As the Ethereum community prepares for a network-wide upgrade tomorrow night, not everyone is celebrating.
Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK and the public face of the Cardano community, seems to have taken the fork as an opportunity to flaunt something the larger dApp platform has not yet been able to achieve: a workable implementation of proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus.
The point was made in a tweet this morning, which included the abstract of an IOHK paper on staking, titled “Cryptocurrency Egalitarianism: A Qualitative Approach.” It appears to be a targeted barb at Cardano’s critics, who have suggested that staking systems promote wealth inequality among node operators.
You like apples? We got them for you pic.twitter.com/NvLHkCqslb
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) January 14, 2019
“A core criticism of proof-of-stake….revolves around it being less egalitarian by making the rich richer,” according to the paper’s abstract, which was co-authored by academics from the universities of Athens and Edinburgh. “We show that stake-based cryptocurrencies….can be perfectly egalitarian, perhaps contradicting folklore belief.”
If the meaning of these lines were not clear enough, Hoskinson elaborated in a later tweet: “PoS > PoW.”
This isn’t the first time the IOHK founder has made subtle jabs at the Ethereum protocol and its zigzag journey away from Proof-of-Work (PoW). Tomorrow’s Constantinople fork introduces a new ASIC-resistant mining algorithm and increases Ethereum’s efficiency. It may lay the foundations for the transition to PoS, but the Casper protocol will not be fully implemented until sometime in 2020.
But Hoskinson may be throwing his stones from a glass house. ADA, the cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain, has a market capitalization smaller than one-twelfth that of Ethereum, and the blockchain is still heavily centralized.
In fact, Cardano’s goal of becoming a fully decentralized network is still far away. The Shelley protocol, which aims to fully decentralize the blockchain, is not fully complete. According to the roadmap, the Shelley testnet is around 20% complete. This means the network only really exists on a few trusted nodes, making it potentially vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Cardano Shows Off Its Degrees
Schoolyard taunts aside, IOHK has been burnishing its academic credentials. Unlike most other blockchain systems, Cardano leans heavily on scholarship and peer review to justify the foundations of its blockchain protocol.
That commitment appears to be paying off, and IOHK’s research appears to provide formal proofs for the assumptions underlying the Cardano blockchain. IOHK has been “publishing paper after paper,” as Hoskinson recently told CryptoSlate. A recent paper on sidechains, a crucial element for inter-blockchain protocols, has been accepted to the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, thereby placing IOHK research on a world academic stage.
ADA prices rose 1.34% in the 24 hours prior to publication, only slightly less than Ethereum’s rise in the run-up to the oncoming hard fork.
The author has investments in digital assets, including Ethereum and ADA, which are mentioned in this article.