Tauchain 101: Essential Reading On One Of The Most Revolutionary Blockchain Project Under The Radar...By Rok Sivante. Published on Steemit. August 3, 2018.
Amidst countless blockchain projects hyping themselves up as "the next big thing," there are a few that have been working under the radar that hold the promise - not in word, but in substance - of truly being revolutionary game-changers.
Such ventures have not yet often come into the spotlight. Partly, due to that their founders have focused first on the fundamentals of creating something that speaks for itself versus the all-too-common approach of prioritizing sensationalistic marketing. And partly, because the degree of innovativeness they represent - in tandem with a complexity in scope of the larger visions and implications of their success - does not always lend itself to an easy understanding upfront.
One such project - still very early on in its development, yet holding transformative potentials no less grand than those of Bitcoin and Ethereum as they birthed and evolved the blockchain landscape:
Until recently, with the launch of a new website that has successfully managed to articulate the project's vision much more clearly, understanding what Tauchain is striving to accomplish was a domain only a very few, highly-intelligent technically-inclined dared to tread. And prior to December 2018, there was no code - only an unproven concept spearheaded by a single Israeli developer, Ohad Asor, whom nearly all who've managed to connect with have declared to be one of the most brilliant geniuses they've ever met, possibly ahead of his time.
Just as Bitcoin introduced blockchain as an innovation radically altering the trajectory of our societal, economic, and technological evolution - and Ethereum continued in suit with its upgrades to expand in developing upon the vision with entirely new sets of capabilities for developing a range of decentralized applications and smart contracts - so too, may Tauchain be such a platform whose success proves comparable, the impact of which may bring quantum leaps in the Blockchain Revolution.
How and where to start in describing Tauchain...?
Well, were we to begin with the technical side of things, it'd be likely to lose 98% of the audience. So perhaps, a better starting point might be the bigger picture:
This generalized overview, however, still only barely scratches the surface.
While the intended ends may be that of a generic concept enabling drastically-increased efficiency in global collaboration, the means by which such is to be achieved entails a number of innovative component developments that each hold great significance and implications of their own.
While each may require deeper exploration to better grasp and begin piecing together into the bigger picture, the Tauchain website now offers an overview of key features which account for just some of what it to differentiate it from other blockchain platforms - and enable new collaborative capabilities not currently possible with currently existing technologies:
While it'd be possible to expand upon each in great detail - both in regards to the functionality and implications for their applications - this particular piece of writing is to serve as a basic introduction to some of the best, most-easily-accessible content written on Tauchain to-date.
And as we transition into that content, we shall begin with a quote summarizing the core essence of Tauchain, as approached from but one angle:
This project created by Ohad Asor is really ambitious and aims to create the internet of knowledge.
Some people would label it as an Artificial Intelligence, but according to the creator this is something totally different. Summing up and to understand me, Tau-chain is a tool that knows how to interpret any information and deduce any consensus. This tool can be used in any field, judicial, political, academic, social, scientific and also without limits assembly from 2 people to a million for example.
~ @capitanart, from "My experience with Tau-chain"
The collection begins with two selections from Steemit's @trafalgar.
If anyone has successfully managed to distill the essence of the Tauchain vision into words that'd serve as a foundational Tauchain 101 intro, it'd have been him in these two excellent pieces:
What Is Tau? - My Only Other Crypto Investment
The Power of Tau - Scaling the Creation of Knowledge
Next, come three short articles from @flis, which may not go into any new details beyond the three above, yet offer a slightly different yet simplified perspective to reinforce the clarification of Tauchain's key concepts:
The vision of Tau-Chain, a blockchain based self-amending platform designed to scale human collaboration and knowledge building
How Tau-Chain can be implemented in practice
Tau Chain vs. Tezos - which platform will provide a better solution?
~ design credit: @voronoi
Next, come a few selections from @dana-edwards, who has likely been the single individual who has translated the highly-complex technical vision of Ohad Asor into a more-approachable nature from which non-academics may begin and better understanding a Tauchain.
Quite possibly the first to write of developments and share outside of the project’s IRC channel and Bitcoin talk thread, Dana has one of the most comprehensive grasps publicized anywhere on the project, and his writings continue to serve in establishing bridges for more people to discover and deepen their own comprehensions of the innovations Tauchain represents to not only computer science and the blockchain revolution, but cultural & societal evolution as well.
What follows are a collection of his writings related to the project which excellently piece together key ideas and insights, from which the gaps may be filled in to grasp a firmer idea of just how significant these developments could be and what the bigger picture of their success might look like:
What Tauchain can do for us: Collaborative Serious Alternate Reality Games
What Tauchain can do for us: Finding the world's biggest problems
Tauchain: The automated programmer
Artificial morality: Moral agents and Tauchain
What Tauchain can do for us: Effective Altruism + Tauchain
Collaborative Alternate Reality Games + Tauchain = UBAs (Universal Basic Assets)?
