The role of ASIC in proof of work system has always been controversial.

In the mature stage, ASIC enhances the security of the network (by forcing miners to bet on the success of a protocol for a long time), but in the transition stage, the hardware manufacturer who built the first ASIC can almost monopolize the casting of new coins. This may give rise to an informal seigniorage – casting money at a cost below the market price. Those protocols that diverge frequently also face this risk; Developers have the ability to decide which POW function the chain will turn to, so that they can monetize their influence on the agreement. This may be a very hidden form of corruption that undermines POW’s well-known “impartiality”.

GPU blockchain also has a bad quality, that is, it can be mined by “nicecash able”. Similarly, it can be attacked by renting commercialized hardware for a short time. Because the purpose of these hardware can be redirected and can be rented and sold, people who dig GPU coins do not need to bind them for a long time.

ASCI is the abbreviation of application specific integrated circuit, that is, application specific integrated circuit. Compared with common general-purpose chips such as CPU and GPU, the computing power and computing efficiency of ASIC chips are directly customized according to the needs of specific algorithms. Therefore, ASIC chips can realize the advantages of small volume, low power consumption, high reliability, strong confidentiality, high computing performance and high computing efficiency.

These questions filled my mind. In 2018, I began to think about how an ASIC startup would work. Not because I am interested in participating in a project, but because I find it interesting to think about the trade-offs. This tweet represents what I thought at that time:

Discussion on the startup mode of blockchain network

@nic__ Carter: in the next period of time (12 months), we will see that sooner or later, a development team will announce a POW type fair start project, and the team will launch an ASIC chip for mining the pow algorithm of the project. The details of the algorithm will not be released until the creation block.

About a month later, Obelisk (a subsidiary of nebulous) announced a plan to provide some business services, called launchpad, which is convenient for pow start-up using specially customized ASIC.

Discussion on the startup mode of blockchain network

I put my tweet above in this article to prove that I have thought about these ideas for a long time. This article is not written to provide “moral support” for any specific POW startup. Most of this manuscript has been written long ago, but I didn’t take it out because I thought the pow startup was basically paralyzed and people wouldn’t be very interested in it.

In fact, I made a mistake in predicting the time – there was no such POW startup as far as I know within 12 months after I sent that tweet. However, I note that several teams are currently considering a similar launch. Therefore, I think my ideas on this issue may be valuable. This is not for the benefit of a specific team, but because this thinking can provide us with an interesting background to evaluate some key issues of social scalability and security of these network projects, whether it is bitcoin or other POW chains.

If someone intends to launch a new public blockchain, I firmly believe that pow without pre excavation is the best way to achieve it. There are many reasons, which I will introduce below.

But I think GPU startup is becoming more and more difficult and risky. I can’t stop anyone from starting a chain. But I think a careful analysis of trade-offs can encourage the team to be more responsible, or at least explore other parts of the project design.

Finally, my thoughts on how to start a new universal blockchain may upset some people. If so, I suggest you close this article altogether.

In addition, although I think bitcoin may be enough for non national currencies, I do not want to permanently rule out the possibility of other pow blockchains. I don’t see any need for another chain now, but I can hardly convince myself that bitcoin will be the first and last viable blockchain in history.

I’m not afraid of competition. I think bitcoin has its unique advantages. The small-scale POW launch will not compete with bitcoin, nor will it damage it in any way. I think it is entirely possible for us to start another POW chain at some point, so it is necessary to think about how to start it.

I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing any specific launch or a currency, or I have this attitude towards any new POW launch. In fact, I generally do not encourage anyone to start a new blockchain project. They are often useless or ghost towns. However, I do not rule out that a new blockchain may appear sometime in the future.


The launch of new cryptocurrencies is trapped in a strange paradox: they usually need a single authoritative entity to lead the development, manage the launch process, and coordinate the development work during an important period in the initial stage. Generally speaking, to create a distinctive agreement, it generally requires a large amount of upfront investment in R & D. All these characteristics require the organizational and financial commitment of a single entity.

However, the support of a corporate entity (or more subtle model, let’s assume that there is no organization pulling in a model) is clearly the key to centralization. This means that if the agreement develops too large or subversive, opponents can find obvious attack points; Generally speaking, people who are hostile to the network will also have enough ability to intervene in it. In addition, these administrative entities often not only choose to control most of the money supply, but also have real power in decision-making, trademarks and veto over the future development direction.

