Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's That Kaminska Woman (+J. Kelly) "Facebook Disputes FT’s Claim that Libra is ‘Not a Proper Blockchain’" (FB)

We were hodling-on to FT Alphaville's series of posts on Facebook's crypto-currency until I figured out an introduction this weekend but this is a rollicking good start.
HT up front to the hitherto-unknown-to-me Martin Walker (retweeted by Izzy):
From BitsOnline
Facebook has hit back at claims in the financial media that its proposed cryptocurrency “Libra” is not a true cryptocurrency. The company told writers and editors at’s online Alphaville publication that its technology is indeed a blockchain, and that reporters should seek its guidance before making an assessment.

Also read: Review: Hash Altcoin Blackminer F1 FPGA Cryptocurrency Miner
Subscribe to the Bitsonline YouTube channel for great videos featuring industry insiders & experts
Libra Has Neither Blocks Nor Chains: FT
FT Alphaville has published a series of articles titled “Breaking the Zuck Buck”, which takes a critical look at the features (and shortcomings) of Facebook’s much-publicized cryptocurrency concept.
One article in particular raised the company’s ire: “Facebook’s Libra: Blockchain but Without the Blocks or Chains” by Jemima Kelly. In the piece, Kelly first questioned why Facebook even needs to build a blockchain-based cryptocurrency for its purposes, and noted that Libra lacks the characteristics that would make a blockchain… a blockchain.

From the Libra white paper, Kelly quoted:
“Unlike previous blockchains, which view the blockchain as a collection of blocks of transactions, the Libra Blockchain is a single data structure that records the history of transactions and states over time.”

She then made the observation that if Libra is unlike previous blockchains, particularly in its fundamental structure, then it’s more an attempt to redefine what a blockchain is than to produce an example of it. Kelly made the following analogy:
“Unlike previous loaves of bread, which view the loaf of bread as a collectively baked set of ingredients, the Libra Loaf of Bread is a single ingredient structure that bakes the components sequentially over time.”
from the Libra white paper
        from the Libra white paper
Kelly also noted the term “blockchain” itself doesn’t have a definition that 100 percent of the cryptocurrency community agrees upon, so therefore Facebook’s argument is similar to the one often leveled against Ripple. Ripple validates transactions and verifies balances using a consensus network, and is frequently referred to as “not a blockchain” by cryptocurrency commentators.
Facebook responded to the critique in an email to FT Alphaville editor Izabella Kaminska, arguing that Kelly’s article contained factual errors which should have been checked with Facebook’s technical representatives for clarification before publishing.
Facebook’s Information Should Stand on Its Own
Speaking to Bitsonline, Kaminska said Kelly wrote her article based on Facebook’s own detailed information — which should have been enough for an experienced reporter to make an assessment. Additionally, others had made similar critiques.
“Facebook got in touch with us citing factual errors in Jemima’s story on the basis of her interpretive analysis which critiqued the notion that libra was actually a blockchain or a cryptocurrency. But what Jemima wrote was entirely based on the core materials published by Facebook. No misrepresentation occurred. To suggest her interpretation was a factual error — especially given she hasn’t been the only one to make such observations — was truly bizarre.”
“As is common practice in the industry, the FT received the libra material on embargo terms days ahead of the official release with a list of approved contacts to approach for exclusive briefings. It was Facebook’s contention that Alphaville, an online-only editorial subdivision of the FT, should have used that contact list to get proper guidance on how to interpret the published materials. But, it is our contention, a white paper should be able to stand for itself. If one needs a corporate overseer to guide interpretation and implementation to this degree, there’s either a problem with the clarity of the thinking behind the document or purposeful obfuscation going on.”

Could Alex Jones Run a Libra Node?

In a series of tweets, Kaminska asked whether Alex Jones — the controversial broadcaster whose network Infowars has been wiped from most social networks — would be allowed to operate Libra nodes. That would be “an easy way to test” if Facebook’s system met its own standards of what constitutes a blockchain....

For the posts see: