加密经济学释义|Cryptoeconomics


早期工程奇迹——塞戈维亚的罗马渡槽

A few months ago Parker Thompson, a well known Silicon Valley VC, tweeted that “the concept of crypto-economics is stupid. It’s economics. Inventing your own word is just an excuse to ignore well-understood concepts.”
几个月前,著名的硅谷VC帕克•汤普森(TekCalk)在推特上写道:“加密经济学的概念是愚蠢的。就是经济学而已。发明一个专属词汇只不过是一个无视原本很好理解的概念的借口。”

The term “cryptoeconomics” causes a lot of confusion. People are often unclear on what it is supposed to mean. The word itself can be misleading, as it suggests that there is a parallel “crypto” version of the whole of economics. This is wrong, and Parker is right to mock such a generalization.
“加密经济学”这个术语确实引起了诸多困惑。人们通常并不理解它本该是什么意思。这个词本身具有一定的误导性,因为它暗示着整个经济学像是有一个并列的“加密”版本。这是不对的。帕克对这种一概而论的嘲笑是不正确的。

In simple terms, cryptoeconomics is the use of incentives and cryptography to design new kinds of systems, applications, and networks. Cryptoeconomics is specifically about building things, and has most in common with mechanism design — an area of mathematics and economic theory.
简而言之,加密经济学是利用激励和密码学设计出的新型体系、新型应用程序和网络。 加密经济学是一种特有的事物构建方式,它与数学和经济理论领域的机制设计【1】最为相似。

Cryptoeconomics is not a subfield of economics, but rather an area of applied cryptography that takes economic incentives and economic theory into account. Bitcoin, ethereum, zcash and all other public blockchains are products of cryptoeconomics.
加密经济学并非经济学的子领域,相反的,是把经济激励制度和经济理论纳入到密码学应用领域。比特币(BTC)、以太坊(ETH)、大零币(ZEC)以及其他的公有链都是加密经济学的产物。

Cryptoeconomics is what makes blockchains interesting, what makes them different from other technologies. As a result of Satoshi’s white paper, we have learned that through the clever combination of cryptography, networking theory, computer science and economic incentives we can build new kinds of technologies. These new cryptoeconomic systems can accomplish things that these disciplines could not achieve on their own. Blockchains are just one product of this new practical science.
有了加密经济学,才使得各种区块链变得有趣,它使得区块链不同于技术。中本聪的白皮书【2】,让我们了解到,通过对密码学、网络系统理论、计算机科学和经济激励的巧妙结合,我们可以建立新的技术。这些新的加密经济学系统可以完成某些学科无法独立完成的事情。区块链只是这个新应用科学的其中一个产物。

This article aims to explain cryptoeconomics in clear, simple terms. First, we examine bitcoin as an example of cryptoeconomic design. Second, we consider how cryptoeconomics relates to economic theory in general. Third, we look at three different areas of cryptoeconomic design and research that are active today.
这篇文章旨在用清晰、简单的术语来解释加密经济学。首先,我们把比特币作为加密经济学设计的一个例子来研究。其次,我们要研究加密经济学和经济学理论大体上的关系。然后,我们再来看看加密经济学设计和研究目前非常活跃的三个不同的领域。

  1. What is cryptoeconomics?

    什么是加密经济学?

Bitcoin as a case study. Bitcoin is a product of cryptoeconomics.

以比特币为例。 比特币就是加密经济学的一个产物。

Bitcoin’s innovation is that it allows many entities who do not know one another to reliably reach consensus about the state of the bitcoin blockchain.This is achieved using a combination of economic incentives and basic cryptographic tools.
比特币的创新之处在于,它能够让许多不同的陌生实体对比特币区块链状态达成可靠的共识。这是一个经济激励和基本加密工具的完美组合。

Bitcoin’s design relies on economic incentives and penalties. Economic rewards are used to enlist miners to support the network. Miners contribute their hardware and electricity because if they produce new blocks, they are rewarded with amounts of bitcoin.
比特币的设计依赖于经济激励和惩罚。 经济奖励用来招募矿工维护比特币网络。矿工会贡献他们的硬件设施和电力,因为他们一旦生产出新的区块,将会获得一定数量的比特币。

Second, economic costs or penalties are part of bitcoin’s security model. The most obvious way to attack the bitcoin blockchain would be to gain control of a majority of the network’s hashing power — a so-called 51 percent attack — which would let an attacker reliably censor transactions and even change the past state of the blockchain.

