Former Chinese Ethereum Community Leader Abandons Network
A popular Ethereum community leader in China by the name of Ajian has abandoned the community over the implementation of the EIP-1559 protocol, famously known as the Ethereum Merge. This implementation implies that the Ethereum network has completely left the original Proof-of-Work (PoW) protocol upon which it was built, and now runs based on a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm.
Ajian did not only abandon the Ethereum community and by extension its network. He has at the same time embraced the Bitcoin Education Network. Ajian’s action has to an extent contributed to dampening the Euphoria that heralded the Ethereum Merge, as many members of the Ethereum community are still disappointed as to how the market has unfolded since after the merge.
On the part of Ajian and his decision to move on from the network, he explained his reason to be the preference of the PoW consensus algorithm over the newly embraced PoS of Ethereum. Citing several reasons, he argued categorically on the superiority of the PoW system which sustains his newly-preferred Bitcoin network, over the PoS system. He said;
I think PoW is an all-around better thing than PoS without a doubt. It is all-round.
The superiority debate between the PoW and PoS protocols has been around for several years. It is at the root of the underlying competition that has existed between the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities, with each of them standing as flagship representatives of the PoW and the PoS consensus algorithm respectively. Ajian noted that most of the ideas that have been promoted while comparing these protocols have been faulty. He seized the opportunity of his switchover to explain what he means by this.
Using the Byzantine fault tolerance algorithm, Ajian explained that the signature weight of all participants is expected to be the same, and under no circumstance would this condition be altered. While the PoW algorithm still sustains this principle, he explained that the PoS which has just been embraced by Ethereum relaxes this principle, thereby giving certain participants higher privileges than the others. He notes that PoS does not support permissionless participation in its fullness, and this is an important feature when dealing with decentralized protocols like Bitcoin and supposedly Ethereum.
Ahead of the merge, the Trilema became a popular topic that was widely suggested to become resolved when the upgrade happened. The impression was that all elements involved in the Trilema were going to be improved upon to produce a more efficient network. The veracity of this claim has also been argued by Ajian as he insists that the PoS is not better than the PoW in this regard.
In terms of security, Ajian noted that the same challenges still confront both algorithms. Issues like Stake Grinding Attacks, Long Range attacks, and 51% Attack Cost were noted to still exist among PoS networks, hence his argument that PoS does not create any improvement over PoW when security is concerned. He further argued that the description of these attacks remains a subject of perspective and on which side of the divide and individual stands.
Ajian does not believe that the PoS protocol has made Ethereum a more scalable network. In his opinion, the scalability of the network depends on the number of resources committed to it. Therefore, when a PoS network is said to have become more scalable, it simply means that there has been an increase in the overhead on consensus verification. This is not noticed by most users, especially with the verification blocks also becoming much larger than those of the PoW.
Ajian also criticized the extent of censorship resistance that PoS can offer. He noted that while users can always change their public keys on PoW protocols, it is not so with PoS platforms. Therefore, the PoS protocol makes it easy for users to be tracked and monitored based on the identity of their public keys.
Ajian expressed his disappointment with this latest Ethereum upgrade and disagrees that it is only related to miners. He rather thinks that the primary target of this implementation is the block producers. According to him this new system weakens this category of participants and affects their revenue since they are originally designed to earn part of the fees paid on the network.