MOVE Chain is a continuation of consortium chains: an informal response to criticism from the Move ecosystem

This is the fourth article by Whistle (the third one couldn’t be published……) , responding to the criticism of many friends in the Move ecosystem.

Author | Beichen

As a newly registered self-media account, Whistle’s first official article, “Reversing Technology! Aptos and Sui are actually consortium chains, and their lives depend on the patience of capital,” has attracted so much industry attention (firepower) in a completely cold start, which is beyond our expectations.

This article has been recognized by many friends in the industry, and even two friends have expressed their investment intentions (by the way, we don’t need it at this stage, just “do everything without asking about the future”).

At the same time, because it challenged the mainstream view of the industry, it attracted criticism from many people in the Move ecosystem. The most concentrated criticism is “Counterattack! Several senior developers refute some of the criticisms of Move’s public chain”-six developers jointly refuted 12 views.

Although our opinions are different, they are all focused on technical discussions, and such debates help promote the healthy development of the industry.

Whistle should arrange an article to refute the refutation of that article, but Steven said that the more basic the controversy (such as whether Sui is a blockchain or not), the more rigorous it is. He wants to prepare carefully before refuting the opponent’s carefully prepared refutation.

In fact, we have done two interviews in total, and some discussions involving details have not been reflected in the article (mainly due to the length, but it does not affect all the conclusions in the article), so today post the part of the details involved in the second interview as an informal response , and Steven’s formal response will be posted in a few days.

However, because one of the 12 rebuttals is Beichen’s opinion (3), so here is a reply, and I will respond to two controversial points (4, 7) on behalf of Steven.

View (3):

Controversial original:

People in the currency circle seem to be very ignorant , for example, when Dfinity (ICP) appeared before, many technical people in the currency circle were very excited, thinking that its narrative was very grand and could solve many problems, but in fact, that is just the story of cloud native, Microsoft, IBM have been doing it for many years.

Rebuttal:

“The construction path of ICP is indeed problematic. However, the author should feel that ‘decentralized cloud computing’ is not right, but Web3 is decentralized cloud-native.”

– Jolestar, founder of the Layer2 project Rooch, which supports Move

Response from Beichen:

First of all, I do not think that “decentralized cloud computing” is not right, nor do I think that “cloud-native” is not right. I just think that Dfinity’s decentralized cloud computing is not right. The reason is irrelevant to technology, but I believe that its business logic, economic model, and resources make it difficult to develop. Of course, this point of view can be explained in a separate article, and I will not elaborate here.

Secondly, I also think that “Web3 is decentralized cloud-native,” but definitely not the cloud-native that Dfinity is doing.

Viewpoint (4):

Controversial statement:

“Since Ethereum, there has been no new technological paradigm.”

Rebuttal:

“If you are referring to the earliest Ethereum, in fact, it and the technological paradigm outside of it changed very quickly. ZK, DA, Verkle Tree, interactive fraud proof, and the earliest initiators of these technological paradigms were not the Ethereum Foundation, but they were quickly copied and absorbed by Ethereum.

For example, Ethereum borrowed Celestia’s DA, and borrowed Cosmos’s Tendermint for PoS consensus protocol. ZK is not considered Ethereum’s own technology, but the Ethereum Foundation has spent a lot of effort promoting the concept of ZK.

In addition, Move language is also an innovation in technological paradigms. The paradigm innovation of Algorand and Cardano on PoS is also very important, but it has not yet undergone large-scale tests.” – Zhou Qi, founder of EthStorage, a storage project in the Ethereum ecosystem

Beichen’s response on behalf of Steven:

First of all, we need to clarify what is called a “paradigm”. It refers to a theoretical framework, not a technical detail. From Newton’s classical mechanics to Einstein’s relativity, this is called a paradigm shift. Although Boltzmann’s energy equalization theory, which is in between them, is also great, it is not a paradigm shift.

ZK, DA, Merkle Tree, Interactive Fraud Proof, these are technologies applied to blockchain, not blockchain itself. They can be well combined with blockchain, but there has not been a paradigm shift like Ethereum to Bitcoin yet.

However, Meta’s technologies (including the Move language) are indeed innovations in technology paradigms, but we believe that its direction is wrong…

It’s good, but it’s doing things related to consortium chains from both technical and business perspectives, so don’t get involved with public chains.

View (7):

Controversial statement:

Move is not a good language, because it cannot be used without projects such as Aptos and Sui.”

Rebuttal:

This is also true for Solidity. If Solidity is divorced from the chain that supports EVM, it cannot be used. It is the same for many programming languages, such as ‘XXX is not a good language because if you divorce it from the XXX ecology, the XXX language cannot be used.'”- Senior Move ecological developer Nanne2022

“The reason Steven said this is mainly because Solidity and Move require a special virtual machine to execute, which requires a dedicated program, but Java, which dominates the entire Internet development field, also requires a special virtual machine. If it were at the end of the last century when Java was just launched, someone would also say:If Java is divorced from the JVM ecology, it cannot be used, so it is not a good language’.”- Move community member eternal

Beichen’s response to Steven:

At the beginning of Steven’s answer, he stated: “Their (Solidity and Move) foundations are different, so it is not a matter of who is better.”

And when the question was concluded, he also said: “It has nothing to do with the language. All public chains starting from Libra have problems, which is the root of all problems.”

