Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I’m excited to dig in I’ll respond to several of your points first, then come back to the question of permissioned chains.
I think about it this way: what were the very first things that personal computers (and, later, devices like smartphones) used for? Things like messaging (chat), email, word processing, editing and sharing photos, contacts and calendars, spreadsheets, etc. Then, of course, there’s also gaming.
I’m clearly thinking bigger than blockchain here–more along the lines of Web 3, or of a new compute stack, which I wrote more about in Faster Horses, Better Software–but these are the sorts of applications that I think a mainstream audience would find appealing and useful. As one example, if you look at Urbit’s OS1, this is precisely the sort of thing it’s being built to do. Blockchain is not especially well-suited to any of these applications, and they have nothing to do with money or digital assets.
Actually, I don’t think we disagree. Blockchain is an important primitive that can be used to provide some of the infrastructure that applications like this will rely on–identity and namespace, most obviously–but my point is that claiming that blockchain is the most important component of Web 3 simply isn’t true, and isn’t borne out by the facts.
Out of curiosity, are you suggesting that such permissioned systems are or can be governed democratically? Are there any such examples in operation today? I see a very limited menu of options aside from technocracy, plutocracy, and (hypothetically) democracy.
I guess it depends what you mean by “self-sovereign identity.” One could argue that every Bitcoin/Ethereum/whatever keypair is a self-sovereign identity–and there are definitely a slew of dapps that you can log into using Metamask and such keypairs. Blockstack and Urbit are two other examples of working, useful self-sovereign identity systems. The fact that not many applications have been built around this novel infrastructure is sort of orthogonal IMHO.
Now, to return to the topic of permissioned chains:
I personally remain unconvinced that permissioned chains offer much more than centralized or federated databases–which are, of course, much faster and cheaper than public blockchains. This is probably a product of my own ignorance. I don’t mean this as a rhetorical question at all, but could you help me understand what the systems you mention offer over a private, centralized database, or a database federated among a consortium, or perhaps even more to the point, a product like QLDB?