Originally titled "The New Yorker", the original title is "The Prophets of Cryptocurrency Survey the Boom and Bust", with a slender brushstroke on the development of the benchmark economy of the encryption economy – Ethereum – A comprehensive review.
Different from the previous perspectives we focus on, the article focuses on the concept exploration and panoramic development. It does not stick to specific technical details, nor does it criticize morality. It is rare to give the readers the right to comment. Good text.
- Analysis | Ethereum's expansion problems and solutions
- Controversy and questioning brought by Ethereum
- Analysis: A Brief Discussion on the Loss of Developers in Ethereum
- Webster Ratings: Ethereum is the hot spot and it will lead the industry
- Ethereum is expected to upgrade to Istanbul on December 7th
- Five biggest misunderstandings about Eth2.0: ETH2.0 will never be launched? Will this fork produce two kinds of ETH tokens?
This article is compiled exclusively by Encrypted Valley and is divided into three journals. This is the last one.
"Governance" is a frustrating word, but has far-reaching implications in the field of encryption. It involves how decisions are made and who makes decisions.
Each blockchain, as a technology, a community and a social experiment, is a consensus-building practice, which is a human pursuit. Therefore, the mechanism that controls it reflects the priority of things. A recognized fact is that technology does not cure human nature. Although our goal is to eliminate rights, the reality is that power will gradually accumulate.
On this issue, Szabo, the father of smart contracts and a staunch liberal, wrote on Twitter: "There are usually only three types of blockchain governance: (1) the king of flies; (2) lawyers; or (3) mercilessly Minimized." Someone asked: "Is it really so ruthless?" Szabo replied to him: "Yes, otherwise the child or the lawyer will win." (Editor's note: "The Lord of the Flies" is the Nobel Prize winner William Golding The main theme of the novel is: Human beings make sins as natural as honey bees. It is necessary to rule and bruise.)
But sometimes, governance is not like "Fly King", but more like "Brian's Life", this is a funny exercise of nuances and narcissism.
In 2017, when BTC miners and developers clashed on how to improve network efficiency, a faction was created, creating a “hard fork” and a new version of BTC, Bitcoin Cash, was born. Its most famous supporter is Roger Ver, which is commonly referred to as "BTC Jesus." We cannot judge whether this is a compliment or a satire.
He claims that "digital assets and wheels, electricity, and transistors are equally important inventions." He lives in Japan and was sentenced to 10 months in prison for selling explosives online. This seems to both stimulate his distrust of the authority of the institution and enhance his viability as an anarchist.
Ver often said that BTC cash is a true BTC, which is consistent with the idea put forward by Nakamoto Satoshi, contrary to the idea of "Fake Nakamoto".
The principle of splitting the world of encryption is to "love it, or simply leave it." Any particular upgrade or project feasibility depends on how much people are involved. They do this either based on merits (a common reason is DYOW, do your own work), or based on the reputation of a big V that makes a claim.
In the absence of a formal hierarchy, reputational capital is essential. The main ways to gain a reputation are social media and group meetings. When the stars in the encrypted community stalked their loyalty and ridiculed their competitors, what you end up with was just ambiguous instructions.
Vlad Zamfir once said this,
“Our governance is social in nature. Whoever has more connections with the community will have more power. This is a soft power.”
“Undoubtedly, there is a concept in all blockchains and digital assets that can be called 'high priests'.” Buterin told me. “The high priest is a person with a high status in the community, regardless of whether they speak frequently. This is not a purely religious analogy, but the high priest in the encryption circle can indeed give orders and influence the market.”
But obviously, Buterin did not exclude himself. Although he does not have a true institutional title or rank role, he is the spokesperson of Ethereum under the consensus of the community, or, just as he made the decision on Zug, he was an arbitrator.
He is not in a hurry to keep this position. He said: "If Ethereum relies entirely on me, it will not survive for a long time. I believe that the correct way is not to get rid of me, but to add others, to supplement or replace. There are many core developers. I have been thinking about it. Encourage more high priests to appear in the Ethereum community. I will live in peace with them."
“The boundaries between cognitive authority and actual authority are blurred,” Hoskinson told me. He said: "Vitalik has not been elected to any position, but when he speaks, the cryptographic community around the world is listening."
But on the other hand, they are also attacking him. Lubin said:
“Vitalik has a heavy responsibility and is being smashed on the Internet. But he learned to respond to attacks in an elegant manner in his early twenties.”