其次,经济成本和惩罚是比特币安全模型的一部分。攻击比特币区块链网络最明显的方法就是控制大部分的网络算力,也就是所谓的“51攻击”【3】,这将使攻击者可以有效地修改交易、甚至改变区块链过去的状态。

But gaining control of hashing power costs money, in the form of hardware and electricity. Bitcoin’s protocol intentionally makes mining difficult, meaning that gaining control of a majority of the network is extremely expensive — enough that it would be hard to profit from the attack. As of November 16, 2017, the cost of a 51 percent attack on bitcoin would be around $3.14 billion in hardware and $5.6 million in electricity every day.

但是,想要控制算力是需要花费成本的,它需要投入大量的硬件设施和电力。比特币协议里特意设置了挖矿难度,想要获得大部分网络的控制权需要付出极其昂贵的代价,这种难度足够让其在攻击中劳无所获。截止2017年11月16号,对比特币网络的“51攻击”成本约为31亿4000万美元的硬件成本和每天560万美元的电力花费。

截止2018年5月27日,最低硬件成本约为60亿7400万美元。比特币网络51攻击成本计算器:https://gobitcoin.io/tools/cost-51-attack)


内蒙一矿场比特币采矿设施

Without these carefully calibrated economic incentives, bitcoin wouldn’t work. If mining did not come with a high cost, it would be easy to launch a 51 percent attack. If there were no mining reward, there would be no industry of people who buy hardware and pay for electricity to contribute to the network.
如果没有如此周密的标准化经济激励,比特币网络就无法运行。如果挖矿成本不高,就很容易发生“51攻击”。如果没有挖矿奖励,就不会有人去购买硬件设施和支付电费从事挖矿行业,为比特币网络做出贡献。

Bitcoin also relies on cryptographic protocols. Public-private key cryptography is used to give individuals safe, exclusive control of their bitcoin. Hash functions are used to “link” each block in the bitcoin blockchain, proving an order of events and the integrity of past data.

比特币也依赖于加密协议。公、私钥的加密确保了个人比特币资产的安全与完全所有权。比特币区块链的每一个区块由哈希函数链接在一起,证明了事件发生的先后顺序以及以往数据的完整性。

Cryptographic protocols like these give us the basic tools necessary to build reliable, secure systems like Bitcoin. Without something like public-private key infrastructure, we could not guarantee to a user that they have exclusive control over their bitcoin. Without something like hashing functions, nodes would not be able to guarantee the integrity of the history of bitcoin transactions contained in Bitcoin’s blockchain.

像这样的加密协议给我们提供了必要的基本工具去建立一个类似比特币这样的可靠而安全的系统。如果没有公、私钥这样的基础设施,我们将无法保证一个使用者对他的比特币资产拥有唯一所有权。如果没有哈希函数,节点就无法保证比特币区块链中的交易的完整性。

Without the hardness of cryptographic protocols like hashing functions or public-private key cryptography, we would have no secure unit of account with which to reward miners — no confidence that our record of past accounts was authentic and exclusively controlled by a rightful owner. Without a carefully calibrated set of incentives to reward an industry of miners, that unit of account could have no market value because there would be no confidence that the system could persist into the future.

没有像哈希函数或公、私钥加密算法这样的难度,我们将没有一个安全的记账单位来奖励矿工,也无法相信我们以往账户记录的真实性以及作为合法所有者的唯一所有权。如果没有一套周密而标准化的激励机制去奖励矿工,该记账单位也将没有市场价值,因为大家对这个系统是否可以持续到将来没有信心。

In this way, bitcoin’s design requires an understanding of both cryptography and how incentives affect the security properties and functionality of systems built with cryptography. Cryptoeconomics is strange and counterintuitive. Most of us are not used to thinking of money as a design or engineering problem, nor are we used to economic incentive design being an essential component of a new technology. Cryptoeconomics requires us to think about information security problems in economic terms.
如此,比特币的设计需要理解加密算法以及激励制度如何影响加密系统构建的安全属性和功能。加密经济学是奇怪和反直觉的。我们大多数人不习惯把钱看作设计或工程问题,也不习惯经济激励设计是新技术的一个重要组成部分。加密经济学要求我们从经济学的角度思考信息安全问题。

