Video|"8" Polkadot founder Gavin Wood: It's time to replace POW with POS

He is the designer of the famous board game Milton Keynes, but he can't help but praise "the Chinese board game is really fun." He is good at English, Italian, French, Spanish, and linguistics. He wrote a blockchain in 15 minutes, but it is also a "road idiot" that is easy to get lost in Shanghai. He is the co-founder of Ethereum, the founder of Ethereum client Parity, the founder of Polkadot, the founder of the Web3 Foundation, and an ordinary person who likes skiing, tennis, swimming, and food. Last week, Babbitt made an exclusive interview with Dr. Gavin Wood, who was close to the legend of the blockchain world.


In an interview, Dr. Gavin Wood said that the code is a passion for him, an art form , and in a sense the programmer is a group of very fortunate and skilled craftsmen. The blockchain industry is increasingly confrontational internally, and Polkadot can at least serve as a means of countering this confrontation, becoming a safe haven in the turbulent world of blockchain. Moreover, not only the public chain, but also the license chain will be connected through Polkadot.

At the same time, he is a staunch supporter of PoS , and even “speaks out”: “PoW is shit. PoW is Proof of Waste”. But if there is a more advanced consensus mechanism, he will not hesitate to replace PoS. Similarly, for the dual-coin economic model adopted by Cosmos, he said that if it turns out that the model really works well, he would consider upgrading Polkadot's economic model. Moreover, he is very confident in Polkadot's skill level and believes that Polkadot will arrive at the destination it wants to reach before any other project reaches the same level of technology.

In the face of the main online line that everyone is very concerned about, Gavin Wood revealed to Babbitt that the target is still to be launched before the end of this year. The team hopes to complete the functional integrity in July of this year, and then conduct a comprehensive audit, the official release of the Polkadot main network will be officially released after the third-party audit experts believe that it can be released . Three months before the main network is released, Polkadot will conduct the second ICO and release the remaining 20% ​​of the token. The specific form is still under study, but IEO is also possible.


The second left holds the Babbitt logo for Dr. Gavin Wood.

The following is an interview record:


Babbitt: You are a legend in the blockchain industry, but it is always low-key, so what kind of person are you in your daily life?

Gavin Wood: Ok, I think you have to follow me all the time to really know who I am. But I am actually very ordinary in my life. I like my job and like to have some social activities. I like food and I like to have some beer with my friends occasionally. Like snowboarding, like running, but also like swimming and playing tennis. Of course, I also like to travel. I am very happy to come to Shanghai and walk around to see what life is like in Shanghai. To add, I also like board games.


Babbitt: You are a very experienced programmer, so what do you think the code means for you? Is it a job, a hobby, or does it have some special meaning?

Gavin Wood: Code is a passion, an art form. The era of digital technology we are now in is similar to the Enlightenment era in Europe (actually referring to the Renaissance), when Leonardo Da Vinci discovered or rediscovered many things, such as design and philosophy. We are fortunate to some extent and able to make breakthroughs in our daily work. We can feel that our work is innovative in some sense. We are building new things and we are discovering new things. Every day we create new, amazing and elegant solutions for unresolved issues . I would say that in a sense we are a group of very fortunate and highly skilled craftsmen . Yes, we live in a lucky age.


Babbitt: In your daily work, are you still responsible for writing code? Or is it more publicity, management and more?

Gavin Wood: Yes, I will continue to write code. If you are interested in learning what I am coding, you can check out my profile and get the relevant links. But I tend to focus on the runtime content of the client code. I need to focus on governance, Treasury, staking modules, balance modules, and several other utility code. However, I tend not to participate in the consensus part, it is very complicated, I am happy to let other team members, especially Robert, handle that part.

I will also be responsible for the overall situation of the project. I will ask a question and at least submit the big question to the issue tracker. I am responsible for ensuring that releases are made on time and that the people entering the project are working on the tasks that need to be done first. However, I am still very active in writing code on the front line.


Babbitt: Polkadot is a cross-chain project that connects different blockchain projects. Why did you decide to create such a project? What is the vision of Polkadot?

Gavin Wood: I created this project to try to further contribute to the technology in the blockchain field. For me, my project has always been for technology, and the market is second. My project is to promote the further development of technology, or progress.

