A Vantiv team attended the Distributed Markets hackathon a few weeks ago and placed third with an excellent decentralized supply chain app built on HyperLedger Fabric. Congrats team! Read here for more: Vantiv & Voatz Team Up To Win Blockchain Hackathon!
Some of us were sadly unable to make the trip, specifically me, and we had a bit of a plan for me to attempt virtual participation. Unfortunately that idea was DOA upon awaking the Saturday morning of the hackathon so I did what any other sane person would do and tried to make the best out of the day by creating my own personal hackathon.
My plan was a deep dive into different blockchains to create a report/matrix that would help us all wrap our heads around the blockchain space. It seems like there is a new private blockchain hitting the market daily and trying to keep up with them is futile so having general knowledge on how the ecosystem fits together felt like a good baseline fitness.
Expected Outcome: The goal was to evaluate the five blockchains below and list pros/cons, difference in contract development, programming languages/tooling, consensus mechanisms, and then to bring up a development environment and code/understand a simple token offering. My plan was to create a video interacting with each blockchain, write one blog post as an overview, and then five detailed blog posts with more information.
1. Ethereum -- Ethereum Project
2. Hyperledger Fabric -- Welcome to Fabric — hyperledger-fabricdocs master documentation
3. Hyperledger Sawtooth Lake -- Overview — Sawtooth Lake 0.7 documentation
4. Chain -- Chain | Enterprise Blockchain Infrastructure
5. R3 Corda -- https://www.corda.net/
Actual Outcome: Eeeesh...not quite what I expected. I found out that life quickly won the battle in the work/life balance and it reminded me that work/life balance is mostly a misnomer. Life is the big pie where the main focus should be, work certainly fills some of the pie, and all sorts of other things fill in where necessary. The good news is that, at the end of the day, I had taken a deep dive into Ethereum and implemented the token example on the ethereum website: Create a cryptocurrency contract in Ethereum. I will put up a post shortly describing that work.
This article (written after my little experiment): http://www.coindesk.com/short-guide-blockchain-consensus-protocols/ is an excellent overview of consensus mechanisms although not quite as fun as actually seeing consensus in action.
What actually happened:
06:30 - Day starts
06:30 - 07:30 -- read books: creepy crawlies, pete the cat and the case of the stolen cupcakes, mr. brown can moo can you
07:30 - 08:00 -- breakfast with peppa pig
08:00 - 09:00 -- cushions off couch, a few rounds of duck, duck, goose
09:00 - 10:00 -- clean house, that's where all of the toys go...under the couch
10:00 - 12:00 -- Read and created this plan
hmmm....I'm hungry already
oh, geez, where did all of these tax documents come from, start scanning
eeeps, a bill mixed in with tax documents
These scans are not working well, clean the scanner
I haven't cleaned these desks in a long time, lots of "dirt"
if I'm going to do this bitcoin/eth thing I should actually purchase some, coinbase to the rescue
finish up a project for work that I need to present on Tuesday
12:00 - 13:00 -- Family is home, my wife is a saint for letting me do this, I feel a bit guilty, ok a lot guilty but at least I paid a bill and got taxes going
13:00 - 13:30 -- wow, our garage is dirty, I should sweep, nah, but I did clean up the cat litter
13:30 - 14:30 -- time for swim, head under water for an hour, think good blockchain thoughts
14:30 - 15:00 -- stop by fedex and mail package to collegue
15:00 -- 15:10 -- I wonder if President Trump has said anything interesting today, check news, check hacker news, read more about cloudflare, sha-1 collision, 'meet people who eat 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day', think about how I ate a carrot last night. Have you ever actually read an end user license agreement before? Actually read the whole thing? Fascinating!
15:10 -- 17:30 -- back to work, more reading and trying to wrap head around all of the different blockchains, concentrating on ethereum. Installed Mist and started mining on testnet but cannot generate any ether so pivoting to creating my own private chain
17:30 -- 19:30 -- dinner and hanging out with fam
19:30 -- 20:00 -- bath time (not mine)
20:00 -- 23:00 -- back at it, more ethereum, going to concentrate on this one until I actually get something running. You can see the result in a subsequent post.
Interesting #1: My fam is great. Thanks for allowing me the time to execute these weird experiments.
Interesting #2: I have really been struggling with the work/life concept lately but this experiment allowed some clarity that trying to create balance is futile and instead of focusing on balance I am going to spend my time concentrating on life. For me to perform well at work I need to be healthy, my family needs to be healthy, we need fresh air, we need exercise, we need to stand up every once in a while and look away from the monitor.....and those are all good things. There have been conversations about this before, it's not new, but I'm curious, if anyone actually read this far, what your thoughts are on living a happy/healthy life that also contributes to injecting vitality into the component of life that is work. I hope to write more about this one later.
Interesting #3: This pales in comparison to #2, and might detract from #2, but I was fascinated that I could immediately download (in the case of ethereum) everything I need to build/test/deploy an application to the public ethereum blockchain. I did not have to ask anyone for permissions, tell anyone, etc. It was simply available. There is no other financial equivalent which is a bit mind boggling. The jury is still out on whether or not this is a good thing but it is certainly interesting.
Interesting #4: While doing research I found these excellent diversions.
I would really enjoy VantivONE being a location to not only receive excellent information about payments but also a place where we share excellent information about life.
Feel free to discuss in comments...looking forward to the discussion.