Around the Block, Issue Nº4: FUTURES featuring mining attacks, Ethereum Serenity and Lightning
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Around the Block, Issue Nº4: FUTURES featuring mining attacks, Ethereum Serenity and Lightning

Today, I'm experimenting with a different format based on reader feedback (thanks Jordan!). Hit the reply button if you like the change, and hit the reply button if there is more we can do.

This issue features multiple experts thinking about the future of networks and DApps. As we settle into the crypto-winter, longer thought pieces about the future evolution of certain networks are emerging. I particularly enjoyed Jimmy Song's piece on mining centralisation and Meni Rosenfeld's post about a world with Lightning. 👍

💵  Bitcoin

Jimmy Song talks about Mining centralisation risks in Bitcoin

tl:dr; Mining attacks are hardware or hash power based. There is real risk of hardware concentration attacks, but the biggest risk is in hash power concentration. Hash power majorities can perform several attacks but the damage is largely limited to double spending and often hurt the majority.

Why this is important? Mining centralisation is one of the weaker aspects of Bitcoin in comparison with alternatives. For example, Litecoin introduced a more complex Proof of Work algorithm that cannot be executed by ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) miners and could therefore allow a broader group of miners to mine profitably.

PS. To look at ownership distribution of major currencies and protocols, check out TokenAnalyst.

Meni Rosenfeld explores the implications of large-scale Lightning adoption

tl:dr; Lightning is the most promising approach to scaling Bitcoin. However, it is much more complex, so execution risks remain. Nodes have to be online, finding payment routes is difficult, Lightning Network hubs could introduce new centralisation. Despite a hybrid P2P and hub-based model can be envisioned where individuals set up P2P payment channels with friends and business partners and participate in hub channels for transactional payments.

💎  Ethereum

Patrick Thompson outlines how Serenity will solve Ethereum's difficulty bomb

tl:dr; Serenity, Ethereum's final milestone will complete the transition to Proof of Stake. In order to encourage this transition, a difficulty bomb was introduced in 2016 that is exponentially increasing mining difficulty. Complexity is set to become unbearable in 2021.

Why this is important? Serenity will represent the single most significant change in the Ethereum protocol, but is set to fulfill Ethereum's value proposition of a practical decentralised computer.

Dean Eigenmann challenged the trustlessness of 0x protocol

tl:dr; 0x is not fully trustless despite claims. TokenTransferProxy's multisig relies on timing to prevent unauthorized transactions. The multisig is set to be replaced by a community governance model, which would not necessarily be better. The author proposes an alternative double approval model.

⚡️ Protocols and DApps

Tony Sheng talks about the three ways of looking at protocol adoption

tl:dr; Three ways of interpreting growth of protocols. 1) Technology and scalability improvements win more and more users over 2) Applications for which users have an increasingly lower inefficiency tolerance are unlocked over time (from speculation to media consumption) 3) Protocols win share starting from base protocols solving foundational tech problems to dedicated application layer protocols.

Fred Wilson showcases the current DApp user experience and why he is excited about the platforms

tl:dr; DApps are what get the author excited in crypto. Both Blockstack and Ethereum have simple "DApp-stores" available and we are seeing the first useful consumer DApps.

Why this is important? A useful reminder about the state of user experience and its importance in blockchain today.

😅  Misc

🚀  Releases

🙏  Feedback

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