Original publishing date: 03/11/16
Oleg and Jason worked on a thesis showing the inherent vulnerabilities of a Turing-complete system several months ago now. It is a shame it was not released to the public as it may have persuaded some investors to perform due diligence as to what exactly they were investing in with Ethereum.
Since the Emercoin Team publishes technical articles into Russian, there is no person translating these into English, so the DAO Hacker Scandal made many people lost their money, after this event people have remembered this article, but it was too late!
For those of you who are looking to invest into a currency that has proven functionality that addresses real-World problems, here is your opportunity. Since 2013 Emercoin has been making real, tangible strides in the industry while the majority of investment capital has gone into outright scams or failed ventures. What this says about the collective mindset of current investors, I will leave up to you to decide.
The cryptocurrencies Emercoin and Ethereum appeared almost simultaneously, but it is Ethereum that is on the public's lips. In the short term view, mining Ethereum is profitable, but the technology on which it is based is secondary and has little application for real world solutions. Emercoin not only has innovative ideas and great potential, but is already widely used in various fields of application.
Oleg Khovayko, expert in the field of cryptography and computer security and one of the cofounders of Emercoin, explains more about the approach to blockchain development:
"Emercoin and Ethereum appeared around the same time. What is the difference in approach to the blockchain taken by Emercoin and Ethereum?"
To summarize Ethereum – maximum innovation, but a lot of critical pieces left untested. Emercoin takes a more conservative approach – maximum security. Our long term goal is a proven, tested operation without the shadow of failures or errors. With Ethereum, it is possible to incorporate many flexible/complex functions however with the Bitcoin and Emercoin blockchains, minimal functionality is incorporated to ensure the chains work for specific purposes.
The blockchains of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Emercoin all have a similar structure. The differences arises when it is observed what is being added on top of, or to, the blockchain itself. For example, the blockchains of Bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies are designed with one primary function in mind, the transfer of currency. With Ethereum, extra functions and services each of which may have their own purpose are integrated as a part of the blockchain itself.
So what is the difference? Ethereum could be considered a Turing compatible system or "Turing Complete" – The approach of Emercoin is different. From a development standpoint, we are not advocates of Turing compatible programs. When a system is considered Turing compatible, meaning it can be universally simulated/run, it brings with it common security flaws, errors and other negative factors detrimental to the program itself.
As an example, Satoshi used very primitive script in the creation of Bitcoin. It is Turing incompatible: There are no branches or loops, the program is executed in a linear fashion. It is similar to the HTML language, which is also Turning-incompatible: A page or code is presented but it has no loops, so with HTML it is impossible to write a program that will run indefinitely. In Java or C++ it is possible to write loops in to the program, making Java and C++ Turing compatible languages. Ethereum script is similar to these languages in the sense that those who are familiar with them can create scripts for Ethereum.
Why do we think our approach is better? It is imperative to clarify the objectives of our project. Security and safety of the network is the number one priority, not the ability to do everything all at once. When working with such cutting edge technology trust is the most important factor in driving adoption. Once trust is established, new innovation and design can be added on top of a secure platform. Adding too much without ensuring security is a reckless move and can lead to platform failure and lack of adoption.
This approach of course does not lend to being in the spotlight with constant coverage on development. Instead, we continue to focus on practical applications for the blockchain with a wide horizon of development possibilities. Different approaches to the blockchain dictate different solutions. I believe Ethereum is a good platform for experimentation and verification of new ideas. The contracts can be used for testing, but to use them in critical systems is very risky. The applications are simply not mature enough at this time.
“What are the pros and cons of these approaches?”
One of the benefits of the approach taken by the Ethereum developers is great flexibility. There is very much conversation regarding the platform because there are so many opportunities for potential application. From the same attribute that could be considered positive, comes the negatives. There is not a proven level of security that is acceptable for critical applications, especially those that deal with large sums of money or human life.
