like

[EUR] by Wikipedia:

"In mathematics and computer science, an acyclic oriented graph is a finite oriented graph without directed cycles."

A DAG model works differently than a blockchain. A common blockchain requires miners to maintain the blocks, but a database availability group needs neither proof of work nor blocks.

New management models would be needed. So there is a lot of work to be done.

But theoretically, this model improves as new nodes are added. It can therefore be an improved model for both taxes (or, in ethereal language, "gas") and scalability compared to current blockchain models.

In the future, we can have something that does what a blockchain does, only better. There are still challenges to this model, so I do not know how it will work. But, I think this design is intriguing, and I'm curious to see how it develops.

Matted rope image via Shutterstock