Bitcoin SV (BSV) Announces Sustainable 128MB Blocks During Scaling Test Network

Bitcoin SV supporters believe Satoshi Nakamoto wanted to create a network that was able to handle a large number of simultaneous transactions.
Bitcoin-SV-BSV-Announces-Sustainable-128MB-Blocks-During-Scaling-Test-NetworkBitcoin-SV-BSV-Announces-Sustainable-128MB-Blocks-During-Scaling-Test-Network

Bitcoin SV Shows It Can Sustainable Use 128 MB Blocks

During the last years, there have been several Bitcoin (BTC) hard forks. There are many proposals for Bitcoin: Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) and many others. However, Bitcoin Cash forked into Bitcoin SV (BSV) which aims at scaling the network to the next level.

Bitcoin SV Handles 128 MB Blocks

Bitcoin SV continues to develop its own path towards scalability. Bitcoin has been experiencing scalability issues back in 2017 when the network was completely congested. Users had to pay large fees and transaction could take up to several hours to be processed.

In a recent article released by Coingeek, they explain how Bitcoin SV is pushing for massive scale on-chain. Bitcoin SV supporters believe Satoshi Nakamoto wanted to create a network that was able to handle a large number of simultaneous transactions.

In a recent tweet uploaded by the BSV Node account, the Scaling Test Network (STN) was able to maintain an average block size of 128 MB in 24 hours. This important achievement comes just a few months after the network was able to mine a block of 103 MB.

Scaling Bitcoin to accommodate global transactions.https://t.co/bLS52OrOsj#BitcoinSVpic.twitter.com/XuEbglrRJr

— Bitcoin SV (@BitcoinSVNode) March 8, 2019

The STN is a network that aims at testing large blocks on the BSV network. The implementation of the STN aims at reducing the impact of scalability testing on testnet and to preserve the testnet as a network to try new applications on BSV.

Blockchain networks do have a limited number of transactions that they can handle. If Bitcoin wants to compete against other solutions such as the ones provided by Visa or MasterCard, it would have to be able to scale. Coingeek says that Bitcoin developers decided to implement Segregated Witness (SegWit) and the Lightning Network (LN) that cause “disruptions in the immutability and consistency of the information stored on the blockchain.”

Bitcoin SV is the 12th largest digital asset in the market. Each BSV can be purchased for $64 and it has a market capitalization of $1.15 billion.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple (XRP) and BCH Price Analysis: Today’s Coin Price Prediction Forecasts

Ethereum’s ProgPoW Mining Change to Be Considered for Istanbul Upgrade

The code designed to enact ethereum’s next system-wide upgrade, Istanbul, may feature the inclusion of a controversial mining algorithm said to allow …

The code designed to enact ethereum’s next system-wide upgrade, Istanbul, may feature the inclusion of a controversial mining algorithm said to allow for broader participation in its network.

Discussed Tuesday during a meeting of project managers working on the world’s second-largest blockchain, Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1057, also known as Progressive Proof-of-Work (ProgPoW), has been long debated. On one side are those who believe it will limit large miners from dominating the $655 million annual market for new ether issuance, on the other are those who believe it does not go far enough in leveling access.

Now, with a recent hard fork successfully activated in late February, discussions on ProgPoW appear to be back in full swing. As suggested by Tim Beiko in Tuesday’s call, ProgPoW will be raised as a formal agenda item for discussion among core developers in a call this Friday.

Those assembled on Tuesday’s call said they plan to push for EIP 10557 to be included, should two third-party audits find no technical reasons for a delay.

Beiko said:

“In the worst case, if the audit comes with a huge red flag in it, we can pull that EIP out before Istanbul but assuming that everything goes well, we’ve already done the work … and the audit is just validation afterwards.”

Encouraging this suggestion to be raised to ethereum’s core developers, developer Lane Rettig estimated that the final EIP approval deadline for all Istanbul code changes would be sometime in mid-May.

