Reponse to Vitalik's Written Remarks

in #eos7 years ago (edited)

I just recently learned of these remarks from Vitalik on reddit.

In these remark's Vitalik brings up the issue of Fees and Voting, both of which I feel deserve to be addressed.

Client Side Validation

Lack of in-protocol economic incentives for these master nodes to behave correctly, and the lack of client-side validation capability, mean that there is an extreme reliance on the voting mechanism.

If we are going to have a discussion then defining terms is critical. I interpret the phrase "client-side validation" to mean validation by non-producing full nodes, because the other definition of "light client validation" makes no sense in this context. Since EOS, Steem, and BitShares all have more "non-producing full nodes" than block producers and anyone can sync BTS and STEEM faster than they can sync ETH it seems clear to me that his statement is fundamentally wrong.

Block producers have no power to produce invalid blocks and every exchange will run a full node or at the very least a partial node and therefore directly validate the relevant subset of transactions.

Ethereum light-clients have to trust the block producers calculated things properly because they only check the hashes not the logic. Thus the failure condition is collusion of mining pools which is similar to collusion of elected block producers. The critical difference being that there are more elected block producers and their power is far more evenly distributed than the concentration of mining pool power.

Voter Turnout

Vitalik then went on to discuss the problems with voting:

Voting has the following problems:

  • Low voter participation (the DAO carbonvote, the current EIP186 carbonvote, the DAO proposal votes, and even ?Bitshares DPOS votes in 2014 all had <10% participation)
  • Game-theoretic tragedy-of-the-commons vulnerabilities: because each voter only has a tiny chance of influencing the result, their incentive to vote correctly is thousands of times lower than the socially optimal incentive. This means that situations like everyone putting their coins on exchanges and exchanges voting on users' behalf, with users not really caring how exchanges vote with their money, are likely to happen.
  • Coin holder interests are not perfectly aligned with user interests, and so proposals that increase coin prices at the expense of making the system useful may get implemented.

Low voter participation has been addressed over the past 3 years through a combination of voting proxies, easier user interfaces, and a reduction on the number of things people have to vote for. All told participation has increased above 20% of total tokens. Concerns over "exchanges voting" were largely remedied via Steem Power (exchanges need liquid tokens) and could be completely remedied via the constitution.

Furthermore, non-voters do not make things less secure. They keep tokens off the market which still makes it more expensive for an attacker to acquire stake. Large stakeholders have a huge incentive to vote to protect their wealth and an attacker would have to acquire more stake than the largest whales in the system. Given the turnout on Steem and BitShares and a market cap like Ethereum this would cost an attacker billions of dollars (assuming their buy pressure didn't increase price) and they could easily be forked out if it became a problem.

If attacker is a collusion by the largest whales, then either the whales think the "attack" is a feature that will enhance the protocol or the "community" will fork the whales out. Bitcoin and Ethereum have both seen what happens when those with large influence use it to change the rules against the minority interests (ETC and BCC).


Lastly Vitalik addresses the fees:

EOS has a mechanism where instead of having transaction fees, there is a rule that if you hold N tokens you can send a maximum of N * k transactions per period (see Steem whitepaper). This has quite an undesirable consequence for usability: it means that users have to buy N tokens, and have to be exposed to their volatility. This is especially bad for:

  • The poor, who are not interested in putting the entirety of their often very low savings into a funky new cryptoasset in order to be able to use a blockchain.
  • Anyone who wants to use the blockchain only a few times and then go away (they would need to buy coins and then sell them again)
    In Ethereum the latter is also true to some extent, but because you have to pay fees, the values involved are much smaller, so buying an extra few dollars of ether just in case is not a big deal.

I agree, the poor shouldn't have to buy any crytpo assets just to use the platform and this is why fees are a problem. Try to implement Steem on Ethereum and you would drive all the users away due to fees alone. There is a high fixed overhead associated with buying even $0.01 of any crypto currency. You have to create an account, pay bank transfer fees, do KYC, pay market spreads, etc. You have to buy and hold over $100 of cryptocurrency to justify the time and money of acquiring it in the first place. It certainly isn't viable to expect users to go through this process for a $0.01 fee.

