Eric Wall, the cryptocurrency and blockchain lead at Cinnober Financial Technology, a Swedish firm that was recently made a $190 million “all cash recommended public offer” by Nasdaq, recently commented via Twitter on what he refers to as “the Satoshi creed of decentralization.”
1/ In these 21 tweets we will explore what it has taken to get so many engineers, whom in so many other aspects in the sciences of the world aspire to embody nothing but solutions-orientation and pragmatism, to become fanatical near-religious techno-orthodox fundamentalists.
— Eric Wall (@ercwl) October 5, 2018
Base-Layer Must Not Have “Complexities”
Wall noted that “fancy features” such as smooth user interfaces and the “order-of-magnitude throughput increases” that altcoin projects promise in their whitepapers may seem desirable.
However, “it all comes down to a fundamentally different perception with respect to architectural design … every structure of importance … [is] established [by first creating] a rock-solid foundation, [in order to] persist through the tests of time”, Wall wrote.
He then argued that the same concept now applies to “software design” as we develop programs that are meant to “last for a long time” such as the internet’s TCP/IP protocol. The communication engineering postgraduate explained that when designing software applications, “complexity” is never added to the “base layer” of the protocol.
According to Wall, “cryptocurrency networks are like nothing we’ve ever seen. Bitcoin is a protocol and a financial infrastructure … and it’s also an [immutable] currency … whose goal is to provide a better, sounder form of money for perhaps the entire planet one day.”
“Features Are Easy To Copy”, “Foundations Are Hard”
The former software engineer at Microsoft further noted that altcoin projects may build impressive features, and added functionality, however, that’s “not how you compete against bitcoin.”
He added that “features are easy to copy” but it’s much more difficult to copy or produce a better technological foundation than Bitcoin. Wall also mentioned that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin accurately concluded in the Plasma paper that: “the logical way to structure and scale a cryptocurrency system for flexibility (and throughput) is sub-hierarchically, with sub-chains and channels, where the power in the system stems from the root.”
Wall then argued that the main Bitcoin blockchain may serve as “the final judge … for” Lightning Network (LN) (a second-layer payment solution to enable faster transactions) “off-chain disputes” – similar to how Ethereum’s main blockchain may act as “the Supreme Court” for the “computational correctness” of subchains on its network.
Extending this further, Wall said:
Bitcoin … can act as the Supreme Court for Ethereum. And when that happens, there will no longer be any need for ether. Ether, same as all coins, are just integers — and are entirely replaceable from a system perspective.
Bitcoin Will Be The “Root Consensus Engine”
He continued by noting that Ethereum supporters would promote the use of ether (ETH) in all its sub-hierarchical chains while Bitcoin advocates would encourage the use of BTC in all its sidechains. And, “it is the root chain which decides the currency of the system”, Wall wrote.
He also argued that altcoins are actually “leaving the goal open for bitcoin” to become the “root consensus engine” because of projects like Drivechain – which reportedly aim to “allow BTC to travel to other software applications, and back …” so, BTC can be sent to “Ethereum-clones BCH-clones, Monero-clones.”
In order to really compete with the Bitcoin network, cryptocurrency platforms must design a system that is significantly more decentralized than Bitcoin and also have a truly superior consensus protocol compared to that of the flagship cryptocurrency – Wall said.
Bitcoin “Won’t Give Up” On “Decentralization”
While alluding to governance strategies employed by the EOS and Tron networks, which have chosen to vote for and appoint a very small group of block producers (21 and 27 respectively) to validate transactions, Wall wrote that:
Bitcoin isn't going to give up its decentralized, open block producer participation by electing a small board of known, (targetable) validators.
Bitcoin is going to do primarily one thing and do it well: relentlessly reach decentralized consensus against any odds and in any and all circumstances it possibly can. And just by doing that, it's cementing the foundation stone from where it will power *everything* else.