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Eric Wall is not a research engineer, he’s a charlatan

Eric Wall is not a research engineer, he’s a charlatan

This is a commentary.
I’m invested in IOTA, and my job is to refute misinformation or actions by “allegedly transparent and good-hearted people” in the crypto realm. I never attack people without a reason. Healthy, honest, transparent criticism is important and the only way for projects to mature. 

Elvis Wall, self-proclaimed expert and “research engineer” of Cinnober, but also in the cryptocurrency realm, is known for his aggressive attempts in uncovering flaws in crypto projects.
So far so good. Criticism is good, we need smart people and Eric Wall is obviously highly supported by a rather large number of people. He says: “I give you the facts” We come to that.

But Eric Wall is smarter than anyone else. He successfully watched into the future and knows more facts than the founders of their respective projects according to his claims.

It doesn’t take much to see that this is about IOTA because he explicitly declared that this is personal to him, not just a professional area anymore.

I could ignore all points on his list and get to the bullet point of all of this: Eric Wall is invested in Bitcoin and he’s working on a Bitcoin lightning network (LN) project with his Company Cinnober.
Since IOTA plans to become the first project that really scales, the lightning layer on top of Bitcoin would be rendered completely useless, given that Bitcoin is used only as digital gold right now -and LN would change that fundamentally.

The success of LN, therefore, is important to him, his company, his career, and his bank account. There is nothing more to it. This conflict of interest is important and should be kept in mind every time he attacks other projects.

 

But his list of arguments against IOTA seems pretty convincing, so I chose the other way: I show what’s behind them.

Eric himself tweets them repeatedly as if they were facts. Let’s take a closer look at what “facts” we find here.

The list of his argument-links:

  1. https://medium.com/@ercwl/iota-is-centralized-6289246e7b4d
  2. https://medium.com/@ercwl/hello-david-b77bbc62c457
  3. https://github.com/iotaledger/iri/issues/177
  4. https://twitter.com/ercwl/status/922089938333642753
  5. https://twitter.com/ercwl/status/966287250031030273
  6. https://twitter.com/ercwl/status/924995941924593664
  7. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanchester/2017/10/16/what-if-you-could-have-bitcoin-without-the-problems-of-a-blockchain-iota-may-be-the-solution/4/#43c1a02b633e

Since Eric Wall is presenting himself as a scientist, a critical thinker, a valuable member of the human family which is using his unique skills for the greater good, I wonder how much of truth and “facts” (in a scientific way) are really behind his articles which already spread into every single corner of the Internet.

Point 1. IOTA is centralized. 
Please, for the sake of the term “primary source” read his post and come back here.

In short: He criticizes IOTA’s market cap, says he found something unknown to him, the coordinator and concludes that the ledger is not immutable anymore.

His facts: There are no facts. He’s basically saying: “I don’t know how they gonna solve that, I didn’t find what I needed to proof my headline (IOTA IS CENTRALIZED), so all that is left is that I make a bet on social media because I believe I’m damn smart”.

His bet:

Real facts:

a) The coordinator node is solely in place to secure the tangle. As long as the global hash rate is low, it acts as a protection against Sybil attacks and double-spends.
The coordinator does not centralize IOTA in that sense that the Foundation can change balances or mute transactions because the validation of the main-database needs the approval of full node owners. It does centralize the Tangle in that way that as long as full node owners use its milestones, it’s acting as security mechanism that for now, determines high or low confirmation rates. But using its milestones is up to them. It’s a free ledger in the end. Also, it’s just a temporary solution.

b) The IOTA foundation has an internal roadmap which they don’t publish before they have head start and research that backs their claims. (research section at https://www.iota.org/research/academic-papers )
For now, it’s clear that his points are nothing more than a declaration of ignorance. Science doesn’t work that way, research engineers neither.

IOTA will implement 3 vital technologies:

-Swarm nodes (Channel ICT in Discord is for that)

-Local snapshots (no documentation)

-Network bound proof of work. (no documentation)

With this, they plan to increase the confirmed transaction per second to a level, where the coordinator can be decentralized and eventually shut off.

Qubic will be a big part of that. We can expect further information on that on 3rd June 2018. (qubic.iota.org)

Eric Walls criticism is: “I don’t believe they can do it, I don’t know their roadmap, but I even bet my money on it, that I earn at Cinnober while we are working on a Bitcoin LN project. “

 


Point 2. The Coordinator cannot be shut down. 

In short: He pretty much uses the same arguments of claim 1. with the difference that he criticises that information is not easy to find, which is right. I have no objection here.

His facts: None. He cannot prove his claims. He criticises the information-landscape of IOTA.

Another bet: He again bets that the coordinator won’t be shut off in 2018. He doesn’t know about network bound PoW though. Swarm nodes and local snapshots are not part of his argumentation.

Real facts: He gives food for thought based on incomplete information that he uses to form “scary scenarios” like the coordinator private key could be used, etc. Apart from that, it’s hot air.


Point 3. Coordinator-instantiated milestone partitioning attack

In short: He assumes one could use a second coordinator in order to set up different milestones etc.

His facts: None, he just assumes. There is no scientific base, no showcase, no code, his thoughts are 15 sentences long.