  • Anyone who experiences prolonged unexpected spikes in demand (ie. pretty much everyone); users will have to buy enough coins to cover perhaps the 99th percentile of their expected usage, so that they don't get stuck being "out of gas" and having to go to an exchange.

Due to the fractional reserve nature of the blockchain bandwidth allocation, most people only need to purchase enough for their "base load" and the network can handle the surges in demand. Only in situations where the network is 100% congested will you need to purchase enough to cover the 99th percentile usage; however, if people are buying enough to cover the 99th percentile usage then the network will never be 100% congested because they will be holding unused bandwidth during the average usage. Therefore, we can conclude that the market will automatically balance things out and people will not have to buy based on peek usage but average usage.

Service Should Pay

Lastly EOS is designed around the idea that service providers (DApp Developers) should cover network costs, not the users. A good application needs a monetization strategy that is fully independent of network operation.

The existence of Steem is all the proof we need to demonstrate the value of "free" transactions and how we solve the issues with users needing stake.


Vitalik's entire critique on voting hinges on the "missing slashing conditions". Namely, that block producers are not punished for misbehaving. If you ignore the loss of future revenue and reputation, DPOS can offer trivial slashing for producing two blocks with the same timestamp and thus attempting to create a fork. It is also trivial to add a bond on producers that stake holders can vote to confiscate for a wide range of objective and subjective violations of the constitution.

In my Review of Casper, Ethereum's proposed Proof of Stake Algorithm I throughly debunk the algorithm.

  1. the computational costs of the algorithm consumes the limited transaction throughput
  2. making economic bets on next block producer encourages collusion and cooperation rather than competition.
  3. ultimately Casper will have blocks produced round-robin by a coalition of colluding large stakeholders dividing up the rewards proportional to stake.

In effect, the interest of the smaller players will have no impact on block production under Casper and the network overhead of per-block communication will be dramatically higher (favoring those with low latency connections to each other and therefore centralization).


Once again critiques of DPOS, EOS, and STEEM are based upon flawed economic assumptions, misinformation, and ignorance/denial of vulnerabilities in their proposed solutions. I fully recognize that voting is not ideal, but it is currently the best approach when factoring in all risks, attack vectors, and recovery options.


"The poor, who are not interested in putting the entirety of their often very low savings into a funky new cryptoasset in order to be able to use a blockchain."

The above is not only an exaggeration but also applies to Ethereum MUCH more than Steem/EOS & company.

This part of the sentence is just silly:
"putting the entirety of their often very low savings into a funky new cryptoasset"

But forget about THEORY... Isn't this very website proof enough that no one needs to buy anything in order to interact with the Steem blockchain? Sure, Steemit helps to onramp users, OK. But once that tiny stake is in the user's wallet, it never needs to be depleted. This onramping process has orders of magnitudes less friction than anything else in the cryptospace right now.

And let's not forget there are LITERAL examples on Steemit of "the poor" from around the world that joined this network and make a living using it.

As much as the theoretical debate is fun, the proof is literally right before our eyes.

Vitalik just answered Dan's latest piece so we might expect a response from @dan.

I guess I'm not the only one wishing for it. But we'll see if Dan's see it as worthy of his time.

I loved this comment on Vitalik's post:


Hey, I was bummed to hear you didn't have a steem account, you know... they're free! So it's really easy to get one, and you can just start posting right away! I mean, you don't have to pay anything to post... you just sign up and start writing. There's a lot of great content there too! I'm sure you're busy with Ethereum but if you have a little time... I mean with 3 second block times, you won't have to wait to see your post go live, and then, when people vote for you, you'll get some extra Steem, so you'll never have to worry about bandwidth again! :P Well anyway, I secured a couple of accounts for you, since you pretty much announced to the whole world that your name wasn't registered there. :) @vbuterin & @vitalikbuterin. You're welcome!"

Why is his payment declined? Im new here..!