Last year, someone posted a message on the forum that Buterin had died in a car accident, which directly led to a sharp fall in ETH prices. To retort, Buterin uploaded a photo of himself on the blog with a timestamp generated by the blockchain, an etheric block number and its corresponding hash value. Subsequently, the ETH price stabilized.
The most famous crisis in the Ethereum governance process was the failure of The DAO.
DAO is a crowd-sourced venture fund that cleverly uses smart contracts to eliminate traditional venture capital, reducing transaction costs and allowing the general public to participate. People can donate with ETH and vote to decide which projects to invest. There were only two early competitors, a smart lock start-up company from Germany, suitable for rental and bicycle applications, and a company that automatically matched the car-pooling behavior from France. This is the largest crowdfunding project ever made by The DAO, which raised $250 million and is worth about $2 billion.
Unfortunately, it was hacked in a few weeks. There is a serious vulnerability in its code that allows hackers to withdraw funds from their accounts before they are recorded. In the end, more than a quarter of the funds were taken away.
Sirer and Zamfir joined forces to blame The DAO. Emin Gun Sirer said to me,
“Vitalik can't do anything about it. He has to send spam to Ethereum to slow down hacking.”
Some people in the Ethereum community, including Buterin, Sirer, and Zamfir, argued how to effectively reverse transactions, that is, change things that were otherwise unchangeable, and return the funds to investors. But others believe that this violates the principle that the blockchain must remain unchanged. “We are thinking, is this code is law?” Sirer recalls. "Exactly, what is the code? What is the law? What is the contract? This is an epistemological problem. And we are just a group of computer geeks with more than enough power."
A split in the dark, followed by a hard fork. Most users follow Buterin into a new blockchain, while fundamentalists continue to use the old blockchain. They claim that ETH is no longer there. The latter is known as the Ethereum Classic. But hackers still hold stolen ETH.
“Many people who oppose hard forks are not members of Ethereum,” Zamfir said. "More importantly, people who encrypt the world worry that this will be a precedent."
In comparison, the BTC community seems to be more controversial and confrontational than the Ethereum community, especially when it comes to killing each other. These people who believe that BTC is the only currency, including long-term holders (HODLers), kill each other on Reddit and Twitter. In their view, BTC is both a criticism of the legal monetary system and a viable alternative.
The Ethereum community retains the aggressiveness and liberalism of the BTC community, but as a basis for many other uses, it is inherently more substitutable. The Ethereum network is a platform for other tokens and is a larger tent.
“The people in the Ethereum community are very good,” Sirer said. “Many people later joined the BTC camp. They are Obama-style and like to reflect and ponder.”
Anyway, Sirer said,
“The hard fork is the best thing that happens in Ethereum. It shows that Ethereum is very serious about dealing with mistakes. It is practical, not arbitrary. It chooses to do the right thing, not the preferred legal provisions. Or the code of the void."
A small group of people have a good understanding of blockchain technology and they are able to discuss various concepts, terminology and importance. But from the outside, in fact, everyone is practicing obscurity without knowing it.
Once, an investor met with Joe Lubin and Mike Novogratz, who were preparing for the sale of tokens for a public company.
The investor later told me about the level of understanding of the blockchain:
"Joe's score is 8.5, or even 9 points. Out of 10 points. I haven't seen Vitalik yet, I guess he may have 9.2 points. I may only have 2.5 points myself, and my technician may have 7 points. I I have seen some people working in the encryption field, they only have 4 or 5 points. But most traders do not exceed 2.5 points."
Peter Smith, CEO and co-founder of the digital asset platform Blockchain, told me that
"This is my lifelong career. If I score 5 points, I will give myself 4 points. I don't know who can get 5 points."
A ConsenSys engineer said:
"At some point, you have conquered it, and then the door behind it is closed. You know, but you can't explain it. Because you can't understand the language of the matter."
One of my friends was involved in the entrepreneurship of a blockchain company. He said that people always try to explain the technology behind the blockchain, just like explaining the engine under the hood instead of the car on the road.
"For example, when describing e-mails, they don't directly say 'you can send information over the Internet', but are accustomed to 'there is a protocol called SMTP, which locates a set of rules for files moving from one place to another'. way of expression."
However, he also complained about people who refused to try and compared them to those in the office who didn't know how to use the copy machine.
