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Han Feng: blockchain, the basic agreement of global credit in the future

Time : 26/05/2022 Author : onb7ic Click : + -
        Editor's note: This article is an excerpt from the book blockchain: from digital currency to credit society (Babbitt, CITIC Press). The author believes that the first generation Internet solves the problem of free transmission of information. "Information" itself can be copied, transmitted many times and free of charge, which is no problem. But "assets" cannot. Blockchain may become the basic agreement of global credit in the future. In the future, credit and authenticity depend on the notarization of an agreement by the whole network, and each computer in the whole network becomes a bookkeeper. Han Feng, Ph.D. student of Tsinghua University, tutor of icenter, lifelong member of bitcoin foundation, once served as the project leader of the key project of Tsinghua University's Tenth Five Year Plan "evaluation and selection of innovative talents based on network (big data)", and the Chinese partner of Oracle education foundation.
 
        In 2015, Alibaba Research Institute and the Institute of finance of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences held a seminar, and I was invited to attend. The theme of the meeting is very grand, and it is proposed to establish a theoretical system for Internet Finance! Around this theme, many first-class Chinese scholars have also put forward their own views. I am also deeply inspired, especially the rise of blockchain technology in recent years, which seems to have found an answer to this goal. Before discussing what blockchain can bring to Internet finance, let's see what the Internet will bring to finance?. First of all, the core of finance is undoubtedly the establishment of "credit". The most primitive commodity economy must be barter.
 
        But no doubt, we soon found that such transaction costs are very high. If you pull a few carts of goods, but the transaction is not successful, you may be robbed by bandits, which not only has high transaction costs, but also faces high risks. Therefore, we must reduce transaction costs in order to better develop the market economy. Therefore, it soon transitioned to the way of using credit to establish transactions. The establishment of credit is the core of finance. Of course, our traditional credit establishment undoubtedly depends on most "centers", such as the central bank and commercial banks, with courts and economic police. But the problem of traditional finance is that the cost is too high. I like cycling around Beijing very much. As long as I ride more than 100 kilometers, before I leave the suburbs of Beijing, great changes have taken place in the financial ecology! I often can't find an ATM or a bank outlet.
 
        I don't like to bring cash myself. As a result, once or twice in the suburbs of Beijing, I was unable to stay in a hotel, eat or even buy water. For example, this is like a human body. You can't reach many places only by the aorta. You must have capillaries to get nutrition in many places of the body. If there is something wrong with people's capillaries, you will get all kinds of diseases, which are very serious. So the first step of Internet finance is really like Alipay. The next step forward is to rely on big data to establish credit, which is unprecedented. When I started my business, I also went to the bank for a loan.
 
        The process is very cumbersome. You have to investigate your assets, and you can't wait to find out all your family background before deciding whether to give you a loan. It is said that the so-called micro loan in the bank at that time was fivemillion. Why such a large amount? Because the cost cannot come down. Therefore, many small and medium-sized enterprises cannot even get loan services by relying on banks alone, not to mention that there is no ATM in the valley. As a result, Alipay and Yuebao suddenly appeared. "Credit" is based on big data of Internet transactions, which is a big breakthrough! Big data finance is basically the first step in establishing internet finance. It makes the cost of credit establishment much lower than that of traditional bank deposit and loan.
 
        Later, P2P, crowdfunding, etc. all contributed to the decline of credit establishment costs. Then why do you need blockchain? Because big data of Internet companies alone generates "credit", let's look at several problems in traditional finance:. First, the big data of Internet companies has actually formed a data island. Every Internet company will promote the spirit of sharing, openness and transparency of the Internet. But in fact, will they share their big data with others? The answer to the current situation is No. Under the current situation, big data must be the absolute internal resource of every company, and it is impossible to share without boundaries, which leads to the problem of "big data centralization".
 
        As a result, a paradox has emerged in the development of the Internet, which is the opposite of her original intention. The concentration of big data will cause the Matthew effect that the rich get richer. If a data island is formed, big data resources are concentrated in the hands of a few people, and the whole society cannot form a circulation, these valuable data resources can only be used by a few data controllers. As big data generators, individual users have no initiative to obtain credit resources, which is not often conducive to the further decline of credit costs in the global market. Second, data ownership is now mismatched. Massive data is generated by every participant, especially on software such as Tencent wechat.
 
        But does the ownership of big data belong to each participant? Can participants control their own big data? The answer is No. In particular, a bad thing happened in early 2016: "Baidu sell it" incident. The ownership of data and resources generated by forming a "bar" on Baidu should belong to users, including "bar owners" who are also elected by users. However, Baidu can sell the benefits of big data publicly!. Similarly, how much data can we generate on wechat every day? The social and trading data we generate every day should belong to everyone in the producer. In the spirit of Internet sharing, equality and transparency, this kind of big data produces a "global credit resource".
 
        Therefore, the problem that new innovation must solve is that big data should be able to be shared and ownership should be clear. On the surface, these two points are somewhat contradictory. As we all know, the first generation Internet solved the problem of free transmission of information. "Information" itself can be copied, transmitted many times and free of charge, which is no problem. But "assets" cannot. In reality, the ownership of "assets" is unique in the transmission process, and the ownership of assets cannot be copied casually. Therefore, if we follow the first generation Internet tcp/ip protocol, it seems that we cannot establish ownership and credit systems on the Internet. Because the asset attribute must be unique, this thing cannot be copied just by copying.
 
