gavin wood

gavin wood


intro’d to Gavin via his talk at devcon 2015 – shared by Jordan..

DEVCON1: Ethereum for Dummies

bitcoin w/added extra.. extended scripting language.. not really up to heart of what we were making.. limited ethereum as abstraction platform for master coin style master contracts on a blockchain..

is there a better way of thinking of ethereum…  other than bitcoin w/additional richness of scripting language….. i got to thinking crypto finance and if bitcoin is crypto finance.. what’s ethereum.. then crypto law

crypto law – like finance but fully general (bitcoin) so maybe ethereum could be a crypto graphic version of that

we could answer the how.. and a pretty good idea of why – the centralization.. but the what .. exactly is it.. we know people want it .. but don’t really know what it is..

? whoa.

ethereum is a computer.. not a good one.. really slow and expensive.. and not always decisive about what’s happened in terms of io… so far not seeming like such a good invention..

actually really interesting properties…

1\ a global singleton.. and one of possibly the first.. fundamentally .. not localized.. doesn’t reside in any single machine/part of the world.. but only one of them…

2\ cannot fail, be stopped, reset button..

3\ ubiquitous… everyone has fair access…where there’s internet

4\ natively multi-user… as many accounts as needed

5\ object oriented – virtual silicon

6\ accessible – where there’s javascript (simple/web-oriented)

7\ verifyable/auditable – all code honored now and forever


1\ automicity – we don’t have to think about whether it will fail halfway through – entire runs or nothing does

2\ synchrony – no two operations can interfere w/each other

3\ provenance – all messages can be inspected for origin address

allows certain securities

4\ permanence – objects data permanent

5\ immortality – can never be externally deleted.. only internally voluntarily commit suicide

6\ immutability – code can never be changed

ethereum is an innovation commons 

compared to walled garden of the server:

1\ interoperability difficult –

2\ increased barriers

3\ cumbersome –

servers provide barriers.. make monopoliess. generally bad for innovation..

for privacy:

1\ privacy.. no inter mediaries

2\ security… no server to hack

3\ authenticity.. all interactions cryptographically signed

ethereum is the world’s first decentralized computer – ubiquitous and ethereal – no single bottleneck

thinking stephen on ada

look into history – . – eventually a strong player..

ie: software development – individual coders to hierarchy to bazaar model to github model

ie: computing – isolated (no network) to mainframe to server-client to p2p

ie: governance – anarchy to monarchy/empire/fiefdoms to plutocracy/aristocracy to bureaucracy/democracy

15 min – general theme.. begin w/ nothing, centralize in order to enforce rules.. then decentralize once structures in place… more efficient/scalable/resilient to attack

ethereum comodotises trust – a bridge across the boundaries


ethereum could be the court of the internet…


ethereum a crypto law platform – use blockchain to implement arbitrary social contracts w/o a central server

pivotal path to re decentralization of web.. post snowden web ..

i think that web would be w/o all this money ness.. identity ness…

web 3… infrastructure for the itc revolution:

  • ethereum – zero trust computing
  • whisper – private asyncrhonous bulletins
  • telehash – private realtime comms
  • ipfs/swarm – decentralized data distribution

21 min – on q&a – can’t possibly compete w/this tech to might as well get real and get with it


medium – dec 2015

View at

it turns out that “Ethereum” (Frontier, eth, geth, whatever) is actually only a relatively small piece of the puzzle. The “kernel” of an operating system, if you like. While planned upgrades to this kernel, like proof-of-stake (nudging throughput, providing finality and increasing the network’s green credentials) and light-client support (reducing bandwidth, memory, hard-disk and computation requirements on some nodes) are helpful, there is only so much that one can do to propel the platform forward at this level.


the Ethereum platform, at present, needs this infrastructure before it can be properly exploited. This article is about mapping out and exploring the interrelationships between those pieces and doing so in terms of defining and (re)combining simple primitives.


There are three key pillars of a crypto-law ecosystem:

  • Identity (1)
    • Contracts that manage identity will range from heavily decentralised and transient (e.g. swarms of individuals doing regular synchronised meetings across the world to determine uniqueness), heavily centralised and permanent (e.g. government-issued “cold signing devices”) to hybrid meta-identity models (e.g. piggy-backing on pre-existing Facebook/Twitter/PGP identities).
  • Assets (n)
  • Data (inf)


  • Reputation For something so commonly used, reputation is a difficult notion to pin down. At its root, reputation is simply an attribute of an identity, a means of linearly measuring the entity’s virtuosity and typically related to how well other “identities” perceive it. Reputation systems within a crypto-legal system help make up for the lack of social-contact inherent with purely machine-to-machine systems and form the precursors and prototype for Web-of-Trust and more formal credit-rating and AML/KYC systems.

being truly human means refusing to measure – @davidgraeber ‘s debt

  • Badges Badges are essentially a non-transferable, non-linear attribute attached to an identity. Depending on the level of badge-prototyping, they could be argued to be either Identity + Information or Identity + Asset. Badges of non-structured data may include, e.g. character-testimony.


