BitTorrent Creator Bram Cohen Calls Vitalik’s ASIC-Resistant Proof-of-Work ‘A Pipe Dream And A Bad I

Bram Cohen, the Creator, and Author of the peer-to-peer (P2P) BitTorrent protocol has responded to some of Vitalik Buterin’s (Founder of Ethereum) opinions about the state of technology around cryptocurrencies.

$btt #bittorrent #btt#MoonEoy🚀🚀🚀 26.11 — Pamp_It (@Pamp_It) November 26, 2019

On November 25, Cohen, who is also the current CEO of the Chia network, explained in a Twitter thread that why he considers many of Vitalik’s opinions in his November 22 blog post addressing the so-called “hard problems in cryptocurrency,” to be “wrong-headed.”

Here's Vitalik's opinions about the state of technology around cryptocurrencies. As you might expect, I think much of this is wrong-headed, and will explain (thread) — Bram Cohen (@bramcohen) November 25, 2019

However, Cohen started out by taking a few stabs at Vitalik’s views on sharding and blockchain scalability, where Vitalik points out that fully sharded blockchains still have not been seen in action, besides the partially sharded Zilliqa, which recently started running.

On the other hand, Cohen wrote that sharding is not the only option to solve blockchain scalability. According to him, he points to payment channel networks, which are much “more appealing” and are becoming “a real thing.”

He adds:

“What Ethereum’s proposing for sharding further breaks this by essentially requiring miners to have all the shards, which is… not sharding, it’s just further redefining ‘full node’ to mean less than it did before.” Bram Cohen

It has been analyzed that Ethereum settled on Ethash, its ASIC-resistant proof of work (PoW) algorithm, in early 2015, which according to Vitalik, has proven remarkably successful at resisting ASIC.

However, Vitalik’s view on ASIC-resistant PoW is that there is a growing consensus that ASIC-resistant algorithms have a limited lifespan and that ASIC resistance has downsides as they make 51% attacks cheaper.

Cohen seems to agree and calls ASIC-resistant PoW both ‘a pipe dream’ and ‘a bad idea’. He claims that it is a much better idea to be ASIC-friendly, because “ASIC resistance just creates more centralization around manufacture when it inevitably fails.”

Likewise, in July 2019, Bram Cohen’s San Francisco-based tech firm Chia Network released a green paper that describes an eco-friendly means of mining cryptocurrencies. Specifically, Chia proposed farming rather than mining to verify blockchains that issue cryptocurrencies, wherein proof-of-space and proof-of-time take the place of the proof-of-work (PoW) principle used to mine Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

Thus, the paper explained:

“Instead of using proofs of work, Chia alternates proofs of space with verifiable delay functions. This results in a chain than in many aspects is similar to Bitcoin, in particular, as in Bitcoin no synchronization is needed and we can prove rigorous security guarantees assuming a sufficient fraction of the resource (space in Chia, computation in Bitcoin) is controlled by honest parties.”


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