Engels once believed that the “demise of the state” was the final result of socialist utopia. Similarly, the so-called “road of decentralization” in the monetary agreement was close to fantasy rather than reality.

To really give up power as promised, the founders of these projects must stick to poverty and finally get out of the matter. So people sometimes say that Nakamoto’s second great idea after creating bitcoin is to leave the project. Unfortunately, since then, few founders of cryptocurrency have followed in their footsteps. They prefer ill gotten gains and are keen to join the Davos forum with central bank governors.

Over the years, people have tried many kinds of agreement financing modes: bitcoin’s pre excavation, more complex ICO, founder reward, secretly pre excavation and white paper with changed date, instant mining, merger and bifurcation. Purists believe that except for pow type fair start (ensuring that there is no seigniorage, not even developers), no other way is enough to give the founding team the legitimacy to create a global agreement.

Their idea is reasonable: if a considerable number of people around the world turn to a neutral cryptocurrency agreement, it is impossible for future buyers of the currency to accept the situation that the founders of the global currency give themselves a free share of 20% or more. This is an impossible scenario. Seigniorage – more generally, a feeling of apparent unfairness or deception – can be extremely unpleasant. It is this, rather than any technical shortcomings, that will end most sexy, high-throughput, VC supported basic layer protocols. These are not entrepreneurial projects: they are money, and competitiveness is based on credibility, neutrality, institutional stability and fairness. Private equity projects are indeed centralized and unfair, but you don’t need Uber shares to buy your daily bread. For something as important as money, fairness is crucial. A very unfair start will be an ugly miasma, which will linger and poison the integrity of the whole project.

The unique attraction of pow start-up is not just the distributed advantage of mining at home for ordinary people (although this is a powerful and underestimated feature). The most important feature of pow fair start is that it ensures that it is impossible to obtain money at a price lower than the market price. You can buy coins in the market or dig with electricity; But no one has the right to conduct internal transactions.

Let’s look at another way to start: the development team pre digs some erc20 tokens and then slowly sells them in the market over a few years. It looks like pow. But this is not the case, because the team can get all the tokens at the price of 0 yuan. If the development team changes the money they get into tokens and burns them down, it is similar to pow.

Of course, fair start has its inherent disadvantage, that is, it faces challenges in the commercialization of the network, especially in the early stage. If developers work with idealism or altruism, it’s no problem. This is true of bitcoin. As the bitcoin network becomes more and more systemically important, sponsors finally appear.

Today, a group of rich and diverse sponsors are funding dozens of core developers who make the bitcoin blockchain run smoothly and work for the long-term infrastructure. This is perhaps the most ideal model; But the advantage of bitcoin is that it is the first and most important project and does not need to deal with venture capitalists.

Nowadays, any new cryptocurrency has to try to find its own particularity. It is an arduous task to gain enough traction to win sponsorship or donations for survival. In terms of early research and development, it is almost impossible to finance without selling the future rights of the agreement token in some way.

Many people will cite the case of GRIN: grin tries to achieve POW type fair start with GPU as the goal. In fact, this decision is a little outdated, and the grin team is difficult to make money. Very few donations have been received so far. For many people, this is a cautionary story.

Of course, some people will proudly laugh at the weakness of the fair start-up model. Their intention is not stated clearly. In fact, they want to bluntly advocate their own predatory start-up model. Only those teams and projects without pre excavation are qualified to speak. Despite the financing difficulties of grin so far, its possibility of becoming an important monetary asset will not be stranded due to some problems, including problems in securities law, such as the risk of the founder being arrested, such as the community losing its charm due to the harvest of VC. (if you don’t believe what I said, you can read the fund-raising platform of crypto fund focusing on token strategy. The short term “time to obtain liquidity” means that “we plan to exit the token position during public sale because we want to ensure risk-free return and sell these assets as soon as possible”.)

In 2014-2018, ICO is a disastrous financial instrument to a large extent. I hardly see a project that makes me feel responsible to the public. Once these projects are no longer open to the public, they lose their only advantage: wide and unlicensed distribution (note that this is an inherent feature of POW). ICO has many problems, especially those projects that immediately choose the authoritative mode of proof of interest (POS) (rather than choosing POW as the project guide as wisely as Ethereum). These problems include the following:

·Insiders can participate in the crowdfunding initiated by themselves, and secretly get a freely set share (because they actually control the funds in the crowdfunding stage).

