Ethereum Developer Lashes Out

By August 7, 2019Ethereum
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Lane Rettig (pictured, second from the right) an Ethereum developer working on eWASM, took the microphone to argue that ethereum’s Proof of Stake (PoS) is not permissionless because you have to receive the stake (eth) from someone else.

Add me to the list of skeptics:1. PoS isn't truly permissionless and as a result maybe not collusion/cabal resistant2. PoS security is circular3. Sharding breaks one of Eth's main technical merits, easy composability4. No clear shared values, mission, principles, vision

— Lane Rettig (@lrettig) August 1, 2019

He also argued that it might not have been a good idea to distribute 70% of Ether’s total supply, at the time of the genesis block, to a select group of project founders and community members.

The decision to hand 70% of outstanding Eth to a small group at genesis suggested that that small group knew better than the market, better than anyone who might come along later, how to distribute that funding and develop the network and the ecosystem.

— Lane Rettig (@lrettig) August 6, 2019

Rettig, an MBA graduate from the Wharton School of Business, asked his Twitter followers whether it was a wise decision to allocate such a large amount of ETH to those who were involved in Ethereum’s early stages of development.

Rettig: Ethereum Development Has “No Clear Shared Values or Mission”

Rettig’s comments appear to have come in response to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin’s recent statements on Twitter in which he welcomed more skeptics as development continues for Ethereum 2.0, a major system-wide upgrade aimed at improving the overall efficiency of the world’s largest smart contract platform.

According to Rettig, Ethereum’s transition from a proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus algorithm to proof-of-stake (PoS) “isn’t truly permissionless,” which could make it vulnerable to collusion. He also believes PoS security is “circular” and that the process of sharding “breaks one of Ethereum’s main technical merits, easy composability.”

Rettig claims Ethereum’s current roadmap has “no clear shared values, mission, principles, [or] vision.” He also alleged that the crypto platform’s project management process is “too disorganized,” chaotic, and lacks good leadership.

The founder of Crypto NYC, a blockchain-focused co-working community, believes Ethereum is suffering from “poor governance”, and that the digital asset’s ecosystem is still subject to “bad economics and wealth distribution problems.”

Does Any Crypto Project Have Fair Wealth Distribution?

Responding to Rettig’s criticism of Ethereum’s token distribution scheme, Buterin questioned whether any cryptocurrency project had done a good job of equally distributing resources among its community members.

“I’m speaking in relative terms, not absolute. In any case, given the atrocious wealth distribution at present, I don’t think Ethereum is socially scalable enough to achieve another 100x,” Rettig said.

Meanwhile, Eric Conner, founder of blockchain informational resource EthHub and product developer at Gnosis, argued that regardless of what happens, wealth always concentrates itself in the end. This is true even if everyone in the world received 1 Ether at the time of the genesis block, and even if Ether’s supply was capped, Conner said. He further noted:

“Unless you completely shut off the financial market side of the crypto (which renders it useless) it’s inevitable that this will occur over and over and over. It’s a game and some people are better at it.”

Any market with even the slightest amount of freedom of trade will inevitably become inequitable because some people are better at learning how the system works and applying that knowledge than others.

— Texture (@iamtexture) August 2, 2019

Notably, Rettig thinks Ethereum’s current wealth distribution is worse than any country in the world.

“Far Too Much Ether Was Pre-Mined”

I have no interest in a perfectly equitable distribution. I don't think that's desirable and it's not possible anyway. But there's enormous ground between that and where we are today. Ethereum is worse than the worst country in the world. We can and will and must do better.

— Lane Rettig (@lrettig) August 3, 2019

Rettig also claims that “far too much was premined and presold relative to all the ether outstanding.” He adds that it took “far too much value off the table from day zero and serves as a giant ‘f**k you’ to everyone who comes along and tries to add value later. It’s been a huge turn off to me and many others.”

Anthony Donofrio (“Texture”), an Ethereum Founding Member, argued that Rettig doesn’t know what it was like to work hard during Ethereum’s early days when the platform was still considered a big experiment.

When I was working three jobs so I could barely afford to live in a basement apartment with my pregnant girlfriend, so that I could work on ethereum free for a year, where the fuck were you? I took a huge risk. What risk did you take? None. You latched on to a successful project.

— Texture (@iamtexture) August 5, 2019

Jameson Hudson, one of the most active Ethereum community managers, had this to say:

IMHO it wasn't too big back then. All crypto was worth much, much less and the ideas behind Ethereum required more devs who were more versatile than the average developer. It was necessary in order to have appealing compensation for a coin that had a low chance of making it.

— Hudson Jameson (@hudsonjameson) August 5, 2019

Former Coinbase CTO and founder of, Balaji S. Srinivasan, joined the conversation by noting:

Sometimes in a startup someone arrives later but adds huge value. An exception is made for more shares.Crypto projects are often decentralized so the mechanism is price rather than board discretion.Everyone has choice of buying into scaled project vs taking risk on a new one.

— Balaji S. Srinivasan (@balajis) August 5, 2019

However, it seems that Rettig can’t be persuaded to change his views about Ethereum’s ongoing development:

> Anyone who joins a Series D co is getting far less shares than someone in the seedOf course. But what does a crypto project do when it's "blown its load" in an ICO, the price has shot up, and it has no dry powder left to incentivize ongoing value creation?

— Lane Rettig (@lrettig) August 6, 2019

Criticism or Marketing?

Just what exactly is going on here is not too easy to discern except that there appears to be some level of frustration, with this somewhat making its way to the surface.

May she bring the same wise philosophy of doing nothing until someone else does it instead.

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