Elon Musk, last seen dancing on national television dressed as Wario, continues his campaign in favor of joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin even as he irks others in the space with his comments and decisions. Dogecoin, which started as an essentially valueless cryptocurrency based on a dog meme, has risen to improbable heights in recent months, capping out ahead of Musk’s appearance on Saturday Night Live.
Musk tweeted about Dogecoin and encouraged investments into it a number of times, and as the crypto space has grown many new challenges have cropped up in recent weeks. There’s evangelical support and an influx of interest in the space, but with that comes very practical technical challenges in the physical world that can sink any crypto and other computing-based products. And Musk has started sparring with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin about Dogecoin’s long-term prospects and viability challenges in recent days.
As Yahoo Finance detailed, Buterin was critical of Musk’s suggestions about Dogecoin in a blog post published on Sunday, where he directly advised against Musk’s suggestions to improve network speeds in an effort to make Dogecoin more scalable and, in effect, make it more popular.
Ideally, Doge speeds up block time 10X, increases block size 10X & drops fee 100X. Then it wins hands down.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 16, 2021
There’s a lot going on here, as cryptocurrencies are all competing in some fashion. So while Musk’s suggestions here were not well-received by others in the space, there are a number of reasons why Dogecoin and Musk would get criticism. But Buterin, whose Ethereum has become the platform for many various non-fungible token (NFT) endeavors in 2021, certainly has the experience to weigh in on the practical impacts of Musk’s assumptions. Which is why his post contradicting Musk caused a stir this week.
Buterin begins the post by questioning how far one can “push the scalability of Blockchain,” before immediately tackling Elon Musk’s tweet about upping Dogecoin network parameters. After pointing out the complications of centralization and compromises on the technology, he says that there are important subtle factors that influence scaling.
Buterin argues that it’s “crucial for blockchain decentralization for regulators to be able to run a node.” He cites a striking example of how influential groups on a network if they wished to change protocol parameters, could very easily do so at the cost of regular users.
Buterin wasn’t alone in criticizing Musk, but the critique did get his attention. Musk responded on Twitter with, of course, a meme.
Musk has impacted the market in a number of ways recently, starting with his Tesla no longer accepting Bitcoin as payment for its vehicles until it is mined using a sustainable energy source. Sustainability and growth is a huge area of concern for digital currencies, as countries like China look to ban bitcoin mining amid indications that “mining” the currency shockingly uses more energy annually than entire modern industrialized nations. And on Monday, he asked for help in new ideas for Dogecoin on Twitter.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 24, 2021
Even with its recent crashes, cryptocurrency is an extremely valuable sphere where innovation and influence will get people a lot of money, blockchain-based or otherwise. But the battle over just how to grow the market, and who will get that money, will apparently be waged in memes and blog posts between billionaires while the rest of us try to parse just exactly what it all means.