“That’s something that would have to be brought up in the next all core devs call,” said Rettig.

Two-part audit

However, as the call shows, the results of the audit, aimed at solidifying the measurable benefits of a mining algorithm change, remain to be seen.

As community relations manager of the Ethereum Foundation Hudson Jameson wrote in a developer chatroom, “As far as the audit goes there are two components: benchmarking and examination of how long/efficient a ProgPoW ASIC would be.”

Jameson explained the audits would serve to “make sure it is even worth it to implement ProgPoW or if ASICs can be made super quickly (like less than nine months) and with more speed increase.”

Such comments acknowledge criticisms shared by investors including Dovey Wan and Martina Long who argue the growing number of ASICs on the ethereum blockchain “is largely a non-issue for ethereum,” especially given the planned switch to a new consensus protocol known as proof-of-stake (PoS).

Other community members see the continued scrutiny of ProgPoW as feet-dragging that is holding back an issue that has already achieved consensus.

Writing on an Ethereum Magicians forum on the ProgPoW audit, user “Anlan” warns:

“The whole point of ProgPoW on [ethereum] is to slow down incoming wave of ASICs and to prepare a more leveled field for any mining device. All [these] delays only give room to ASIC manufacturers to organized a counter-offensive move and prepare for a contentious [hard fork.]”

Mining rigs via Shutterstock

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Report: Ethereum (ETH) Development Is Twice as Active as Bitcoin (BTC)

A new report published on March 7 by crypto asset management firm Electric Capital reveals that Ethereum (ETH) has the largest number of …

A new report published on March 7 by crypto asset management firm Electric Capital reveals that Ethereum (ETH) has the largest number of developers working on their base protocol out of all cryptocurrencies.

Per the report, the company fingerprinted over 20,000 code repositories and 16 million commits in order to compile sufficient data for their Q1 2019 Developer Report.

The first finding highlighted by the report is that the number of developers working on public coins has doubled in the last 2 years. Delving deeper, the report states that over 4,000 developers per month contribute code across 2,800 different cryptocurrencies.

While this is a lot of development, it’s not even the full picture as some of the most actively developed blockchain projects are private, un-launched coins, or are not coins at all.

For instance, Binance Coin (BNB) is one of the most active project, but is private. Coda is an active, un-launched cryptocurrency, and Bitcoin’s lightning network is an active project but not a coin. These types of projects are plentiful in the space and are not included in Electric Capital’s report.

Ethereum (ETH) Has Twice the Development as Bitcoin (BTC)

Per Electic Capital’s developer data analysis, Ethereum has the biggest developer team in crypto, with an average of 216 developers contributing code to Ethereum’s repositories every month. The report notes that this is even when undercounting the number of Ethereum developers because they did not include projects like Truffle.

The report also highlights an even more restrictive data set that looks only at developer contributors to the core protocol.

Using this metric, Electric Capital found that:

“Ethereum is by far the most active at 99 monthly developers on average.”

As for Bitcoin’s development, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap, the report states that it is very healthy for being a 10-year old project. In fact, Bitcoin is still being heavily developed after all this time, and sees an average of more than 50 developers contribute to Bitcoin’s repositories per month.

Looking at the more restrictive data set, Bitcoin has an average of 47 core developers every month, making it the second most actively developed core protocol in the space.

Moreover, the report notes that they also underpin the number of Bitcoin developers because they exclude projects like wallets and the lightning network.

Other Crypto Projects’ Development

Apart from Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), the report highlighted a few other projects with a high level of core protocol development. Projects with 25 or more monthly core protocol developers include other big smart contract and dapp development platforms like EOS (EOS), Cardano (ADA) and Tron (TRX).

As for projects that have seemingly fallen off the map in terms of development, the report notes that they tend to be forks of high network value coins.

For instance, Dogecoin (DOGE) has had no developers for consecutive months, and forks like Bitcoin Diamond (BCD) and Bitcoin Gold (BTG) have had fewer than 5 developers per month since October 2018.

