*Note: I use “blockchain systems” to refer to Bitcoin-like blockchains that are based on PoW.
Bitcoin is no magic. It sacrifices all manners of efficiencies, which goes against our intuition and “best practices”, in order to give us something special.
- It mandates that rate of blocks produced must be slow
- It uses broadcast communication
- Purposely make a job slower, even if you figured out a way to make it faster?
- Tell everyone you know about every single thing that you did, every minute of the day?
Doing things the Bitcoin’s ways is literally insane, in most contexts.
By intentionally forcing things to be slow, Bitcoin makes it costly to cheat. By using broadcast communication, it minimizes the need to trust individual members (or maximize fault tolerance, in CS terms).
Blockchain systems work well as long as the data flowing through them grow at a _manageable_ rate.
Non-linear data growth will quickly kill the individual nodes one-by-one, and inevitably revert the system back to a less trust-minimized model.
There can be no real Turing-completeness on the blockchains as all programs must somehow be halted. So “Turing-complete” is a total gimmick. Vitalik himself admitted to this.
Ease of use is the least of your worries when it comes to blockchain engineering. Backward priorities. Remember, with blockchains you’re _already_ treading thin ice, without adding rich states.
To support computations otherwise not possible with Bitcoin-style scripting alone? Not really.
Any “computations” that can be done with ETH smart contracts can be done on Bitcoin, just at a higher layer.
Sharding is not the solution, as sharding implies scaling down the level of broadcast communication - which is a feature in the context of blockchains, _not_ a bug!
I’m optimistic on Bitcoin, but cautiously optimistic.
- RISC vs. CISC in the 70s
- Linux vs. Windows in the 90s
The reason is that these systems tend to be more flexible, more elegant and can adapt easier to changing environments / use cases.
“Flexibility, simplicity, and freedom are the foremost considerations”. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unix_phil…
Ant colonies exhibit emergent intelligence even though individually the ants are dumb and highly specialized.
Similarly, our brain is composed of simple neurons that individually perform simple tasks.
Complexity for complexity’s sake, not through emergence.
My guess is that Ethereum will eventually be another lesson of what-not-to-dos in the history book.