One of the most common mistakes in this industry is made by those who view blockchains only through a lens of computer science or applied cryptography.We have a strong tendency to prioritize the things we are most comfortable with, and see things outside of our domain of expertise as less important.
这个行业中最常见的误区是由那些以计算机科学和应用密码学的视角来看待区块链的人造成的。我们通常有一种强烈的倾向会把事物按照喜好进行排列,并且会把我们知识领域之外的事情看的不那么重要。

In blockchain technology, this leads many people to assume or abstract away the crucial role of economic incentives. This is one reason we see meaningless phrases like “blockchains are trustless”, “bitcoin is backed only by math” or “blockchains are immutable.” These are all wrong in their own way, but all have the effect of obfuscating the essential role of a large network of people whose necessary participation in the network is maintained through economic incentives.
在区块链技术里,这使得许多人偏离了经济激励的关键作用去做假设或者抽象,这也就是为什么我们会看到像“区块链是去信任的【4】”、“比特币仅仅是依托于数学”或者“区块链是不可篡改的【5】”这样无意义的说法。这些都是从他们自己的角度得到的错误看法,但是这些看法会混淆了这个庞大网络中矿工们的重要作用,他们是被经济激励保护的必要参与者。

Cryptoeconomic systems like bitcoin feel like magic to someone who views them only as a product of computer science, because bitcoin can do things that computer-science alone could never accomplish. Cryptoeconomics isn’t magic — it’s just interdisciplinary.
像比特币这样的加密经济系统,对于一个把它看成一种计算机科学产品的人来说,感觉像是一个魔术,因为比特币可以做一些计算机科学无法完成的事。事实上,加密经济学并不是魔术,它是一个跨学科的体系。

  1. How does it relate to economics more generally?

    它与经济学有怎样的联系?

The term cryptoeconomics can be misleading because it suggests a comparison to economics as a whole. This is part of what leads people like Parker to dismiss the term. Economics is the study of choice: how people and groups of people respond to incentives. The invention of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology does not require a new theory of human choice — the humans haven’t changed. Cryptoeconomics is not the application of macroeconomic and microeconomic theory to cryptocurrency or token markets.

加密经济学这个术语可能具有一定的误导性,因为它有一种和经济学作为一个整体进行比较的暗示。这也是像Parker这类人放弃使用这个术语的一部分原因。经济学是对选择的研究:研究人们和人类群体对激励的反应。密码学和区块链技术的发明并非是一个新的人类选择理论——人类并没有要做出改变。加密经济学并不是宏观经济学和微观经济理论在加密货币或者代币市场的应用。

Cryptoeconomics has most in common with mechanism design, a field related to game theory. In game theory, we look at a given strategic interaction (a “game”) and then try to understand the best strategies for each player, and the likely outcome if both players follow those strategies. For instance, we might use game theory to look at a negotiation between two firms, relations between countries or even evolutionary biology.

加密经济学和博弈论领域的机制设计非常相似。在博弈论中,我们会看到一个给定的战略互动游戏,然后在两个玩家都遵循这些策略的情况下,去尝试弄明白每一个玩家的最佳策略,以及可能的结果。例如,我们可以从博弈论的角度去看待两家公司的谈判、国家之间的关系、甚至进化生物学。

Mechanism design is often referred to as reverse game theory because we start with a desired outcome and then work backwards to design a game that, if players pursue their own self interest, will produce the outcome we want. For instance, imagine we are responsible for designing the rules of an auction. We have an objective that we want bidders to actually bid the real value they place on an item. To achieve this, we apply economic theory to design the auction as a game where the dominant strategy for any player is to always bid their true value. One solution to this problem is called a Vickrey auction, where bids are secret and the winner of the auction (defined as the player with the highest bid) only pays the second highest amount that was bid.