All in all, Electric Capital’s report highlights some interesting points while shining light on the development going on in the crypto industry. For instance, one more tidbit of information is that the entire crypto ecosystem as a whole has continued to build despite market conditions.

As stated in the report:

“From Jan 2018 to Jan 2019, the number of monthly active developers fell 4% while the markets fell more than 80%.”

As we move through 2019, do you think Bitcoin and Ethereum will have more developers, or will other projects rise up to their level? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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(ETH) Ethereum Price Prediction 2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 5 years (Updated March 12, 2019)

Ethereum (ETH) is a platform and operating system which integrates blockchain technology with smart contracts. Ether is the cryptocurrency traded on …

Ethereum (ETH) is a platform and operating system which integrates blockchain technology with smart contracts. Ether is the cryptocurrency traded on the Ethereum platform.

Decentralized applications (dApps) can be built using the Ethereum platform. Scalability, transaction fees, traffic congestion, centralization, and exploited vulnerabilities have proven problematic for Ethereum. Nonetheless, it still has the second highest market capitalization. Ethereum’s major competitors include Tron (TRX), EOS (EOS), Steem (STEEM), NEO (NEO), NEM (NEM), Qtum (QTUM), and Waves (WAVES).

Between Mar 6 and 12, 2019, ETH has seen gradual decreases in price. A high of nearly $144 was reached on Mar 6 with lows below $131 experienced six days later. At the time of writing, it was trading within a downward facing horizontal channel.

Based on a detailed analysis completed on Mar 12, 2019, it was predicted that price may soon break out of the resistance. This would result in subsequent price increases to levels as high as $144.

read Our updated ETH price analysis here!

Oh Look, There’s More…

Ethereum (ETH)

Fundamental Analysis

From a fundamental perspective, Ethereum (ETH) has shown signs of relative weakness in 2019. It’s Constantinople hard fork was delayed in Jan after a previous postponement in October 2018. Though it successfully forked on Feb 28, not until about a week later was it receiving much coverage in the media.

Furthermore, the platform still hosts high gas fees for transactions while competitors like Tron have no transaction fees. This combined with scalability issues and other problems have left Ethereum with many dApps and few users. Tron, EOS, and Steem have deployed more active dApps than Ethereum. These four may be contenders in the dApp race, Ethereum appears to be losing.

Proof-of-Something

Ethereum was initially released using a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. Similar to Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum used PoW to validate transactions on the blockchain. The plan, however, was to shift to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) protocol.

A roadmap was released to describe how the Ethereum mainnet would undergo a number of hard forks until PoS was attained. Below is a list of planned forks along with the date and block number at which they occurred:

ETHEREUM’S PLANNED HARD FORKS (ACCORDING TO ROADMAP)

NAME OF HARD FORK

DATE OF HARD FORK

BLOCK AT WHICH FORK OCCURRED

Frontier (initial mainnet release of Ethereum)

July 30, 2015

Ethereum genesis block mined; no hard fork occurs

Homestead

Mar 14, 2016

1,150,000

Metropolis – Byzantium

Oct 16, 2017

4,370,000

Metropolis – Constantinople

Feb 28, 2017

7,280,000

Serenity

To be Announced

To be Announced

Five updates were initially announced to occur with the Constantinople hard fork. A vulnerability discovered in one of the updates caused Constantinople to be delayed—it was initially to take place at block 7,080,000.

The four current updates decrease transactions fees, increases ease-of-use of the Ethereum network, and enables users to interact with future addresses yet to be created. Most notably, it decreases the mining reward and delays the difficulty bomb—which is designed to make mining next to impossible following the shift to PoS.

A full PoS consensus algorithm may be implemented with Serenity.

Learn More About Ethereum’s Hard Forks Here!

Centralized Control

In a piece about the delay of the Constantinople hard fork, Jon Buck writes:

Unlike Bitcoin, which can only soft fork on the main chain through complete miner consensus, Ethereum has a more centralized approach. It allows the developers and core team to make, what appear to be, relatively centralized and arbitrary decisions for the platform without widespread user approval.

