Craig Wright and Vitalik Buterin clash over what Bitcoin & blockchain is about
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is known to be someone who never shies away from expressing his opinions related to the crypto world. Recently, Buterin tweeted a statement describing Bitcoin’s value as a notarization service, resulting in a clash with Craig Wright.
The value of blockchain “notarization” is not proof of existence; it’s *proof of inexistence*. The ability to prove that message M is the *one and only one* of a certain type that has been signed, or that a message of some type *has not* been published yet.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) September 30, 2018
Someone forwarded the tweet to Craig Wright, which made him write a lengthy post on Medium explaining why Buterin was wrong. “I was forwarded one of the most ignorant concepts of what bitcoin (and for that matter blockchain) is about earlier today,” he wrote.
“I am sorry to tell you that the only thing a notarization does is to offer evidence of existence. Not proof, evidence. As some may remember with MD5 and a tool named Stripwire, the integrity of a hash can also be called into question,” he added.
Wright went on to refute two main claims proposed by Buterin:
Claim A – Blockchain has the ability to prove that message M is the one and only one of a certain type that has been signed.
Claim B – That blockchain has the ability to prove that a message of some type has not been published yet.
Apart from the fundamental disagreement over the nature and usefulness of blockchain technology, Wright also mentioned another key point of dissent in the blog post. “One major error is that some people (those in the ETH camp) seem to confuse identity and the ability to sign a transaction and think these are synonymous. There is not way to associate a key with a person other than the long arduous process of PKI and once this is deployed, we have a means to associate all use and lose privacy,” he stated.
He admitted that Bitcoin was not the solution to all of the problems the world is facing today. He wrote, “Bitcoin is not a technical panacea for all the world’s ills and it is not a social system. It was a means to deliver sound money using the principles of competition.”
Wright went on to explain why notaries are important. He wrote that a large part of what a notary does is covered by the term “Authenticating”. He explained, “This is not just that they published a hash of a document, but that they have verified the authenticity of the document at the time it is notarised (and not prior). A hash of a document, a token or a transaction on a blockchain is evidence of its existence at that time. No more, no less.”
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