對話 Taylor Gerring, 技術的競賽是在現實中成長與蛻變

2018年11月6日 10:27
来源:香港奇點財經 Singularity Financial Nov.6 2018-

Editor’s Note:Taylor Gerring, one of the three original founders of Ethereum Foundation when it was initially formed in Switzerland, creator of “Blockchain WTF」, and currently is Executive Director at Blockchain Institute. After working on the Hive digital currency wallet, Taylor served on the Board of Directors for the Ethereum Foundation and departed at the end of 2016. Today, he is an international speaker and educator, focusing on how blockchain can improve governance and society.

Recently, Mr. Gerring attended Devcon4 in Prague, the Ethereum-centric developer conference where Vitalik Buterin showcased a proper roadmap and plan for the Ethereum 2.0 Launch dubbed as 「Serenity」. The new blockchain protocol released by Ethereum will move from the older Proof of Work (PoW) protocol to the modern, secure and efficient Proof of Stake (PoS) model.

Singularity Financial Ltd is pleased to have a lengthy discussion with Mr. Gerring during this special period. Now he is on his way to attend Sora Summit hosted by Sora Foundation and Sora Ventures next week in Macau, where he will continue his journey as a blockchain educator and speaker for more needed audiences around the world.

引言:Taylor Gerring是以太坊基金會最初成立於瑞士時的三位創始人之一,也是「Blockchain WTF」的創始人,目前是Blockchain Institute的執行董事。在為Hive數字貨幣錢包工作之後,Taylor擔任以太坊基金會董事會成員,並於2016年底離任。現在,他是一名國際演說家和教育家,專註於區塊鏈如何改善我們的社會。

近日,他剛參加布拉格的DevCon4,在這一以太坊核心開發者大會上,Vitalik Buterin展示了以太坊的路線圖, 以及名為 「Serenity」(寧靜)的以太坊2.0規劃。新的以太坊區塊鏈協議將從PoW轉向更安全、更有效率的PoS糢型。

香港奇點財經有幸與 Gerring 先生做了一次深入的交流,分享了以太坊成長蛻變中不為人知的心得。 Mr Gerring之後會參加Sora Ventures 和Sora Foundation 在澳門舉辦的第一場區塊鏈峰會,繼續他做為行業布道者的旅行。

1、In 2016, when you did an interview with Cointelegraph, you mentioned that 「Because the Ethereum community has generally been handling issues with aplomb, I’m cautiously optimistic that the end result will be a more resilient network both in technology and preparedness.」

Why did you use the word 「cautiously」?  2 years has passed by, are you still viewing Ethereum cautiously?


I think it would be foolish to look at new technology without caution. Although I am increasingly optimistic that Ethereum will achieve its goals especially around resilience and fault-tolerance, there is still a possibility for blockchain technology to be used in ways that do not contribute to an overall positive social impact. Although Ethereum has experienced a variety of technical and social challenges, it』s clear the community is carrying the vision forward beyond what the initial team set out to accomplish.

我認為不謹慎地看待新技術是愚蠢的。 雖然我越來越樂觀地認為以太坊將實現其目標,特別是在彈性和容錯性方面,但區塊鏈技術仍有可能被使用在消極的方面。 盡管以太坊經历了各種各樣的技術和社會挑戰,但很明顯,社區的願景超越了最初團隊所設定的目標。

2、Ethereum has gone through at least 7 hard forks so far, the last one was Byzantium in Oct 2017, before that there were 4 hard forks in 2016, 2 in 2015. What happened to Constantinople, delays after delays, problems after problems, what happened to today』 ethereum? What happens to miner communities』 support?


I haven』t been involved with the core development of Ethereum for some years, but my understanding through listening in to the livestreamed developer calls is simply that things often take more time than we anticipate due to levels of complexity that could not be known in advance. Although feature upgrades are being incorporated into the network through hard forks, the move to a new consensus method should take as much time as is needed to build confidence in the solution. As decisions are opened up to wider groups with diverging needs, finding a practical solution takes longer. However, I anticipate the tradeoff for speed will be quality!

這些年來我一直沒有參與以太坊的核心開發工作,但通過參加開發人員的視頻會議,我的理解是因為事先無法知道問題的複雜程度,因此往往花費比預期多得多的時間。 雖然新功能被通過硬分叉升級整合到網路中,但新的共識機制的採用顯然應該花費盡可能多的時間來建立信心。 隨著決策向需求不同的更廣泛群體開放,找到實用的解決方案需要更長的時間。 但是,我預計,更長時間換來的是更高的質量!

3、VITALIK twittered in mid Oct saying 「I quite regret adopting the term “smart contracts”. I should have called them something more boring and technical, perhaps something like “persistent scripts”.But back in 2016, you mentioned in your interview with Cointelegraph, you already pointed out, I believe a large part of the misunderstanding with so-called smart contracts is that the name is partially a misnomer.Since you had realized the name is not proper for its real technical implementation, why didn』t you propose to fix it sooner?

