“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman
Mihai Alisie (from Ethereum) nails it with post: dreaming with open minds. Lots of awesome nuggets in that post.
Back in December when I was researching personal coin ideas, just like Vitalik, I discovered that, at that stage, doing any kind of colored coin system on the Bitcoin blockchain will be possible, but very, very ‘hack’-y. I even came up with an overly complicated decentralized altcoin process (that probably has millions of holes). It was spammy and didn’t really feel like it would fit. And the odd combination of having to keep normal btc to transfer colored coins. It’s messy.
I was glad to discover that Vitalik started Ethereum: solving exactly those problems. And it is on the surface, a simple proposition: move the ‘unit of account’ to a processing unit. Ether, is the ‘gas’ to process multitude of smart contracts.
In Bitcoin’s case, the ‘transaction fee’ was what was paid to change state of the currency unit, processing a relatively simple contract on the ledger.
In Ethereum, this contract can become much more complex and a lot more can be changed in the state besides a “currency unit”. But now, a transaction fee in the case of Bitcoin won’t suffice [pay per kb], as more complex contracts would not match linearly with increase in size. And thus, ‘ether’ is used to process these contracts and state changes.
If you are up for some reading on this fine Thursday, do read the white paper: https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/%5BEnglish%5D-White-Paper.
The potential this has is immense. I’m especially looking forward to working on decentralized reputation systems (so you could hopefully tap it more easily into systems such as OpenBazaar), and again working on personal coins.
But, that’s probably just low hanging fruit with Ethereum. I’m so so excited about what will happen, and what will be created. Here’s even a basic experiment in defining art with a dash of behavioural economics in a contract (by Rob Myers): http://bitcoinagile.com/5E897/ethereum-art-is_stream. Because why not?
The jury is still out on the economics of this system [including the concept of a pre-sale of ether]. But to able to figure it out is a really, really difficult problem.
At the end of the day, I take my hat off to the Ethereum guys. I like supporting people who create, and are passionate about what they are creating. Doing something so monumental is no easy task. There’s technical, economical, cryptographic & legal problems, and then you have to deal with the haters as well [don’t be a hater, be a creator].
As humanity, we are paving our way to defeating the entropy of large social systems, and whether Ethereum fails or succeeds, it’s a historical step.
I bought some ether so I can do some cool contracts when it launches and saying thanks to the hard-working team for doing epic shit. Not much, as I need to still bootstrap this new company I’m busy with. ;)