·Some buyers can get tokens at any low price, because these coins are not created in an expensive way through pow, but are produced out of thin air. Therefore, the private placement round before the public offering usually consists of pure seigniorage.

·Tokens eventually became a hodgepodge, mixed with an informal investment contract and arcade tokens used to unlock network resources. This led to speculation crowding out uses and contributed to a lot of chaotic value accumulation theories.

·Selling tokens to the public (or indirectly through Telegraph) is very similar to investment contracts in most jurisdictions. This generally makes issuers subject to securities laws, whether they like it or not.

·If issuers retain most of the supply of tokens, they will tend to maintain their authority in the network, especially when they choose the proof of interest (POS) model. This makes the decentralization of authority difficult to go through, because publishers often refuse to give up their share in the network.

·Early supporters of the project can get a disproportionate supply of tokens almost free of charge. If the network follows the POS model, these people will maintain this advantage permanently and inexpensively. This creates a powerful force that makes the distribution of tokens difficult to sustain because equity holders have no pressure to sell tokens. In contrast, in POW mode, miners must continue to spend and invest in order to maintain a certain proportion of network power. In the POS system, the cost of maintaining the stake is actually the cost of running a server.

My core view is that the main challenge in managing a new monetary commodity is not technical. Of course, your blockchain must have compelling technical features, but the ultimate difficulty is to climb over the wall of indifference. In the initial stage, no one cares about your system. In maturity, you need the attention of tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of people. If you offer a large part of token supply to early-stage investors at a discounted price and give them strong anti dilution rights (at the same time, you hope / expect that people will use your network as working capital in the future and tolerate a certain degree of dilution, which is actually supplementing those early-stage buyers who bet passively), You may create an obviously unfair system in which the winner has long been determined by the willful prehistory of the chain.

In my opinion, it is almost impossible to attract people to join such a network. Why join your chain? Why not make a fair start and let each owner work for their own tokens instead of distributing chips according to their close alienation from the founding team?

However, ICO, pre mining and founder seigniorage type tokens have a key advantage: they can subsidize people who do things on the agreement even before they are issued. It is naive to imagine that not all cryptocurrency protocols that will exist have been launched in 2019. Some people may say that it is also a good model to subsidize the agreement before it is launched? So, can people design some form of currency startup that can avoid the worst part and adopt the high-quality part? I think so.

Let’s first review three popular models:

Classic ICO + Treasury model


·The developer team can finance itself through the revenue of the Treasury and the future sales of retained tokens;

·The most convenient way to start a new chain; If tokens are issued, security can be outsourced to Ethereum or other smart contract protocols;

·Pre sale makes the delivery time longer. The development team can prepare several years before the project release, because it can sell the future token share;

·The founding team has full decision-making power over all parameters of the system.


· 几乎注定被视为一种投资合同/证券。巨大且可能是禁令性的监管风险;

· 供应趋于集中;较短的销售窗口意味着更少的买家,团队倾向于保留份额。PoS 模式也趋于集中化;

· 预售的份额通常有较大的价格折扣;这就给系统引入了大量铸币税,使得发行从根本上来说是不公平的;

· 只要 PoS 存在,内部人员或预售买家可以永久保留他们在系统中的份额;PoS 代币相当于永久性的反稀释权;

· 存在显著的信息不对称;开发者几乎控制了系统的每个方面,而信息披露通常很差;

· 用户必须购买代币才能参与;没有免许可的获取方式;

· 发行者可以购买自己的 ICO,获得不公平的(隐蔽的)优势。

由此可见这种模式显然是弊大于利的。在美国,出售某种加密货币的权利,尤其是向公众出售,在证券监管机构眼中是不受欢迎的。是不推荐的。此外,给予早期支持者或大股东永久的、行权成本低的反稀释权,会窒息代币的分配,限制其普及范围。多亏了区块链提供的透明性,我们在这方面有很好的数据来证明。(我希望有人写一篇严肃的文章,比较一下 PoS 链和 PoW 链的所有权分布情况。如果你是对此感兴趣的研究者,请联系我们!数据我已经有了。)

PoW 型「公平启动」


· 即使发行额不高,这条链在发行时也有可接受和被充分理解的 PoW 安全性;

· 费用/发行 100% 转化成安全性;在将发行转化为 PoW 的安全性方面,这种协议更有效率

· 发行是公平的且不存在铸币税;假设硬件市场竞争激烈,而且矿工的利润率较低,那么所有币都必须以面值购买(不管是挖矿还是在交易所);