Tauchain and Tezos, why adaptability is the key to surviving in a fast changing environment
My commentary on Ohad's latest blog post: "Agoras to TML"
The following three pieces are not introductory-level, and may likely require a background in computer programming to understanding. However, for anyone reading who might be interested in diving deeper into the technical side of the project, they are included here:
Tauchain is not easy to understand but here are some concepts to know to track Ohad's progress
For all who are researching Tauchain (TML) to understand how it works, a nice video!
More on partial evaluation - How does partial evaluation work and why is it important?
~ design credit: @crypticalias
One other writer covering Tauchain needing to be mentioned: @karov.
While not the easiest to read and understand, the Steemit account of Georgi Karov is undoubtedly one of the most consistent sources of coverage on the project.
A lawyer by-trade and currently one of the three members of the core team, @karov's insights into the project are reliably detailed, expansive into philosophical territory, and fascinating.
Although none of his articles have been included in this introductory collection, those who may be interested to keep up-to-date with coverage on the project would be well-advised to follow his Steemit blog - and/or read backwards through the last few months of his posts there, as the blog is nearly-entirely Tauchain-related content.
Lastly, though not least:
Coming from one of Steemit's most brilliant early-adopter-minds, @kevinwong, this one is a quick read in itself with some key points worth factoring in to a proper assessment of the project. And - far lengthier than the post itself - the comments thread also contains some gold:
Is Tauchain Agoras in Good Hands?
And to wrap up with another excellent quotes from design consultant to the project, @capitanart - who is another to follow for updates:
The goal of Tau is to create a supermind, to solve the limitations inherent in human communication on a large scale.
Able to deduce consensus and understand discussions, Tau can generate and execute code automatically based on consensus, through a process known as code synthesis. This will greatly accelerate the production of knowledge and streamline most of the large-scale collaborative efforts we can imagine in today's world.
~ design credit: @overdye
''Tau solves the problems from the Tower of Babel to the Tower of Basel''
- an early 21st century yet undisclosable author
Okay, dearest friends, lets pull sleeves up and start with it. Vivisection of the Scriptures? Revelation by transfiguration? Pulling the Tau from the ocean of wisdom out on the dry no-Maths-land? I hope not.
The quote above on first glance sounds so pompously biblical, but in fact it denotes the crystal clear and simple practical and mundane rationale of Tau which I already tried to approach from few angles , .
It is about the hierarchic bottleneck of one unscaling ,  Humanity. Take the hint about leveling of the Towers as a poetic symbol of elimination of the social 'verticality' -- the hierarchies as a so far necessary evil to compensate certain innate neurological limitations , , ,  -- and reforming  the network we are embedded into and usually call mankind or society or economy or world into an as geodesic as possibly possible one . For the sake of its own functional programmatic optimization .
Notice that towers leveling is not by demolition, but by uplifting the overall landscape level to and above the tower tops, turning them into deep roots or support pylons of asymptotically geodesic society .
Apparently, mentioning the Gate of God  denotes the unmixing  of languages & mentioning the apex global fiat settlement institution  - the excelling of the current fiat procrustics  i.e. the economy aspect.
That is: TML to Agoras . The first and last of the totally six identified aspects or steps of the social choice  as addressed by what we call Tau.
''our six steps of language, knowledge, discussion, collaboration, choice, and knowledge economy''
These aspects deserve of course separate zoom-in exegetic chapters and they'll definitely get it. I promise. And not only they.
Any exegesis of Tau unavoidably must start with scroll back and tracking down of the full history of the development so far. As a zoom out to see the full picture and to identify the dominant features of the landscape relief.
You, I reckon, already noticed this retrodictive inclination of mine , that in my mind the notion of ''Timeline of Development'' can not be by any logic just a handful of milestone promises thrown into the future, but it is a must to account for the up to now trajectory, too! No future without past.
It all started as Zennet , continued as Tau-chains  and 'turned' into aka 'newtau' , , , .
Wait! A New Tau?
Excuse me, Ohad, but I personally do not buy that and I said it many times. There ain't old and new Tau. The situation is much more straightforward and grokkable . Here it is:
Lotsa guts, balls, butt, brains or whatever human offal... is required for each of us to admit a mistake made in our everyday life. Generally quite a strength is needed to even look ourselves into the mirror...
It takes a whole Ohad though, to keep all oneself's work totally public and transparent even on the full and unedited live record of the infil  into entire branch of mathematics  and then throwing it all away as untauful. We witnessed that reported in real time!
Did this change the ends? No. But sorted out the means to an end.
Was it a 'mistake'? In no case. It was duly delivered R&D effort.
