Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin made headlines at the recent Deconomy 2018 conference for calling out Satoshi claimant Craig S. Wright as a fraud. Buterin has defended his position again, this time in response to Bitcoin.com owner Roger Ver asking in r/btc whether the face of Ethereum is wrong on CSW. As the dust settled, Ver even thanked Buterin for his clarifying remarks.
How It All Started
Ver got the ball rolling in posting a thread in r/btc entitled “After reading this post, it seems clear that Vitalik was the one who was mistaken in his criticism of Craig’s negative gamma comment. Am I missing anything?” The thread linked to an article from the presumably pseudonymous Zanglebert Bingledack, its own title reading “Craig Wright’s ‘Negative Gamma’ and the Curious Lack of Intellectual Curiosity in the Crypto Space.”
The catalyst for the debate was, as Bingledack explained, Buterin contesting Wright’s claim that a “factor in the attack called gamma (Greek letter γ) is actually ‘negative.'”
Accordingly, Ver seemingly found Bingledack’s rebuke of Ethereum’s wunderkind persuasive, and thus posited to r/btc whether Buterin had been off-base in his criticism of Wright’s negative gamma comments.
That’s when Vitalik jumped in to engage in the discussion.
Argument Gets Quite Technical
The argument that proceeded was quite technical, but even for the non-technically inclined, Buterin’s general argument was clear: Wright’s scholarship is at times redundant and at other times riddled with basic, disqualifying errors.
For example, he attacked Wright’s argument that Bitcoin is Turing-complete, saying:
“I call this the ‘A implies B and bee implies honey therefore A implies honey’ fallacy; just because two things have similar names doesn’t mean they are remotely the same thing. An oracle machine ‘is an entity capable of solving some problem, which for example may be a decision problem or a function problem’; a random oracle is simply a random number generator that stores its own past outputs so it remains consistent. The two concepts are entirely different. And this seems to be the cornerstone of his argument for why bitcoin is already Turing-complete.”
And Vitalik went on to argue that even if Wright was part of the “Satoshi team,” he wasn’t part of its technical side:
“I don’t give a damn if the guy is (part of) Satoshi; for all we know, it could even be the case that he actually was part of the Satoshi group, he was just the bizdev guy. But he’s definitely not technically competent, shows a level of arrogance far above his actual level of understanding, and makes pie-in-the-sky promises about BTC/BCH’s capabilities that are clearly untrue, and only serve to detract from genuine efforts to implement those capabilities if people really want them.”
Vitalik Says Mow, Roger Ver Not Frauds … CSW Is
After getting heat in the comments for going after Wright and not others like Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, Buterin responded that while Mow and Ver represent different ends of crypto’s political spectrum, they aren’t “frauds” in the same way Wright is:
“Samson Mow is not a fraud. Roger Ver is also not a fraud. There’s a difference between someone having political views you disagree with, and someone frequently emitting statements that can be proven to be objectively false within a paragraph.”
But Vitalik did agree with some of the pushback, arguing that others like r/Bitcoin’s moderator Theymos should be ostracized alongside Wright:
“I strongly disapprove of all [the censhorship and disinfo campapigns]. Theymos should be ashamed to call himself a cypherpunk, and I fault the bitcoin core community for not doing more to ostracize him.”
“Thank you for taking the time to reply in a manner that hopefully can let everyone figure things out,” Ver replied to Buterin as the debate began to settle down.
It’s all yet another wrinkle in the cryptoverse’s raging technical and political debates.
What’s your take? Do you think Vitalik is right about CSW, or is he indeed off-base? Sound off in the comments below.
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