Real facts: No one can access the coordinator. It’s manually tethered to some other nodes, so the infrastructure is already manually tethered. One of the biggest problems to become a malicious node in the tangle is manual tethering, meaning that you need to connect to neighbours IP’s manually.
You cannot become an omnipresence and you cannot just raise the cumulative weight on your transactions or milestones like you wish. It’s a practical impossibility.
Another point is that information about that is sensitive anyway. A situation that itself could be criticized but it’s part of the nature of the coordinator.


Point 4: IOTA is a server and can be censored. 

In Short: The IOTA network cannot be shut down, full node users don’t need to use the milestones of the COO.  But the IOTA network is vulnerable to sybil-attacks at early stages. That’s common knowledge and part of the bootstrapping phase every project had to overcome. The coordinator protects the tangle. For now. That doesn’t mean they have the ability to censor everyone.

His Facts: NoneHis claims that IOTA is not censorship resistant is wrong though. He is using a strawman argument, a logical fallacy in order to present his argument that IOTA is not immutable.

Real Facts: What really happened is that the network was a victim of a failed attack, that was successfully stopped by the coordinator.

As a consequence, the system needed to be secured, the course of events were reconstructed and minor changes to the IRI were installed in order to improve the system.

Healthy development in the making.

Eric Wall, though, presented this as the ability of the foundation to stop the coordinator to censor its users. The foundation created this 2 years ago with thousands of hours of hard work and their real name. Why would they do that?

That’s an ignorant, malicious and toxic way to interpret development that saved funds of its users, once again.

As a sidenote: Funds in IOTA were never lost due to a bug or a network bug. -due to the coordinator.  In 2 years not a single successful attack on the Tangle happened.

 

Point 5. IOTA is a scam and all big companies fell for it because they like the word blockchain

Just read his absurd tweets. It’s enough to understand why he is part of the problem in “cryptoland”. Opinions are presented as facts. No proof, just misinformation and appeal to experience.

Real facts: IOTA is a not for profit organisation under German law. there are countless examples where IOTA is trying to make a difference, and no money is involved. The latest and best example is the collaboration between UN-OPS and IOTA. Another one is LASS.
The IOTA community is extremely critical, especially with David, Dom, and CFB. Countless meetups and tech conference, also the biggest hackathon of the world “Blockchaingers” have utilized IOTA. Today, there are more than 115 projects listed in the IOTA Ecosystem. The number is rising fast.
Bosch, Fujitsu, VW are part of the supervisory board of the Foundation and countless other companies are looking into IOTA.
Is IOTA a scam, or does Eric Wall simply prefer LN to a point where he becomes desperate and pathological?
That’s up for interpretation. At least it’s mine.


Point 6. Just another bet based on old assumptions. 

At this point, I have no additional points to add. There are no facts or scientific assumptions, just loaded questions and bets. Pokerface. Charlatan.


Point 7. A Forbes article that presents some of his arguments. 

This is not even worth discussing: See Point 1. as this is just “appeal to authority”. Forbes is presumably read by many people.

Let’s conclude. Did you find any facts by Eric Wall that would confirm any of his aggressive headlines?

Because I would love to read them. His links certainly didn’t deliver.

One point on his list is accurate, though and makes sense: not all information about IOTA is available which makes it hard to conclude because cutting edge technology demands a certain level of “software-protectionism” as long as it is immature. History of the cryptosphere has shown that innovation is stolen and misused to scam people, therefore the IOTA Foundation is protective about some things, which is totally understandable.

The conclusion by Eric wall including questions, opinions and bets which are presented as facts, however, are a joke.

The term “fact” is flexible as it seems.

Eric Wall, the “altcoin slayer” is nothing more than an aggressive LN troll that is supported by his likes.

What we see here is that there is a clear developer and expert centralization and that those that are using the right arguments are possibly able to convince the majority of investors.

What he also does is a column at Bitcoin.com, where he postulates: who would have thought: a good outlook for Bitcoin. 

Strange business conduct the people at Cinnober have -that’s for sure.

 

 

 

2 Replies to “Eric Wall is not a research engineer, he’s a charlatan”

  1. Nice summary. Also, he has admitted publicly to short the projects he critizises after posting his comments or his comments bragging about being an “influencer”. Although, the truth is this may not add much more. The reality is there is a lot of uncertainty created by the fact that a lot of the information is “classified” and therefore the trolls can exploit this to say there is no solution to the current issues and all current limitations mean apocalypsis. The reality is that noone know if IOTAs solutions will succeed in the long term or not, but they definitely have a bright and highly skilled team and a strong community (with some bad apples in terms of behaviour as any other community would have). Another hater (cybergibbons), keeps posting technical stuff which is correct as per today’s limitations- most of the times- also dismissing IOTAs solutions in the pipeline as science fiction (what he is really doing is pointing out some of the limitations of trying to create a backbone for global IoT with today’s technology in general which are faced by both DLT and non-DLT teams (take Bluetooth) trying to make M2M possible and secure *enough). Only time will tell if what IOTA is trying to achieve is possible or not. Until date, haters will continue to hate and dismiss IOTA as what it is not (e.g a lunatic scam) by exploiting uncertainty (and ignorance) while those who think they have the team, resources and backing to deliver will continue ‘believing’ that they will succeed. I would prefer the latter but I am prepared for any possibility, after all it may be true that swarm nodes, trinary, etc may not overcome energy restrictions. Great post again though.

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