While far from complete, I’ve tried to map out some of the ways in which we can take some primitive crypto-legal notions and build a system with useful primitives that perhaps some of the first “programmer-lawyers” can take to.


nov 2015 – Ethereum: The World computer

it’s the first computer that’s fundamentally a singleton.. only one computer like there’s only one internet…

very difficult to be attacked/stopped/censored.. will not fail

so hard wired i’m calling it virtual silicon… no one can touch info

interent dealing w/communication… ethereum dealing w/processing

everything done w/external accounts..


dec 2014 – ethereum explained in 100 seconds – w/ Vitalik

bitcoin to ethereum..

bitcoin – institutions set up to transfer value.. a decentralized data base.. keeps track of how much money people have…

magic behind bitcoin.. consensus process.. automate onto machines/math that are incorruptable..


w/ethereum.. takes a step further.. instead of just currency/value transfer.. a language.. genuine human interaction..

can use the framework to build just about any other kind of application


oct  – IMWorld 2015 – The Revolution Will Be Decentralised: an overview of the tech..

ethereum is a computer

6 min (lots of repeat from above up to here)

w/ethereum.. can be absolutely certain that the results it comes to are the correct results..

? what?

once in computer can’t get out.. no other way for computer to interact w/world.. can send messages everywhere.. wherever there is internet

8 mins – counter is empty and we want to count likes..


9 min – w/marriage contract… vote as a pair..

10 min – only when you change things in the system does it cost.. most of the time just inspecting.. free

language is called solidity

11 min – objects data always permanent.. always

so much talking in extremes..

21 min to end – lost a bit – except for parts that are repeats from above


find/follow Gavin:

link twitter

I used to teach fractals and art to kids in a school in Italy,




so www ness.. io dance ness

imagining something like blockchain (only because vinay is *saying it’s the means to get databases and networks to dance) used as a facilitator/scraper of data (from self-talk as data) to pool on some..

leapfrog to open via 7 billion plus self-talk as data platforms..dancing interoperably on the platform of us..

we can. we can’t not.

a nother way


gupta roadblock law



11:15 sf (12:15 den) – Panel – Peer to Peer Networks  – with Gavin

we’d normally do through http post.. w/o server on other side.. – gavin

server ness

strong web.. meaning links not so fragile.. – @zooko (from boulder)
ethereum allows you to run an application.. that would normally go on server.. what we’d normally do through http post.. w/o server on other side.. – gavin
the git protocol is d cent – gavin
web breaks piecemeal – but creating fragility debt – @kevinmarks
it’s really important that the d start at the layer of the url.. the links matter – @zooko
so just host life bits that io dance..
important to distinguish between git (d) and github – gavin
part of why web is losing on mobile.. (silo ing ness..?)
trying to take something already centralized and applying d cent on top.. rather than build ground up.. so not talking to each other ness – gavin and kevin
fb site massively profitable.. because excludable.. and why it has better ux.. can over – @zooko
i don’t want exclusivity.. but can’t ignore that that’s what makes things successful…  – crazy experiments of how humans can org w/o central walled garden @zooko
we have to be aware of all unfair advantages.. ie: layers of trust known as firewalls – @daviddias
centralization that is in there by design is the point that you need a web server – gavin
how to pay for.. at moment .. users pay with identity – i think in future.. have option.. ad space.. but also maybe bandwidth come from users own machines.. taking payment for micro provision of bandwidth.. gavin
one thing bitcoin taught us.. able to put value on network.. instead of having to resort to cent service.. use machines already available.. reducing a lot of cost .. you can incentivize file storage.. – david
there’s a model.. that the payment of hosting is same as current.. but use cryptography so that not vulnerable to hosting company.. – zooko
a: any consensus..  ends up centralized.. in bitcoin major reason of success is that it has thin clients.. access blockchains in d cent and secure.. ethereum.. still lacking that..  a: yes.. release soon.. my own team working on hybrid client.. between full and thin client.. – gavin