Vitalik在10月中多次提及:「我非常後悔採用「智能合約」一詞。 我應該把它們命名地更乏味和更技術,例如「持久性腳本」。早在2016年,您在接受Cointelegraph的採訪中已然提到,「我認為對智能合約的大部分誤解是因為名字的不恰當造成的。」,既然您已經意識到該名稱與其技術實現並不符合,您為何不建議盡快修複它?

It』s a well-known problem in programming communities that naming things is hard. Partly this is because we are trying to give something a name which is a new concept and not fully understood. This name serves as a shortcut to refer to the characteristics of such a thing. In the case of 「smart contracts」, the term had been introduced long before Bitcoin had existed. Even if the technology that exists today does accurately portray what a 「smart contract」 should do—is such a thing even 「smart」 in today』s nomenclature? How does one convince an entire planet to accept a new name due to a technical nuance? I think it』s not a very convincing sell and more impactful problems could be solved.

在編程社區中,一個眾所周知的難題就是命名。 一定程度上是因為我們試圖命名一個新概念,並且這一概念沒有被完全理解。 名稱用作表示此類特徵的快捷方式,對於「智能合約」,該術語早在比特幣存在之前就已經存在。 即使今天存在的技術確實準確地描繪了「智能合約」應該做什麼,這一事物在命名學上看起來真的很「智能」嗎?如何說服整個世界因為技術細節接受新名稱?我認為這不是一個好的命名,有很多問題可以被解決。

4、You said in the past, 「No technology, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, is guaranteed to succeed, though I do think the segments of payments & remittance is Bitcoin’s game to lose.」 By looking at today』s landscape, there are lot of voices out there calling for a replacement of Ethereum with something better, something more scalable, more flexible, more energy efficient, what do you want to comment on this? What is your view on Ethereum』s future?

您過去曾說過,「沒有任何技術,包括比特幣和以太坊,能保證一定成功,我確實認為在支付和匯款方面,比特幣可能會被取代。」在今天的加密貨幣世界中,有很多聲音呼籲用更具可擴展性、更靈活、更節能的網路替代以太坊網路,您的想法是? 您對以太坊的未來有何看法?

I do think that Bitcoin (Core) has chosen to lose the remittance game and give it to someone like Dash which is making progress with digital payments in South America and Africa.  On the other hand, Ethereum has succeeded in taking a lot of programmer mindshare from Bitcoin especially with the establishment of community standards around tokens, non-fungible collectibles, identity, and more. Although there is a strong motive to make an 「Ethereum killer」, such an immediate solution is unlikely to rise without clear path to overcome mind share. Technology alone could do this, but as we saw with VHS versus Betamax, it is not always sufficient on its own. Ethereum』s community is what makes it successful, not just its underlying technical differences.

我確實認為Bitcoin (Core)已經選擇放棄匯款領域並將其交給像Dash這樣的加密貨幣,他們正在南美和非洲的數字支付領域取得進展。 另一方面,以太坊成功地從比特幣那裡吸引了大量程序員的註意力,特別是圍繞代幣,非同質化代幣,身份等社區標準的建立。 盡管建立「以太坊殺手」的動機很強烈,但如果沒有明確的方法來獲取足夠多程序員的關註,這些解決方案就不可能實現。 僅靠技術可以做到這一點,但正如我們在VHS與Betamax的對抗中所見的那樣,它本身並不總是足夠的。 以太坊的成功不僅僅在於技術的差異,而在於社區。

5、You left the Ethereum foundation at the end of 2016, and currently focus on Non- profit efforts, Blockchain WTF. You have mentored and coached a lot of young pioneers and entrepreneurs over the course including Sora Venture founder Jason Fang. Could you tell me more about your move and your thought on that?

您於2016年底離開了以太坊基金會,目前專註於非營利性組織 Blockchain WTF。與Sora Venture創始人Jason Fang一起,你為很多年輕的行業先驅和企業家提供指導。 您能否告訴我們更多關於您的行動和您的思考?

Although I would have loved to continue working with Ethereum Foundation and produce education materials about Ethereum, it was not a large priority for them at the time. Therefore, I took the opportunity to teach about not only Ethereum, but many blockchains and decentralization generally. I may not be as knowledgeable about the other technologies, but I have a team helping me produce educational content through Blockchain Institute, a nonprofit located in Chicago with hopes to foster the ongoing conversation about the role blockchains could play in our lives. Unlike many organizations, we will not be hidden away in a skyscraper—instead we will occupy a street-level building across from a newly renovated train station. We want to bring people into technology generally and blockchain specifically. By partnering with education centers, we anticipate hosting hackathons and workshops to engage our local community in a very tangible way.