        If any ownership can be copied indefinitely, no one is willing to believe it, and there is no credit at all. The birth of bitcoin in 2008 solved the above two problems. Nakamoto believes that credit cannot be established by a certain center. Because any over centralization will result in information asymmetry, and there will be the use of central power to damage the interests of participants and other parties in the market. Therefore, the bitcoin white paper puts forward at the outset: we should create a payment system that does not need a third party or an intermediary, an electronic currency payment system. But first of all, we must solve the problem of the uniqueness of asset ownership, that is, we cannot make repeated payments.
 
        Otherwise, this so-called electronic currency is nothing more than the stored number. If it can still be copied countless times, it has no credit value. Before that, many people also tried to establish an electronic money system. Similar "Q coins" are obviously issued by Tencent. Once Tencent collapses, Q coins are worthless. However, the P2P e-money payment system that Nakamoto claims to create does not trust any center and does not need any third party!. The solution of bitcoin is the blockchain technology we are discussing now. The first and core concept is "timestamp". "Timestamp" itself was not invented by Nakamoto, and there has long been a national timestamp center.
 
        For example, a contract can be stamped with a "network timestamp", which is equivalent to a certificate. That is, at this point in time, the text of the contract has been formed. When there is a dispute, you can use this certificate to file a lawsuit, etc. Every transaction in the bitcoin system is stamped with a "time stamp" to prevent repeated payments. Because after the "timestamp" is stamped, the same asset cannot be paid to a second person. If someone pays repeatedly, the time will not be right, and the system will automatically identify it as an illegal transaction. The only legal transaction can only be the one stamped with "time stamp", which successfully solves the problem of duplicate payment. This sounds very clear, which can solve the problem of duplicate payment, and proves the uniqueness of property transfer at this moment.
 
        But the question is: who will stamp this time stamp? Nakamoto is obviously a believer in the market. He believes that the market proposed by Adam Smith is composed of self interested people. There must be certain interest rules. The so-called "miners" are stamped with "time stamps". Miners timestamp every transaction of the whole network every 10 minutes &mdash& mdash; Bookkeeping. They are also profit driven. The interests of miners are the only rewards of legal bookkeeping rights that the whole network can only compete for every 10 minutes. Whoever competes can get a certain amount of bitcoin reward. At the same time, other miners in the whole network should synchronize their bookkeeping, and then compete for the bookkeeping right of the next block.
 
        Initially, the reward was 50 bitcoins. According to the rules, it will be halved every four years. Halve to 25 bitcoins in 2013. The so-called blockchain is a one-way bookkeeping chain formed by linking block account books one after another. Bitcoin's blockchain relies on the consumption of computing resources to testify to the whole network and rebuild the credit system. You often see online discussions, such as what the next generation of wechat may be, what the next generation of Taobao may be, and so on. In our view, the next generation is most likely to be a truly decentralized system. The big data generated by everyone on wechat is of great value to everyone.
 
        If these data are encrypted by a system like Factom to form a new digital watermark (hash) and then stored on the blockchain of bitcoin, everyone can't tamper with the big data generated by themselves, and the private key is in everyone's own hands, which means they have the ownership of their own big data. When any one of us needs to borrow money from a bank, as long as we provide our public key and private key to any bank in the world, we can get the credit status of the lender according to big data analysis, which allows everyone to obtain global credit through big data + blockchain. Gao Hongbing, vice president of Alibaba, said to me, "the credit of traditional finance is built on reinforced concrete buildings. Do you think banks have to build buildings? But the future credit is based on blockchain data".
 
        So blockchain relies on the whole network to distribute bookkeeping, free notarization, and establish a consensus database, which is the data building of future credit. Imagine the future. For example, your birth certificate, house property certificate, marriage certificate, etc. need to be prepared by the government. It seems that the government can recognize it. But once you cross the border, you will encounter endless troubles, including contracts. In the future, the contract may not be recognized or enforced. The cost of the traditional credit execution system is very high. The courts, the police, and there is also the possibility of corruption. These costs are shared among each of us. However, if the whole network notarization helps you prove, it is almost impossible to cheat.
 
        Otherwise, as I just said, change the time, unless I have the ability to change everyone's watch. In the future, if you notarize a thing, such as your relationship, it will become a fact of the whole network at once. It is almost impossible to modify it, unless you go to every miner in the whole network to change it, and the cost is unacceptably high. Now, if you want to modify it, I asked the miners of bitcoin that if their world wants to tamper with the data on the blockchain like this, the cost is about one billion yuan (it is still increasing rapidly over time). Once the cost is high, everyone doesn't want to cheat, because the cost is out of proportion to the gain.
 
        In a new era, the future credit and authenticity depend on the notarization of an agreement by the whole network, and each computer in the whole network becomes a bookkeeper. This has opened up a huge space in human history. What problem does it solve? In the future, credit will be generated by each consumer on the blockchain by relying on big data. As huoxuewen, Secretary of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of finance, said, "blockchain will become the infrastructure of global finance", which is the future credit building.
 
        
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