My last post drew the ire of some Rust blockchain/cryptocurrency developers. This, while unintended, is not unwarranted, so here’s my public apology: It was wrong for me to ask for less blockchains and cryptocurrencies in Rust. Doing this was a lapse of judgement on my part, and while I still think there’s a valuable discussion to be had, the short form did not allow for the nuance it would have taken to steer this discussion away from the entirely predictable flame war that followed.
Given this, I also apologize to the wider Rust community. I have failed you, and I am sorry about that.
I want you to know that my decision to ask for “less blockchains and cryptocurrencies” was driven by unreflected fear: The fear that
- blockchain as a technology is so oversold that we will see a blockchain winter and the Rust community would suffer collateral damage by association, just as the Lisp community suffered the AI winter
- cryptocurrencies fail to live up to their potential to, in the words of one blockchain developer rightfully scolding me, “democratizing participation in a global financial economy”, with their primary use by volume falling somewhere between scams and money laundering
For the record, I do think that the latter problem is not inherent in the definition of cryptocurrencies, but is a failure of currently dominant implementation, or rather the economy that has been created around them. I still feel that the industry ought to demonstrate that decentralization really outweighs the cost in complexity, compute and energy (and saying “but proof of stake is much better than proof of work” won’t really change the equation) for e.g. the 22 million African people they purport to help, lest they fall in the same overselling trap as blockchain evangelists.
Even this discussion of my fears is obviously drawing with broad strokes. There will probably be many Rust blockchain or crypto projects that have nothing to do with what I described here.
I have no idea if those fears will become reality. Still I let them guide my judgement, and again, I apologize for doing so. I should have left this topics for a more thorough blog post. I may be unqualified to write that post.