After countless of arguments and persuasive reasons as to why bitcoin should work, Nakamoto the inventor attracted a following, but not an ear.
The radical crowed that had gathered refused his plea to not promote bitcoin for acceptance by Wikileaks at a time when the empire was raging mad at some other coders leaking gigs and gigs of information.
That Assange was to be offed was at the time publicly and somewhat loudly speculated. Thankfully he “escaped” with “just” a “rape” charge/allegation.
In that sort of context, PC World asked if bitcoin can save Wikileaks. The genius effectively said bitcoin was now to be a target, so he left.
Arguably he was wrong, but that presumes things went as they went. Had he stayed, he may well have been right.
Here too however bitcoin was arguably “offed” not in a physical manner, but by a hack in 2011 that led all to discard the concept as just too insecure, giving rise to the bitcoin is dead meme.
A meme because suddenly in 2013 all found out this thing was actually still alive. In 2014 then a sea change occurred when the then British chancellor bought some bitcoin in a very public manner. At that point it became clear bitcoin has very strong political allies.
Yet Nakamoto continued to remain unheard. Bitcoin became not cash, but gold. The decentralized nodes were “mediated” by a fairly centralized general communications infrastructure which Nakamoto had given to different people, but then it concentrated on pretty much one hand: Theymos the censor.
Bitcoin was perhaps tamed. Its ambitions limited. Its commons milked by a rising for-profit by Adam the opportunist.
As a heated debate engulfed Britain, culminating in the political assassination of a British MP which scared grandmas and pas into voting for Brexit, “geeks” were embroiled in their own heated debate that had turned one public space into a metaphorical war zone.
The DAO had been hacked, with an echo of 2011 ringing. The proposal on the table was cancelling the hack. Detractors said it was a bail-out. The arguments irrelevant, some said, this was a proxy war from the bitcoin debate. At stake was not some DAO money, but a scalable blockchain.
An oasis of peace thus greeted another public fora. There, “real” ethereans could talk of what back then was a pretty much almost unanimous agreement.
To “detractors,” such other public fora was unknown, even though for ethereans it was popular. They thus failed in their attempt to make their “message” appear authentic and so divide for ethereum instead stood as one with a significant challenge passed within months.
Had there not been this intentional division of prominent communication channels, things may have well been different. It’s implementation, however, acted as a trap for “outsiders” who were working on the assumption that ethereum is just bitcoin.
An assumption that showed its incorrectness at some considerable surprise when the first ETC block was mined due to ethereum changing its difficulty by the block, instead of every two weeks.
Had it been the latter, a chain-split fork without a significant upfront cost and/or substantial backing by actual ethereans might have not quite been possible.
Yet it was the former, so anyone with just a laptop could chain-split fork it and mine it on a home computer and in the process create a new coin and a new project.
Such new coin in this case was backed by Barry Silbert, an investor in Blockstream and owner of Coindesk. Save for some money he may have made, however, it had no effect. Ethereum went on to roar, and roar a bit more, while ETC got 51% attacked.
The Narrow Escape
As the 2017 party gave way to a hangover, quietness met all lands, with the party feels still continuing to echo, matters seemingly settled, to continue still what was.
Yet soberness gave way to thought. Capacity, the lack of it, was acutely felt. A trap, perhaps, was to meet eth.
Hybrid Casper was to imminently launch. That would lock the network into a bit of a mess where Proof of Stake (PoS) is nothing more than just a smart contract that in the medium term limits actual capacity through sharding because it just makes everything a lot more complicated.
If in the end things do work out that may well prove to have been a narrow escape and if indeed time shows that to be the case, it may well be due to another “trick” by the child prodigy.
The ethereum researching teams were pretty much not talking at all to the hybrid casper coding/implementation teams.
The latter found out, alongside everyone else, this had been scrapped. Whether chickens were running headless, we do not know, but it does appear a certain school of thought was basically ditched.
That’s not what the public initially saw, or at least not consciously. Their natural conclusion was something was wrong. Just what exactly, no one could say. These pages at the time asked for coders to be given considerable leeway. Ethereans generally did so.
After a fairly simple eth1 upgrade – Metropolis – failed to initialize for the third time, questions begun being asked as to what exactly was going on.
The backlash was in some ways brutal, but peaceful. Whether right or wrong who is to say, but a confluence of events led to a revolt as things were beginning to change both within our space and in the outside world.
This was at a time when the French had taken to the streets following a declaration that the war is now over.
Guns have perhaps not stopped sounding in Yemen, but they have in our streets. Such principles like “properness,” thus, were perhaps to once more have a chance.
The trapping of Austria’s Kurtz minority coalition partners in the context of a peaceful revolt by British voters following May’s, and the civil service’s, inability to agree on a proper treaty with Europe, raised a question in rational minds on whether much had gone a bit wrong.
Some two million Brits took to the streets of London. The European election changed the narrative. A scared Salvini tried to grab the opportunity for he knew time was nearly up. His lack of objectivity, however, led to only his downfall.
In Britain the Supreme Court found the Prime Minister to have acted unlawfully. In America, Trump is now subject to a congressional court.
All of this was peacefully possible in free lands because of a simple concept. Decentralization. The separation of powers, which lays at the foundations of our liberties, and which is very much what ethereum utilizes.
Whether Parity was treated right or wrong is in many ways far less relevant than the fact they were and are just one client.
ConsenSys calls them spokes. Semi independent/autonomous entities that are kind of kings or queens of their own castle, but are also semi walled off. You corrupt one, the rest does not care.
These are probably not ideas invented by or for ethereum, but its apparent implementation in this case does provide a certain glimpse into what may rise to be conventional practice provided they continue to be proven further more.
For had instead the neuron been connected through synapses to a greater extent with other parts, then the whole thing could have quickly been infected.
If instead we have many such neurons, with their own autonomy of connections, the failure of one needs not necessarily affect the other.
In the case of Britain, for example, the centuries of legal theory that have led to the almost absolute independence of the judiciary, has ensured they are unaffected and unaffectable to a notable extent by considerations that may affect the executive or parliament.
While in the case of eth, what happens at eth1 has almost no bearing at all on eth2, with things like ProgPoW, for example, easily seeable as a futile attempt by entities that have little understanding to the point they are foolish enough to think what some call a “joke” has any say on anything.
And in the case of the Ethereum Foundation, while it is certainly tempting to barrage at them and demand all sorts, it is perhaps wiser to see them too as just a walled off spoke that has no say nor influence except for decorative aspects like silly conferences.
That’s not to say that each spoke should not be scrutinized and fully, but it is to say that each spoke should not be take for the entire ecosystem as the design clearly appears to be very decentralized.
And maybe that not articulated would have been better to trap even more, but perhaps the worst is over, and perhaps to enjoy the best, maybe it should be known, that the systems we’re designing are robust and stand, even in the face of great assault.
An assault that maybe wasn’t, or maybe was. An assault that we’d like to think has failed if it was, or maybe we think it hasn’t.
Yet it is perhaps time to feel a bit more confident, and maybe even a bit more optimistic, for as 2020 comes, it is beginning to seem like maybe what had to be addressed has been addressed and now the path is quite open.
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