· 开发者或协议没有赚钱的方式,这意味着项目更可能吸引热情和有内在动机的自由/开源软件开发者;

· 这种启动风格赋予了该区块链永久的合法性;在发行一种新货币的各种方法中,这是已知的最公平的一种;

· 被贴上投资合同/证券的标签的风险非常低;

· 具有 PoW 的自然分配的好处,尤其是那些起步阶段对 GPU 挖矿友好的链;

· 用户可以在没有进行 KYC 合规或交易所注册的情况下获取该代币。


· 哈希函数方面的预备知识,投资者需要自己买单;

· 如果在商品化的硬件上挖矿,那么,在项目启动时,其安全性会较差;

· 在项目启动前随意转向某个 PoW 函数,会让人怀疑开发者与某些 ASIC 制造商串通一气;

· 开发者没有直接的渠道从自己的工作中获利;他们只能通过游说者的花销拐弯抹角地赚钱,比如做出有倾向性的协议修改;

· 开发者有动机通过他们对核心属性(包括哈希函数)的选择权来进行寻租;

· 该网络最终依赖于如何资助开发者。

这是经典的模式。比特币、莱特币 (Litecoin)、门罗币(Monero) 和 Grin 都是这种模式。这种模式很合理,但很难在起步阶段获得支持,日后也依赖于社区的募资或持续的资助。只要你能推动起来,它就非常有效,且很难被杀死——但它需要大量的社区建设来获得牵引力。随着时间的推移,这一模式变得越来越不可行,尤其是在金融类权益模式不断增长的情况下。

我认为,今天几乎所有的 GPU 型启动都有可能遭遇内鬼的风险,这些人提前掌握了秘密创建某类型 ASIC 芯片的算法。

PoW 型「公平启动」+ 创始人奖励


· 被标记为一种证券的几率应该低于 ICO 类型的币;

· 存在一笔预算,用以资助长期基础设施项目/公共产品;

· 游戏规则被人们充分理解,如果社交契约被严格遵守,用户可以认为,某些实体有权利获得该协议资助的奖励;

· 开发税相当于获得了该协议授权的缓慢套现;套现的步骤是高度可审计的,不像资金库模式,对外声称的套现计划并没有得到严格遵守;

· 存在一笔自由裁量的预算,这允许协议奖励被用做更一般的用途,而不仅仅是安全。


· 有一些铸币税,这可能会对公平感有所损害;

· 自由/开源软件社区对这个项目贡献的热情可能会被蚕食——当其他开发者可以收到协议资助的补贴时,为什么要免费工作呢?

· 有些特权阶层的人可以利用他们与协议/核心管理实体的近水楼台来寻租;

· 目前还没有一种已知的方式,能够以一种社会可扩展的方式,将协议资助的奖励分配给劳动者;

· 对协议资金所支持的工作进行质量检查,不是什么无关紧要的小事;与检查一次成功的哈希碰撞(在寻常的 PoW 中要完成的工作)相比,工作量大不相同;

· 开发者/管理者有动机通过影响开发者资金的使用方向来寻租;


· 通过将安全预算分配给非安全目标,会造成安全「泄漏」。

这种混合模式,最早是 Zcash 首创的。它本质上相当于一个有兑现计划的预挖矿模式。与纯粹的预挖矿相比,它能更好地配置激励,因为这些分配额度要过好几年才能解禁。不管怎样,这个方案也有自身的问题:就 Zcash 而言,该协议有一个饱受争议的问题,即管理者是否应获得协议衍生的额外资金。铸币税的阀门一旦开启,就很难关闭了。

说到这里,你可能会问,为什么我不直接鼓吹最普通的 PoW 型公平启动。从这个角度看,它显然更优秀。但它也不是完全没有问题。我认为,对于 GPU 式的 PoW 启动,应该秉持一种现实的态度。让我们看几个最近的案例研究。

为什么 GPU 式公平启动可能已成明日黄花

作为一个密切关注 Grin 启动的人,我必须承认,这感觉很怀旧,好像是来自上一个时代的最后一次尝试。观望整个过程,我感到一种普鲁斯特式的剧痛。就好像我把玛德琳蛋糕浸在茶里,穿越回 2012-2014 年 PoW 型启动的辉煌岁月。

