Vitalik, you are a brilliant innovator and by and large I agree with all of the design decisions behind Ethereum. My involvement in Ethereum has led to many of the most inspiring moments in my life, including hosting talks on hard problems in cryptocurrency and interviewing you just as the Ethereum crowdsale was kicking off.
Consequently I take your thoughts on the hard fork extremely seriously. Among other things, they confirm what most of us already knew, your primary interest is in technical evolution and, consequently “ETC’s social contract, community and raison d’être [are] less exciting and satisfying.”
I feel exactly the same way. I also am fairly excited about the numerous potential hard forks that Vlad outlines in his article. There is a good reason to have a chain that keeps on evolving, something I describe as Ethereum’s edge. It is also wonderful to have a clear social contract that is consistent with this evolution.
Ethereum finds its edge
Best practice for software development in many contexts is to have both staging and production systems. Ethereum has…medium.com
That said, it seems that the expectation of many of those who participated in the Ethereum crowdsale and early promotion were that we were helping launch an immutable smart contract platform that would ultimately be fully decentralized way. At least this was what was on the website, which presumably means at least some Foundation members must have thought it was true.
I am very happy that Consensys and Microsoft have come together and are supporting ETH. I am sure that this is probably the right option for more enterprise ready versions. But as someone whose primary desire is to deliver software directly to consumers, I find the fully decentralized version more compelling. I also see a very good reason for both.
One benefit that I think is especially prominent in that the presence of a more fully decentralized version releases folks like you from the pressures of actually running production systems. It also insulates you from any regulatory pressures that might otherwise be felt. Imagine, for instance, thousands of angry token holders in the next smart contract that fails.
Personally I have every desire to make the next decentralized system, but no desire to put any liability on the backs of yourself or any of the other talented developers that have been part of the Ethereum ecosystem until now. Ultimately, I want responsibility for the things I deploy. I also don’t really want training wheels. It’s been two years of waiting.
I’ve been a member of many open source ecosystems before this one and one thing I have observed about many tech geniuses is that they are always itching to push their technological edge and create something new. As beautiful as that is, what the system’s engineer in me wants is more production systems, less the cutting edge.
As both Solidity docs and the language itself shows, the Ethereum Foundation has not yet delivered products that can stand well in production. The same remains true for the Dapp ecosystem. Perhaps this is because, among other things, it is too centralized and may be stepping on its own toes.
State of the Dapps
A Curated Collection of Decentralized Appsdapps.ethercasts.com
Ethereum Classic to me is a welcome relief that we may finally be able to have a version of Ethereum that can live and die on its own merits. The fact that it is unlikely to progress more is extremely unexciting from a technological perspective, but extremely exciting from those of us who want to see systems deployed that are censorship-resistant and deliver true consumer value.
I will always continue to support ETH because I believe that blockchains are not static systems and that ultimately we must solve scaling problems. I personally spend a lot of my time on the longer research implications of many of these things, including both Quantum Consensus methods and broader applications of Swarm Intelligence to financial modeling.
However, today what I want to see most is a true DAO deployed on a fully decentralized smart contract blockchain. But I don’t think it will be called “the DAO,” nor will it have any curators.