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Remove Bitcoin mining? The funny ideas of the founder of Ripple (XRP)


Denature Bitcoin? – The will of Satoshi Nakamoto in creating Bitcoin (BTC) was to achieve the best possible decentralization, to give its digital currency exceptional resistance to censorship. Chris Larsen, co-founder of the company Ripple (XRP), believes that one of the cornerstones of this decentralization of Bitcoin should be questioned: its consensus by Proof of Work.

Bitcoin, an insatiable polluter?

Brad Garlinghouse, current CEO of Ripple, and Christian Larsen, its executive chairman and co-founder, are still embroiled in the accusations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with regard to the illegal issuance of a security : the token XRP.

This does not prevent Christian Larsen from finding time to criticize bitcoin in its last publication on Medium, and more generally all cryptocurrencies using the consensus by Proof of work (Proof-of-Work, or PoW).

Howling with the environmental wolves, the president of Ripple rehashes the argument of the Bitcoin the Climate Destroyer of the planet :

“The emerging solution among climate experts is that the bitcoin code must be changed to adopt a low-power consensus algorithm, like those used by almost all other major cryptocurrency protocols. For example, while bitcoin uses the energy of about 12 million U.S. households per year, other methods could reduce that number to less than 100 U.S. households. (…) “.

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Convince miners to kill Bitcoin’s PoW?

But how do you persuade minors who – after the China shot itself in the foot by banning mining have invested fortunes to take advantage of this financial windfall over the long term? Especially in the United States by the way.

Discover Christian Larsen’s very “daring” (we will remain polite) proposal, which speaks for itself:

“The proposed modification of the code [de Bitcoin] the least disruptive would be to simply take a snapshot of the computing power (hashrate) of existing miners, then to reward them in proportion to this power until 2140 [date de fin d’émission de nouveaux BTC]. (…) ».

It should be noted at the outset that all miners who have purchased mining machines and financed installations but have not not yet launched their production at the time of this “snapshot” will be happy to have invested for nothing.

Then the founder of Ripple, does not mention the main pitfall of the Proof of Stake (PoS) that it seems to put at the pinnacle compared to the PoW. A problem that Satoshi Nakamoto would not have appreciated at all for his creation: the risk of ploutocracy, or the most rich Token holders can decide the future of the network in the face of smaller holders.

This increased risk of censorship is a flip side of the coin that PoS promoters do not talk about. Yet it is the whole heart of the blockchain trilemma, between scalability, security and decentralization. If the proof of stake can improve scalability and energy efficiency, it presents a risk of reducing decentralization and security. However, these last two constitute the strong point of the Bitcoin network from its creation.

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