Mining was good for Ethereum for this reason, according to Vitalik Buterin

Mining was good for Ethereum for this reason, according to Vitalik Buterin

Key facts:
  • Vitalik Buterin believes that using proof of stake from the start would have been a mistake.

  • ETH premining was not “entirely neutral” and was excessive, he said.

Vitalik Buterin, one of the co-creators and main reference of the Ethereum network today, assured that it could have worked with proof of participation or staking from the beginning, but that the proof of work allowed a better distribution of the ether cryptocurrency (ETH). ) in all these years.

According to the public face of Ethereum today, a simple proof of stake could have been used in the early days of the network, but this would have undermined its capacity. What’s more, the proof of work allowed many users to join the community with the “hobby” of mining cryptocurrencies from their houses.

Buterin made these reflections in a Article published on his blog on March 29, which he titled The roads not taken or “The roads we did not take.” In the text, the Russian-Canadian developer expresses that many choices have been made that impacted the history of the project. In some cases, Buterin assured, they sought to improve aspects in which “Bitcoin had made a mistake”. In others, they sought to do “totally new” things.

These words by Vitalik Buterin are made public in the year in which the long-promised transition to Ethereum 2.0 could materialize, about which CriptoNoticias has repeatedly reported. When this happens, the network will no longer work with the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm (that is, the method for validating new blocks), but will instead use Proof of Staking (Proof of Staking). or PoS).

This transition that could happen soon “is hard and has taken years of research, failed experiments and a lot of effort.” However, Buterin questions whether such a complex proof-of-stake model was really necessary, when “a simpler, weaker version would have been a major improvement over the status quo of proof-of-work.”

Mining was good for Ethereum for this reason, according to Vitalik Buterin
Ethereum 2.0 is consolidated thanks to the more than 329,000 validators who await the transition to PoS. Source: Beaconcha.in.

About this, there are many proofs of stake that are as simple as Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s proof of work, assured. She mentioned the NXT blockchain proof-of-stake as an example.

Instead, the Gasper proof-of-stake that will be used in the near future on Ethereum “aspires to achieve much more” than simpler ones of its kind. Among the properties that it possesses, Buterin listed “very strong” block confirmations in seconds, the impossibility of reversing completed blocks without spending millions, very predictable rewards every 6.4 minutes, and the inclusion of hundreds of thousands of validators.

“If we had been more modest from the beginning, we could have achieved more limited goals at the beginning,” says the developer. In this regard, he argues that if there had been a move to proof-of-stake in 2017 or even 2020, there would have been “much less environmental damage, with less ‘anti-crypto’ mentality as a result” and a lot of talent would have been released to think more. in scalability.

As a counterweight, he acknowledges that if they had taken that path they would have had to spend “a lot of resources” on improving the proof of participation. “Looks like we’re going to have to do it anyway,” she adds.

Despite all these assumptions of what could have been and was not, using proof of stake from the beginning would have been a mistake, Buterin says. Proof-of-work mining, he says, was useful in further distributing the issuance of ether (ETH), the network’s cryptocurrency, and in making Ethereum more accessible. With this, it was possible to form an “enthusiastic” community.

Other details about how Ethereum was born

In addition to referring to the consensus algorithm that Ethereum would use and why they chose one over the other, Vitalik Buterin also referred to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)the processor that performs complex transactions and enables the programming of smart contracts on this network.

In this regard, the Russian-Canadian said that he and the other developers could have launched the EVM in 2014, but decided not to do so to continue exploring new features in the following months. Again, the “accomplish much more” mentality mentioned earlier is repeated.

This gave them time to consider new technical features in the EVM code, although almost none of them were implemented, as detailed in the article. These decisions “were good, looking at them from the present”, according to Buterin.

As well, the developer also questions whether the initial distribution of ETH was the right one. This was largely through the sale and distribution of pre-mined coins, as shown in the chart below:

Mining was good for Ethereum for this reason, according to Vitalik Buterin
Legend: In light blue and green, the ETH distributed from fundraising and Ethereum mining, respectively. Source: Vitalik Buterin’s blog.

What Buterin is wondering here has to do with the pre-mined funds, that is, the more than 12 million ETH that are illustrated in black on the graph. In his opinion, having distributed them discretionally and that the Ethereum Foundation kept the funds from this sale to survive “was not entirely neutral”, in addition to the fact that a very large sum of tokens was allocated to reward those first contributors. The Ethereum Foundation, meanwhile, was left with little ETH to support its operations, says Buterin.

Finally, the Ethereum benchmark points out what can be learned from everything that has happened. In response to his own question, he states that Ethereum’s biggest challenge is to unify two visions: that of a simple and secure blockchain with high performance and functionality for advanced applications.

“My personal dream is to achieve these two visions at the same time,” he says, although he knows that this takes time and “you have to start actively thinking about it.” Currently, “there are many things that cannot be changed, but there are many that can”, says the expert, while stressing that there is a firm path to improve both the functionality and the simplicity of Ethereum.

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