Why I’m long Ethereum (and short Bitcoin)

October 14, 2016 3:50 am

Response to Why I’m short Ethereum (and long Bitcoin)

Ethereum’s ambition

Ethereum is not Bitcoin 2.0 – it is much more than that. Imagine building The Matrix. Lots of moving parts, and tonnes of effort to get there. If you focus on the attacks and other challenges, you are completely missing the big picture – Ethereum looks, sounds, and works too much like the future. Read up the Ethereum use cases – don’t you feel like you are getting a good peek into the future? Would any of us want to bet against something that is SO close to how we all think the future will look like?

Computer network trade-offs

The author states “It prioritizes flexibility and, I argue, compromises on security, speed, and even cost” – totally incorrect. Let us get into this in more detail.

Flexibility – In summary, if you think Turing completeness is NOT the future, we actually have very little to discuss.

From the article – “The way Ethereum creates this adaptability and flexibility is in four ways: radical openness, multiple implementations, multiple contract specification languages, and institutionally endorsed hard-forks.” – All these characteristics of Ethereum – radical openness, multiple implementations and multiple contract specification languages are actually great things. That last point – institutionally endorsed hard-forks – that one is debatable. That too, for a subset of decisions. More on this point, later.

The article also questions Ethereum’s Security. Here is a fact: There have been ZERO security related attacks on Ethereum – all ‘hacks’ are not security flaws. The DAO hack was basically someone exploiting a badly written contract. The current issues are all DOS attacks. Ethereum arguably is the most secure crypto network out there. Try challenging this.

From the article – “First, the founders chose the opposite approach from Bitcoin’s scripting system by pursuing Turing Completeness; in other words, by setting absolutely no restrictions on which type of code can be published and executed on the blockchain.”

Diverse clients and Turing completeness are such no-brainers for a global computing network, we don’t even want to respond. The network is P2P for a reason, and that reason is not that all peers will look the same. Diverse clients adds to the resilience of the network. It is actually as simple as that. For a global Supercomputer like Ethereum, why would you introduce a single point of failure?

Again, this one – “It’s my view that the multiplicity of implementations, in absence of a unambiguous specification, will lead to more problems down the road.” –

Well, where exactly is the ambiguity? Seriously, which part of the Ethereum specification is ambiguous? If you remove the part around “unambiguous specification”, the author’s sentence reads as “It’s my view that the multiplicity of implementations will lead to more problems down the road” – Really? In a decentralized network?

Hard forks – From the article – “Ethereum’s pro hard-fork stance has probably garnered the most controversy?—?I think for good reason” – this is the only point that demands a serious response. Thankfully, Fred already did.. One-line summary: “adaptability is more important than immutability”. But like we said, this one is debatable.

But the author loses the plot here as well – “Finally, a fourth way in which Ethereum promotes adaptability and flexibility is by hard-forking the chain for security or scalability purposes” – the hard fork was NOT done to address security or scalability. The hard fork is a solid discussion point, but not because of these reasons. Bring up the “too big to fail” argument and maybe we have a debate at hand.

Summary: Ethereum looks, sounds, and works too much like the future. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.Rome turned out to be beautiful. To build Ethereum, folks are laying bricks every minute. Ethereum will be beautiful too!

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