雖然我本希望繼續與以太坊基金會合作並制作關於以太坊的教育資料,但彼時這並不是他們的工作重心。 因此,我選擇了一個不僅能教授以太坊,而且還可以教授許多區塊鏈和去中心化科技的機會。 我可能不了解其他技術,但我有一個團隊幫助我通過Blockchain Institute(一個位於芝加哥的非營利組織)制作教育內容,希望能夠促進區塊鏈走向我們的生活。 與許多組織不同,我們不會被隱藏在摩天大樓中 ,相反,我們就出現在車站對面。 我們希望引領人們走向技術、走向區塊鏈。 通過與教育中心合作,我們舉辦黑客馬拉松和研討會,以非常切實的方式吸引當地社區。

6、I read your recent tweets, and there are a few interesting quotes I really like, 「Facebook has a fiduciary duty to optimize for ads, not users」; 「Only customers have recourse. Users and creators are the product.」; 「Social media as we know it is f—ed. Becoming moral judges only going to make it worse.」

Living in today』s world, we all become side products of the technology, fully equipped ourselves in a standard package: carrying smartphone or laptop the whole time, online going to social media, offline using Uber, Airbnb; constantly valuing ourselves based the number of fans and followers. Then one day, the data is stolen, and the privacy is invaded.You think blockchain is the only solution for this mess?

我讀了您最近的推文,非常喜歡一些有趣的話,「Facebook有義務來優化廣告,而不是用戶」; 「只有客戶有追索權。 用戶和創造者是產品。」; 「我們所知道的社交媒體就是這樣。 成為道德法官只會讓事情變得更糟。」生活在當今世界,我們都成為技術的副產品,每個人都有一套「標準裝備」:一直攜帶智能行動電話或筆記型電腦,在線上訪問社交媒體,在線下使用uber,Airbn; 根據粉絲數不斷評估自己。 突然某一天,數據被盜,隱私被侵犯。您認為區塊鏈是解決這個混亂現實唯一的方案嗎?

I think blockchain gives us the tools to have recourse against the current broken system. For example, there is some very interesting work being done in a project called DataFund, where they have developed a model for the user to take back control over their data and be able to extract value through consent. Because the primary means of funding 「free」 platforms is to sell user data, we have an opportunity to change the social agreement we have with platforms and advertisers by inverting the value flow. I see a need for advertisers to exist, but I also see the private citizen as needing greater control over their digital lives and the data it generates. This can happen by waiting for our leaders to act through legislation or we can elicit a better online experience by demanding to have more say in our own privacy through tools. The latter requires more effort, but is like cooking your food at home instead of eating at McDonalds.

我認為區塊鏈為我們提供了對當前不合理體制進行追索的工具。 例如,一個名為DataFund的項目很有趣,他們為用戶開發了一個糢型,用於收回對其數據的控制權,並能夠通過授權獲得收益。 由於目前免費平臺的主要盈利方式是銷售用戶數據,因此我們有機會通過反轉價值流來改變我們與平臺和廣告商的協議。 我認為廣告商的存在是必要的,但我也認為個人需要更好地控制他們的數字生活及其產生的數據。 這可以通過等待政府通過立法來實現,也可以通過創建工具來提高我們在對自己隱私的控制權。 後者需要更多的努力,但這就像在家裡烹飪食物而不是在麥當勞吃一樣。

7、One last question, recently Shapshift CEO and Founder Erik Voorhees stirred a heated discussion in your twitter account, which is about getting audited as a crypto company is extremely hard…sometimes impossible because the things referred as 「constitute proof」 in crypto are irrelevant to auditors, and the thing traditional auditors often reply on are don』t exist or can』t be relied on when combined with crypto.

So what is your recommendation for this? The gap between the reality and the ideal world is big, for the safety of the mass, compliance is a must, and regulatory framework is needed, how to bridge the gap quickly?

最後一個問題,最近Shapshift首席執行官和創始人Erik Voorhees在你的推特賬戶中引發了激烈的討論,關於對一個加密貨幣公司進行審計是非常困難的…有時甚至是不可能的,因為在加密貨幣公司中被稱為「構成證明」的事情是無關緊要的 ,傳統審計員依賴的方法在涉及到加密貨幣時根本無法使用。您對此有何建議? 現實與理想世界之間的差距很大,為了大眾的安全,合規是必須的,我們需要監管框架,如何迅速彌補這一鴻溝?

This is an important and difficult question. Is it sufficient to expect existing auditors to learn the new technology? What about encouraging young leaders to take active role in politics? Furthermore, we still have complaints of automation replacing jobs. In these sorts of scenarios, a healthy conversation is due with lots of learning between opposing sides. While this would normally be a monumental task, it is made especially harder by fear around global political instability. In these cases, building a 「better」 system may be the only path forward. What is 「better」? It must incorporate all the assumptions of the old system and simplify the complexities of the new system into an obvious interface. This is the race of technology.

這是一個重要且困難的問題。 期望現有審計師學習新技術是否足夠? 鼓勵年輕領導人積極參與政治呢? 此外,我們仍然抱怨自動化取代工作。 在這些場景中,良性的對話取決於對對方的的大量學習。 雖然這通常是一項艱巨的任務,且由於擔心全球政治不穩定,這一任務變得更加困難。 在這些情況下,建立「更好」的系統可能是唯一的前進道路。 什麼是更好的」? 它必須包含舊系統的所有假設,並將新系統的複雜性簡化為明顯的界面。 這是技術的競爭。



Casper』s coming


New ways to govern

Radical markets

Are coming to you

Don』t ICO

When there』s work to do

註:BUIDL 是專門把 Builder 這個詞拼錯。指區塊鏈世界裡真正寫軟體,貢獻價值的人。