Ethereum Q&A: Developer compensation and performance indicators


“Have you heard about Vitalik’s new proposal to impose
gas fees on wallet transactions to fund developers?”
“What is this about?” Strictly speaking,
this is a bit off-topic, but I will answer it quickly.
There is a proposal in the Ethereum community,
started by Vitalik, to [establish] a common practice.
Not as a rule of the protocol, imposed by
consensus, but simply as a common practice.
Every wallet would impose a slight
voluntary fee on every transaction…
that funds protocol developers,
or at least funds wallet development.
This is something that happens in Bitcoin.
There are [some] wallets where, when you make a
transaction, you have the option to make a donation…
to the wallet developers.
Usually that is done with a payment channel.
Sometimes it is done with an on-chain transaction.
In Lightning wallets, it is done with a payment channel.
This isn’t different in any way.
What Vitalik proposed was to make this part of the best
practices, so that software development of wallets…
is better funded.
[Funding development] is
a problem in many blockchains.
Wallets represent the cutting-edge,
the front end of user [experience] development.
A feature that is [added to] the consensus layer protocol
doesn’t really become active until a wallet uses it,
until a wallet exposes it to
users in a way that is intuitive.
Even though something may be available…
Let’s use an example in Bitcoin.
Native SegWit addresses start with ‘bc1.’
Have you seen one of those [addresses]?
You probably haven’t. Why? Because…
About 80% of wallets don’t yet implement them.
Only a few wallets implement them at the moment.
Even though that feature has existed for
more than six months in the base protocol,
its implementation in wallets is still lagging.
This is a problem across all blockchains.
Wallets are not very well-funded.
Most wallets are available for free and
they make money through advertising,
or by selling other services.
So that is Vitalik’s proposal: better funded
wallets [means] better developed wallets,
through a mechanism of voluntary fees.
“Should we consider the number of DApps on the
blockchain, the number of commits on the code,
the amount of blockchain activity,
or the [circulating supply] of cryptocurrency…
as valid performance indicators?”
It depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
Performance indicators tell you
something about the blockchain,
but they also tell you a lot about
the person [choosing] indicators.
Depending on what performance
indicators you are interested in,
I will be able to tell what [about
blockchains] is important to you.
Is it important as an investment, something
that increases in value for the future?
Are you looking at performance metrics that
tell you whether it is sufficiently decentralized,
being actively developed,
or showing a lot of innovation, etc.
It depends if you are a trader or developer;
whether you are interested in the technology…
or as an investment in your portfolio.
You will choose different metrics depending on
what you consider to be good performance.
The “best blockchain” depends on
what you are trying to do with it.
I have talked about this in the past.
We all have different metrics for success.
To me, for example, the blockchain with the most money
invested in it, is not necessarily the most interesting.
If that blockchain is centralised and run by a bank,
of course it will have lots of money invested in it.
That is what banks have: lots of money.
That won’t make it the blockchain
which delivers the most freedom,
political empowerment, economic
inclusion, or [financial] innovation.
Those metrics are more important
to me than other metrics.
In general, however, it is difficult in many
cases to measure these things accurately.
What does it mean to look at the number of commits?
How do you value code based on metrics for commits?
What if a lot of these commits are just changes
to the spelling of words? Do you count the lines?
What if you are using a more expressive
language, where you need fewer lines?
Does that mean it is a less valid project?
Probably the opposite.
If you write in an assembly language,
then your commits will have a lot of line changes.
But that doesn’t make it any better. It just means
the language is more verbose and less expressive.
It is really difficult to pick a metric in this industry.
Many people attach to or argue for certain metrics;
that reveals their biases rather than any useful
information about which blockchain is working.
At the end of the day, what matter is:
which system solves a problem for you,
better than any of the other systems you have used?
As a user or developer of DApps,
someone doing cross-border transactions,
micro payments, whatever, [this] will
determine which blockchain is good for you.
Your criteria are different from everybody else.
[This evaluation requires] not seeing them
as investments, as a zero-sum game…
where one system wins and other system loses.

13 thoughts on “Ethereum Q&A: Developer compensation and performance indicators

  1. Old video? Seems as though Andreas was saying Bech32 SegWit addresses are only 6 months old.
    https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0173.mediawiki

  2. Andreas, I had one question – What would you recommend big and well known IT companies to do with Bitcoin? What should they focus on? Where can they help?

  3. I think it's a good idea to have a 'wallet'-fee.
    A couple wei's or Satoshi's can't be an issue for everyone. unless you're a stubborn person with certain principles.

  4. Andreas i love you man and your videos. But you really should improve your audio. Get a better mic. Cheers.

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