Was oldtau looking promising on first glance? Yes, of course it did.
Did it survive the Ohad's R&D 'crash-testing'? No, it didn't.
Was it a ''juice worth the sqweeze''? It was.
Was it a job well done? Absolutely.
The oldtau materials are for me legacy jewels. Like those dinosaur bugs trapped into blobs of amber .
Development is a process, not just results shipping. Related like cooking and serving.
Studying the zoom-out dev map we observe these few major landmarks:
The Zennet province is all right. Its gently rolling hills gradually merge into the Tau lands proper with the inevitable realization that a 'world supercomputer' can not be a Tauless thing. Zennet lives in Tau with .:
''... having a decentralized search engine requires Zennet-like capabilities, the ability to fairly rent (and rent-out) computational resources, under acceptable risk in the user's terms (as a function of cost). Our knowledge market will surely require such capabilities, and is therefore one of the three main ingredients of Agoras... hardware rent market...''
We move over through the oldtau wastelands  where the burnt ruins of MLTT  lie scattered - rough oldtau location-on-the-map indicator is the fall of 2015 with
''Tau as a Generalized Blockchain'' - posted Oct 17, 2015, 6:33 AM [updated Oct 17, 2015, 6:49 AM]
and then we reach the fertile gardens of newtau  in the fall of 2017:
''The New Tau'' - posted Dec 31, 2017, 12:27 AM [updated Dec 31, 2017, 12:28 AM]
Hmm. Apparently we crossed a watershed. Which relief feature it was? - The ridge  of:
''Tau and the Crisis of Truth'' - posted Sep 10, 2016, 8:25 PM [updated Sep 10, 2016, 8:28 PM]
Tau sorts out the Towers. I hope that the synopsis in this short chapter of Exegesis helped to sort out Tau dev in time as a navigation lookup tool.
Software is nothing but states of hardware. There is that intimate deep, not yet codified into a neat compact of logic, connection between Gödel , Heisenberg  and Laws of thermodynamics .
Tau keeps us off these traps.
I do not dare to state that someday we won't have the command on infinities and to play with them with the ease  of
''... a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.''
In fact, quite the opposite I'd rather take it as inevitability someday we to conquer the Cantor  expanses and to venture far even beyond that. To transcale  the transfinite. Like Hilbert  said it.:
''Aus dem Paradies, das Cantor uns geschaffen, soll uns niemand vertreiben können. (From the paradise, that Cantor created for us, no-one can expel us.)''
But it takes ... finitary vehicles of DECIDABILITY to conquer the transfinitary outer spaces. Because, in order to dear to dream to tame the infinities, we must first harness and get full command of finities.
Including of ourselves. Tau is ''understanding each other''. Without Tau we are ... others to ourselves.
Imperare sibi maximum imperium est.
Size matters. Some people object that it does not matter, but has meaning. But meaning always matters, so it is the same.
The bigger problems one solves, the bigger the gains. Big problems require big solutions. We live in a big universe and our very survival is to deal with bigger and bigger problems, which require bigger and bigger solutions to cope.
But nevertheless to build big is hard so we naturally prefer to create small things which can grow. Small from point of view both of understandable and affordable to build. So best fit are small solutions, cheap and easy to make which scale out or unfold or unleash into big means to address big problems. Scaling is everything.
Scaling. Scalable! Scalability !!
The root-word 'scale' possesses marvelous riches of meaning in English language  with lots of poetics inside.:
 snake skin epidermals - wisdom, memory, protection, rejuvenation, regeneration, eternity...
hen to pan (ἓν τὸ πᾶν), "the all is one"
 warrior armour - security, defense, power, strength.
 weighting scales - device to measure mass, unit, measure, account.
all very Blockchainy wording without any shadow of doubt.
The scalability issues could be grokked  with the following anecdote:
Bunch of workers on a construction site and a huge log. The onsite manager commands a few of them to lift and move it. They try and object ''Too heavy!''. The manager adds more and more workers, until they shout back again: ''Too short!''.
A few real examples, the first two - bad and the last three excellent:
[a] I won't name this 'crypto' just will say it is named after a mythical element of the universe, according to the prescientific gnostic  imaginations. It's core 'value proposition is to shovel meaningful computation into a thread of computation which very value proposition is to be as random, meaningless and unidirectional (hard to do, easy to prove) as possibly possible - the blockchain. The theoretically most expensive form of computation. Visualize: cars and airplanes made of gold and diamonds burning most expensive perfumes. Or mass production of electricity by raising trillions of cats and hiring trillions of people to pet them with grid of pure gold wires to discharge and collect the electrostatics. If they have chosen the original Satoshi blockchain  for their 'experiments' - where the futility of such attempt would become instantly clear and would die out outright due to impending unbearable cost - will of course be more fair way to do, and would've spared dozens of billions of dollars to the Mankind, but logically they preferred a 'controlled' blockchain of their own. In a sense that the guys with vested interest into it have the power to hand-drive, stop, restart and vivisect it. The only use of this 'blockchain supercomputer' is ... tokenomics by Layering. Why it was at all necessary for a blockchain advertised as so good as to do all the general computation, to be made so hairy and bushy with layered tokens??