In other words, the centralized control of the Ethereum Network by the Ethereum Foundation led them to delay the hard fork without necessarily receiving consensus from the community. This violates the basic principles of decentralization upon which Bitcoin is built.

However, Ethereum is not Bitcoin, and if the delay had not occurred, a vulnerability in one of the updates could have been exploited. This would have possibly allowed bad actors to steal user funds. The centralized governance of the Ethereum Foundation may have ultimately prevented thefts or fraud.

Ahead of the upcoming #Constantinople hardfork, please make sure that your contract doesn’t become vulnerable to reentrancy attacks due to the lowered gas costs.

Great work by the @chain_security team: https://t.co/bKIVNQdY29

— Hubert Ritzdorf (@HRitzdorf) January 15, 2019

Nonetheless, the discovery of the vulnerability, however, did not come from the Foundation or the Core Developers. ChainSecurity discovered the vulnerability on Jan 15, 2019—only days before the hard fork was projected to occur. Unable to fix the vulnerability in time, the Foundation chose to delay the fork.

If Ethereum was governed by decentralized consensus—instead of the Foundation’s centralized authority—the vulnerability might still have been stopped. The users on the network might have reached consensus to delay the hard fork.

Ethereum

Technical Analysis (Completed November 2018)

2017 was a strong year for Ethereum, seeing its value drastically grow from just over $10 in January up to a monumental $1,400 just a year later. This growth cannot be said to be unique to ETH, however, as practically all digital currencies in the top 10 by market capitalization experienced similar growth.

However, since the overall trend in 2018 was extremely bearish, ETH has completely collapsed in value — losing over 90 percent of its value compared to its all-time high and more than 76 percent in the last year.

Compared to the Bitcoin price, Ethereum has fallen significantly faster — losing three-quarters of its value against BTC since February this year.

Despite this, during each bullish wave in the past year, ETH has outperformed BTC. While it is likely that the continued bear trend will see ETH/USD continue to fall, gains against BTC are possible with each bounce.

Specialists’ Perspective

The majority of expert predictions made earlier in the year painted an extremely bullish 2018 for Ethereum, with Olaf Carlson-Wee, CEO of the hedge fund Polychain Capital, predicting that Ethereum’s market cap will exceed Bitcoin’s by the end of the year. In January, Ethereum co-founder Steven Nerayoff suggested that Ethereum could double or triple by year-end due to the growing interest surrounding cryptocurrency.

Investing Haven is bullish on the crypto industry in general, expecting that 2019 will be a strong year for major digital assets, predicting that Ethereum will reach $1,000 sometime in 2018 or beyond.

Mike Cagney, previously CEO of student loan refinancer SoFi, is bullish on Ethereum — arguing that its infrastructure applications far exceed Bitcoin’s.

On the other hand, Josh Case, CEO of Antigua-based cryptocurrency exchange Ethershift, has been predicting bearish prices all year, telling us that “we have a very bear winter ahead of us, that will end with Bitcoin under $3,000 and Ethereum under $70.”

Case’s bearish predictions are echoed by Ethereumprice.org, which predicted that Ethereum has a 10 percent chance of seeing $200 again by the end of the year, whereas the odds of $500 or $1,000 are almost negligible at 4.99 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

MegaCryptoPrice is, on the other hand, mega bullish for the long term, forecasting 490 percent growth by the end of 2019 — which would see Ethereum reclaim $600 while its 5-year prediction sees ETH approach its all-time high at $1377.

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum Price Prediction 2018

With the entire cryptocurrency market in the midst of what may be an unprecedented bear period in terms of size and severity, few cryptocurrencies are looking promising. Since the beginning of 2018, close to $700 billion has been wiped from the industry market cap, $120 million of which was from the Ethereum (ETH) crash.

When the bear period first began around mid-January of this year, ETH was hit hard — quickly losing close to 40 percent of its value in under a week.

