Seoul was the host of the latest Deconomy conference last week and many of blockchain's luminaries were in attendance. Vitalik, Antonopoulos, and CZ all attended and were given the stage to give their views on everything from blockchain to cryptocurrency.
The keynote speech took most of the plaudits according to industry observers and was delivered by Joe Lublin, the founder of ConsenSys. In his speech, he managed to address a number of different issues that face blockchain platforms today. His speech is especially poignant considering the new crypto spring that has been launched with strong Q1 cryptocurrency prices and a bullish turn int he market. This has lead to more people getting interested and many coming back to crypto than ever before.
Decentralization Is Key Idea Of The Landmark Keynote Speech
Lublin's speech laid out the path Ethereum 2.0 will likely take to becoming the world's global settlement layer. Proof of stake implementation would spur on a truly decentralized world economy where cooperation could maybe one day supplant competition — a new economy for a new web that does away with scarcity in the digital space.
While he did talk at length about various blockchain and distributed ledger platforms, his overarching view was that Ethereum is still the only real solution for the lowest level of a global settlement layer. While other technologies and platforms might be better for specific uses, Ethereum has the means and the technology to gain an insurmountable lead over all other comers.
He first talked about the key differences between proof of work and proof of stakes systems as they relate to decentralized systems. He started off by saying that true decentralization has many thousands of nodes that act as a block to manipulation. Improper manipulation was harder than ever in human history due to blockchain technology. Maximum decentralization would only be achieved once every person on Earth owned a full node to the network. Maximum decentralization would equal maximum incorruptibility as it would be practically impossible to get half of the world's population to go for something like that. After all, he said, the best blockchains can't be fooled even if half of the nodes are used for manipulation.
Proof of work, he said, has a bottleneck at the node end. Having a full node on the Bitcoin network, for example, requires a level of hardware and power cost that many average people would not be able to afford or find. If proof of stake system is properly designed, then those problems all but disappear and you potentially have a limitless supply of full nodes on the network. In effect, Ethereum could have a low enough barrier of entry that anyone could feasibly join the network and help to secure it by validating transactions.
Open Systems Will Always Win Out Against Closed Systems
Open systems were far better than closed systems, even with decentralized computing being part of both. A closed system has a definable leader that can decide who may or may not use the system whereas an open system has no such weakness. So having an open system is one of the keys of decentralization and one of the keys to a global system. All the companies that have been founded would be more akin to a closed system than an open one such as Ethereum, Bitcoin, and others.
Closed systems, no matter how large and how liquid, have never been tamper-proof. Big banks such as Deutschebank and Barclays have been fined for fixing prices of gold and silver. LIBOR has been manipulated by UBS and others to gain leverage on the forex market. If such a small number of extremely powerful entities can manipulate prices of heavily liquid and heavily regulated products then what chance to other closed systems have?
That is why Lublin thinks that IBM's Fabric blockchain platform is never going to be anything but a reliable enterprise tool. It is too close, too controlled to be used as a global settlement system. The same can be said of Corda from R3. EOS has been argued as a decentralized platform, but it is not one in reality.
The fact of the matter is that while Ethereum 2.0 has competitors, it has something no other platform on the market has. It has momentum; it has many developers and a lively community. Just starting out with the new proof of stake protocol Ethereum will have 40 times the amount of developers that it's closest blockchain rival has. Lublin thinks Ethereum will take over and lead the world into an era of decentralized, cooperative computing that will change our world forever.