Cardano's Hoskinson Blasts Bitcoin Dev Jimmy Song Over Proof-of-Stake Criticism

Charles Hoskinson, an American entrepreneur and co-founder of the Cardano and Ethereum Blockchains, has expressed sharp displeasure at Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song’s recent criticism of the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. This comes barely 48 hours after a former colleague and also co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin reprimanded the Bitcoin developer.

Hoskinson believes Jimmy Song’s claims are stupid

Jimmy Song, in a tweet on 2 July, asserted that the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism takes away the core foundation of blockchain technology – decentralization – due to the fact that it doesn’t particularly solve the Byzantine Generals Problem. 

Quoting the tweet in the late hours of Monday, Hoskinson said, “the level of stupid here is beyond explanation.” To further buttress his point, Song, in a separate tweet within the thread, stated that, with PoS, it is not possible to ascertain the canonicity of a blockchain without referring to a central authority, thus eliminating the idea of decentralization.

When asked what his thoughts are regarding Song’s claim, Hoskinson simply referred to the paper on Pos Blockchain “Ouroboros Genesis: Composable Proof-of-Stake Blockchains with Dynamic Availability” in which he said Song’s claims are addressed.

In what appears to be a strong display of complete confidence, Song argues that anyone who does not understand his main assertion is not qualified to say anything regarding proof-of-stake.

Bitcoin solves the Byzantine Generals Problem by using the PoW mechanism

Hoskinson is not the only person appalled by Song’s argument, as Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, earlier, on Sunday, commented on Song’s claims. Buterin believes that “one-line” technicalities involving the “definition” of a line of argument should not be the basis to condemn the line of argument.

The Byzantine Generals Problem is a theory describing the difficulty decentralized systems face when attempting to arrive at a consensus without any central authority. Bitcoin uses the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to solve the age-long problem by utilizing miners who serve as independent generals.

The Proof-of-Work mechanism, however, due to its dependence on mining – an extremely energy-demanding activity – has factored the birth of environmental concerns that have led some jurisdictions, most notably China, to ban or limit the operation.

The proof-of-stake consensus mechanism is meant to solve these environmental problems posed by Proof-of-Work, but some Bitcoin proponents and adherents to PoW, like Jimmy Song, seem to believe that PoS is not fully decentralized.

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