Ethereum is about to prove itself at its annual developer event, which kicks off next Wednesday.
Formerly arguably the most active corner of the booming cryptocurrency market, it can be said that the enthusiasm for the project has cooled, if only by comparison. Despite a meteoric rise that has pushed the protocol to $ 29 billion in value, not to mention the hundreds of projects ICO has launched using its technology, ethereum may be underperforming its own expectations.
Indeed, for many supporters, the project, launched in 2014, seemed destined to become the first to cross bitcoin in market value (and other key indicators) this year. And while there was a big run in June, the so-called "flippening" never took place.
Still, the suggestions that the protocol is in trouble are only surface, according to the people involved.
"I think they're on all hats," CoinDesk told author William Mougayar, who advises the nonprofit Ethereum. "It's a real platform with several pieces on top."
In anticipation of Devcon3 this week, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, participants also hope that the technical briefings and project updates will illustrate the progress of the protocol.
Speaking of this turmoil, Andrew Keys, head of global business development at ConsenSys, expressed hope that the conference could show the world the pace of development of the ethereum technical community.
Keys told at CoinDesk:
"I think it's time to put up or shut up, we had enough proofs of concepts [It’s] to put things into production."
That said, others had a perception of what they hoped Devcon3 would not be .
The developer Hudson Jameson, employed by the non-profit Ethereum Foundation, said the event was designed not to be an "ICO-fest", words that denote the backlash of more in addition to projects. always positive).
On the contrary, Jameson said that he expected the conference to serve as a forum for technical discussion, with the time spent examining the state of efforts to make ethereum more private and more scalable.
Yet while some see Devcon3 as a showcase of where etheric goes, others see it as a showcase of the current limitations of the platform.
Although there have been recent innumerable ethereal trials (even the United Nations experimented with technology in its global humanitarian efforts), few are using etheric – or other blockchains – outside from a laboratory. And that's partly because technology is a work in progress.
The recent update of Ethereum Byzantium, one of the most important updates of the platform, has brought improvements to the blockchain, but there was still a lot less.
There remains a long-promised change, such as the migration to a more environment-friendly and egalitarian mining protocol, and high-level applications that make the technology easier to use.
In this way, the National University of Singapore Ph.D. Law candidate Luu argued that the fork, although successful, did not meet general expectations.
"I think a lot of people were not happy with the recent hard fork because it was not meaningful enough," he said.
In addition, it took longer than expected for the not-quite-revolutionary change to occur. First of all, Byzance was split into two updates to make it easier for developers to work, and then the first range was delayed.
Other, however, were eager to cancel all the complaints. Gnosis co-founder and developer, Stefan George, said he was happy that the fork had "finally come out," arguing that this was the foundation of the project's goals.
In the same vein, the developers pointed out that the ethereum weaknesses will be a point of interest at Devcon3. Scalability is one of the biggest hurdles – after all, if all goes as planned, ethereum would like its applications to eventually replace centralized services like Facebook.
Luu stressed the need for more research in this area, expressing the hope that Devcon3 will help galvanize work towards this goal.
"Ethereum is becoming more and more common now, people expect that a scalability solution will be deployed very soon," he said.
Notably, developers of proposed scalability solutions such as Raiden Network and TrueBit will speak at the conference, providing updates on their status.
The pressure on the negotiations will also be seen as a need for developers to quickly comply with market expectations.
George, for his part, cited Dfinity – another blockchain posing as a "computer of the world" – like the one he will be looking for in 2018, but he expects that there might be some # 39; others. Still, he argued that rival platforms could be beneficial for the platform, which could push the global ethereum community to take action.
"The serious competition will be good."
Image via Pete Rizzo for CoinDesk