A new hope for the blockchain?

Soaring crypto prices at the end of 2017 gave mainstream attention/interest to both crypto currency and the blockchain. The subsequent price crash separated people back into (mostly) two camps: dedicated “holders” and the mostly-disinterested public.

While I personally have my doubts about crypto as a currency (beyond simply a medium of exchange between fiat), I do think that the blockchain is an interesting piece of technology with huge potential. With it brings digital immutability, and I believe that will prove very valuable to many industries. With the blockchain also comes smart contracts, which are an intriguing concept that is still far from realizing its true potential.

But just when no one was looking, Smart Contracts and the blockchain are about to get a lot more interesting.

Tim Wagner, formerly the general manager of AWS Lambda, API Gateway and the Serverless Application Repository, has left Amazon and joined Coinbase as head of engineering. An interesting move, for sure, but even more interesting when you hear what he has to say.

In an interview with Forrest Brazeal of ACloudGuru, Tim reveals the connection between his old job and new (emphasis mine):

Blockchain offers a transparent distributed data store with a really unique trust model. But today, it lacks an easy way to connect that model to arbitrary code execution, and that limits what you can do in a smart contract, as interesting as they are.

And then on the flip side, you have something like AWS Lambda with its scalable and reliable execution of third-party code from a trusted vendor, but today it doesn’t offer a mechanism to use that code as a contractual agreement between two parties. Setting that up would require application code.

The marriage of smart contracts and serverless computing feels like it could be big. And who better to lead the charge than the person who basically created Lambda in the first place?

It’s still going to take time before we see any results here. But this space may become very interesting very soon.

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