机制设计通常被称为反向博弈理论,因为我们是从期望的结果开始,然后反向设计一个游戏,如果玩家追求他们自己的利益,就会产生我们想要的结果。例如,假设我们负责设计拍卖规则。我们有一个目标:期望投标人实际上投标出他们在某一个项目上的真实价值。为了实现这一点,我们运用经济学理论将拍卖设计成一款游戏,在这个游戏中,任何玩家的主导策略都是终究要按其真实价值出价。解决这个问题的一个方法叫Vickrey 拍卖【6】,其中出价是秘密的,拍卖的获胜者(定义为出价最高的玩家)只支付出价第二高的金额。

Cryptoeconomics, like mechanism design, focuses on designing and creating systems. Like in our auction example, we use economic theory to design “rules” or mechanisms that produce a certain equilibrium outcome. But in cryptoeconomics, the mechanisms used to create economic incentives are built using cryptography and software and the systems we are designing are almost always distributed or decentralized.

加密经济学,如机制设计,专注于设计和创建系统。就像我们拍卖的例子一样,我们使用经济理论去设计“规则”或机制设计来产生一定的均衡结果。但是在加密经济学里,用于创建经济激励的机制设计是使用密码学和软件构建的,并且我们正在设计的系统几乎总是分布式或分散的。

Bitcoin is a product of this approach. Satoshi wanted bitcoin to have certain properties — for instance, that it be able to reach consensus about its internal state and that it be censorship-resistant. Then, Satoshi set out to design a system that would achieve those properties, assuming people responded in rational ways to economic incentives.

比特币就是这种方法的一个产物。中本聪期望比特币拥有某些特性——例如,它能够在内部达成共识,并且是具有审查抗性的。然后,中本聪设计出了一套将会实现这些特性的系统,假定人们会以理性的方式对经济激励做出反应。

Most often, cryptoeconomics is used to provide a security guarantee about a distributed system. For instance, we have a cryptoeconomic security guarantee that the bitcoin blockchain is secure against a 51 percent attack unless someone is willing to spend a few billion dollars. Or, in a state channel — a topic we discuss later — we can have a cryptoeconomic security guarantee that an off-chain process is nearly as secure and final as an on-chain transaction.

最常见的是,加密经济学被用来给一个分布式系统提供安全保证。我们有一个加密经济学安全保证的例子,即比特币区块链可以安全地抵抗“51攻击”,除非有人愿意花费几十亿美元。或者,在状态通道中——一个我们稍后讨论的话题——我们有一个加密经济学安全保证,即离链进程几乎和链上交易一样安全并且会是同样的结果。

It is worth noting that mechanism design is not a panacea. There is a limit to how much we can rely on incentives to predictably shape future behaviour. As Nick Szabo rightly points out, ultimately we are speculating about people’s future mental states and making assumptions about how they react to certain incentives. A cryptoeconomic system’s security guarantee depends in part on the strength of its assumptions about how people react to economic incentives.

值得注意的是,机制设计不是一个万能药。经济激励对于预测性地塑造未来行为的可靠程度是有一定限度的。正如Nick Szabo [区块链、加密经济学、智能合约先驱者,Blog: http://unenumerated.blogspot.com ] 所指出的: 最终我们是在对人们未来的心境进行推测,并且对他们对某些激励会做出的反应进行假设。 一套加密经济学系统的安全保证部分地取决于其假设的强度,一个关于人们对经济激励会做出怎样的反应的假设。

  1. Three examples of cryptoeconomics

    加密经济学三例证

There are at least three different kinds of systems being designed today that could be called “cryptoeconomic”.

目前至少有三种不同的设计系统可以被称作“加密经济学”。

Example 1 : Consensus protocols

例证1 :共识协议

Blockchains are able to reach reliable consensus without having to rely on a central trusted party — a product of cryptoeconomic design. Bitcoin’s solution, which we surveyed above, is called “proof-of-work” consensus because miners must commit work — in the form of hardware and electricity — in order to participate in the network and receive mining rewards.

区块链能够达成可信共识而不需要依赖于某一个中间可信方——它是一个加密经济学设计的产品。我们上面调查的比特币的解决方案,被叫做“工作量证明(POW)”共识协议,是因为矿工必须以计算机硬件和电力的形式进行工作,以便参与到网络中并获得采矿奖励。

Improving proof-of-work systems and designing alternatives to them is one active area of cryptoeconomic research and design. Ethereum’s current proof-of-work consensus mechanism includes many variations and improvements on the original design, enabling faster block times and being more resistant to the mining centralization that can result from ASICs.

