Is it possible for corporate interests to incentivize securing POW of alternate blockchains instead of Bitcoin's blockchain?

Given the large amount of funding and/or "partnerships" announced the last month or so where established companies like Paypal and Klarna are getting into bed with Bitcoin.

I ask this because companies like Blockchain.info are getting significant "Blockchain development" funding and it would appear this is an investment in the blockchain itself:

Blockchain president Peter Smith said:

“The company has grown exponentially in every way over the last 18 months. We are honoured to add investors and partners to the team with deep expertise in financial services and consumer technology.”

Also from Scott Ellison (PayPal senior director of corporate strategy):

“We’re proceeding gradually, supporting bitcoin in some ways today and holding off on other ways until we see how things develop.”

Is it plausible/possible for corporate interests to divert miners/investors from Bitcoin's blockchain to another blockchain with better rates of return (perhaps just initially) on investment?

EDIT discussion on this over at /r/bitcoinserious

  • There is a company named "Blockchain," and there is an unrelated part of the Bitcoin protocol called "the blockchain." Does that answer your question? – Nick ODell Oct 20 '14 at 22:00
  • @NickODell I've edited Q so the company Blockchain.info is capitalised (as Blockchain), whilst a blockchain is in lowercase - hopefully this avoids confusion – Wizard Of Ozzie Oct 20 '14 at 23:36

I am struggling to understand the motivation for this question, but I'll take a guess. From the Reddit post you linked, it seems like you're wondering if alternative ways of securing the blockchain will be adopted by companies who have an interest in keeping costs low? I'm not sure exactly what costs you mean here, maybe costs associated with securing the blockchain?

Short answer:

Who really knows? It's possible, but any answer is really just a best guess.

Long(er) Answer

One thing to be noted is that it's not actually companies who build tech around bitcoin that have an incentive to keep blockchain securing costs low. Companies building technology around Bitcoin (and other coins) work almost exactly the same depending on whether the system is secured with PoW/PoS/other, assuming the system meets some base security level. Rather, it's the miners who have an interest in keeping costs low, and fees high. I don't think that mining companies are being invested in as much as companies that are building tech around the bitcoin blockchain.

Is it plausible/possible for corporate interests to divert miners/investors from Bitcoin's blockchain to another blockchain with better rates of return (perhaps just initially) on investment?

What kind of rates of return are you looking for here? If you mean rates of return while mining, then see above paragraph. If you mean rates of return for just using the cryptocurrency, then you probably won't be seeing one that is better than bitcoin any time soon, partially because of bitcoins' spreading adoptance and partially because it is a deflationary currency.

If by rate of return, you essentially mean least costly to transact, then you are talking about the fee structure in bitcoin. One of the problems with bitcoin's current fee system (in the long term) is that the people making the transactions are the only ones paying fees. Or rather, those who are just storing bitcoins are still benefitting from the security while not paying for that security. Inflationary currencies differ in that those who store it pay for the security, in a sense, by the money they have losing value over time.

Coding in a slight inflationary factor might make a currency more appealing to transact with. PoS coins have inflationary factors (as do some PoW coins, this one for example), and from this perspective, I could see companies preferring to store value in Bitcoin but transact in a different currency which has some inflation. So, I could possibly see some companies wanting to invest in other currencies that are cheaper to transact in.

  • Great answer. Of course, you're right in that the question makes a lot of assumptions. – Wizard Of Ozzie Oct 23 '14 at 5:34
  • I also wanted to add, from /r/Bitcoin AMA with Gavin Anderson, reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/2jw5pm/… , he answered that if Bitcoin didn't become the Internet's de facto currency of choice; "I think it'll either disappear and become an under-the-covers ledger system that Joe-ordinary-consumer never sees.". This was kind of what I was getting at – Wizard Of Ozzie Oct 23 '14 at 11:20

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