Presentation: Case Study: Alternate Blockchains



2:55pm - 3:45pm

Day of week:



Key Takeaways

  • Observe how you can leverage blockchain technology for different use cases
  • Gain insight in the advantages and drawbacks of different design approaches for blockchain-based systems
  • Learn how to make good decisions about what works best for a specific use case


It seems that everyone is creating their own blockchain. Is this justified, or should they be using Bitcoin? This talk will use Namecoin and Monero as case studies to see what advantages exist for using a different blockchain, what approaches exist for doing so (e.g. merge-mined sidechains), and what risks you might be exposing your users to if you use a blockchain that isn't as secure as Bitcoin.


What is the focus of your work today?

Most of what I do currently is on applications that improve online privacy.

What’s the motivation for your talk?

It’s difficult to compare different design approaches for systems using blockchain technology, which makes it hard to make good choices about what to (re)use or when to design your own specific solution. I will explore existing approaches like Namecoin, Monero and Blockstack and discuss what’s good and what’s bad about them.

How you you describe the persona of the target audience of this talk?

Anyone who is either deciding to use an existing blockchain or who is going to create their own blockchain.

How easy is it to create your own blockchain?

It depends on whether there’s already something out there that does what you want. There are not a huge number of blockchain in production that do something unique. I will mostly talk about the concepts with only few code examples.

QCon targets advanced architects and sr development leads, what do you feel will be the actionable that type of persona will walk away from your talk with?

They can walk away with an understanding of the use cases, why those use cases are useful, approaches used in the real world and what the trade-offs of those approaches are so that they can make good decisions about what would work best for them.

Speaker: Jeremy Rand

Lead Engineer @Namecoin

Jeremy is the Lead Application Engineer of Namecoin, a naming system (currently used for domain names and identities) that backs authenticity of records using a blockchain (Namecoin was the first project forked from Bitcoin). Jeremy has many roles at Namecoin, but spends much of his time working on applications that enhance online privacy, such as TLS and Tor integration. Jeremy discovered Bitcoin in November 2010, made his first purchase with Bitcoin in April 2011, and joined Namecoin development in June 2013. Outside of Namecoin, Jeremy has a background in console game hacking and educational robotics. Jeremy is currently a computer science graduate student at University of Oklahoma in the U.S.

Find Jeremy Rand at

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Conference for Professional Software Developers