The vision at the beginning was actually just trying to find a more interesting way of doing things, or just looking for different ways of doing things for exploration and experimentation. But I think that with the development of the industry over time, we will find that the blockchain industry is increasingly antagonistic within. I think that Polkadot can at least be used as a means of combating this confrontation to a safe haven in the turbulent world of blockchain.


Babbitt: Polkadot wants to connect many blockchains, but blockchain projects are distributed around the world. Do you worry about geopolitical issues?

Gavin Wood: Don't worry. I think that in the blockchain industry, different projects will compete on their own . Therefore, although the various project teams are located in different countries, there will be no geopolitical issues. There is now evidence that geopolitics is not that important for existing projects (Ethereum and Bitcoin). Although they have begun to be created at different points in time in different countries, they are still very global concepts and have their own followers on every major continent.

Therefore, I did not see this problem in the Polkadot community. I think one interesting thing for Polkadot would be if two projects become competing projects in the Polkadot community, how they will deal with their differences, whether conflicts will occur and how these conflicts may develop in an ecosystem. Variety. But I think that if we look at the existing ecosystem, at least an ecosystem like Ethereum and Bitcoin has successfully hosted competitive projects and continues to be in good shape. For example, in Ethereum, both Gnosis and Augur tried to solve the same problem. They have been coexisting in Ethereum for some time, and we have not seen the Ethereum ecosystem because of what problems they have.


Babbitt: In the future, is the license chain connected through Polkadot?

Gavin Wood: Yes, it is possible. I don't think there is any problem with the license chain connecting to Polkadot. Similarly, I think it would not be a problem to deploy smart contracts that require licensing on Ethereum. As long as you know that the platform itself is useful, it doesn't matter if the license is not licensed. So, I am very happy to see that the license chain will be deployed and connected to Polkadot.


Babbitt: Now more and more projects are turning to or using the PoS consensus mechanism. What do you think about the two consensus mechanisms of PoS and PoW?

Gavin Wood: I think PoW is terrible ( PoW is shit ). Proof of workload is not a true proof of workload. What is being done is not the workload, what is being done is waste. So the "W" in PoW really stands for Waste, which is Proof of Waste . I think PoW is actually a fossil fuel consensus .

PoW is the first consensus mechanism to emerge because it is the easiest to understand and the easiest to code. In terms of formal logic, PoW's consensus algorithm is about three to four lines long. Very very small. If you look at PoS, it is terrible. The workload is very large. The logic behind the PoS is extremely difficult to understand and it is difficult to improve the correctness.

This is why Bitcoin is not a PoS. In writing Bitcoin, Nakamoto did not want to cover the details of PBFT, nor did he want to try to prove whether the duration of bonding was sufficient. This is too much effort. But despite this, this is the inevitable process of the development of things. Just like the early inventors of electricity did not try to invent solar technology or geothermal energy. But as time goes on, things will always develop to this stage. The time we continue to burn blockchain coal (referring to PoW) is so long (because now that there is a more advanced PoS to replace PoW, it is time to replace it). However, if there is a more advanced consensus mechanism, I will definitely replace the PoS.


Babbitt: As a direct competitor of Polkadot, Cosmos released the main network last month, and you still have no specific timetable. Do you feel pressure?

Gavin Wood: I think Cosmos is a direct competitor to Polkadot and remains to be debated . However, I think these two projects are to solve different problems, and Cosmos has very different technical directions. I mainly think of Cosmos as a side chain of Tendermint. I think basically Parity Bridge and Parity Ethereum PoA chain can solve the same problem more or less. Xdai is a separate blockchain that is bridged to Ethereum via some permissions so that it can share the stable currency DAI. It is more or less a competitive project of Cosmos.

Cosmos is not a heterogeneous multi-chain technology with shared security. Of course, you also know that people like to talk about how Cosmos is different, and how Ethereum is different. But I am pretty sure that Polkadot will arrive at the destination it wants to reach before any other project reaches the same level of technology.


Babbitt: Some people think that developers can get more freedom on Cosmos because they can create their own tokens on their sidechains and set up their own verification nodes. So they think that Cosmos is more like Android, and Polkadot is more like iOS. What do you think of this statement?

