With all the back-stabbing and family ties that go back generations, Game of Thrones can become a little overwhelming for a lot of viewers. No one expected the shocker when Aegon Targaryen aka Jon Snow was revealed as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. (Spoilers. Duh!)
Regardless of how complicated it might be it is highly popular. Speaking of popular, Blockchain too has been all over the news off late. Just like Game of Thrones, blockchain can also sound a little confusing yet intriguing at the same time. Let’s try and understand Blockchains and its terminologies with this blog!
Must Read: Things To Know Before Investing In Bitcoin
First, let’s get to know our key characters:
The Targaryen – Aka- Bitcoins:
Dragon Momma Daenerys Targaryen with her vast amount of Dothraki gold and massive slave army, commands respect from all of Westeros. Similarly, Bitcoins are the big daddy of this game. Bitcoin is the most popular application of blockchain technology, (a peer to peer electronic cash system) that enables online Bitcoin payments. Many different types of cryptocurrencies have come and gone, but few could stand against the might of Bitcoin. Just like the Tyrells, who may claim to have more gold and more land. They pale in comparison to the might of the Targaryen. E.g. SwiftCoin and Coinye.
The Lannister – aka- Bitcoin Cash:
‘A Lannister always pays his debts’. Not the official motto, but their records validate their claim. Turning the Baratheon household into a puppet house after King Robert’s death, Cersei initially made indirect and finally a direct claim to the Iron throne. Similarly, riding on the coat tails of Bitcoins, comes Bitcoin Cash. From the time of its launch it has plummeted the steady value of Bitcoins in the market. It forked (broke away) on 1st August 2017, breaking one of the longest Blockchains. Many Bitcoin miners (peer to peer network of people) claim that it caters to people who rather use crypto currencies as investments instead of digital currency. That’s one foxy Lion.
The Starks – Aka- Ethereum:
Silver to the Lannister gold, equal in might but lacking killer instinct, Starks of Winterfell faced much violence, every time they stepped out of the north. As an alt-currency (alternative to the digital currency Bitcoin) its market value keeps fluctuating. Instead of mining for bitcoin, miners on Ethereum platform, work to earn Ether, a crypto token that fuels the network. This seems akin to the way Starks focused their might in to keep the Wall safe and guard the north against White Walkers instead of staking claim on the Iron Throne?
The Baratheon -Aka- Litecoins:
Vast in size (Robert) and in numbers (Stannis, Renly and bloodline Gendry) the Baratheon’s could not hang on to the Iron Throne as they were a divided house. Lite coins are vast in number (84 Billion to be exact. Four times the number of Bitcoins). They use scrypt algorithm (a password-based key derivation function), which makes mining for Litecoin complicated and expensive to produce. In comparison, Bitcoin uses SHA-256, a simple 32-bit encryption key.
Now that we know the key players, let us start with the Game of Thrones! Ahem, let’s get cracking on Blockchains.
A blockchain is a virtual ledger which holds information of a continuous growing list of digital transaction records known as blocks. With the help of cryptography, each of these blocks are linked and secured together. Just like the Iron Throne. It watches over and controls the seven Kingdoms. Hence, each block in a blockchain is like a different area i.e. North, Andals, Dorne etc.
Daenerys spoke of not stopping but of breaking the wheel. For a while we have been putting all our assets into one basket, like a bank. With cryptocurrency, we eliminate all chances of facing a financial loss case a bank gets robbed or currency value drops in the market. Blockchain also enables us to eliminate the gap in the formal structure of a corporation and provides control and rights for dividends to those who contribute to it. What this means is, on a platform like Bitcoin, everyone gets his due share! Mine cryptocurrency and earn dividends and profits. No more Masters or Lords of Meereen!
“While the Seven Kingdoms are at war with one another… false kings are destroying the country.” Daenerys Targaryen to Jorah Mormont.
Bitcoins, Etherium, Litecoins, Bitcoin Cash etc. are all kings in cryptocurrency. In their effort to surpass each other, they are vulnerable to a common attack known as 51% Attack. These White walkers take control over most of the computing power of a network in a blockchain. This stops transactions on all the blocks and prevents completion of blocks mined by others. It technically allows attackers to monopolize the mining of new blocks and earning all the rewards.
Next Read: A Layman’s Guide To Blockchain
In the case of such an attack, a vulnerability arises. Those who hold majority of the network board get the option to re-spend bitcoins and credit them as new. Double spending becomes impossible to back track as longer the blockchain, the more difficult it will be to rectify any changes that have been made. Even to change back transactions, which were locked in prior to the start of the attack, becomes extremely difficult in a 51% attack.
Ethically this seems to be next to impossible. Imagine majority number of people on a network getting together to over throw a chain and create a fork in its path. Society as we know, faces a bitter end in such an event. Though, to be brutally honest, there have been reports of some close calls. A mining pool named ‘ghash.io’ briefly exceeded 42% of the bitcoin network’s computing power in July 2014. This pool later committed to reducing its share of the network.
The world of Game of Thrones covers a vast area. Just like Cryptocurrencies. Always remember Petyr Baelish’s words. “Chaos is a ladder… The climb is all there is.” In the chaos of the technicality surrounding blockchains and bitcoins, etc. keep in mind, it is just numbers that bring about a technological change on age-old ideology of finance!