The problem is not whether Move is a good development language, but whether Move is a good “blockchain development language”, and Steven’s answer is clear – the ecosystem where Move is located is not the correct direction for the evolution of blockchain.

Some technical details mentioned in the last interview:

Beidou: Why does the Meta project have “neither blocks nor chains”?

Steven: The original idea was that Facebook created Libra to build a payment system. It was a standard consortium chain that was initially intended to be promoted globally, but it was eventually terminated for various reasons.

Its overall approach is completely different from that of a public chain. It does not have a complete block structure or a complete linked list structure, so I say it has neither blocks nor chains.

First, its accounts are very special.

When we create an account on a traditional public chain, a public-private key pair is generated, and the account address is generated by hashing the public key. The private key is everything, and if it is lost, the account is lost.

Although Libra also creates accounts using the same structure, public-private key pairs can be replaced. It is based on the perspective of consortium chain users, considering it like a traditional bank account, in case the private key is lost.

This is beneficial for individual users because the possibility of losing the private key is quite high. Many Bitcoins are actually dead Bitcoins.

Aptos inherits this feature, and the way they recover accounts is actually quite dangerous from the perspective of the blockchain-you can restore accounts under your address. You cannot lower the security level of the system because the private key may be lost.

Second, its consensus algorithm is very strange.

Its innovation in the consensus algorithm is actually based on the assumption that most nodes are trustworthy, which is equivalent to treating all nodes as a cluster to manage. This is a typical approach for consortium chains.

So it will have a shared memory pool protocol, which puts all unmined block information transactions in the memory pool. All nodes share them through the memory pool protocol, which is like a buffer in a traditional business cluster. Then, a lead node is selected in the node, and it is responsible for sorting the transactions in the buffer, then proposing a transaction block and notifying other nodes to vote. It will execute if the vote reaches two-thirds.

To be honest, this vote doesn’t make much sense, because it only confirms whether the content in the new block submitted by the lead node conforms to the historical state. The production of the lead node is theoretically predictable, which is very dangerous.

Of course, all systems that adopt BFT consensus protocols will have such problems to a greater or lesser extent – the number of nodes cannot be too many (which will affect the efficiency of consensus), nor too few (unable to control the security of the system).

Ethereum nodes are also randomly selected, but Ethereum uses Slot to divide the time sequence, which is equivalent to adding another layer of election artificially, separating mining nodes in time and space, and taking into account efficiency and security.

Let’s go back to Libra. The lead node has a very large authority and controls the entire network with a small amount of computing power.

Traditional public chain transaction data needs to be transmitted twice in the entire network (broadcast once, verified once), while Libra has already processed the block information by the lead node, and only propagates the sequence number to other nodes. After receiving the sequence number, they execute the transaction in the order specified by the lead node. The amount of data exchanged in the entire process is very small, which means that if the lead node acts maliciously, it is difficult for others to control.

Beichen: How do other nodes judge whether the lead node is doing something wrong?

Steven: This is definitely impossible to judge. The execution order published by the lead node can only be used to verify whether the state of the transaction before and after is correct.

Beichen: How to understand that Libra “neither has blocks nor chains”?

Steven: The data of the entire Libra is actually a versioned relational database. It only uses transactions as carriers. This versioned database is composed of a triple of recording transactions, outputting results, and ledger states. Each transaction changes all items in the triple of the state, and then determines whether the ledger is valid through different state identifications.

This is completely different from traditional blockchains. Every transaction on Bitcoin and Ethereum can be traced back to the most primitive tokens (mined tokens). Libra modifies the state (that is, different versions) once for each transaction, and then makes a global consensus on this version.

You can say that it is subversive and restructures the blockchain, but this approach is only suitable for alliance chains and is not suitable for public chains, because its global state control and security between different nodes cannot be guaranteed.

As we said before, the reason why Move language is not a good blockchain programming language is because it can only be used in the Meta-based data format with version numbers, which has nothing to do with public chains.

Beichen: This is also my personal confusion. Is there a need for a consortium blockchain? If you pursue absolute security, go to the public chain. If you pursue convenience, use the Internet. The consortium chain as an intermediate state doesn’t make much sense.

Steven: The high performance of consortium chains is achieved at the expense of decentralization and security, and their performance and security can be completely achieved with centralized systems plus a little cryptography. This can be done on server platforms and cloud platforms, and the efficiency must be higher, and the security is not necessarily lower, so there is no need to use blockchain. Moreover, consortium chains are not true blockchains.

Summary

Steven will also “conduct interviews with multiple industry technology leaders in a spirit of seeking truth from facts, discussing 12 arguments in response to some criticism of the Move series public chain” and is worth looking forward to!

Here’s an ad for Steven. He used to work on 5G communications at Langxun and is now helping some domestic crypto funds look at public chains.

He is optimistic about blockchain but often expresses outrageous opinions about blockchain. Aptos and Sui are just the first ones we talked about…There will be more outrageous opinions in the future. Welcome to challenge Steven with all kinds of opinions!

As a communication engineer for many years, Steven has his own unique insights into blockchain systems. This controversy at least shows that in the crypto market that is being drowned out by various noises, there are still many people willing to pay attention to and discuss the real and harsh voices about the industry.

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