When we were roughing out the initial technical design of the core Bmbix service, we gave blockchain technology due consideration. Ultimately we felt that it was overkill for our use cases. We have written this article because it is a question we are often asked — why doesn’t Bmbix use blockchain technology.
Our understanding at the time was that the strengths of blockchain technology lay in no-central-authority and non-repudiation of transactions. The perceived weaknesses of blockchains perceived by us were time taken to confirm transactions, the environmental cost of proof-of-work calculations, and the overall complexity.
Regarding non-repudiation — under the hood Bmbix is really dirt simple. All we do is transport invoices and similar business documents between two parties. Our model is that they establish trust with each other at the outset. Once established, that trust relationship endures until revoked, which either side can do at will. When the trust relationship ceases, delivery of documents ceases.
Regarding the no-central-authority, yes it is probably true that just like Google, or Amazon or indeed even a financial institution such as a bank, we could conceivably be shut down by a national government. But we don’t think that is a meaningful worry for legitimate businesses with respect to the transfer of legitimate business documents for legitimate purposes. We also found the arguments of Fabio Chesini to be persuasive.
Given that we felt we would gain little from the positive attributes of blockchains, we also felt the downsides of blockchains would be actively damaging to our service.
Regarding proof-of-work-calculations — we felt the innate redundancy imposed an unacceptable environmental cost.
Similarly we felt the sometimes lengthy time taken for blockchain transactions to be confirmed would be unacceptable to our user experience.
Lastly complexity — we are firm believers in a maxim of Antoine de St Exupery — “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” We are also fans of “As simple as possible, but no simpler”, the attribution of which we expect is already well known to our readers. This was perhaps the most compelling reason we steered away from blockchains.
Of course we are not saying we will never use blockchain technology, if for no other reason than we live in a changing world: our customers’ needs can change and technology, particularly blockchain technology, is a fast moving field. But for now there are no blockchains at Bmbix.