A heated Twitter debate about the fundamental ideas on which Ethereum has been built, and is working on in the future has been occurring on Twitter for the past few days. Developers, investors, members of the community, and even Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin have weighed in.
It all started with this tweet, where Buterin hails Ethereum’s progress in terms of its community of developers:
I'm happy to see more "skeptics" entering the nitty gritty world of eth2 design, @jadler0 @JonnyRhea @AFDudley0 @DeanEigenmann come to mind but I know there's others too. We need them to make us stronger!
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) July 29, 2019
Rettig is, reportedly, a core developer at Ethereum who is working ETH1.x (although is up to debate, with Reddit Ethereum community members claiming he was let go from the Ethereum Foundation). He responded to Buterin’s tweet, asking to be added to this list of Ethereum ‘ sceptics’ due to a list of problems which he identified with Ethereum.
His main criticisms revolved on Ethereum’s plans to introduce proof-of-stake, which Rettig believes is not truly ‘permissionless’, with its security being circular. Moreover, Etheruem 2.0 plans to introduce sharding to improve scalability, and according to the critic, this ruins one of Ethereum’s “technical merits”, which was easy composability. He then went on to attack Ethereum management and community, claiming that there is no clear vision, mission or principles, with project management being too “chaotic”. One of his closing comments was that Ethereum has a clear problem of wealth distribution, with a select few making the most gains, and the whole system structured to rewarding these individuals further.
His comments were received by a barrage of replies by traders, Ethereum community members and even some of the “sceptic” developers in Buterin’s original tweet, who were arguing against Rettig’s points and defending Ethereum.
The discussion quickly devolved into one discussing his ‘wealth distribution’ comment. Twitter user Michael H stated that given Ethereum’s low market capitalisation, there is potential for further wealth distribution, as is true for all other cryptocurrencies. Rettig rebutted by pointing out that Ethereum’s current wealth distribution is already heavily skewed, and this will also hinder its future growth.
This is where Buterin stepped into the discussion, comparing Ethereum to other cryptocurrencies, none of whom have done a good job with wealth distribution. The discussion continued on in further directions, with everyone replying to a tweet on the thread, making the whole debate extremely hard to follow. In essence, the issue came to revolve around how much of ETH was pre-mined and pre-sold and how that created a huge imbalance in the ecosystem.
Ethereum community members on Reddit seemed extremely annoyed with Rettig, believing that he is intentionally creating controversy because he is trying to hard fork Ethereum. Reddit users also correctly pointed out that arguments such as these should occur in a forum setting such as the Ethereum subreddit, rather than Twitter where users are stuck with limited characters but are trying to have a nuanced conversation. With threads multiplying into several directions, the discourse becomes not only confusing but also pointless.