Ask a Bitcoin maximalist to sing you the song of their people, and it’ll sound something like this:

That’s a lot to unpack. First — an assertion that Ethereum is centralized, followed by a never-to-be-witnessed again “immaculate conception” premise for Bitcoin’s emergence, followed by the implication that only Bitcoin is invulnerable to being co-opted by government agencies and scammers.

Do the space cat’s claims have merit? Let’s take a closer look, starting with the big one.

Is Ethereum Centralized?

For the sake of this analysis, we’ll broadly define a centralized blockchain as follows: an environment where a single actor, or…

Evan Van Ness — the curator of the Week in Ethereum newsletter — asks the following question. It’s timely and overdue:

French Salons: Hotbeds of open discourse (involving both sexes!) that fueled the Enlightenment.

Throughout most of its existence, Ethereum has been a place where crypto adventurers of all stripes can explore, build, debate, and learn within the confines of a friendly, respectful, and non-judgemental community. This atmosphere is welcoming to newcomers and provides fertile ground for innovation.

This salubrious climate is generally awesome and enjoyable…and it’s remarkably effective too. The relatively massive number of active developers on github and at conferences/hackathons bears this out. The proliferation of projects and emergence of entirely new proto-industries such as Decentralized Finance is another positive indicator. Clearly, we’re doing something right.

However, the events of a few…

Once upon a time, Ethereum was a vast unknown. A technological moonshot with an uncertain fate.

It’s easy to forget, but back in 2014 it wasn’t 100% clear whether the platform would even function in a sustainable fashion. In the run-up to Ethereum going live, someone published a site poking good-natured fun at its ambitious goals and absence of a actual live platform. It nicely captured the prevailing sentiment in those pre-Frontier days.

Fast-forward four years (approximately four decades in crypto time), and theory has been translated to practice…with astonishing results. While it hasn’t been the world’s smoothest journey —…

Distributed computing can change the world for good, if we get out of our own way

Credit: U.S. Army via flickr/CC BY 2.0

Let’s start with a simple and powerful premise: distributed computing has the potential to make the world a better and freer place.

Can this fast-evolving technology actually fulfill that grand promise? While early indicators are good, we also face a mortal enemy: ourselves.

That’s borderline tragic, because there are plenty of problems to solve. Consider these headlines from the last few weeks:

  • The U.S. added $1 trillion in debt in six months, and the total debt now stands at $21 trillion
  • Buckling under ham-fisted legislation designed to limit online sex trafficking, Craigslist has removed the ability for users to freely…

Image courtesy of jess_war via Flickr: CC 2.0: BY-NC-ND

In the immediate aftermath of today’s accidental (or “accidental”) Parity multisig bug, some in the Ethereum community began calling for a hard fork to unfreeze the millions in digital wealth that appear to be permanently locked.

At first blush, this seems like a reasonable proposition. There’s already a precedent for forking in order to restore lost or stolen funds. The fix would be relatively easy to implement, and could even be included in the upcoming Constantinople hard fork. And the sum of money is not insignificant; estimates range between $180-$300 million.

Why should these ETH holders be subjected to massive…

In hindsight, perhaps he got caught up in the moment.

Watching as remarkable events unfolded in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in 1989, political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously proclaimed an “End of History.” The collapse of the Iron Curtain and opening of Russia’s economy and society, according to Fukuyama, heralded a new world built on a foundation of universal liberal democracy.

Early signs were rousingly positive. After rotting under the yoke of Soviet oppression, Eastern Europe threw off its chains and embraced liberalism. Free markets and individual liberties were adopted in Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states…

And here’s our good friend Matt Drudge, trying as usual to incite a race war and throwing red meat to racists everywhere.

This isolated incident was beyond fucked up — no doubt. Whoever did this should be punished to the full extent. But does this site make a sensational headline out of cops gunning down unarmed black men, or instances of hate crimes committed by whites? It does not. And that hypocrisy reveals a lot about Drudge’s agenda.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. There are elements that want to incite a race war in our country…

Following a layoff from a tech startup (RIP), I thought I would return to my financial roots. After a few weeks to assess my position, I responded to a job opening in the marketing department of a global financial services provider.

The process was an excellent learning experience. Here’s what I discovered.

Actively-managed mutual funds are the next Blockbuster Video

Did everyone in America listen to countless personal finance blogs, forums, Frontline, and Jack Bogle? It certainly looks that way. …

How will decentralized apps make money?

Ethereum is, by the very logic of its programming, an egalitarian platform. It’s designed from the ground-up to discourage ASIC mining — and in turn, discourage Ether from concentrating among relatively small numbers of individuals and organizations.

The same logic runs through the thinking of the Ethereum team. Follow the blog, and you’ll see frequent references to the Gini coefficient — the most common measure of income distribution. This sort of thinking is guiding the development of the mining algorithm and likely other aspects of the platform’s holy decentralized triumvirate: Ethereum, Whisper, and Swarm.

So in its very DNA, Ethereum…

Kent Barton

Head of R&D @ ShapeShift. Founder: Ethereum Denver.

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