改进“工作量证明(POW)”系统和设计替代方案是加密经济学研究和设计的一个活跃领域。以太坊当前的“工作量证明(POW)”共识机制在最初的设计上做出了许多变化和改进,以太坊能够有更快的出块时间,并且对于ASIC矿机可能造成的算力集中问题拥有更强的抵抗力。

In the near future, ethereum plans to migrate to a “proof-of-stake” consensus protocol called Casper. This is an alternative to proof-of-work that does not require “mining” in the usual sense: there is no need for specialized mining hardware or huge expenditures of electricity.

在不久的将来,以太坊计划迁移到一个名为Casper的“权益证明(POS)”共识协议。这是一种POW共识的替代协议,这种协议通常意义上是不需要“挖矿”工作证明方法:不需要专门的采矿硬件和巨额电力花费。

Remember that the whole point of requiring miners to buy hardware and spend electricity is to impose a cost on miners, as a way of raising the cumulative cost of attempting a 51 percent attack sufficiently high that it becomes too expensive. The idea behind proof-of-stake systems is to use deposits of cryptocurrency to create the same disincentive, rather than real-world investments like hardware and electricity.

请记住,要求矿工购买硬件和花费电力的全部要点是要给矿工增加成本,以此来提高尝试51%算力攻击的累积成本,投入成本足够高,想要发起攻击的成本就会非常昂贵。权益证明(POS)机制背后的想法是使用加密货币的存款来产生同样的抑制因素,而不是像硬件和电力这样的真实世界的投入。

In order to mine in a proof-of-stake system, you must commit a certain amount of ether into a smart contract “bond.” Just like in proof-of-work, this raises the cost of a 51 percent attack — an attacker would have to commit a very large amount of ether to successfully attack the network, which they would then lose forever.

为了在权益证明(POS)系统里进行挖矿,你必须要保证在一个叫“bond”的智能合约里有一定数量的以太坊币。和工作量证明(POW)一样,这也提高了进行“51算力攻击”的花费成本——攻击者必须提交巨额的以太坊币才能成功攻击以太坊网络,然后他们也将永远失去这些币。

Casper is being designed by Vlad Zamfir, Vitalik Buterin, and others at the Ethereum Foundation. You can read more about the history of Casper’s design in this series of posts by Zamfir or hear him talk about it on a recent podcast. Buterin wrote a long post about Casper’s design philosophy here, and there is a useful FAQ on the ethereum GitHub wiki here.

Casper正在由Vlad Zamfir, Vitalik Buterin, 和以太坊基金会的其他人员共同设计。在Zamfir的一系列帖子【7】中你可以阅读到更多关于Casper设计的历史背景,或听他在最近的播客【8】上谈论它。Buterin也写了一篇关于Casper设计哲学的长篇文章【9】。另外在以太坊的GitHub wiki 有一个很有用的FAQ【10】。

Example 2: Cryptoeconomic application design

例证2 :加密经济应用设计

Once we have solved the fundamental problem of blockchain consensus, we are able to build applications that sit “on top” of a blockchain like ethereum. The underlying blockchain gives us (1) a unit of value that can be used to create incentives and penalties, and (2) a toolkit with which we can design conditional logic in the form of “smart contract code.” The applications we build with these tools can also be a product of cryptoeconomic design.

一旦我们解决了区块链共识层的根本问题,我们就能够在像以太坊这样的基础链上构建顶层应用程序。一个基础链能给提供一个价值单元和一个工具包:(1)、价值单元,可以用来创建激励和惩罚;(2)、工具包,可以用它来以智能合约代码的形式设计条件逻辑。我们用这些工具构建的应用程序也是属于加密经济设计的产物。

For instance, the prediction market Augur requires cryptoeconomic mechanisms in order to function. Using its native token REP, Augur creates a system of incentives that rewards users for reporting the “truth” to the application, which is then used to settle bets in the prediction market. This is the innovation that makes a decentralized prediction market possible. Another prediction market, Gnosis, uses a similar method, though also lets users specify other mechanisms for determining true outcomes (commonly called “oracles”).