Encrypted world is full of stupid behavior, which hinders the public from understanding the situation. The exaggerated show distracts people from their attention. Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and music producer DJ Khaled have provoked public ridicule by endorsing an encrypted debit card called Centra. The head of the company was arrested for alleged securities and remittance fraud, but refused to plead guilty.
The gold rush of the encryption circle has attracted a large number of celebrities, such as the famous movie star Ashton Kutcher, the rapper 50 Cents, the Oscar-winning Jamie Foxx, the celebrity Paris Hilton, the EOS co-founder Brock Pierce, and of course, Zuckerberg. Hit the Winklevoss brothers of the Facebook copyright lawsuit.
There is a widely circulated joke: people can easily raise money by simply throwing the word "blockchain". Of course, they must dress up to look smart. Long Island Iced Tea Corp. changed its name to Long Blockchain Corp., and its share price tripled, although the company did not implement any practice of distributed ledger technology to promote the sale of sugary drinks. Every few weeks, there will be a cottage currency that sounds silly and begins to be financed. The first two days were the “Bananacoin” (banana coin) of the banana plantation in Laos, and the price was linked to a kilogram of small banana. In a few days, it became “Dentacoin” (Dentist Coin), and its market value was said to have exceeded $2 billion. Also, Coinye, if Kanye did not sue its developer for trademark infringement, it might become famous. It seems that "Jesus Coin" and "Christ Coin" did not encounter similar legal problems. I don't know where those rigorous Mormons went. Even the digital wallet app Mike Tyson Bitcoin is safe. Tyson himself said: "Of course I am not a master of encryption assets. But this looks very avant-garde, very interesting, and I have a good outlook on it.
In December 2017, as ETH prices soared, CryptoKitties became the most popular DApp in Ethereum, a virtual pet collector with unique codes for each pet, stored in the Ethereum network. You can adopt it. Founder Cat #18's profile reads: "When no one is at home, I will invite friends to come to my house to listen to Rihanna's song. I look forward to riding a unicorn with you."
When the price of ETH soared, the popularity of CryptoKitties led to congestion in the Ethereum network. A small application reveals how imperfect the configuration of Ethereum was at the time. If you want to change the status quo, Ethereum must make a complete change as they claim.
In the days of Blockchain Week in New York, I saw Lubin appear in three meetings and compete with different types of skeptics.
The first was Nouriel Roubini (aka Dr. Doom, or Dr. Doom), an economist who was known for his successful prediction of the 2008 financial crisis. The organizers of the conference seem to regard this debate as a professional boxing event to promote.
The dome of the former Gilded Age Savings Bank in Williamsburg is crowded with a large number of believers and speculators.
Roubini quickly entered the role. He said: "99% of encrypted transactions take place on centralized exchanges." He called Vitalik Buterin "a benevolent dictator."
He went on to say, "Decentralization is completely nonsense." There was a buzz in the field. Lubin kept a restrained smile and retorted in his usual plain tone: "Vitalik didn't really write the code, there were ten different teams fighting each other."
Lubin began to describe the future of distribution, full of complex terms such as state channels, sidechains, plasma, and shards. Roubini said: "You have been repeating these words for five years, and come to a new rhetoric." Lubin said: "I can show you the code, we will go to the office when we wait."
A man sitting next to me, pointing to Roubini, said: "He probably doesn't know what the code looks like."
Roubini continues: “81% of token financing is a scam.” After summarizing the “new bottled old wine” solution used in the blockchain, he pointed out directly: “People are crazy!”
The audience began to growl and tried to shut him up.
Lubin seems to enjoy it all. He believes that history will prove that Roubini is a big mistake. Gavin Wood once told me that no matter how many differences between him and Lubin, he firmly believes that the other is a true believer: "Just like Joe used some LSD, and then saw the light."
The host asked Lubin and Roubini: "Who do you think is wrong?" Lubin smiled awkwardly and said slowly: "Maybe I was wrong. I thought this process would take longer. Live in a In the era of high-speed operation, people are very difficult."
As a slow-paced person, it is difficult to keep up with the rhythm of “blockchain week”. Each theme session is a fanatical social and exaggerated bureaucratic article, with a variety of events outside the party, a party on the East River, and another party on the upstairs of a Bushwick furniture store.
CoinDesk hosted the "Consensus 2018" summit at the Hilton Hotel in the city centre. Apparently, the organizer leaked the media list. My inbox is stuffed with a variety of PR information.
In the hotel's banquet hall, I saw Lubin being trapped again.