[b] Another trio of chaps, won't mention names again, were really at awe with Satoshi's creation, so much that they not just liked, but wanted it and decided to have it. For themselves. All of it. And rebelled and forked out and provided 'scaling' errrmm ... uhhh... solution. By increasing the blocksize. Something which Satoshi meditated on, extensively discussed with his disciples and not occasionally decided to put breaks on.  Very recently the crypto news headlines said that the blocksize increase solution providers are eyeing ... Layering. Which they furiously were advocating that blocksize increase makes unnecessary. Cause it is the solution, isn't it? Or maybe it just was. And is not anymore? Well, I'd say that all the aka 'alts'  - to provide a rejuvenated clone of Bitcoin tweeked here and there to provide momentary ease of difficulty and transaction fees - suffer from one and a same problem - traveling back in time does not tell you the future.
[c] Lets jump half a century back in time. It is 1960es. The very making of internet. Computers are already here and scaled up in numbers so their networking to become a problem/juice worth the solution/squeeze. The birth of TCP/IP  and the report of the very makers of it. Of the solution for the network scaling. Enjoy the ancient wisdom:
Initially, the TCP managed both datagram transmissions and routing, but as the protocol grew, other researchers recommended a division of functionality into protocol layers. Advocates included Johnatan Postel of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, who edited the Request for Comments (RFCs), the technical and strategic document series that has both documented and catalyzed Internet development. Postel stated, "We are screwing up in our design of Internet protocols by violating the principle of layering." Encapsulation of different mechanisms was intended to create an environment where the upper layers could access only what was needed from the lower layers. A monolithic design would be inflexible and lead to scalability issues. The Transmission Control Program was split into two distinct protocols, the Transmission Control Protocol and the Internet Protocol.
The layering made the Internet as we know it. By the simple trick of just one node needed to permit another. Unstoppable inclusivity!
[d] The Mastercoin / Omni Layer :
«A common analogy that is used to describe the relation of the Omni Layer to bitcoin is that of HTTP to TCP/IP: HTTP, like the Omni Layer, is the application layer to the more fundamental transport and internet layer of TCP/IP, like bitcoin».
[e] The Lightning network (LN) :
The Lightning Network is a "second layer" payment protocol that operates on top of a blockchain (most commonly Bitcoin).
Satoshi spoke on 'payment' channels in his masterpiece. Foreseeing the way to scale.
An estimate of the power of LN layering .:
''The bitcoin devs accept that eventually larger block sizes will be needed. The current transaction rate isn't going to cut it if people all over the world actually start using bitcoin daily. They estimate that eventually, if everyone in the world uses bitcoin and makes 2 transactions a day, but uses the lightning network, a 133mb blocksize will be needed. Without the lightning network, something like a 200gb (GIGABYTE) size PER BLOCK would be needed to accommodate that much usage.''
Layering upscales it with orders of magnitude of higher efficiency.
If Bitcoin is the 'first layer' and Omni and Lightning are 'second layer', I see which one is the 'Zeroth Layer' and also foresee  the inevitability of the merger or 'Amalgamation' of all second layers over all blockchains, so the user will be able to transact everything into anything to anybody, without to know or care which chain is in use ... I have special nicknames for these and will go back to these topics in series of future posts.
Enough of examples I reckon.
The Postel's sacred Principle of Layering comes from the implementation levels paradigm.
or Abstraction layering :
''separations of concerns to facilitate interoperability and platform independence''
With other words - delegate the task to that layer of the system which does the particular job best. We can generalize this into The Scaling Commandment. Only one enough:
''Thou shalt not jam it all into a single layer!''
The Layer Cake architecture is literally ubiquitous across the Universe.: biology, semantics, informatics ...
It seems that it is if not the only, at least THE way to scale.
Maybe, someday, we the Humanity, upscaled by Tauchain will discover more powerful than Layering ways to Scale, but it is all we have for now.
Scaling is a problem. Scaling must be scalable, too.
Metascale from here to Eternity.
Logo by CapitanArt
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Suggested readings to better understand the Tau ecosystem, Tau Meta Language, Tau-Chain and Agoras, and collaborate in the development of the project.
Lecturas sugeridas para entender mejor el ecosistema Tau, Tau Meta Lenguaje, Tau-Chain y Agoras, y colaborar en el desarrollo del proyecto.