Ethereum a ‘Shit-Show’, Keep Bitcoin Boring, Says Craig Wright
Cryptocurrency developer and provocateur Dr. Craig Wright has railed against increasing complexity in blockchain feature sets, calling Ethereum “a shit-show” and saying Bitcoin should be “as boring as the global plumbing it reflects”.
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Patching and Policy Before Cool Toys
In a post on Medium titled “Stable by design”, Wright stressed that simple issues like patching, policy controls, patching and scaling were too-often overlooked. Instead, the industry looks for new “cool toys” on their blockchains at the expense of stability and security.
It reflects Wright’s recent arguments against introducing new functionality to Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in particular, namely adding “op-codes” that would enable features like token creation and more complex smart contracts. The BCH community has attempted recently to move away from simple electronic cash, something Wright and his company nChain claim is a mistake.
He singled out Ethereum for criticism, saying:
“The Silicon Valley mythology of App development has infiltrated into the idea of sound money changing the primary concept of Bitcoin, that of stable money into the “Shit-Show” of Ethereum. That is Pivot and change and pump and alter.”
Indeed, smart contracts, distributed apps (DApps) and ICOs are more appealing to investors than simply creating a new form of digital money. But they come with risks, as Ethereum learned the hard way in 2016 with its infamous “The DAO” incident. The decentralized investment platform raised the equivalent of $150 million USD before a savvy coder exploited a vulnerability to siphon off 3.6 million ETH, or $50 million at the time. The incident has become a warning against trying to do too much, too soon, with untested blockchain feature sets. It also led Ethereum to its own controversial hard fork as miners “rolled back” its blockchain to recover the lost funds — something blockchains were never supposed to do.
‘Rising Tide of Scams and Waste’
Bitcoin needs to address the real issues and focus on simple, boring-sounding principles “to gain a foothold against a rising tide of scams and waste,” Wright wrote.
Just as banks have traditionally presented a “boring” and conservative image to tout their stability and maintain the public’s confidence, so does Bitcoin, he added. In IT development, there is a tendency to focus on “nuclear attacks” like APTs and zero-days, while ignoring “conventional” attacks using tried and true exploits. These latter type still have the potential to cost users money and erode trust in the system.
Ergo, developers should work to patch and secure Bitcoin as much as possible, before seeking to expand what it can do, he said.
Convincing the world it even needs a new, sound and non-government controlled form of money has proved a tough task for cryptocurrency proponents over the past decade. To those who haven’t spent years watching the space, or who know little about how money works, the necessity isn’t obvious and newcomers can be difficult to convince. Price, on the other hand, is something everyone seems to understand and it’s often a primary factor in attracting new members. Promises to revolutionize everything from medicine to law, and creating new tokens for twitch-trading, tend to grab mainstream attention more effectively.
Do Bitcoiners Want Bitcoin to Be Boring?
Wright’s call for Bitcoin to be “boring”, “plumbing” and simple may not get him interviews on CNBC. However, due to many in the crypto community regarding the brusque Australian developer as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto (or at least part of the group that used that name) Wright’s advice on Bitcoin’s basic purpose carries some weight among Bitcoin Cash fans.
He and nChain have led the charge to “lock down the protocol” to its initial feature set instead, in order to make it more solid. While counter-arguments have claimed nChain may have ulterior motives in strengthening its own influence over the protocol, some long-time Bitcoin (and Bitcoin Cash) believers already convinced of its necessity may find solace in arguments for more fundamentalism.
Should Bitcoin be something simple and boring? Or is it already ready for something bigger? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Pixbay, Wikimedia Commons