Gavin Wood: For Polkadot, you can create your own tokens on a parallel chain. In fact, in a sense, it gives people the freedom to create economics for the tokens they really want, rather than being forced into a specific inflation model to afford their own security. At least some projects may wish to have the independence of their own consensus mechanisms, but Cosmos's consensus mechanism will always be Tendermint. Polkadot will not, Polkadot can provide Bridge technology to allow these projects to maintain their consensus mechanism, maintain their inflation tokens, and bear their own network security, but still be able to connect to the Polkadot community. I don't think it's a bad thing for the project to want to take care of its own network security, but I think this is unnecessary in most cases. But if this is the case, then Polkadot has the right product. But in most cases, I think the better option for the project is to participate in the shared security model provided by Polkadot.


Babbitt: Cosmos uses an economic model of dual tokens, in which ATOM is a native equity mortgage token and Photon is a fee token. But in Polkadot, we only have one token DOT. How do you view the economic model of multi-generational coins?

Gavin Wood: I am very satisfied with the economic model of single generation coins. I mean, in the end, whether or not there are multiple tokens, they always have a price, you can change the currency according to the price. And this usually assumes that the token market is a mobile market. Then basically there should be no friction between the two tokens ( both freely convertible is actually equivalent to only one token ). I don't think we need to have different tokens, such as fee tokens. However, if it turns out that we do need a secondary market flow to pay the token, the effect is better, then I am very happy to upgrade Polkadot to this model in the future.


Babbitt: The community has long been waiting for the launch of Polkadot's main network. It is said that the main network will be released at the end of this year. So what is the focus of your work now? Can you tell me when the main network is going online?

Gavin Wood: Our goal is still to launch before the end of this year . Currently, we focus on incorporating the final changes into the consensus mechanism. So we are implementing the Babe protocol, which will be implemented with the Grandpa protocol. This part of the protocol is dedicated to providing blocks rather than finalize. After these tasks are completed, we have a lot of other things to do about network optimization. We need to add one or two additional features to do a lot of work on security and auditing. So this is basically what we have to do next year.

We hope that in the summer, it may be near some time in July to complete the integrity of the function . The audit work has begun. We already have teams checking the existing Polkadot codebase. Basically, depending on the audit, it may last from July to August, September and October. The progress of these audits will accurately determine when we will post the main network. We have always held a safety first attitude. We won't post anything until we get a recommendation from a third-party expert. We need to be confident that we won't be hit by a lot of cyber attacks for at least the first few months.


Babbitt: Polkadot will conduct a second public token sale this year. Can you disclose the information about the token sale? Would you consider selling tokens through IEO?

Gavin Wood: I can't say too much because the team hasn't made any decisions yet. We are committed to selling the last 20% of the tokens before the network is fully released. Our current thinking is to conduct a private sale first, sell a percentage of this 20%, and then the relevant legal agencies will approve it, then we will try to sell it publicly. Our goal is to sell in about three months before the main network is released . Therefore, if we assume that the main network will be launched in mid-November, we can expect to sell tokens in October, September and mid-August.

But as I said, no decision has been made yet, because a lot of work needs to be done in order to make a public token. Of course, there is now an IEO platform. Therefore, we need to study these platforms and see the differences between them. IEOs are certainly a potential way to sell, but it is not clear whether they necessarily meet our needs or whether they are the best platform. I would say that it may not be possible, but we have not completed our research work, so we will make a decision in the end. When there is a decision, we will issue an announcement.


Babbitt: What impressions/views do you have about the Chinese community? Will there be further plans for China in the future?

Gavin Wood: The Chinese community is very excited and active and may be the most exciting and active community in the world. It is a great thing to come to China and meet with you, especially in the developer community. Everyone here is full of energy and passion. I think this is my third time in Shanghai. Shanghai is becoming a city that I really like to stay here and wander around. The food here is great. I don't have any specific travel plans for the rest of the year, but I believe I will take time to come to Shanghai again.

Text | Ye Zewei

Video|"8 Questions" section

In this issue, I am especially grateful to Babbitt for compiling Ye Zewei, Babbitt Accelerator Lan Ting, and Time Stamp Capital Feng Lin.