Dan already has a shitload of Steem, he may be voluntarily declining payout to avoid draining the reward pool.

i believe that when @dan writes about steem, eos and other topics related to the steemit community he declines payment. i read his reasoning on another post some time ago

wow, thanks @teamsteem for sharing Vitalik response..interesting indeed. I am sure that @dan will have a great response of his own. Looking forward to seeing it.

making economic bets on next block producer encourages collusion and cooperation rather than competition

vitalik ignores collusion & centralization aspect of that critique completely and even shows that they will literally punish validators that disagree with status quo even if they are the majority:

the idea that we can create a protocol where it is expensive for the validators to attack the protocol, even if they are a majority.

as long as there are at least some "honest" nodes that refuse to follow along a malicious majority, such an attack is expensive.

Minority deciding for majority literally is centralization.

Lets also remember they used a 72% premine and regular ICO for distribution which already suggest centralization in casper. And literally nothing has changed about eth centralization demonstrated before such as abusing codebase, holding funding and updates hostage to get anything they want to happen and decide which chain is real:

note how Vitalik brings up carbon vote as example in low voter turn out. he forgot to mention that his vote was "official" for only 12 hours and yet they still used it to justify coding bailout of money (including vitalik's and other core devs money) set to default - effectively creating new tx that confiscated money from people they disliked.


How can vitalik honestly claim that you need som large amount of money to PARTICIPATE in the steem blokchain when its only trie of ETHEREUm and ICOs!'Its ETHEREUm which forces you to invest LARGE amounts oif money in ICOs in order to reap any sort of real reward....but with steem you can start at $0 like me and actually BUILD UP a life savings ovr the course of a few months! Theres a ton of work for any motivated steemit user who finds a niche and persues it! lots of value to add, lots of work to do, and is ethereum actualy much older than steem blockchain?!?!

Seriously It makes sense to get the publicity going about blockchains and get some attention and a "fued" going, halthy competition, but then again it hurts steemit to have Vitalik so arogantly dismiss Steem when hopnestly he knows nothing about it

I bet you Vitalik has never taken the time to even use steem blolchain and see how it works and what its caoable of, he has no idea of how much more effiicent it is and hes just mad that EOS is related to steem (graphene @dan etc) and that EOS is going to take away his ethereum's lunch and or thunder whichever saying you like better

I honestly do believe Vitalik has alowed the price and marketcap of ethereum to go to his head

he has become arrogant and he must remember that if ethereum ends up left in the sidelines by EOS then Vitalik's reputation will also fade...h will just be anothr altcoin maker who everyone will ay was just enjjoying a "bubble" and honestly he deserves alot of credit for ethereum but hey EOS will be ay better , sorry dude, but yeah steem is alot more powerful and efficient than people think

Just the fact that e have a working blockchain AND a working website AND its a working social media website all in one is a miracle...nothing short of a miracle..

look at bitcoin it BARELY functions with its hour long waits and $10 transaction fees....and it requires massive amounts of electricity and Hash power, Exohash's, just to stay on...while steem just needs about 21 rasberry pi computers and a few solar panels to work

As an avid user and believer in both Steem, Bitshares within Open Ledger ecosystem decentralized exchange. As great as Ethereum was and the funding it has provided the ICO's. It has a ton of issues and is extremely inflexible platform that has several flaws. The successful projects that Dan Larimer has already delivered with Steemit and BTS. His track record is excellent. Not taking anything away from Vitalik Buterin who is clearly a genius and has done an excellent job as an ambassador directly responsible for growing this emerging trillion dollar economy with the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance. With that said Dan Larimer is a rare genius as well that will be able to leverage the proven successful successful projects that are already GA to promote EOS that in my opinion will be 1000x beter then the Ethereum smart contract platform and prove to be a much better dapps platform to build of the will be light years faster with much better security. It will almost certainly take market share from Ethereum and will have 100x better tech when GA. It will eventually be the Ethereum killer and has the potential to not only rise above ETH all time high price valuation but to blow past it. EOS is the ETH killer and I have a price target of over $1000 per unit in 3 years. T
There is no better investment in my opinion then EOS currently out of and crypto currency investments. Not only that they are hoarding ETH daily over the next 12 months and will hurt the major competitor at the same time with what ever they decide to do with all that ETH at the end of the ICO. Hopefully, they donate to charity.

are you staying with eos at lest to its full launch?

i am staying with EOS far aftr that i am with EOS untill its worth so much that i will only have to sell tiny bits and pieces like a millionaire living off the interest!

