Bitcoin Cryptocurrency with digital blue background

Pluralism and unification

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This post originally appeared on ZeMing M. Gao’s website, and we republished with permission from the author. Read the full piece here.

Justin Bons, in a tweet, argued that the blockchain and crypto world should embrace ‘pluralism.’

As a general principle, I agree. But let’s be clear about the exact meaning and context.

Pluralism is a form of diversity, which at the application layer is not only a good virtue, but also a necessity according to Ashby’s law of cybernetics, according to which a system must have a Requisite Variety (a sufficient number of states in variations) in order to survive a varying environment.

However, the study of cybernetics also reveals another fundamental principle: for a system to support a requisite variety, it must have unity at the base that defines its core purpose and coherence.

The whole universe is designed according to this principle: a set of unified base laws of physics that supports an unlimited variety of applications.

So is the Internet. It is the unification at the TCP/IP base protocol layer that makes the Internet application diversity possible without losing stability.

And TCP/IP did have competitors. Among them are proprietary protocols such as IBM’s (NASDAQ: IBM) Systems Network Architecture (SNA), Digital Equipment Corporation’s DECnet, Novell’s IPX/SPX, Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) NetBIOS, Bell Labs’ ISDN, Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) AppleTalk, Xerox’s (NASDAQ: XRX) XNS, as well as several open standards such as OSI and X.25, etc.

The owners of proprietary protocols first aimed for monopoly, but when losing, then argued for diversity.

But because these protocols are not mere applications but meant to be the base, ‘diversity’ or ‘pluralism’ was a misplaced argument. As far as the base protocol is concerned, unification was the only way to go.

In other words, there could not be a ‘pluralism’ when it comes to the core base protocol of the Internet. Only one could be adopted. The rest did not have to disappear, but they could not become co-protocols of a plurality co-serving as the base protocol of the Internet. They could only continue to exist to serve niche applications and sub-environments of the Internet.

Among the qualifications for the unifying base protocol, scalability stands out to be the most critical. Other factors such as simplicity, efficiency, standardization, decentralized architecture, and borderless Internet are all related to scalability.

TCP/IP was designed for scalability. It can handle large-scale networks, such as the global Internet, efficiently and effectively. TCP/IP’s addressing design allows for efficient routing of network traffic. Its decentralized/distributed architecture enables the Internet to expand horizontally by adding more devices, networks, and connections.

See more: The lessons from the development of Internet standard.

When it comes to blockchain, the same thing is true, and the same is going to happen.

There will be unification at the TCP/IP blockchain base protocol layer, which will then make unlimited variety in the application layer possible.

If yours is an application, find the right blockchain that has the potential to serve as a unifying base globally at the TCP/IP level and build your app upon it. If you are not sure yet, at least build it with the future migration in mind.

But if yours is a blockchain, you must either strive to become the global unifying base of the future Internet or pivot to become an application in the application layer of the future Internet that integrates IPv6 and blockchain at the TCP/IP level. Hiding under the notion of pluralism or diversity is not going to do it.

But if the only reason you insist on your blockchain is to protect your ‘coin’ as an asset rather than establishing a global public blockchain that has unbounded scalability and supports unlimited applications, your blockchain has no future.

At the same time, though, the realm of timechain (blockchain) is calling because Bitcoin SV (BSV) is approaching IPv6, and the pair are about to unite on the Internet of Data & Things (IoDT) to give birth to the Internet of Value & Truth (IoVT).

Watch: Bitcoin is rooted in economics

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.