Terminology Wars: “Blockchain”

  • May 4, 2018
  • general
  • Jeff Worthington

Okay, I give up. I try to use new terms with some precision. Communication is better that way. But invariably, the marketers and the general press swoop in, half-understanding the new concept, and start throwing the new lingo around. Soon, it’s little better than jargon.

A block chain is one way of technically implementing a distributed ledger. Blockchain technology has its pros and cons, and there’s a lot of active work going on to find alternatives for distributed ledgers that avoid blockchain’s disadvantages. So there’s a good chance that the next “blockchain” project you find yourself working on or implementing won’t actually use a block chain. It might use a Distributed Acyclic Graph (DAG), or something else.

But chances are, you’ll still call it a blockchain project. So go ahead and call it that. Words change in meaning, terminology evolves rapidly. As long as we all know what we’re talking about, that’s all that matters.

Jeff Worthington

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