EPOS will be well over $1000 so i anna ahve enoiugh EOS so i can just sell a lil bit heer and thre, i wanna pass it on to my children, its a looooong trm invstment for me,

why woul anyone sell it befoe its laucnh? If they belive its is really going to be specuclated tHAt high before its even out, well imagin how well iut will do when its up and running!

Man th EOS launch is going toe be CRAZZZZZYYYY

Remember to register your tokens before the freeze date.

Thank ufor ur reminder. I apreciate it. Now readuy for a crazy angry respone i wroyte? prepare urself! its not dircted at u but at the EOS gods,

well why? will I get screwed and loose al the money or what?!?!? Ive never used a crypto currency that makes me register...but its because depending on how much EOS u have is how much proportional power u get on the network right?

sorry for getting so md fuck ive been raging over this, u set me off man, hah i laready knw but ur triggered me not blaming u im just tellin u ho i went offona bunchof EOSposts, old ones tho so iuts ok, i was like "FUCK this they shoul figure thatshit out! u cant leave opeopel with worthless tokns just cu they didnt regiter!!!' haha i know i have til june of 2018 too haha but peopel will forfget to register right?

anyway thanks orthe reminder, if u didnt remind me id probly never figure out that i had to use this crazy long MEW 8 steop method on the exodus walet website guide, here fuckin sucks man, so many steps
so much extar wrk oh well

i guess i wont care once each EOSis worth $1000 :D

They have to do it this way. Otherwise they control the protocol and get stung with securities law.

The token registration is a vote. Your vote is your stake and the voting is to create a network using the software.

I'm sure they'd agree it would be easier for everyone if it was a direct sale etc. but this is the only way to insulate themselves (and as a result, you) from the government who will no doubt want to harm this platform.

Look at China, demanding exchanges refund ICO's. Block.One have managed to avoid this risk by:

  1. Giving away the protocol to the public
  2. Not starting the block chain themselves (it's started via the token registration / vote)

Genius in design

Oh I didn't know that! Here's almost a dollar for your comment! that's cool to know how the vote is like DPOS, so it's like, whoever how more of a vote, they csn potentioally make money curating? l;ol will there be curation on EOS? or so its liuke Delegated proof of stake but with Ethereum, man it's so cool that delegated proof of stake is working so well on steemit, have you heard of how Ark is delegated proof of stakje? no idea what Ark is yet, havnt read anywhere about how it orks or what it does why i would wanna use it BUT they said they got Arks DPOS keys onto a ledger nano and now the ledger nano accepts Ark for when u cast your votes ! so it makes me believe we might be able top have other DPOS coins like steem on the Ledger nano, think we could ever have hardware wallet support for steemit key storage? because yeah having the posting key and the master key theres like 4 of the steemit keys so that might complicate things, but having to plugin the ledger every time u wanted to send money on steemit would be really cool!

WIOAH I just noticed something, did your comment really get 8,863 Views??/ wtf??

i think maybe this is a glitch and its showing the views of the post in total? thats crazy maybe your comment got that many views cuz the post got that many views??
Im glad it did it explained a LOT and thats a very in demand question being asked about why the extra step and its because of the way EOS is built and I didnt know that! delegated proof of take is new technology that requires extra steps !liek when a jet Engine is first used by the airforce in new planes in the late 1940s the jet engines had lots of extra parts yhat needed extra maintenance! new tech has extra steps! i see that now

I understand how you were feeling. It is almost similar to a private placement deal in standard stocks. There is time and in the end it's better to happen now than once the freeze kicks in and end up losing the investment. Good luck!

yep i took a look at your profile and you are quite a good example of a steemian mate!

You brought up some excellent points.

Thats epic

@cob VERY good point!

Absolutely agree, to you @cob thanks for the thought.

Yes..Steemit is helping so many people !

oh yeah "the poor" O.o , how about removing criminal elements who are terrorizing some users that would be grrrreeeat!

damn this head of vitalik is really huge man ofcourse because he has a lot of brain and brainpower. I hope that I find some smartasses myself to work with me and start an service like steam but then focussed on learning aspect only... I call it brain and brainpower that doest define how rich you are but defines how smart others think you are :) dan has a barber with the same vision as my barber.. I have also a badass fronthair like that

Legends indeed~*~

Here it looks as if they would like each other. Now, is competition announced? I like both.