例如,市场预测平台-Augur【11】需要加密经济机制才能发挥作用。Augur使用其本地代币REP创建了一个激励系统,奖励用户向应用程序反馈“真相”,然后该系统利用这些“真相”在预测市场中作出断言。这就是使分布式预测市场成为可能的一个创新。另一个市场预测平台-Gnosis,使用了一个相似的方法,虽然也可以让用户指定其他的机制来确定正确的结果(通常被成为 “oracles”)。

Cryptoeconomics is also applied to design token sales or ICOs. Gnosis, for instance, used a “Dutch auction” as a model for its token auction, on the theory that this would result in a more fair distribution (an experiment that had mixed results). We mentioned earlier that one area where mechanism design has been applied is in the design of auctions, and token sales gives us a new opportunity to apply some of that theory.

加密经济学也被应用于设计代币销售或者ICOS。例如,Gnosis,采用“荷兰式拍卖”作为其代币拍卖模型,其理论是这将导致更公平的分配(一个结果喜忧参半的实验)。我们之前提到,机制设计的一个应用领域就是拍卖设计,代币销售给我们提供了一个应用此理论的新机会。

These are a different kind of problem than building the underlying consensus protocols, but they share enough similarities that both can be fairly seen as cryptoeconomic. Building these applications requires an understanding of how incentives shape users’ behaviour and careful design of economic mechanisms that can reliably produce a certain result. They also require an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the underlying blockchain on which the application is built.

这与构建共识协议是一种不同的问题,但是它们有足够的相似性,这两者完全都可以视为加密经济。构建这些应用程序需要理解激励模型是如何塑造用户习惯的,并且要仔细设计能可靠产生特定结果的经济机制。它们还需要了解构建应用程序的基础链拥有哪些功能和局限性。

Many blockchain applications are not necessarily products of cryptoeconomics; for instance, applications like Status and MetaMask — wallets or platforms that let users interact with the ethereum blockchain. These do not involve any additional cryptoeconomic mechanisms beyond those that are already part of the underlying blockchain.

许多区块链应用程序并不一定是加密经济学的产物,例如,像Status和MetaMask这样的应用程序——利用以太坊区块链使用户产生交互的钱包或平台。除了那些本就属于基础链的一部分的机制之外,它们并不涉及额外的加密经济机制。

Example 3: State channels

例证3 :状态通道

Cryptoeconomics also includes the practice of designing much smaller sets of interactions between individuals. The most notable of these are state channels. State channels are not an application but a valuable technique that can be used by most blockchain applications to become more efficient.

加密经济学还包括个人之间更加微小的交互集合的设计实践。其中最著名的就是状态通道。状态通道并非是一个应用程序,而是一项价值非凡的技术,这项技术可以被应用于大多数区块链应用程序来提高效率。

A fundamental limitation of blockchain applications is that blockchains are expensive. Sending transactions requires fees, and using ethereum to run smart-contract code is comparatively costly to other kinds of computation. The idea behind state channels is that we can make blockchains more efficient by moving many processes off-chain, while still retaining a blockchain’s characteristic trustworthiness, through the use of cryptoeconomic design.

区块链应用程序发展的一个基本限制是区块链太昂贵了。发送事物信息需要付费,并且使用以太坊运行智能合约代码对于其他类型的计算来说成本相对较高。状态通道背后的想法是,通过使用加密经济设计,将许多流程移出到链外,来提高区块链的效率,同时仍然保持区块链的可靠性。

Imagine Alice and Bob want to exchange a large number of small payments of cryptocurrency. The normal way for them to do this would be to send transactions to the blockchain. This is inefficient — it requires paying transaction fees and waiting for the confirmation of new blocks.

想象一下,Alice和Bob想要进行大量的小额加密货币交易,通常情况下,他们是要把交易信息发送到区块链上。这是低效的——它需要支付交易费用并等待新区块的确认。

Instead, imagine that Alice and Bob sign transactions that could be submitted to the blockchain, but are not. They pass these back and forth between one another, as fast as they want — there are no fees at this point, because nothing is actually hitting the blockchain yet. Each update “trumps” the last one, updating the balance between the parties.