Since then, Ethereum has crashed through several key resistance zones before hovering around $200 for two months — which was then broken in early November.

While it’s very unlikely that we will see a huge 2017-esque bull run this year, it is also unlikely that Ethereum will continue to drop much further due to the strong resistance at $100. If any coin is expected to break the cycle this early, it doesn’t appear to be Ethereum, as almost all indicators suggest otherwise.

However, the relative strength index (RSI) indicates that Ethereum and the cryptocurrency market, in general, is extremely oversold, indicating that we are somewhere near the bottom. As it stands, it appears that Ethereum’s position will continue to weaken against BTC and XRP as 2018 concludes, likely struggling to hold $100.

Ethereum Price Prediction 2019

Though Ethereum will almost certainly close 2018 around $100, the long-term forecasts look far more promising. 2019 is slated to be the year when several significant upgrades to Ethereum’s blockchain technology are implemented, beginning with Constantinople and ending with the Caspar upgrade.

Caspar stands to significantly augment the way that the Ethereum blockchain is secured and maintained, switching from a pure proof-of-work (POW) system to a hybrid system also including proof-of-stake. According to reports by Vitalik Buterin, this hybrid consensus will initially favor POW, but will gradually place more importance on the POS part.

Switching from POW to POS is expected to massively increase the security and scalability of Ethereum, boosting its value as a blockchain and significantly increasing the value of ETH as large amounts become locked up in the new staking model.

Most experts agree that 2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Ethereum and that the price of ETH should begin to blossom as enthusiasts stock up in preparation for staking. Because of this, a price of between $250-300 should be attainable by year-end.

Ethereum

Ethereum Price Prediction 2020

Whilst 2017 and 2018 might have been dominated by ICOs, 2020 will likely be dominated by decentralized applications.

As it stands, the number of transactions the Ethereum blockchain can handle is severely limited by a number of factors — including the inefficient POW consensus algorithm and Ethereum Virtual Machine. By 2020, the transition to the new serenity implementation should be almost complete, which should provide drastic improvements to the capabilities of the Ethereum network.

As DApp developers begin to take advantage of the new and improved Ethereum, we should see a surge in high-quality applications built on Ethereum, driving up the ETH price as DApps begin consuming an increasing amount of gas.

Because of this, it is widely expected that in 2020, Ethereum will be one of if not the strongest cryptocurrencies still in use, potentially achieving a value exceeding $1,400.

Ethereum (ETH)

Ethereum Price Prediction 5 years

In just four short years, Ethereum managed to achieve a market capitalization of almost $140 billion at its peak —, a feat that took Bitcoin, currently the most popular cryptocurrency, eight years to achieve. If Ethereum manages to keep the same pace, it may dethrone Bitcoin as the king of cryptos.

However, Ethereum faces stiff competition from other smart-contract capable platforms, including NEO, Cardano, and Stellar — all of which have their own wildly ambitious roadmaps ahead. Whether or not Ethereum manages to fend off these promising upstarts will have a lot to do with how accurately it follows up its own roadmap.

The Ethereum Foundation’s commitment to the project is widely considered to be industry leading, with currently dozens of different Ethereum improvement proposals (eIPs) being worked on simultaneously. With the Serenity upgrade shaping up to be a genuine game-changer, it is certainly within the realm of possibility to see Ethereum massively exceed its all-time high, perhaps even passing the $3,000 mark.

Ethereum

Our Prediction

Here at BeinCrypto, we base our forecasts on the long-term potential of the Ethereum project with the assumption that the 2018 bear market is not a recurring concern.

With strong fundamentals and a solid plan to maintain relevance in the face of strong competition and technical challenges, Ethereum has proven itself to be one of the few projects genuinely preparing for the long haul.

Overall, we see a strong future for Ethereum (ETH), with the potential to rise upwards of $3,000 within the next several years — assuming it can indeed deliver on its promise of a massively scalable distributed computing platform. We find it unlikely that Ethereum will fall significantly below $110, and will likely hover between $100 and $200 until we see a move to proof-of-stake.

