Interview: Donald McIntyre (ETC Dev Team) on the advantages of Ethereum Classic

On November 5th 2018, Ethereum Classic Dev Team member Donald McIntyre spoke with Crypto Insider’s Vlad Costea in order to address the status-quo and future of ETC. A long-time member of the Ethereum community himself, Mr. McIntyre is a strong believer in the principles of immutability and censorship resistance, but simultaneously appreciates the Turing-completeness of the blockchain.

If you follow him on Twitter, you will discover that he is one of the most vocal advocates of the original Ethereum blockchain, and he can go as far as calling other crypto community members out in order to point out his perspective on the subject matter. He dislikes ETH’s transition to Proof of Stake, arbitrary governance, and sharding, and believes that ETC is a unique asset with special qualities not found in any other Proof of Work cryptocurrency.

This is the first part of the interview, and it covers an introduction regarding Mr. McIntyre’s background, and a discussion on the advantages of ETC: why it should be considered over ETH, why a dapp developer would deploy his project on the original Ethereum blockchain, and how easy it is for somebody to run a full node (as opposed to the well-known difficulty found in ETH).

The next parts will include even more exciting topics, such as the Ethereum Classic roadmap, Mr. McIntyre’s personal influences in the crypto field, backstage details on several quarrels with people like Vlad Zamfir, and more information on the involvement of investor Barry Silbert. So stay tuned!

Below you will find a full transcript of this first part of the interview:

Vlad: Hello Mr. McIntyre, I’m Vlad and welcome to the Crypto Insider interview. Today we will be talking about Ethereum Classic and your involvement with the project. And maybe the roadmap of it, so would you please introduce yourself to the audience.

Donald McIntyre: Hi, Vlad! Thank you very much for having me. Like you said, I’m Donald McIntyre, Business Developer at ETC Dev. I used to work in the financial industry before at UBS and Morgan Stanley. And then, after the first dot com boom, I decided to go independent and become an entrepreneur. So I started a company called Dinero Net in 2000. Then, in 2002-2003, the dot com boom crashed, so I had to close that company.

Then I had a wealth management firm called McIntyre SA until 2012. And since 2012 I read about Bitcoin for the first time and I started to follow Bitcoin and the whole crypto space from knowing zero about all of those things. And then in 2014 I was very enthusiastic about Ethereum because I think that the limitations of Bitcoin at the time, at least for my vision for a platform like that, was that it wasn’t Turing complete, it didn’t support smart contracts. And I was thinking of a wealth management service always within my industry, on Bitcoin, but it couldn’t happen because it didn’t have those capabilities. So Ethereum was a great solution.

Since then I’ve been following ETH, since 2014. And then in 2016, when Ethereum decided to split and create a new blockchain, I stuck to that new blockchain called Ethereum for a while, even though I supported the ETC as well at the time. But I had the hope that I could convince everybody in the Ethereum community to stick to the principles of usability and not reversing the chain. I wanted high security for the chain as a main focus instead of high performance, and stuff like that. Until 2018 when I realized that the ETH community was not going to follow that path and they’re still going to move to Proof of Stake and sharding, and seem to be very focused on experimenting, which is very insecure.

So I finally decided, when coinbase announced that ETC was going to be listed I said… OK, what was happening with ETH, my frustration there, together with that good news from ETC, made me move full-time to ETC. So I went to the website of ETC Dev. And I saw that they were looking for a business developer and marketing person. So I applied, and here I am.

Vlad Costea: So did you have any formal position in the ETH community? I mean ETH, not ETC.

Donald McIntyre: No, no no. When, just before ETH in 2015 was going to launch (which is ETH Classic really because we are the main net), I created a project called Ether-plan which was my vision of applying wealth management on ETH, on the blockchain. And my participation was just as another entrepreneur in the ecosystem. As a community member I never had a position in the foundation or any of the official entities in ETH.

Vlad Costea: But even though ETC is the original chain, it has made some changes to the vision which maybe the founders have had. Because right now you have a fixed supply, you have removed the difficulty bomb in mining, and also it seems like the more time progresses the more it starts to look like BTC.

Donald McIntyre: Yeah, the fact that it looks like Bitcoin in terms of philosophy was always the original founding idea, of immutability and permissionlessness, decentralization censorship resistance and to create this neutral system around the world that works the same way around the world. Technically, it is very different than Bitcoin because Bitcoin is, you could say, a ledger with accounts and balances, and that’s the function of that network. In the case of ETC it’s the same, but at the top you have Turing completeness – or the ability to store programs that become decentralized programs and they can execute in the decentralized blockchain.

So in terms of technical vision, they’re two different things. In terms of security philosophy yes, they’re the same.

