Can any blockchain compete on security with Bitcoin?
Knowledgeable crypto-enthusiasts—most of them anyway—will generally agree that the Bitcoin network, thanks to its highly competitive and tamper-proof blockchain design, is the most secure decentralized blockchain network in the world.
And for many, the competition isn’t even close. According to the staunchest loyalists, sometimes referred to as bitcoin “maximalists”, all other protocols are nothing more than inferior knock-offs that will inevitably fall into irrelevance, given enough time.
While Mark Yusko, founder of Morgan Creek Capital does not consider himself a maxi, he claims that the next closest competitor is at best a distant second in the rankings.
In an interview with Mike Ippolito on Blockworks’ On the Margin podcast, Yusko asks, “What is the safest and most secure computer network the world has ever known?”
“The Bitcoin blockchain. And it’s not close, right?”
Ippolito pulls back and asks, “You don’t think Ethereum is close in terms of the settlement guarantees?”
“I don’t think it’s close,” Yusko replies.
It’s like comparing prestigious business schools, says Yusko. The top schools are recognized and agreed upon by all: “Harvard,” then gesturing downwards, “Stanford—and then everyone else who thinks they’re number three.”
“I would argue, bitcoin’s number one. Ethereum is a pretty big step down.”
“I’m still not convinced—and I’m willing to be convinced—that proof of effort is as certain as proof of work.”
“It could be that I just don’t understand the technology well enough,” he admits, but “proof of work is at least one order of magnitude more secure than proof of effort.”
Different road maps
Ippolito argues that the two blockchains serve different purposes. “I like both. I just don’t see them as competition. I think they’re very different things.”
“To really, really love bitcoin and have it be the vast majority, as the only holding you have,” says Ippolito, “you have to have a pretty dim view of what’s going to happen in the future.”
Ippolito admits, “there’s probably some kind of bill coming, and that’s why I like bitcoin.”
“That said, there’s not much to do on that network.”
With Ethereum, Ippolito says, so many applications are being built for a variety of purposes, including loans and lending for returns, money market funds and so on. “That, to me, is more intellectually interesting and draws a lot of my thoughts.”
What makes the Bitcoin network such a large store of store value also makes it very difficult to build applications on top of it in the same way as Ethereum, says Ippolito.
“They have followed two different roadmaps,” he claims.
One chain to rule them all
“Look, we’re tribal at our core,” Yusko says.
“I listen to the maxis drone and I just ignore the nonsense in it, the toxic part of it.”
“If DeFi can be successfully built on the bitcoin blockchain,” he says, with features built on top similar to traditional financial layers like Fedwire, ACH and Visa, “we can have one chain to rule all chains.”
“But I’m open,” says Yusko, “I’m not going to ignore the fact – there are a lot of interesting things being built in Ethereum.”
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