相反,如果Alice和Bob签名了可以提交到区块链上的交易,但并没有提交,而是彼此之间继续尽可能快地来回传递交易信息,每次更新都会”涵盖“上一次更新,每次更新都会更新双方的余额(即每次都是通过更改状态的方法更新交易信息)。要注意这时候是没有任何费用的,因为还没有任何信息真正进入到区块链上。

When Alice and Bob have finished exchanging small payments, they “close out” the channel by submitting the final state (i.e. the most recent signed transaction) to the blockchain, paying only a single transaction fee for an unlimited number of transactions between themselves. They can trust this process because both Alice and Bob know that each update passed between them could be sent to the blockchain. If the channel is properly designed, there is no way to cheat — say, by trying to submit a previous update as though it were the most recent — since recourse to the blockchain is always available.

当Alice和Bob完成了小额支付交易后,他们通过向区块链提交最终状态(即最近签名的交易)来”关闭“通道,只为他们之间无限数量的交易支付一笔单一的交易费。他们可以信赖这个过程,因为Alice和Bob知道他们之间传递的每一个更新都能提交到区块链上。如果通道设计得当,就没有办法欺骗——比如,试图把以前的更新当作最新的更新状态进行提交——因为对于区块链的追索始终是可用的。

For illustrative purposes, you can think of this as similar to how we interact with other trusted sources, like a legal system. When two parties sign a contract, most of the time they never need to take that contract to court and ask a judge to interpret and enforce it. If the contract is properly designed, both parties simply do what they promised to do, and never interact with the courts at all. The fact that either party could go to the court and have the contract enforced is enough to make the contract useful.

为了便于说明,你可以将其视为类似于我们如何同其他可信源进行交互的问题,比如一个法律系统。当双方签署一个合同时, 大多数情况下他们并不需要将合同诉诸法院,要求法官进行解释并执行。如果合同设计得当,双方只需履行各自的义务,根本不需要和法院互动。事实上任何一方都可以去法院强制执行合同,这足以使合同发挥作用。

This technique is not just useful for payments, but for any update to the state of an ethereum program — hence the more general term “state channel” rather than the narrow “payment channel.” Instead of sending payments back and forth, we can send updates to a smart contract back and forth. We can even send entire ethereum smart contracts that, if needed, will be sent to the blockchain and executed. These programs never have to be executed to be useful. All that is needed is a sufficiently high guarantee that they could be executed if necessary.

这项技术不仅仅是用于支付,更重要的是能用于以太坊的任何程序更新。因此,更普遍的术语叫法是”状态通道“,而非”支付通道“这种侠义的叫法。我们可以来回发送智能合约的更新状态,而不是来回发送支付信息。如果有必要,我们甚至可以发送整个以太坊智能合约到区块链上并执行。这些程序永远都不是非得执行了才是有用的。所需要的只是一个足够高的保证,即在必要的时候可以被执行。

In the future, most blockchain applications will use state channels in some form. It is almost always a strict improvement to require less on-chain operation, and many things done on-chain today can be moved into state channels while still preserving a sufficiently high guarantee to be useful.

未来,大多数区块链应用程序都将以某种方式使用状态通道。曾经,想要在链上做更少的操作这样的事情通常都是一个很严谨的改进,而今天,在链上做的许多事情都可以迁移到状态通道,并且仍然有足够高程度的保证这些操作是有效的。

The description above skips over many important details and nuances of how state channels work. For a more detailed description, Ledger Labs built a toy implementation last summer that demonstrates the basic concept.

上面的描述忽略了许多关于状态通道如何工作的重要细节和细微差别。为了做一个更详细的描述,Ledger实验室在去年夏天(2016年)构建了一个游戏示例【12】,演示了状态通道的基本概念。

Liam Horne and Jeff Coleman recently announced they are developing generalized state channels under the banner Counterfactual, with support form L4 and Vitalik Buterin.

利亚姆·霍恩和杰夫·科尔曼【13】最近宣布,在L4和Vitalik Buterin(V神)的支持下,他们正在利用“反事实”推理方法开发广义的状态通道。

conclusion

总 结

Thinking about the blockchain space through the lens of cryptoeconomics is helpful. Once you understand the idea, it helps to clarify many of the controversies and debates in our industry.

