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Cornell Professor Reopens Scaling Debate With Bitcoin Critique

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:37 PM
P. H. Madore
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:37 PM

One of the known security vulnerabilities in cryptocurrency is the human being and his or her capacity for foolish acts. If a transaction hasn’t cleared at least once on any blockchain, including Bitcoin, it’s not secure.

No Means No in Blockchain Confirmations

On faster blockchains like Tron or EOS, you can wait even longer. The point isn’t always to be sure the transaction is legitimate. Sometimes it’s to be sure you received it on the right chain.

Earlier this year, CCN.com reported on a string of bitcoin ATM robberies in Canada that resulted in the loss of over $100,000.

All of these attacks seem to have been possible due to long waits for Bitcoin transactions. The attackers were able to use software which allowed them to spend the same coins and pay the miner a higher fee.

Authorities never released many details on the mechanics of the thefts, but anyone familiar with Bitcoin can tell you a thing or two about how it might be done.

Cornell’s Professor Emin Gün Sirer cited later reporting  of the same events in a controversial Twitter thread yesterday, a conversation that has continued to today.

Sirer, who recently joined the long list of polyglots who want to found blockchains (alongside Chia and Bram Cohen), then engaged a number of critics.

There are competing narratives about the speed of Bitcoin.

A vocal portion says that if you want convenience, you’ll have to pay the fee.

Another group says that fees shouldn’t be so high at such an early stage. Bitcoin inherently loses its value proposition when it costs more for people to use.

Hadn’t We Settled This?

Eventually, the two groups split into two wider “communities,” with everybody’s coins in the game via the nature of a fork.

The market has ruled, for now, that Bitcoin is king compared to Bitcoin Cash.

It’s always recommended to keep in mind just how volatile a market we’re talking about.

Therefore, the “hold” mentality may be forced on people who otherwise might use the thing more.

The advent of Lightning Network decentralized applications is exciting but still vastly nascent by comparison to Ethereum or EOS, for example.

Bitcoin ATM Pops Up

Meanwhile, in real life, lawyer Stephen Palley cited one of Coinstar’s long-ago promised Bitcoin-enhanced coin exchanging machines – in the wild.