[ExI] Thoughts on Ethereum?

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Fri Mar 14 07:03:27 UTC 2014

On Thu, Mar 13, 2014 at 11:30 PM, Giulio Prisco <giulio at gmail.com> wrote:

> "Adrian - It's yet another solution looking for a problem at the moment."
> Well, it's a platform, it may open ways to develop many solution to
> many problems.

You do not appear to be familiar with that phrase, so I shall explain.

A "solution looking for a problem" is a capability to do something, but it
is ill-defined or not defined exactly when and why someone would use it.
This results in little to no thought given to existing alternatives, and
how to make this new capability improve upon them.

"People can use it for contract-based programming" does not suffice,
because "contract-based programming" is the new capability this brings.
That's basically a circular definition.

"People can use this to write programs that don't need to run on a central
server" is better, but then you need to define when and why people would do
that.  (And there are already things that can do this.  How does Ethereum
compare to those?)

The providers seem to be unaware that there are alternatives.  This almost
always means that the new offering sucks, and usually means that it could
be improved by incorporating best practices from existing alternatives -
possibly to better than them, if the new offering does anything better.

(Thus: it is not my job to find and list alternatives to Ethereum.  It is
the job of those who promote Ethereum.  "Burden of proof" and all that.
Notably, they must find the closest ones that most decrease the perceived
uniqueness and value of Ethereum.  This can be hard to accept!  But if they
do not, it will be done - mostly silently - by the people they try to
promote it to, they will fail to gain much traction, and they will lack the
data to see why they failed.)

a good job of explaining "solution looking for a problem" further.
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