On Decentralization. Part II

This is the second part of my Decentralization topic, started with http://igorartamonov.com/2019/02/on-decentralization-part-i/, based on my presentation about a role of decentralization for a public blockchain.

In my previous article I’ve written about factors that could possible affect decentralization of a public blockchain. And if you start applying them to existing blockchains, it becomes clear that most of blockchains are guilty of one or two of such factors.

It’s much easier to sell centralization disguised as decentralization, and is very profitable. It seems that nobody cares about decentralization anymore. Maybe decentralization doesn’t even matter?

What is the problem?

What is the problem with centralization? It’s obvious that a Central Point is a Point of Failure, but what kind of failure in this case?

Any central point can be used to get some advantage. Control of a public blockchain is a power, which governments, big corporations and criminals want to control. Humans are weak point, they are especially exposed if they are part of that central point. Not necessary to destroy, but force them to do what powerful actor wants.

Most people think it’s impossible to force any changes, “because it’s Open Source”. Unfortunately not every problem is easy to notice, otherwise we wouldn’t have software bugs. Some backdoors can intentionally be planted in a code and pass all verifications, only authors would know how to use them. There are many examples of that.

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On Decentralization. Part I

Last week at the Financial Cryptography conference I made a presentation about a role of decentralization for a public blockchain. Now I want to describe better my thoughts and position. I’m going to make few blog posts about it, this one is the first in the series.

If we will come to a decentralization metric from 0 to 100%, where 100% is fully decentralized blockchain. I believe that the average value for the top 10 blockchains will be less than 50%, likely less than 25%.

Most in the top 10 don’t even try to be decentralized. A centralized blockchain is a current trend, it is more effective for the most of the use cases and easier to compete in marketing, so most of the current blockchains are fine with being centralized.

If we speak only about the protocol, a peer-to-peer network, in most of the cases we have a decentralized network. That’s where people usually stop thinking about decentralization.

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On the Attempt to Take Over Ethereum Classic (ETC)

TL;DR

Using ETCDEV issues with financing:
• DFG convinced me to give them access to the ETC Github
• DFG was unhappy that I was not going to agree to changes in the ETC core tech in return for them investing in ETCDEV
• Darcy Reno, ETCDEV’s Program Manager, was hired by ETC Labs/DFG and subsequently lured ETCDEV engineers to quit ETCDEV and join ETC Labs
• DFG copied all the ETCDEV code to their account on Github
• DFG took admin control of the ETC Github by removing all other admins

The past month has been very busy for us as we have been experiencing an attempt of a takeover of ETCDEV and ETC. My last post regarding our financing issues was a small part of that. I didn’t want to publish all the details at the time, but now it seems I have no other choice. I’ll try to summarize everything and make it as short as possible.

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BitEther Coin on Ethereum Classic

Some time ago I deployed a token contract called BitEther Coin (BEC). The idea is simple — an ETC miner participating in this experiment is getting an additional BitEther token reward to Ether reward received from a block. The Miner gets both Ether (5 ETC per block) and BitEther (2 BEC per block).

This is not a modification of the protocol, nor is it a hard fork or soft fork. It is just a standard feature provided by the existing technology and capability of the ETC system.

By doing this I am trying to show that Ethereum Classic is not the same chain as others: it has more powerful technology which allows you to build your own blockchain layer on top of it. Security of the network can be supported by any participant or by any business building on top of the chain.

BitEther Supply Model

The BitEther Token follows the Monetary Supply of Bitcoin. My initial goal was to make it issue 50 tokens every 10 minutes, with a halving every 4 years.

In practice, BitEther «big block» time is less that 10 minutes, because an additional goal was to reach 99% of total token production at about same time as Bitcoin will. As a result, BitEther issues 50 BEC coins every 6–7 minutes, and halves every 3 years.


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