Much has been said about the rivalry between Ethereum and Cardano. The issue is compounded by Cardano Founder Charles Hoskinson having had a hand in Ethereum’s early days.
Some say Cardano’s design and philosophy are based upon improving the weaknesses Hoskinson identified during his time there. In particular, the slow and steady ethos, as well as the academic rigor it takes.
But in responding to the question of the role of deep research in cryptocurrency, Vitalik Buterin said it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.
“I’m actually the sort of person who thinks deep academic rigor is overrated.”
Buterin Takes A Heuristic Approach To Solving Problems
Speaking on the Lex Fridman Podcast, Buterin commented on Cardano by saying the project offers interesting ideas. However, he posited that both projects take fundamentally different philosophical approaches, in that Ethereum focuses on speed over academic proofs.
“they really emphasize having these big academic proofs for everything. Whereas Ethereum tends to be more okay with heuristic arguments, in part because it’s trying to do more faster. But there’s definitely interesting things that come out of IOHK.”
A heuristic approach refers to any problem-solving method that uses a practical approach or shortcut to get solutions that may not be optimal but “will do” considering a limited time frame.
When pressed on the role of academic research in cryptocurrency, Buterin justified his position by calling it overrated. His reason for thinking this comes down to believing that protocol failures outside the model are more influential than failures within the model.
Add to that the limitations of formal language, as they relate to technology, and academic proofs are not as infallible as they are made out to be.
“Ultimately, what you’re trying to achieve can never be fully described in formal language. This is the big discovery of the AI safety people, right?”
Hoskinson Responds To Buterin
Speaking from Bitcoin 2021 in Miami, Hoskinson took time out to address Buterin’s comments.
Hoskinson began by acknowledging the different philosophical approaches of each project. But added they share a commonality in both wanting to better humanity through technology.
Nonetheless, when it comes to Cardano’s scientific approach, Hoskinson said this is the mature and responsible way to offset system failure. In turn, he sees this as critical to preventing the loss of user’s money and privacy.
“I just happen to believe the way we do things is a bit more mature and responsible because the way that we do things results in a better assurance that the systems we build won’t fail.”
What’s more, in addressing criticisms of being slow, Hoskinson said he’s in no rush to get things right the first time around when it comes to building life-affecting protocols.