Decentralized Protocols


This week I worked on some scuttlebutt with Tenor and Ben. Although I building the prayer project on Ethereum, itself a decentralized protocol, I never looked too much at the general landscape of decentralized protocols… until now.  To get myself up to speed I listen to the DAT podcast, a third web podcast on scuttlebutt. This second on was an interesting podcast where the founder of scuttlebutt (sea slang for rumor), distinguishes between cyberspace (the space of communication) and cypherspace (the space of algorithms).

I downloaded Patchwork (a social network built on scuttlebutt) then I ran a patchwork  server. I thought maybe I should build a prayer sb tool, and so I looked at this chat code.  After listening to  Francis‘ talk at Recurse and read a bunch of papers and visited sites. I started going through the proto school exercises which I did not know were made by protocol labs that includes things like ipfs, Nomad and raft . I downloaded beaker, which uses dat, not scuttlebutt. AND I saw great fantastic animation of how raft works – I suggest you watch it if you are interested.

The decentralized tech I was familiar with before was blockstack. They have a great git repo, but looking at all these other initiatives has really opened by eyes.

A gossip protocol is a way to describe how peer to peer nodes share information.  Nodes have a rule  that determines what messages the believe. This rule is the consensus algorithm (I think). There is also no guarantee that every node will receive every message.

So the question is, do we think that bitcoin and ethereum are gossip protocols???  According to the internet it is unclear. Gavin refers bitcoin as using a gossip protocol. Other people do not. The bitcoin and ethereum protocols are heavier than just a gossip protocol – they consensus built in. It seems that gossip is not about consensus.  Scuttlebutt is not looking for universal consensus. Each node controls what truth is. But that consensus is layered on top of a gossip protocol. Gossip is not interested in agreeing with other nodes, but it making a decision for itself.  But I am new to this so I may be off base.  The difference appears to be with the topology of the network. Everyeone

There is an idea of a blockchain like system. Scuttlebutt uses Kappa Architecture, where all activity is appended immutably to a log file. However it is not the log file that all nodes must agree on but the message … I think…. I could prob

After going through scuttlebutt, it seems like a useful architecture for lightweight decentralized communication and decision making but not right for the prayer project. One of the things I am interested in with the prayer project is the notion of action or execution of a prayer. Scuttlebutt is about communication and sure we can build something on top to execute, but I like coopting the logic of exchange built into currency for another purpose.



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