Period Ethereum Price Forecast
Best Case Scenario Worst Case Scenario
2018 $197 $86
2019 $1,400 $114
2020 $3,000 $167
5 years $3,000+ $172

Nevertheless, investors should always do their own research and tread lightly before buying Ethereum coins. The market is notoriously volatile, and anyone investing in both Bitcoin and Ethereum should be prepared to lose their entire investment.

What do you think of our ETH price prediction in 2019 and our Ethereum forecast for the future? Do you think ETH can recover in 2018? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, TradingView.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are not intended as financial advice, and should not be taken as such. BeInCrypto and the author are not responsible for any financial gains or losses made after reading this article. Readers are always encouraged to do their own research before investing in cryptocurrency, as the market is particularly volatile. Those seeking advice should consult with a certified financial professional.

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Bitcoin vs Ethereum: The ideological divide

When Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin tweeted a proposal for a small fee tax that would finance wallet developers, the reactions were mixed in …

When Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin tweeted a proposal for a small fee tax that would finance wallet developers, the reactions were mixed in both the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities. Outside the world of crypto, this sounds fairly reasonable: creating a system to incentivize coders to keep up their good work by virtue of negligible fees is no reason to grab torches and forks to start a riot. 1 gwei/gas is a really small amount that, according to Buterin’s calculations, would grant the developers of the wallet clients about 2 million USD per year.

The idea didn’t seem to be popular among the Ethereum community members, but it didn’t generate much heat either. To some, it’s just a wild thought that one of the central figures has released for testing reasons. To others, it’s evident that these central figures of Ethereum will have it their way if they want, so they choose to entrust their monetary holdings in the hands of the supposedly more knowledgeable elites.

If an influential bitcoiner went on to make such a proposal, they would fall out of grace in a heartbeat. Imposing taxation is anathema to the core beliefs of Bitcoin, and ideologically defeats the purpose of sovereignty for which most enthusiasts have chosen to support Satoshi’s project. This isn’t just a matter of protocol or monetary maximalism, but a clear division between the arbitrarily imposed ways of governments, and the voluntaryist tendencies of the new decentralized world.

This example of trying to impose taxation is only a small example which points out to a greater phenomenon: there is both a sociological and a political difference between supporters of Bitcoin and Ethereum. It goes deeper than liking Turing-completeness, believing in tokenization, and views on immutability. In our situation, we have two distinct groups who don’t really have much in common but share ideals that are integrated into the same movement.

And with the ugly risk of creating generalizations and stereotypes, let us proceed with the analysis.

Case study one: Vitalik Buterin vs Jameson Lopp

In a sense, this comparison is unfair: Vitalik Buterin was one of the founders of the Ethereum protocol, and has remained a prominent figure which benefits from a somewhat unquestionable degree of authority and respect; on the other hand, Jameson Lopp has only joined Bitcoin about 3 years after it got created and probably can’t make a proposal for BTC development without being scrutinized. However, they are both articulate and intelligent individuals who possess both the technical savviness to code and the linguistic skills to write long blog posts. Furthermore, it can be said that they are both parts of the same generation, with Mr. Lopp being about 10 years older.

This is where the similarities between them end and we get into the territory that divides them. First of all, Vitalik Buterin is definitely more open to left-wing ideas and sometimes differentiates between the failure of authoritarian regimes and doctrinary socialism. Conversely, Jameson Lopp never shies away from expressing his libertarian views and goes as far as promoting gun training as a way to protect one’s sovereignty. From the very beginning, we see the kind of ideological divide which further justifies their decisions and motivations.

Neither of them is completely representative of the community he comes from, but they are both esteemed thought leaders whose influence can change opinions and shape mindsets. It’s very likely that both of them would vehemently deny this leadership component and point out to decentralization of ideas and individual agency, but their personal views on fame and power don’t change the fundamental fact that people listen to their opinions.

