The euphoria that followed the bitcoin price’s climb to a new 2019 high above $11,000 couldn’t last forever, and it wasn’t long before some low-volume drama broke out over the weekend on Crypto Twitter.
Seemingly apropos of nothing, Dan Held (@danhedl), a pal of Anthony Pampliano and legend of Bitcoin Twitter, reminded everyone that Ethereum mastermind Vitalik Buterin had once tried to raise money to build a quantum computer for Bitcoin mining.
Vitalik Buterin’s Quantum Bitcoin Mining Ambitions
Buterin retorted that he was not trying to raise funds for a personal project. He also said:
“I recommend you re-evaluate your model of me; the process may even convince you ethereum is interesting and worth your time to explore and participate in!”
Held’s assertion was based on the following statement from 2016 by former Blockstream employee and Bitcoin Core developer Gregory Maxwell:
“Vitalik’s project immediately before Ethereum is that he was collecting investments from people to fund building a computer program to solve NP-complete problems in polynomial time, supposedly by simulating a quantum computer. (Never mind that even real QC aren’t conjectured to be able to do that, nor does ‘simulation’ make any sense; unless BPP == BQP thats not even possible, and virtually all experts agree the complexity classes are probably not equivalent). He built up a reputation for himself writing tech explainers of other people’s ideas usually without any attribution (until someone complains), making him look like the author. Beyond ripping off other’s ideas, Vitalik has had virtually no interaction with Bitcoin developers, having never contributed to Bitcoin development.”
Before long, here comes Blockstream CEO Adam Back, arguably one of the foremost intellectual authorities on secure computing and cryptography, pointing out that the idea was unrealistic from inception.
Rather than accept that criticism, Buterin fell back on the scientific fact that the project wasn’t impossible.
Back said the idea was baseless.
He also said that even if it worked, it would require a lot of realities to change, including the overall security of SHA256 becoming compromised.
“Not Impossible” ≠ Ready For Investment
Another user pointed out that just because an idea is not impossible, doesn’t mean you should go raising money for it.
Astonishingly, Buterin then characterized himself as having “shilled” for the quantum computing project back in the day.
Back refused to leave it there, as the conversation entered its third day on Saturday. Back ranted that Buterin had utilized “magical thinking” and expressed concern about the state of the industry.
Referring to the last bull run, he fears that a willfully ignorant investor community may enable billions of more dollars to be wasted.
In his final salvo, Back fumed that “Bitcoin dominance” should be greater than 90%. According to Coinmarketcap.com, BTC dominance in crypto markets is just under 60% at press time. BTC dominance is the amount of the overall market capitalization dedicated exclusively to Bitcoin Core.
Back didn’t come out unscathed. A Bitcoin Cash supporter quipped that it was Back and the small-block Bitcoin community’s own fault that Bitcoin dominance had fallen over the years.
Back chose not to respond.
Last modified: March 4, 2021 2:37 PM