从加密经济学的角度去思考区块链的发展空间是很有帮助的。 一旦你理解了这种思想,将有助于澄清我们行业中的一些争议和争论。

For instance, “permissioned” blockchains that are centrally managed and do not use proof-of-work have been a source of constant controversy since they were first proposed. This area of work is often referred to as “distributed ledger technology” and is focused on financial and enterprise use cases. Many partisans of blockchain technology dislike them — they may be blockchains in the literal sense, but there is something about them that feels wrong. They seem to reject the thing that many people see as the whole point of blockchain technology: being able to produce consensus without relying on a central party or traditional financial systems.

例如,中心化管理并且不使用POW的“许可式”区块链自从其首次被提出以来一直是一个不断争论的根源。这一工作领域通常被称为“分布式账本技术”,主要专注于金融和企业应用案例。许多区块链技术的参与者不喜欢他们——认为他们可能是字面意义上的区块链,但是总感觉有些不对劲。他们似乎违背了许多人对区块链技术认识的整体观点:能够在不依赖一个中央政党或传统金融系统的情况下达成共识。

A cleaner way to make this distinction is between blockchains that are products of cryptoeconomics and blockchains that are not. Blockchains that are simply distributed ledgers and do not rely on cryptoeconomic design to produce consensus or align incentives might be useful for some applications. But they are distinct from blockchains whose whole purpose is to use cryptography and economic incentives to produce consensus that could not exist before, like bitcoin and ethereum. These are two different technologies, and the clearest way of distinguishing between them is whether or not they are products of cryptoeconomics.

加密经济学产物的区块链和非加密经济学产物的区块链,他们之间有一个很明确的区分。那些仅仅只是一个简单的分布式分类账、而并不依赖加密经济学设计产生共识或调整激励的区块链,或许对一些应用程序是有用的。但他们不同于像比特币和以太坊这样的区块链,这类区块链的整个目的就是要使用加密系统和经济激励来达成以前无法达成的共识。他们是两种不同的技术,区分它们最清楚的方法就是看他们是否是加密经济学的产物。

Secondly, we should expect that there will be cryptoeconomic consensus protocols that do not rely on a literal chain of blocks. Obviously, such a technology would have something in common with blockchain technology as we call it today, but labelling them blockchains would be inaccurate. Again,the relevant organizing concept is whether such a protocol is the product of cryptoeconomics, not whether it is a blockchain.

其次,我们也应该期望会有这样的加密经济共识协议出现,他们并不依赖于字面意义上的块链结构。显然,这样的一种技术可能跟我们今天所说的区块链技术有一些共同点,但是给他们贴上“区块链”的标签是不准确的。同样,相关的组织概念还是看这样的一个协议是否是加密经济学的产物,而不是看它是否是区块链。

The ICO craze has also focused attention on this distinction, though few have articulated it clearly. Many people independently identified that one of the strongest signs of a token’s value is whether it forms a necessary component of the application to which it is connected. To put this in clearer terms, the question should be: is the token part of a necessary cryptoeconomic mechanism in the application? Understanding the mechanism design of a project holding an ICO is an essential tool in determining that token’s utility and likely value.

ICO的热潮也将注意力集中到了这一区别上,虽然很少有人清楚地表达出这一区别。许多人独立去确认一个代币的价值的时候,有一个很强的标志就是去看它是否是相关应用程序的一个必要组成部分。为了更好的说清楚这一点,我们应该这么提问:代币是否是一个应用程序中必要的加密经济机制?一个要进行ICO发行的项目,理解它的机制设计是确定其代币功用和可能价值的必要工具。

In the past years, we’ve moved from thinking about this new field solely through the lens of one application (bitcoin), to thinking about it in terms of one underlying technology (blockchains). What needs to happen now is to step back once again and view this industry in terms of a unifying approach to solving problems: cryptoeconomics.

起初我们仅仅是通过一个应用(比特币)的视角来思考这个新领域,在过去的几年,我们已经逐渐转向从底层技术(区块链)的视角去思考它。我们现在要做的就是再次返回去,用一种统一的解决问题的方法去看待这个行业,也就是加密经济学。

Thanks to Jeff Coleman, Ethan Wilding, and Vlad Zamfir for their comments on an earlier draft of this article.

感谢 Jeff Coleman, Ethan Wilding 和 Vlad Zamfir对本文早期草案提出的宝贵意见。

本文转载自“马栏山未来村”公众号

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