Ethereum (ETH) has had bad press lately. Erstwhile Ethereum dApps are moving onto other networks; prices are at rock bottom. At a conference not too long ago, one cryptocurrency trader described ether tokens as “practically dogshit.” But through all of the trials and tribulations, some projects are rallying around to defend the grand old lady from mounting hostility. Ethereum is far from perfect, they say, but it is better than the other platforms out there.
Uriel Peled is the co-founder of Orbs, an application for well-known consumer brands to use blockchain technology. Orbs is based on the Ethereum network; its principal purpose is to offer the technological equipage and infrastructure for big firms to build their own decentralized applications that are scalable, effective and secure. The project raised $118m in its ICO, which concluded in May this year.
Speaking to Crypto Briefing over the phone, Peled explained how he had previously harbored deep-seated concerns about the platform: he didn’t think Ethereum had a future, due to crippling scalability issues which sapped confidence. “The network simply didn’t work,” he said. “It was a good proof-of-concept but my initial view was that it would be superseded by the next generation of platform networks.”
“Now I think that the Ethereum network isn’t going anywhere”, he added.
The network offers Ethereum dApps security
Peled thinks of Ethereum as the basic technological standard for the sector. There are hundreds of active ERC20 tokens (of varying quality) in the space. Most projects originally launched their public sales on the network, and ether tokens were the moneta franca during last year’s ICO boom. “People and projects are simply more familiar with it [Ethereum] than they are with other projects”, he said. “I still haven’t seen a single network which can directly challenge them on this.”
Further, and more importantly, it’s a secure network. Ethereum dApps can’t be compromised by the platform itself. Peled thinks this is often an overlooked factor by projects which fix their attention on scalability. He explains that Orbs has been able to create a scalable network while still being based on Ethereum.
“Projects themselves can look at improving throughput, sure,” he said. “But the key factor is you can’t add security retrospectively. If the network itself isn’t that secure, then hackers and bad actors will have a backdoor into your dApp. To my knowledge there’s very little you can really do if that happens.”
The community should see Ethereum as the ideal base layer, says Peled. It’s secure and familiar to most people, but projects can add their own features, like scalability or privacy, as additional layers. Essentially Ethereum will become the best-decentralized network if it’s treated as a foundation or base that other projects can layer-up on.
“Do we need an entire blockchain for privacy payments?”, says Peled. “No, we don’t. Projects like Zcash and Monero are good at what they do for sure; privacy is important, but it’s overkill to construct an entire network for what is practically one feature.”
“You could build a privacy payment layer just as well on Ethereum,” he adds.
The best of the blockchain platforms?
Ether prices, which are all-too-often the only metric for a project’s value, have been on a downward trajectory since the high of around $1350 at the beginning of the year. Some hope the $200 mark is the project’s floor price and that any move above represents a bullish signal.
Could it ever return to its former glory? Who knows. Some suggest Ethereum could be one of the big winners in 2019, with a 300% surge in value. Still there are numerous predictions to the contrary that still think the price of ether will drop to $0.
Price is always given pride of place, but what Peled says is different. In the long-term, it won’t so much be the price itself that will matter, but rather the network’s utility. In this framework, attributes such as security will matter far more.
The EOSIO (EOS) mainnet launch was dogged by security concerns. At one point hackers managed to access Block.One’s email address and send thousands of spammy emails out to EOS holders. The community likes EOS because of its feeless transactions and scalability. But if the foundational layer is compromised, then it will always be limited. Dapps running on EOS could be fundamentally compromised.
The grand old lady has been dealt a couple of substantial body blows over the last year. But security could help protect her from any further harm, and the Ethereum dApps are running to the rescue.
The author is invested in ETH, which is mentioned in this article.