I don’t believe there is any piece of perfect software. What we have however is security, stability, and the fact that the Emercoin platform simply works. Everything is based on the original code Satoshi has written and has repeatedly proven it can withstand a wide range of attacks. It has withstood the test of time during its brief existence and at the same time has improved and become more resilient against malicious actions.
The Emercoin platform is built as an industrial and business level application and is compatible with many existing components and systems. There is also a laboratory option with Emercoin where it is possible to test with many different new ideas and experiments. Despite this, it seems many people have a different opinion.
“If Ethereum isn't safe, then why use it?”
My comments are not to indicate it is absolutely unsecure, just that it truly has not had the development or time to have passed the test. It has not yet earned its “rite of passage” and may be a long way away from doing so. Long term development of the code is important because it has proven that stress on the network is one of the best forms of security development and preventing crypto-attacks. Therefore, I suppose it would be possible to use in non-mission-critical applications.
There are already people using the platform, but it is almost purely for experimentation.
My past experience in the security department of the banking sector has left an indelible imprint on me and has a large impact on the technical solutions applied in Emercoin. This drives extra care in the development and incorporation of any external code.
“What do you think is the reason few people have heard about Emercoin, and so many of them talk about Ethereum?”
There’s very much excitement when a new project is in the early stages of development and promises great solutions. As an example, when speaking about our EMC DNS system, the proponents of Ethereum said that with their contracts 40 lines of code could create the same system. There are examples on technical forums where users of Ethereum claim that this could be done “in two lines of code.” These statements have been made but after nearly a year and a half of time to develop the solution using Ethereum, no progress has been made.
In general, a significant problem is that technology has become too sophisticated for the average person, or even a small ambitious investor with some knowledge. This brings forth those involved in technology that can represent themselves well, but deliberately mislead those who do not understand their message. These people know that when they make the right presentation about themselves or their technology, it isn’t necessary for them to make a serious technical analysis of what they are trying to promote. It is up and functioning – there are sales presentations and numerous prospects. Everyone is trying to sell the future by painting it in bright colors. It is mostly talk without true substance.
We prefer to keep our approach simple and take the high road - we simply get things done. An industrial and engineering approach. We make real world solutions.
“How do you see the future situations of Ethereum and Emercoin? What do you expect to unfold?”
Most likely everything will disperse. After all, everyone has more or less located their own niche at this point. As I’ve said: Ethereum is perfect for experimentation and testing new ideas. Emercoin is a system for industrial application. It will be used by those who appreciate long-term reliability and platforms that get the important jobs done. Not those who are looking for a multitude of extra and unnecessary features.
There are some points of doubt I have on the feasibility of Ethereum. Their claims of nearing the performance and transaction processing of Visa when it comes to transaction per second is one I strongly object to. However my objections go beyond the scope of this article. There are many questions I have when it comes to the claims made by proponents of Ethereum, because I have a great understanding of the dangers and vulnerability of their approach.
“Why do you think banks are cooperating with Ethereum?”
I certainly don’t know the criteria used when the banks are selecting a blockchain to work with. I would suppose that it’s because Ethereum is in the media spotlight, and useful for testing new ideas. After all, as far as one can assume, banks don’t need a cryptocurrency for immediate use. It is a technological basis on which they can attempt to test what they want. So in essence, they are experimenting, collecting some data for themselves.
We are taking our own path. Our DNS zones are already being implemented in real sites. EMCSS/EMCSSL systems are already used to control real computer farms. The EMCLNX advertising system already has real traffic and payments.
Regarding advanced development - we are currently working with the Microsoft Azure platform. We are creating a series applications for the Azure market. The first application will be an online wallet without a miner, and with some other modifications. In addition to existing ideas and plans we are looking how we can push development even further, thus creating interaction between Microsoft and the OpenLedger exchange. After a bulk of this development has been completed, we will let the market appreciate and decide what is required. I believe all we have to offer will be found useful for users around the world.
Let a hundred flowers bloom!