I will be voting "No" on the poll seeking to explore the possibilities of a proof-of-research blockchain in 2018.
The question I find myself asking over and over is:
While PoR is an amazing concept that may become reality in the future, why attempt to invent something that we don't immediately need -- a new blockchain security mechanism -- when we have so much else to do?
I feel that on the list of potential roadmap goals, PoR is toward the bottom due to its possible flaws and exploits, outlined in this post by TheCharlatan. These flaws and exploits do not have solutions at this time, and seeking out those solutions would be a very time consuming task that might very well turn up no real solutions.
I think our time could best be spent focusing on improving the already proven novelty and utility of Gridcoin - Minting a currency based on work done for external entities such as BOINC. There are plenty of issues to work on other than developing an entirely new blockchain protocol, which is a very intense project. On my list of development oriented tasks are (note that this is my list, not the community's -- your list might differ from mine which differs from everyone else):
- New users need to get their ERR without being forced into a pool
- Stats gathering needs to be decentralized and made to scale
- Superblocks need to be prepared for expansion outside of solely BOINC (not any time soon, but we need to start thinking about it)
- Account verification (beacons) need to be improved
- Removal of the BOINC team requirement needs to be put back on the table
Several of these are other roadmap polls running as we speak. I may write at length as to why I support a few or each one.
On top of these development issues, I think we still have some base organizational processes to work out including (but definitely not limited to):
- Concrete and Visible Poll parameters
- Voting weight parameters
- Treasury creation
- Treasury distribution
- Development path consensus processes
- UX/UI redesign and improvement
- Whitepaper and documentation
- Development, marketing, and business plans
Several of these non-development oriented issues are well underway, though even those still need a lot of attention. Attention that would be split if we had to focus on developing, designing, and creating an entirely new blockchain protocol, particularly one with known security flaws.
Who knows. Maybe working on one of these more straight forward tasks will present solutions to the known PoR issues.
I do like the idea of proof-of-research, and I do hope that we will be able to one day actually build a secure and functioning blockchain protocol at least partly based on the amount of research done by users. At this time, however, it seems impractical to expect us to solve very real flaws and attack vectors while also putting the work in elsewhere to make Gridcoin what we all know it can be.
I see no real reason not to use proof-of-stake, a proven and secure protocol that is actively being developed by hundreds of crypto-communities, to secure the blockchain while using GRCResearch-Mint to mint and distribute the majority of GRC.
Do you agree? Disagree? Have something to add?
Continue the conversation below!
And whatever you think, VOTE! The poll ends on February 7th.