Yet Vitalik speaks to a crowd that is more likely to embrace socialist ideas and accept concepts such as governance, regulation, taxation, and compliance, while Lopp is the epitome of anarcho-capitalism and sovereignty (at least in his public appearances, that is). It’s no wonder that the Ethereum co-founder is able to blend into the Silicon Valley crowds and impress VCs, while the Bitcoin advocate is more akin to cypherpunks who preceded him (Tim May, Wei Dai, Hal Finney, Nick Szabo, and Satoshi Nakamoto).

Case study two: a conflict between generational ideologies

This last argument presented leads to a more complex discussion about the political affinities of every generation. Technically speaking, Vitalik is a mid-millennial born in the early 1990s, while Mr. Lopp is somewhere in between Generation X and the early millennials. The classification is relevant in terms of defining time periods in which they received their first years of education and the world events surrounding them.

If Jameson Lopp graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2007 (when he was presumably 21 years old), then he must have lived his first years of life during the late Reagan era, when the Cold War was coming to an end. This kind of background can shape one’s worldview and nurture a general feeling of distrust in relation to the government: if the political climate is more tense and uncertain, then it’s more likely for the men who grow in this kind of environment to become self-reliant and autonomous.

Now, the case is not necessarily evident in the case of the two main ideologues of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin and Vlad Zamfir: while they both have origins in countries that used to be governed by USSR-influenced communist regimes, they don’t seem to share the same amount of enthusiasm for anarchy and radical rejection of the political status. It might be due to the governance model of Ethereum and the expectations implied in being involved in a project that must please an interesting combination of venture capitalists and idealistic angel investors, but the advocates of the Turing-complete blockchain seem to be more concerned about compliance and  negotiation with governments (as opposed to building an entire economy that denies and defies their authority).

The examples may have gone a little too far, and have most likely taken liberties that are based on opinions that have been expressed at one point in time in a given context. However, they are important to introduce the following theory: Bitcoiners are more akin to the political ideas of baby boomers and Gen-X folks, while Ethereum fans are closer to the stereotypical media depiction of the millennial generation.

One camp is highly skeptical of the government’s legitimacy and appreciates freedom more than excessive regulation, while the other is inclined to join the crowd that cheered for Jeremy Corbyn during his stage appearance at 2017’s Glastonbury festival.

The former understands the necessity of sound money as a hedge against an increasingly intrusive government, while the latter has most likely grown in peaceful times, in a democratic regime which guarantees the protection of fundamental human rights, and in a context that doesn’t justify for the replacement of fiat money (unless Austrian economics or more radical ideas get applied to the financial crisis of 2009).

This point has been purposely avoided until now, but it has to be mentioned for the sake of providing more context: it’s very likely that this evident cleavage is rooted in the post-DAO attack hard fork and the transition to Proof of Stake. Both concepts revolve around the idea of establishing institutions of power (the first proves that code is no longer law if financial pressures emerge, and the second contributes to the creation of an oligarchy – the type of regime where the rich only get richer).

Case study three: the economics of Bitcoin and Ethereum

Bitcoiners long for a golden era of sound money when “hold” was the most valuable store of value and means of exchange, while Ethereum fans embrace the complexities of Keynesian economics and global politics. Correspondingly, the protocols follow the underlying ideologies (though it might also be the other way around): Satoshi’s invention has a fixed supply, a predictable monetary policy, and a system of incentives that is more or less easy to understand; on the other hand, Ethereum has an unlimited supply, a roadmap that can be delayed according to the will of a few elites, and a governance model which addresses the needs of the status quo.

Under these circumstances, it’s no surprise that the most influential person in the ETH space makes a proposal to introduce transaction taxes for the sake of financing wallet developers. While it sounds reasonable, it’s a precedent that will lead to many other similar decisions to be made just because the trust system facilitates them. As a project which embraces governance and compliance with laws, Ethereum is bound to make many compromises with the forces that be – just like governments and corporations.