He and Amber Baldet stood on the podium. Baldet recently left JPMorgan Chase and formed a distributed startup called Clarky with Patrick Nielsen. Like Lubin, Baldet also supports channels and ways to find ways to apply blockchain technology to existing businesses. BTC developers and true believers Jimmy Song also joined them. Song wore a pink shirt, a cowboy hat, and leaned back on the chair.
When Song was asked what he thought of Baldet's Clovyr speech, Song responded: "I only heard some popular words. Just like playing bingo games! I think I am like a speech."
Baldet smiled and let him go on. Song went on to say: "As a company, how can it be distributed? The blockchain is costly and slow. The tools you optimize are not the key to solving the problem. In the end, you will have nothing. You are now squatting. The sledgehammer is looking for nails. The blockchain is not a panacea, it is not a matter of sprinkling magic powder on it."
Baldet has a tattoo and a lavender hair. As a woman, working in a male-dominated industry, she is good at integrating cognitive dysfunction between the anarchism of the encrypted world and the global banking industry. She is also used to men who dismiss their work.
She attributed Song's aggressiveness to the power struggle within the encrypted space. By vying for the site at the venue and online, it has made a name for itself in this field.
Lubin said: "So five years later, we will only see Bitcoin 1.0?"
Song said: "This is not the point, because most projects in this field do not exist after five years."
Lubin said: "If we can draw a clear standard, I dare to bet any number of BTC, you are wrong."
There was a whisper in the venue. In the end, they agreed to set the terms on Twitter.
The broader world tends to treat cryptocurrencies as an asset class, so it is very concerned about the rise or fall of the market. But after the sharp increase in digital assets in 2017, the market experienced a cliff-like decline, which made people feel that digital assets will become a smog and disappear.
As a payment method, it still has many defects, the penetration rate is very low, and the price fluctuates greatly. It's hard to open an encrypted wallet to a convenience store to buy wine, because you can buy beer today, maybe you can buy a brewery next year.
As a stored value tool, the price of digital assets has become more volatile than Peruvian gold or real estate. As for its updating tools as a system and society, it remains to be seen whether people can accept it.
Blockchain CEO Peter Smith said: "It took seven years for digital assets to have a 1% share of the global financial market. Maybe at the end of my career, it will have a market share of 6%."
As early as a few decades ago, California computer expert David Chaum did a lot of work and laid the foundation for digital asset operations, but he did not participate in the digital asset market. He told me: "In the history of human civilization, there has never been so much wealth accumulated because of nothing."
One night, Lubin, who had just returned from Paris, Hamburg, Singapore, Dublin and Bermuda, sat in the bed of his apartment and talked to me. He said: "There have been prosperity and cyclical adjustments in the past and in the future. I have experienced five or six times. The ecosystem of Ethereum has grown 50 times more than a year ago. The price surge has attracted external attention, investment and Talents enter. They are deeply attracted and can't forget everything they see."
At the Ethereal conference, there was a time when I left the panel, crossed the abandoned factory, crossed the publicity booth and the Davos-calibre network, and went to a hall. There, Deepak Chopra is speaking to a listener standing in a room.
“We are all constrained by thought, culture, religion, history and economy. Shoes are artificial structures, and hands are also artificial structures. People construct all of this. We created money and created blockchains. These are human structures. of."
It sounds undisputed, but it is beyond the scope of the encryption conference.
The venue was talking about the news that Buterin boycotted the Ethereal conference because of Deepak Chopra. For mathematicians and computer scientists, this is an overly fanatical indulgence.
Buterin later said, "This is not a deliberate boycott. I originally planned to stay in San Francisco for a week, sometimes I have to refuse something. Of course, I do think Deepak Chopra is crazy."
On the table next to a Mexican corn roll dining car, I met several encrypted traders from Singapore. They are not interested in changing the world, traceable tuna, and whether Deepak Chopra has fans. They participated in this meeting purely to make money. They talked about bizarre urban legends and talked about Ethereum in currency trading terms. One of them said:
“It’s totally different from Asia. In Asia, meetings are used to do business. It’s used for idea marketing here.”
Whether Lubin and Song have reached a gambling agreement, no one cares about it. Quarreling is the focus of attention. No matter who wins, you will get a good return, but the bet will soon be forgotten. (End of the article)
Nick Paumgarten author; DUANNI YI translation; Sonny Sun editor; Source: Encrypted Valley
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