Vlad Costea: I noticed that, in late 2017 and early 2018, it was all about becoming the next ETH. We saw projects like TRON, like Tezos, (and I think I can name a bunch of others) which have basically raised a lot of money and they just promised to deliver what ETH doesn’t. And in these comparisons, which people usually make between platforms which enable dapps, they seem to overlook ETC. They seem to just not care about it and say “Oh it’s just a small project it doesn’t scale” it’s not meant to take us into Web 4.0 or 3.0 or whatever they want to call it. And why do you think there is this attitude towards ETC?

Donald McIntyre: When all of the other projects imitate ETH design, it’s because the ETH design is very sound as a design that combines the layer of the cryptocurrency and the layer of the decentralized computing – which are the smart contracts and decentralized programs. So that design evidently must be correct because everybody is replicating that. And, they all promise in general things that are not physically possible normally: which is immediate high scalability, and excellent governance, and things like that. Millions of transaction per second…all of those promises are marketing promises but it’s very difficult to actually implement in a real blockchain because it has physical limitations, no?

That’s why the only way to solve those limitations is to build layers on top rather than modify the base layer. So that’s about ETH, no? Why it is the correct model.

In terms of ETC as mainnet why there’s a perception that less people pay attention to it. I think that my personal theory is that when ETH, what the real split is called today, the real fork, separated from the main net… They moved not only with 90% I would say of the dApp developers and the core developers and the whole community, 90% went into following Vitalik and the rest of the leaders of that network, and they moved there.

So that’s one reason why the other one remained smaller in terms of the amount of the people. The other thing is because the Ethereum Foundation which went with the “fork” and the other advocates personally all have all of the money. So when you have a lot of money, and you have a lot of people supporting your project, then you have the ability to make much more noise than the rest.

So that’s the difference between ETH and ETC in terms of marketization. ETH definitely has 20 or 30 times more capacity today to make more noise.

Vlad Costea: But…how should I phrase it? Let’s say that I’m a developer and I want to deploy a decentralized application. Why would I choose ETC right now?

Donald McIntyre: The main difference between ETH and ETC is that in ETH first the community doesn’t have an ethos of immutability. No? Just call it something simplified.

And ETC has a firm belief in the principle of immutability and that is reflected not only in the actions of the community as it’s obvious because ETC stays in the main net and it’s going to stay with not reversing the blockchain, which is something that has already happened in ETH, but also reflecting the technology itself.

ETH is actually moving to Proof of Stake, has changed the monetary policy several time, and is moving to sharding. In the case of ETC, it is staying with Proof of Work because it’s a proven, secure consensus mechanism. It has a fixed monetary policy and it’s going to stick also to a governance system of open source, no? With no organizations or centralized parties voting or anything like that or deciding things. But it’s going to stick to just proposing technology which is always secure, and adoption is the way that you know that it’s going forward or not. But not really other centralized mechanisms of governance.

Vlad Costea: Can you actually run a node for ETC right now? Because I remember seeing a post by Jameson Lopp who basically constructed a machine with the latest components… like a very high end machine, which was attempting to run a full node of the ETH blockchain, and it was not able. It had like 4 TB of storage, it had all the processing power necessary, but it was still getting errors and it was still difficult to synchronize with the blockchain. Is it possible with ETC to just run a node?

Donald McIntyre: With ETC it’s easier to run a node but because the blockchain is smaller it experiences less activity, for example it doesn’t have all the Crypto Kitties activity. But not necessarily because it is technically different. So, I would say that ETC when it comes time of high use, is going to experience similar issues as ETH. In terms of running a node today, like I told you before I’m a business dev and a marketing person, not a technical person. But I think it’s much easier to install a node of ETC but also that blog post that Jameson Lopp published, was used by ETC to actually solve some of those problems.

For example ETC Dev my company, first built Sputnik VM which replaces the ETH TVM which is the virtual machine. It’s much more efficient and easier to use. So that was one solution to Lopp’s Blog post.

The other one is that building stuff on top of ETH is also very difficult. So the solution to that or the proposal of ETC Dev for that is something called Emerald, which is a platform of many tools for new developers who already know how to create web and mobile applications to come to ETC and easily build a dApp and learn how to build a dApp with the best practices. It’s a set of tools that’s going to keep advancing and at some point is going to be so easy that people it’s going to be similar to work. It’s going to be very easy to create an application in the future. So we’re solving what Jameson wrote about.

Full validation sync of @ParityTech 2.1.3 now takes 5,326 minutes (3.7 days) on this machine. I increased cache to 24GB RAM and it peaked at 23GB. Disk I/O is the bottleneck, with over 22TB read and 20TB written in total. 5X longer only 8 months later.https://t.co/N1hBLRMlN6

— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) October 28, 2018

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