For now, Bitcoin has been resilient in maintaining its principle. Initiatives of hard forking to increase the block size have been labelled as contentious and against decentralization, and the scaling debate has led to the accelerated development of a second-layer infrastructure to take some of the clutter. Similarly, Ethereum also develops scaling solutions like Plasma, Raiden, but takes it a notch farther with the plans to shard the blockchain for greater data efficiency.

It would be unfair to go to far with this comparison, as a project which intends to become a world computer, a reliable platform for smart contracts, and a backbone for tokenization clearly can’t follow the same path as something simpler which only aims to be sound money. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum have a long way to go before reaching their goals, but these differences in approach to monetary policy and upgrades reveal a lot about their underlying motivations and ideologies.

Nevertheless, the last point will refer to Ethereum’s 12 million founder reward and 60 million ICO pre-mine. Of the 105.171.622 ether units minted at press time, 72 million (about 68%) have been issued before everyone else got their chance to start mining. To the business-minded developers who don’t want to worry about losing their status due to potential financial problems, this sounds like a good plan. But hardcore bitcoiners would have never accepted such a premise and look for protocols that are fair to the extent of immaculate conception. This idea leads us to the final part of the article, where we address cleavages and why they’re dangerous.

Case study four: dividing the space according to ideological predispositions

In a sense, the phenomenon of attracting like-minded individuals who share similar social and political values is a no-brainer. Friendships and meaningful social relationships are often established on the basis of likeness. However, taking these interactions to the extent that they turn into tribalism is dangerous for progress: while competition is great and brings the best out of each camp, ostracizing and setting boundaries is unhealthy.

When someone new discovers cryptocurrencies right now, they will most likely get drawn to the project which best reflects their worldview. Sometimes it’s a friend who helps discern between the sides by introducing a personal passion or involvement in one of the protocols, but individual exploration is just as significant since a Rothbardian will definitely reject anything that deals with taxation and pre-mines.

There isn’t enough cooperation to find a middle ground and present the projects as complementary in achieving parallel goals for a better world, so the interactions are often times tense and divisive. The example of Andreas Antonopoulos comes to mind: due to his geekiness and technical background, he pursued Bitcoin and has spent many years exploring its intricacies and educating others. But when he got interested in Ethereum as an acquired taste and started working on educational resources for this other protocol, he has fallen out of grace in the eyes of some puritans. Mr. Antonopoulos, despite still supporting Bitcoin, is getting cast out for not being coin monogamous.

Now let’s think about this scenario where a known Ethereum developer who works on blockchain sharding suddenly starts contributing to Bitcoin Core, or vice versa. There would be a lot of tension in the air, fuelled by suspicions of sabotage and bad intentions all around.

Sadly, the relations between Bitcoin and Ethereum supporters reflect the contemporary political landscape from the United States of America, where liberals and conservatives can’t even discuss basic issues without resorting to labelling and name-calling. Even if there is a common ground and the incentives are aligned to facilitate cooperation, it’s unlikely to happen due to mindsets and narratives that were designed to create division and dissent.

That’s not to say that Bitcoin and Ethereum are similar enough to enable multiple collaborations between devs and advocates. But to put it in laymen terms that have been purposely avoided as much as possible throughout the article, bitcoiners resemble supporters of right-wing politics (US and UK conservatives, European liberals, et al) while Ethereum fans are more to the left side of the spectrum (American democrats, UK labour supporters, European socialists).

Essentially, there’s nothing wrong with having to ideologically-different camps that stand for opposite values. However, this new decentralized world should take some cues from the disastrous international politics and try to be better. If we’re building the foundations of a system where you’re a maximalist of either A or B, then we still have lots of lessons to learn. Competition is great, conflicts of ideas are constructive, helpful and healthy in a society, but at the end of the day we must live with each other and distinguish between rivalry and common goals that even the biggest of anarchists can accept.

Generation X/Millennial picture credit: AESC

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