This are exciting times we live in!


Once again critiques of DPOS, EOS, and STEEM are based upon flawed economic assumptions, misinformation, and ignorance/denial of vulnerabilities in their proposed solutions.

To be fair, there are not much good and clear documentation available to explain how DPOS-blockchains work. It requires quite a lot of work to find all relevant information so most people don't do it.

For example, the Steem whitepaper is still not updated so it's very much outdated now. If somebody wants to understand how Steem works, they have to read the whitepaper and then go through a lot of old posts in Steem to find out what's changed and why.

As the old saying goes, "if the student hasn't learned, the teacher hasn't taught".

I have not wanted to be so critical, but it's vexing, how poorly Steemit is documented right now... and it makes it difficult to learn about it, or understand it very well, for thousands of new users. @ned

It's open source. Go document it.

Haha, this is how programmers think. "My code is my documentation, go see what it does. See, I put comments in there!" :)

I must totally upvote you on this comment of yours...
Programmer here (although a different platform).
Guilty as charged.

This is a fair point. I do wonder if @Dan is purposely not publishing a lot of DPOS documentation to prevent giving someone else the blueprint and beating him to the punch.

I think he is just so busy with inventing new stuff that he doesn't have time to teach newbies.

You can lead a student to water, but you cannot make him drink.

If you create a build guild for Steem and EOS and someone else tries to build them by following the guide but is met with errors and a failed build because the build guide skips many steps, that's the fault of the person creating the guide, not the person trying to build the systems.

Take some responsibility for your shitty documentation and sort it out instead of essentially calling people idiots for not being mind readers.

Please don't be mad at me, but I want to add my Vitalik Buterin sketch, because he is a legend :-)

Love this post!

Vitalik sketch

If you wanna upvote my sketch, an art-student, me, appreciates it and says THANK YOU!

Make a sketch for Daniel Larimer and it will pay out better than Vitaliks. Do you wanna bet?

Nice idea - D. Larimer is definitley also one of the cryptoworlds heros :-)

Post the schetch here on steemit and if your post gets less than $100 I will eat my balls before McAfee will

That would be a great start - I saved some money but still need around 60K to study in Florence in Italy :-D quite a lot, but I will work for it. I worked to long in jobs which depressed me. Time to live my dream. Thanks for the support guys - it's a moral boost; motivating! <3

@liondani haha ABSOLUTELY!

And thanks for the upvote - I aprreciate it!

Lol, only in ETH we trust? No, we don't. In forward thinking technology that addresses issues we trust. EOS is solving so many critical issues it's ridiculous. Fanboyism gets you one place, and that's behind the curve.

You are right and thanks for the feedback. Made me research better :-) however I just wanna draw and paint actually. I am no cryptoexpert. I just know cryptos helped me to pay some of my tuition fees and I hope to get more chances, because I also saved money with a job where I worked with drug addicted people and i cannot do something like this anymore....

Cool, glad you're keeping an open mind and doing some research of your own! Stay inquisitive!

How old is he in this sketch? He looks like 70 year

Aehm really? Actually I tried to capture an recent image. I am still learning :-D

It would be great if Vitalik responds back with more technical insights. We know there isn't an ideal system especially in such a new tech, and such discussions helps development.

Good pont!
I love seeing these two legends communicate directly on the blockchain!

Your review of Casper is 2yrs old and is from when Ethereum has just launched... That is just too stale to be taken seriously in this space, especially given how much Casper has moved around since then. Worth refreshing or not citing.

In my Review of Casper, Ethereum's proposed Proof of Stake Algorithm I throughly debunk the algorithm.

And if you thoroughly debunk it, you (and other critics) have to consider why so many devs take Casper seriously enough to work on Ethereum as a platform for their projects. Otherwise it's like Greg Maxwell claiming to have proven that Bitcoin he proved Bitcoin was impossible...

