Maybe it is too late to save Ethereum

Several months ago I reposted an article about the troubles that Ethereum were facing.  At the time I thought that it may still be possible to salvage something out of this generic turing complete smart contract platform.  Well, I finally spent a some time to figure out how Ethereum works in order to convince myself about it’s technical merits.  I had in the past spoken to its technical head Gavin Wood, and on occasion debated some economic issues with Vitalik on social forums but I had never really put in the time to learn about Ethereum myself, so refrained from making any critical opinions on it.  After having done some preliminary research, I am of the opinion that it may be too late to save it.  Too ambitious of goal(s), too complex a system to get it done, and too much money squandered on someone who has little business experience.  [every miner runs every contract in the platform in strict order without any concurrency? How is this efficient? How can this scale?]  And what we pay for in the loss of efficiency is … erm… censorship resistance?  Additionally, I don’t see how a trust-less smart contract is practical, considering you always need a trusted third party to mediate disputes and settlement of the contract.  (when we are talking about settlement in anything other than the native token).

This excellent article by Gideon Greenspan pretty much sums it up succinctly with a lot more background and supporting links than I can give. 😉

Smart contracts makes for slow blockchains

109 thoughts on “Maybe it is too late to save Ethereum

  1. Good eye catching article however maybe you should widen your scope of vision on this… it seems at least from where I am sitting your scope is limited to almost essentially the same issues and challenges that Bitcoin has experienced so I sense a bit of transference on your part but you do raise some questions that should be accounted for I believe that the possibilities for Ethereum as well as Bitcoin and the industry in general are endless…

    • Except that as what it set out to do (a payment system) Bitcoin does pretty well, but as a general computer Ethereum is horribly inefficient. (Can we really accept throwing out concurrency in a computer and go back to the days of time shared mainframes?)

      • I don’t agree with your claim that Bitcoin is a good payment system. Bitcoin is a good currency, but is far from being a good payment system. I meant how can a payment system is good if it can process only up to 6-7 TXs per second.

        • Correction, it’s a good enough payment system if you want to cut out middlemen in order to minimize the trust needed. Compared to sending physical cash or gold bars in the mail, it is superior.

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