Ripple CTO Blasts 'Subtle Tyranny' of Blockchain Hype
The chief technology officer of Ripple and the guy who introduced Bitcoin to millions of viewers, Stefan Thomas, now has a different attitude concerning blockchain technology.
Also read: Japan Risks Falling Behind Amid Blockchain Talent Shortage
Does the Blockchain Make Everything Awesome?
In a Medium blog post, Stefan Thomas, the creator of the YouTube video “What is Bitcoin?” and one of the developers who helped Gavin Andresen design Bitcoin’s Pay-to-Script-Hash (P2SH), has changed his mind concerning blockchain technology.
The CTO of Ripple blog post called “The Subtle Tyranny of Blockchain,” explains how he doesn’t believe distributed ledger technology is a cure-all for financial markets anymore but still plans on playing a role within this innovative landscape.
Thomas had left the many cryptocurrency groups he took part in during 2012 due to “disillusionment” and frustrations with the principal figures in the community. He says he saw then the same issues in Bitcoin that Ethereum faces today. Things got too political and getting depressed about progressive roadmaps stalling grew tiresome to the developer. Thomas explains his sentiment in his blog post:
As the Bitcoin price rose, the number of stakeholders expanded and the amount of money at stake increasingly dominated the technical discussion.
The creator of the weusecoins.com website states that “Blockchains are a pain to work with,” and there’s a reason the technology is ignored by large tech-corporations. However, the finance sector has embraced the technology because that particular industry already has a “relatively high tolerance for arcane and complex systems.”
In his blog post, there are also pictures of the Lego Movie which seem to be directed at a typical blockchain startup’s mantra that if a distributed ledger is used “everything is awesome” and Thomas’s blog post points out that this is not the case.
He details an example of the web’s progression over the years. The Ripple CTO says the fact that the internet can be updated and eventually spread throughout the entire system allows the web to keep its pace with technological progression. In his opinion, there’s a better way to approach what blockchains are trying to do by building stateless protocols that can be implemented and improved “upon in different corners of the system.” Thomas says:
Instead of blindly replacing centralized functions with blockchains, we should be thinking about ways to avoid having those functions be centralized to begin with.
Ripple CTO Still a Bitcoin Supporter
Of course, working for Ripple and the Interledger Protocol, Thomas still is an “open-source developer and distributed systems advocate.” He’s also still a believer in Bitcoin and decentralization as his video received over 6.8 million views since 2011. In the end, he does give a shout out to the San Francisco-based Ripple, which allows international payments within its own centralized blockchain.
However, Thomas is skeptical of the many startups and legacy institutions who claim distributed ledgers are a panacea. His opinion is pretty clear; blockchains will be an innovative force in certain sectors of the global economy but obviously, won’t make “everything awesome.”
What do you think about Stefan Thomas’s opinion? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of tech.qq.com, We Use Coins, Pixabay, Getty images