An Interview with Gavin Andresen Part 2
I’ve recently had the distinct honour and pleasure of interviewing Gavin Andresen, one of the original Bitcoin Core developers, and the man who was entrusted by Satoshi Nakamoto with the network alert key, and also entrusted to carry on the development of the Bitcoin client. You can read the first part of this interview by clicking here
Eli: In 2016, you predicted that Ethereum will outgrow Bitcoin. Looking at the charts today, one could call that an accurate prophecy. In short, what do you pin these reasons on?
Gavin: Ethereum has been more innovative and willing to take reasonable risks, and in this stage of cryptocurrency development that seems to be what a majority of people want. The next year or two will be very interesting for both Ethereum and Bitcoin, and I have no idea which will end up being the dominant public blockchain (or if something else will pass them both). Ethereum might stumble as they switch from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake, and Bitcoin might fail to scale again even if today’s compromise is adopted quickly.
Here Gavin is referring to the recently announced Bitcoin scaling agreement whereby a group of signed companies representing a critical mass of the Bitcoin ecosystem agreed to support the following upgrades to the Bitcoin protocol.
• Activate Segregated Witness at an 80% threshold, signaling at bit 4
• Activate a 2 MB hard fork within six months
These entities represent:
• 58 companies located in 22 countries
• 83.28% of hashing power
• 5.1 billion USD monthly on chain transaction volume
• 20.5 million bitcoin wallets
But when I asked about the view on Ethereum’s proof of stake switch and whether Gavin sees this as risky or just plain unwise, he replied with:
Gavin: Just risky. I think proof-of-work is the best way we know of to create new coins, but I think proof-of-stake can be made “safe enough” to secure real-world transactions.
Eli: Eth and BTC aside, do you see any other ‘big’ movers on the horizon at all? Are you keeping a close watch on any of the thousands of others?
Gavin: I gave up predicting cryptocurrency price movements long ago. I think Zcash has a great leader, team, advisors, and technology… but I don’t own any Zcash, and it feels like all the cryptocurrency markets are in a speculative bubble right now.
EDIT (27/5/2017) – Well Gavin, you weren’t wrong. And that bubble has just popped, and Bitcoin continues to follow the same Gartner hype cycles we’ve mentioned before on numerous occasions …
Eli: You once mentioned, that you would like to be remembered as a “good guy” (as opposed to that person who did great things with Bitcoin). I imagine it would be tough, for someone in your position, where everything you say is scrutinized, sometimes trolled, other times applauded. It’s the price of being in the public eye. Is it a tough gig?
Gavin: When I first got involved in May of 2010, there were something like 4 million bitcoin, and the going price was about half a cent. If the developers screwed up (and we did), worst case people lost twenty thousand dollars. By the time I stepped down as the lead developer, that number had grown to over a billion dollars. It is a tough gig with a tremendous amount of pressure even when there is no controversy. Throw in controversy and politics and I think it is too tough for any one person or team, which is part of the reason I’m happy to see a diversity of Bitcoin implementations beginning to get some traction.
Eli: As a family man, what advice do you have to give to the younger generation who are only just getting into the cryptocurrency world, and perhaps getting a little too excited by the current coin bubble?
Gavin: Only invest what you can afford to lose, diversify, and use dollar-cost averaging over a period of at least six months to avoid buying or selling at a peak or trough.
Eli: If your current self could say three words to Gavin from 2010, what would they be?
I must admit at this point I wanted to close off with an open-ended question, with a possibility of hearing something profound, secretly wanting to hear some great words of wisdom, so you can imagine my very audible laugh when Gavin simply replied with:
Gavin: Buy more bitcoin.
Eli: Many thanks for your time. It’s a pleasure and an honour.
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