Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has proposed a short-term data availability layer for ethereum – bitcoin cash. | Source: Flickr/Duncan Rawlinson
Ethereum developers are having trouble scaling the most prominent smart contract platform in the world.
Ethereum and The Bitcoin Cash Gambit
It’s that simple. Scaling something worth billions of dollars without breaking it is a monumental task.
Development roadmaps have regularly been delayed.
Founder and Ethereum developer Vitalik Buterin thinks that the next era of Ethereum is at least a year off, but in the meantime, Bitcoin Cash may have all the properties needed to scale.
“In the longer term (1+ year out) the scalable data layer is going to be ethereum 2.0, because its planned 10 MB/sec data throughput is much higher than that of any existing blockchain. In the shorter term, however, we can start working on these techniques immediately by using existing blockchains, particularly those that have lower transaction fees per byte than ethereum, as the data layer.”
Buterin lists off reasons that Bitcoin Cash is a worthy blockchain to build on while Ethereum’s network remains constrained by its initial design choices.
For one thing, he points out that Bitcoin Cash, as a community, welcomes its blockchain to be used and makes space to do so plentiful.
“The BCH community seems to be friendly to people using their chain for whatever they want as long as they pay the tx fees.”
He cites memo.cash, a site which allows you to store any data you like in the Bitcoin Cash blockchain, as an example.
As another example, sites like Honest.cash allow people to embed entire text posts in the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.
Buterin cites Bitcoin Cash’s low fees, which he says would not be possible on Bitcoin, as well as existing Ethereum-Bitcoin infrastructure like BTCrelay.org.
While there is still a cost associated with Bitcoin Cash transactions, the ample space on the chain enables arbitrary data storage.
Some people on Twitter took the opportunity to celebrate the supposed “death” of Ethereum. The contention seems to be: if Ethereum needs outside help while it solves its scaling problem, the chain is doomed to failure.
Vitalik Buterin is merely analyzing the situation as rationally as possible, as always.
The existence of other chains which might reasonably interact with Ethereum is just one of many possible temporary solutions.
However, make no mistake: long-term, Buterin expects Ethereum itself to be capable of processing more transactions than any other blockchain architecture.
BCH is but one option. Buterin also considers Ethereum Classic. He notes it retains a fast block time, but points out that it’s going to be relatively more expensive than Bitcoin Cash.
Other Contenders: Ethereum Classic
Ethereum Classic is the original Ethereum chain, without a hardfork that later repaired damage done to the ecosystem by a single hack.
For every critic on Twitter, several people’ve praised or defended Ethereum and Buterin int his recent wave of attacks.
On the protocol level, the Ethereum Parity debacles of 2017 show that the fast and loose software philosophy that dominated web development is dead. Modern Ethereum devs are moving towards patient development with formal verification 4/
— Jacob Lyles (@jacoblyles) July 15, 2019
“Ethereum is dead” twitter gloating at all time highs today so I just bought a lot more ETH with fiat.
We’ll see in 2 years whether I’m a 10x investor or reckless.
Skin in the game.
— Anthony Sassano (@sassal0x) July 15, 2019
A project like Ethereum is a marathon, not a sprint. In this era, it’s far from the only option. People who’ve developed on Ethereum, for example, can port their projects to other chains such as Tron with little friction.
An essential aspect of Ethereum’s survival moving forward will be its ability to remain nimble and respond to changing landscapes.
That Ethereum might embrace another blockchain, such as Bitcoin Cash, and utilizes its resources, speaks volume about the difference in attitudes.
Some projects would consider the notion absurd on its face, while still others are dedicated solely to creating interchain operability.
It’s pathetically early to call the “death” of something which has such a rich capitalization and enjoys such wide support. Indeed, if Ethereum’s “dead” just because it’s willing to consider short-term solutions, does that make Bitcoin dead when it embraces second-layer scaling via Lightning Network?
How Dead Is Dead?
Doesn’t make much sense when you put it like that, right?
Well, don’t tell these guys:
There is no Ethereum killer, because Ethereum is already dead.😵
The one who executed the job? Binance…😎
And this hit-man is so cold hearted, he let the victim live after the fact…💙
to spend the days disgraced and humiliated…😐
— Definitve Man OL (@DefinitiveManOL) July 8, 2019
Oh my god the desperation.
bcash is Vitalik’s original vision for Ethereum… Boy Genius!! 🤣😂 https://t.co/1U53wCIMuj
— Francis Pouliot ☣️ (@francispouliot_) July 14, 2019
Right when you think Ethereum isn’t bad enough Vitalik proposes the ultimate shitcoin sandwich: mEth and Bcash. https://t.co/4MOl5UfHDB
— WhiteRabbit (@WhiteRabbitBTC) July 14, 2019
Discussions like this strike to the root of Bitcoin maximalist objections to projects like Ethereum.
Pipe dreams like a “world computer” have no appeal to certain people, but the potential for industrial disruption is self-evident.
The more times blockchains launch based on the notion of Ethereum, the more the concept is proven: organizations are hungry for blockchain.
It’s not a matter of when they’ll look to build it on it. That’s a given. Instead, it’s a matter of what they’ll choose to build on.
As Buterin says in his original post, he’d consider Ethereum Classic if it instituted a couple of enhancements.
I think ethereum classic could a great choice for this and better than BCH due to its shorter block times, if it adds (i) flyclient support and (ii) calldata gas cost reduction!
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 15, 2019
Ethereum aims to remain the top choice by any means necessary, including integrating foreign resources in the short term. If other blockchains can’t say the same, does that speak to their grit or to their ripeness for disruption?