Gavin Andresen raised eyebrows recently when he tweeted that Ethereum has more nodes now than bitcoin and that it will grow its lead as its block size exceeds bitcoin’s.
Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation and lead developer of Bitcoin until 2014, has raised concerns in the past about the bitcoin block size. He has noted the possibility that the bitcoin community could see exchanges, miners and merchants move to a highly centralized clearing agreement model. He believes that this will indicate an unhealthy bitcoin network that will be even slower, less reliable and more vulnerable to attacks.
Andresen is not alone in his concern about bitcoin’s scaling issue. He has, however, been raising the issue longer than most bitcoin developers. This concern is central to his positive view of Ethereum, which has the scaling issue in hand.
In 2014, Andresen noted Ethereum was a Bitcoin 2.0 project creating “a revolutionary new platform for applications.”
In July of 2015, Andresen emailed the Bitcoin Core development mailing list that the “worst of all possible worlds” for bitcoin was “no plan for how to scale up.” He indicated that scaling was bitcoin’s only obstacle, regardless of how it must be achieved. If a fork to Bitcoin-XT was needed, Andresen was willing to go along with it.
Vitalik Buterin, Etherum’s founder, was quick to reply to Andresen’s tweet by noting that Ethereum also has more features than bitcoin.
Many people agreed with Andresen’s views about Ethereum, based on the responses. One tweeter noted that Ethereum will surpass bitcoin.
Another tweeter noted that bitcoin’s transaction fees will rise, pushing people to Ethereum, unless the bitcoin transaction issue is addressed.
Not everyone agreed with Andresen. Some felt his prediction will not come to pass. A few pointed out that Andresen has been wrong on other topics.
The responses to Andresen’s tweet indicated there are some Ethereum skeptics. One asked when the Ethereum supporters will call for another hard fork.
Last week, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong mentioned in a Reddit post the possibility that Coinbase support more altcoins, and that Ethereum is scaling better than bitcoin.
Coinbase added Ethereum a day after its historical hard fork in July.
The crypto wallet could benefit from Ethereum’s plans for unlimited scalability, added security by employing fail-safe mechanisms in smart contracts, and higher flexibility, leading to a greater ability to innovate and adapt.
Armstrong has also expressed a lot of concern about bitcoin’s scaling challenge and is urging everyone to upgrade to Bitcoin Classic to buy time to address the scaling issue and prevent serious problems.
Earlier this year, Armstrong raised concerns about the Bitcoin Core team that don’t bode well for how the scaling issue will be handled. He was concerned about the team’s communication skills and lack of maturity, which has compromised bitcoin’s ability to attract new protocol developers.
The Bitcoin Core team also prefers a perfect solution to an acceptable one. And if no such solution exists, they are okay with inaction, Armstrong noted, even if it puts bitcoin at risk. They also believe bitcoin will not scale long-term, and any block size increase is a path they are unwilling to allow.
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