Former AWS Vice President Reveals ``Why AWS Didn't Make Strategic Investments in Blockchain''


Blockchain ', a distributed ledger management system, has become widely known to the public with the advent of virtual currency, but in 2022, the Australian Stock Exchange will cancel the transition to a blockchain system . Blockchain technology has not penetrated to familiar places. Meanwhile, Tim Bray , former vice president and senior engineer of Amazon's cloud computing service Amazon Web Services (AWS) , said, ``Why AWS decided not to make a strategic investment in blockchain in 2016. ” is revealed.

ongoing by Tim Bray AWS and Blockchain

Mr. Bray was a vice president and senior engineer at AWS for several years, but in 2020 Amazon's warehouse employee who asked for improved measures against the new coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19) was fired. I protested and resigned.

Amazon's heavyweight resigned due to disappointment of ``dismissal of employees who protested to improve measures against new coronavirus''-GIGAZINE

Even after leaving Amazon, Bray has been careful not to share behind-the-scenes work on AWS. However, after seeing the news that the Australian Stock Exchange gave up blockchain implementation, I was reminded of the events of 2016 and convinced myself that those episodes were already irrelevant to AWS and other business plans, so I revealed the backstage at that time. said he decided to

In the middle of 2016, Andy Jassy , then CEO of AWS and CEO of Amazon at the time of article creation, gathered several senior engineers, including Mr. Bray, and held a meeting. Mr. Jassy was an excellent communicator, receiving explanations on various topics and concerns from the chief technology officer (CTO) and chief information officer (CIO) of large companies and making decisions.

“Every leader asks me what AWS’s blockchain strategy is,” Jassy said at the meeting. I need to have a good answer for them, but to be honest I don't get it when they explain how great it is It seems that he asked Mr. Bray and others about the prospects of blockchain.

I don't remember if it was at the meeting or in an email some time later, Bray and his colleagues said, ``Most of the blockchain business is bullshit and probably doesn't fit AWS's strategy, but it's being scrutinized. I will do it,' he replied. A few people, including Mr. Bray, researched the blockchain industry and actually interviewed various people in the industry.

Mr. Bray and others say that they discovered the following before conducting the interview survey.

1: It is very difficult to find a “working business application” that implements blockchain.
2: There were many blockchain products claiming to be 'sophisticated', 'robust', 'product-ready', and 'regulatory-approved', but they were quickly abandoned.
3: The

throughput of PoW (Proof of Work) that approves blockchain is quite bad.
4: Blockchain is basically a database structure, and it seems that other data structures can be substituted.
5: The Australian Stock Exchange is seriously betting on blockchain.
6: A huge amount of venture capital is investing in blockchain, mainly in Manhattan.
7: Many blockchain companies use AWS or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to build infrastructure, and AWS has already benefited greatly from the blockchain business.

After obtaining this information, in August 2016, Mr. Bray and his colleagues held meetings with major Wall Street companies and several startups to analyze the blockchain industry. The two questions that Bray and others wanted to ask were basically 'What do you want to do with blockchain?' and 'How can blockchain help?'

However, although startups are certainly developing exciting businesses and services, and although we were able to rationally explain that they needed a database structure, the point of 'why should we use blockchain?' was not clear. He said. One startup was very well received by investors, but a very smart CTO didn't hesitate to ask, 'Are there any systems in all of these that wouldn't work without blockchain?' He replied, 'No, I don't.'

Mr. Bray and others also met with several key figures with

libertarian ideas in the cryptocurrency scene. For these people, blockchain was attractive as a way out of government regulation and contract law, but it didn't help AWS. Furthermore, it seems that there was a faction that thought, ``I can make money by spreading blockchain anyway,'' but in the end, they said that they could not get an answer to the question ``What is blockchain useful for?'' thing.

Bray said, 'Remember Andy Jassy saying, 'I don't get it when they explain it to me?' He was probably the most adept person in the world when it came to listening to people about tools, and if he didn't see value in blockchain, it would be doomed for business.' said.

Mr. Bray and his colleagues not only conducted market research, but also considered several AWS services using a distributed ledger network. However, there was no rational explanation that the real world would want a zero trust system, so there was no reason for the service to adopt blockchain. ``Civilization needs trust at some point, and I think this is the biggest reason civilization exists,'' said Bray. I claimed.

In the end, Jassy said, “Ledger and cryptography technologies are useful, but blockchain is not, and the field is full of charlatans. It is said that he reported the contents such as 'You can build

AWS launched Amazon Managed Blockchain in 2019 to help build blockchain infrastructure, but Bray said he was not involved. “The VC seizure of cryptocurrency will continue into 2022, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon Managed Blockchain made a welcome but non-strategic amount of money,” Bray said. I can't imagine a bright future for Amazon Managed Blockchain.'

After that, Mr. Bray said that he was approached by various companies and institutions about blockchain. At a conference in Seattle, the CIO of an international organization gave an example of how blockchain can work: “When a small farmer lost his land boundary marker in a flood, a malicious landlord could find it. Taking advantage of the fact that there is nothing, trying to take part of the land.' The CIO allegedly argued, “If the demarcation sign is on the blockchain, you can’t do that, can you?”

``As a lifelong engineer, I've always questioned technology as a solution to political problems,'' Bray said. I think, with or without blockchain, could large landowners find other ways to falsify records and take their land? Isn't it about power?' He answered. Bray describes blockchain, which is often touted as a solution, as “a solution looking for a problem to be solved.”

At the end of the blog, Bray said, 'I'm not saying that blockchain-based systems don't do anything. I will continue, and I'm glad AWS didn't bet big on blockchain at the time.'

in Note, Posted by log1h_ik