Hi, everyone. I'm about 6 months behind the curve in getting into and understanding ethereum, but better late than never, I guess. As I've been trying to wrap my head around it all (including crypto, in general) I started to make a list of use cases. I want to zero in on what, for lack of a better phrase, ethereum is really good for. Here's what I came up with and I'd welcome feedback as to where I'm wrong or what I've left out.
When is decentralization best?
1-- When trust in one organization introduces risk since that organization may fail somehow
2-- When fees are charged or a house cut is kept (escrow, lotteries, casinos, etc)
3-- When traditional trust organizations don’t offer fine-tuned, custom solutions ("Send $X to A from B if Y but not Q")
4-- When true democracy (everyone votes) is desirable but otherwise not feasible (Couldn’t one trusted org tally votes and make changes? TMK, there are no businesses offering this kind of service, so the demand must be extremely low. I guess stockholder votes are like this?)
5-- When centralization would render one entity WAY too powerful. (DNS, national governments i.e. kings/monarchs)
One thing I'm having a hard time grasping are use cases that do not require outside information. Many purported cases touch the real world for external data in some way OR depend on some reputation/feedback mechanism, which also ties the use case to the real world
6-- Crop insurance (Who decides when a drought has happened?)
7-- Wills (Who verifies death?)
8-- Sports betting (Who decides who won and who lost? And by how much?)
9-- Mechanical Turk-like contracts: who decides if the work was done properly?
What is ethereum bad for?
10- Processor-intensive tasks like SETI, prime numbers, DNA sequencing, etc.
1. Most organizations people trust DON'T fail. That's why they trust them. How much value add is there to be had by decentralizing it?
2. This, to me, is the best ETH use case. Imagine a Powerball that has an expected payout of 1 instead of .25. Very strong.
3. I don't know how granular banks can get with escrow, etc.
4. Having everyone vote is ideal, in theory, but hasn't worked out historically. That said, direct democracy never had the internet and ethereum before, so who knows.
5. Obviously this is a strong set of use cases, but how far can it really go without interfacing with the real world? When a dominant virtual world emerges (as it eventually will), this use case could become, by far, the most powerful.
6-9. I'd like to hear ideas about how ethereum interfaces with data from the real world in a trustless manner.
8. I guess a contract could be set up like inTrade to buy/sell the outcome of a game, so that prices would go to 1 or 0 eventually. But who makes the final decision on the outcome? Maybe the contract "guesses" the outcome after a certain time period based on its current exchange price of win vs loss?
11+ What else is ethereum not suited for?