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Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin Considers Bitcoin Cash for Data Availability Layer

 

TL;DR: Bitcoin Cash’s (BCH) high data throughput, very low fees, comparitively cheaper block verifications, and friendly developer community are all plusses for Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin when considering a short-term data availability layer for the world’s number two ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization.


 

Ethereum Co-Founder Considers Bitcoin Cash for Data Availability Layer

 

On the Ethereum (ETH) Research blog, Vitalik Buterin mused about the possibility of using BCH as a scalability solution. Under a ‘Sharding’ subheading, Buterin took account of the pros and cons in determining short-term scaling tools other than on the native ETH chain for now.

 

Ethereum Co-Founder

 

The planned answer is more than a year away, Ethereum 2.0, due to its throughput being “higher than that of any existing blockchain.” That’s where BCH “arguably fits the bill perfectly,” according to the Ethereum Co-Founder. “In the shorter term, however, we can start working on these techniques immediately by using existing blockchains, particularly those that have lower transaction fees per byte than Ethereum, as the data layer.”

It’s not the first time Buterin has taken an interest in BCH. Back in April at the ETHCapeTown conference, he spoke glowingly. “Bitcoin Cash, I think, is underrated at this point. If you follow the community they’ve become considerably more sane ever since they’ve expunged [bad actors] and they’re getting Schnorr signatures ahead of [BTC]. They have a lot of real technical talent in there and it’s getting interesting.” Furthermore, Ethereum developers have begun cross-pollinating with BCH, such as Rosco Kalis and his work with CashSript.

 

Cross-Pollinating

 

“The general principle of these techniques,” Buterin continued, referring to scalability, “is that they use interactive computation techniques (eg. Truebit 5) to compute the state on the Ethereum side, crucially relying on the data availability verification guaranteed by the data layer to make sure that fraudulent submissions can be detected and heavily penalized. One could use techniques like this to make a highly scalable general-purpose EVM-like system.”

BCH offers “High data throughput (32 MB per 600 sec = 53333 bytes per sec, compared to ethereum ~8kb per sec which is already being used by applications),” Buterin explained, “Very low fees (whereas BTC would be prohibitively expensive). We already have all the machinery we need to verify Bitcoin Cash blocks inside of Ethereum thanks to http://btcrelay.org; we just need to repoint it to the BCH chain and turn it back on. Verifying BCH blocks is also quite cheap compared to eg. ETC blocks. The BCH community seems to be friendly to people using their chain for whatever they want as long as they pay the tx fees,” and he highlighted Memo.cash as an example.

Cons for using BCH include “its 10 minute block time,” which Buterin believes can be mitigated by tools such as zero-confirmation and Avalanche pre-consensus. “If these techniques become robust for the use case of preventing double-spends, we could piggyback off of them to achieve shorter finality times,” he elaborated. Buterin also considered Ethereum Classic, but his eye seemed to be trained on BCH for the moment. No word if/when this will become more than a thought experiment.

 

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