What has changed in that time? Every thing google turns up shows nothing fundamental has changed. Users post a bond that is forfeited if they bet on an invalid block. The idea is flawed from this very high level description.

The idea is to simulate mining without the electricity. However, that idea is flawed in that without electricity consumption requirement you still have mining pool-like centralization only now it will be betting pools.

Please give me the latest documentation and I will see if it actually changes anything.

Vitalik's feedback on what's changed in Casper in two years and more, you probably already got the Reddit ping but if not here it is. Btw good on you for changing the picture out. You guys have interacted much more reasonably than those devs in most inter-project leader conversations.

@dan, your post is invaluable and forward-thinking on so many levels I don't even know where to begin. and just from my brief experience dealing with ethereum, between the EOS coin offering and etherdelta (whose major issues are almost entirely related to the current limitations of ethereum itself), from my perspective your points are all more or less right on the money.

I am not designing Casper nor am I critiquing it, so the latest documentation is not at my fingertips.

Wow, you said with full confidence that Casper has moved around since then; however when asked for proof you just did not bother to point dan in the correct direction??

Knowing it's been in active development/isn't static (it's arguably the most important piece of Ethereum's roadmap) and having at my fingertips the most recent documents are in no way mutually exclusive. Again, I'm not developing Casper nor critiquing it.

So in essence, you are basically assuming that his review is stale, because it is 2 years old?

I read it. It's insubstantial and pre-dates most of the Casper research. It may be 100% right in the end, we do not know the future, but yes, it's stale and not up to date.

Related to voting part, I would like to consider cognitive aspects for more active and responsible participation.
In short, max witness voting should be decreased.

Theoretically numbers of witness vote do not have differences since one can split stakes. But according to Dunbar's theory, the first cognitive threshold (i.e. best friends) is 5 at max, and the second is 15, then 30. 30 max votes mean voter should use 3rd threshold to manage full witnes vote list, which is very burdensome. Many voters cannot manage it so voting power can become somewhat concentrated.
To as many people use their vote as possible, I think 5(1st threshold) is a good value. If we want to incenticivize some active voters, between 5 and 20 can be chosen, but I personally prefer lower than 10, which is slightly lower than 50% of 21.

This is a reasonable argument. But would also require reducing the number of producers from 21 to a number less than the votes per user.

Is there any reason to do that? In my opinion if we have lower number of votes than 21, there will be multiple groups of witnesses based on different voters' preferences. This can reduce a negative perception about "whales rule all witnesses", and diversify witnesses.

Excellent point clayop. I just set up a witness in Peerplays and current witnesses in there monopolizing block production and it's very difficult to get in .. Must be the same for every graphene blockchain. Very hard for new witnesses to start producing blocks and even get a chance to start producing. It's much easier if you were there when at launch.... after launch it's gets exponentially harder to become a witness.

... so right now, I got a node running consuming resources, and not producing any blocks. Witnesses not producing blocks using VPS are not getting any return to pay for renting a server.

my reply .. which was 'moderated' out of existence ..
[–]kurtbeil 1 point just now
If something stands before you, something that will, given a little time ... kill you - something that has substantial and growing capability and support in doing so .. you best be making some moves - not just standing their trying to rap battle it. It isn't here to talk, it's here to KILL! :-p .. false assumptions/accusations will not serve as shield.

Both technology have their advantages and disadvantages and it's too soon to discuss which one is better than the other. Time will tell because we have yet to see eos launched and yet to see ether prove itself in real life usage other than for ico. I m excited to see both succeed because that will mean a revolution for the world. Great job dan and let's hope u put more focus on building the platform and launch it asap. Action speaks louder than words. Cheers!

Actually, It is very useful when such leaders criticize each other's solutions. Everyone benefits from it.
The most important thing is to conserve politeness and subjectivity along the way.

Very useful critique, Dan. Let's hope Vitalik comes onto Steemit and responds.

Reading it, I had a flashback to this video from the Miami Bitcoin Conference in which you asked Vitalik some tough questions about Ethereum.

Daniel is to Ethereum what Roger Ver is to BIockstream. Both are Epic crypto battles! This is an exciting space to invest in. Long on EOS and Bitcoin Cash.

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