1 min read

Redundant refrigerators

My refrigerator stopped working today. Fortunately, I have a backup that wasn't full, so I was able to transfer all of my food out to the garage before it went bad.

While I was lugging bags of condiments outside, I was thinking about redundancy in traditional software systems vs blockchain. (Okay, I was actually thinking about mustard and pickles, but bear with me)

A typical website has some code running on a server somewhere. For most of the web, there isn't much thought put into backups and failover. Larger businesses lose a significant amount of money when their sites go down--even for a couple minutes. So, they spend a lot on redundant systems to prevent this as much as possible.

Blockchains offer redundancy as a core feature. When someone's node goes down, the rest of the network keeps on running. While there is a cost to this redundancy, each network participant is (generally) earning enough to offset their costs and then some.

Bringing this back to refrigerators, my situation at home was much like a traditional redundant server. I paid for that extra capacity, underutilized it, and then paid the cost/effort to transfer my food.

A blockchain-like refrigerator set up would break many laws of physics. For one, the food in your fridge would be copied to all the other fridges in the network. But if someone pulled out a beer, every fridge would have one less beer (so it's not an infinite food glitch).

The power is the ability to send food around the world. If you put a ham in your fridge in the USA, your friend in South Africa can pull it out of their fridge.

If you unplug your refrigerator, the food disappears, but the next time you plug it in, the food will automatically sync back up with the network.


P.S. What would you put in the fridge?