关于「风投支持的特殊目的公司有 1 亿美元」的流言确实蛮夸张,但是其启动方式肯定有问题。最初,开发者希望永远保持抗 ASIC 路线,但最终选择了一种从 GPU 到 ASIC 的分阶段发展的实用路线,他们设想能缓慢过渡到一个由 ASIC 主导的网络,但又希望起步阶段能采取能被更广大人群挖矿的 GPU 方式。开始有一段时间还可以用 GPU 挖矿,但一些矿工现在跟我报告说,ASIC——或至少是更高效的硬件 (FPGA)——已经开始在哈希算力中占有相当大的份额,这较预期的时间计划有所提前。

这并不是什么真正的失败,但它确实说明,抗 ASIC 挖矿这一理念存在着固有的巨大困难。

有些人预料 PoW 会变化,或者在游说开发者以获得他们想要的结果,这些人从 Grin 模式获得了巨大的好处。Grin 开发者确实对最终转向 PoW 模式的态度有点含糊(这一般都是相当磨人的讨论过程),这种含糊不清引发了许多愤怒和游说。总的来说,如果资源没有被用在游说开发者支持某个更好的哈希函数上,那么效率会高得多。最终,开发人员花了很多功夫让这个链在起步阶段能够抗 ASIC 挖矿,但他们无法控制未来。他们没有立马选择 ASIC,这是因为,他们天真地认为,GPU 挖矿将在 Grin 的早期阶段占据主导地位(一个分布式的、非企业化的团队要协调这个模式,其实是相当难的事情)。但是 ASIC (或者至少 FPGA)挖矿最后还是出现了。

大多数抗 ASIC 挖矿的链都面临同样的困难。这些项目其实为那些创建 FPGA 或 ASIC 芯片的团队创造了大量奖金,而且他们在雷达下飞行,希望自己不被发现。Su Zhu 这点得好:

你会天真地以为,未来的团队会从中吸取教训,咬紧牙关,一开始就发布 ASIC 芯片。



· 我们希望限制铸币税;也就是说,我们希望几乎所有参与者都以市场价格获得代币,只有少数例外;


· 如果成为该网络的早期支持者确实会带来优势,那么这种优势应该是暂时的,而且会随着时间的推移而逐渐消失;

· 在该体系中保留某个权威位置的成本应该很高;能永远施加影响不应该是没有代价的;

· 作为该网络的早期支持者,你不应被授予永久的反稀释权;

· 我们希望该系统在美国现有的证券法下能够运行:我们想把投资合同与协议所发行的资产分开;

· 我们希望该网络一开始就是安全的(从加密经济学的角度);

· 我们希望创始团队能合理地卸除他们在该网络里的权力和权威;

· 我们想要培育一种公平的感觉,并将该网络启动时的信息不对称压缩到最小。


ASIC 预售模式


1. 某些开发者创建一个新的加密货币协议;

2. 为筹集资金,他们出售的不是面向代币的权利,而是面向实体 ASIC 的权利;

3. 他们与值得信赖的供应链合作伙伴一起,在项目启动之前就开始制造这些 ASIC 芯片;

4. 这些 ASIC 出售给投资者,或者说更好的方式是,出售给那些希望在该网络启动早期明确支持它的用户社区。可能是通过某种证券的形式,不过我还没做法律分析,(这方面我不太确定)这些销售被记为发行公司的收入;

5. 这些 ASIC 支持一种特定的哈希函数(任何其他区块链都没法部署该函数);

6. 在项目启动之前,开发人员对这个哈希函数保密;

7. 在项目启动时,该哈希函数被公开,ASIC 制造商之间开始一场创建第二代 ASIC 的竞赛;

8. 在 4-6 个月内,随着新一代 ASIC 的生产,第一代 ASIC 将被淘汰,早期支持者在 ASIC 供应上享有的垄断将被打破;

9. 随着时间的推移,早期矿工享有的优势逐渐消失;

10. 开发者承诺,日后永不更改这个 PoW 函数;

11. 开发者持有很少 / 或不持有代币,并且在必要时可以退出该项目,或者采用一种 Red-Hat/ 商业开源的方法来管理这条链,不保留任何未在该协议中明确的权力。

让我们考虑一下 ASIC 预售模型的利弊。


· 即使发行额不高,该链在启动时也有很好、且被充分理解的 PoW 安全性;

· 证券类资产和货币类资产是分开的;监管风险降低;

· 开发者可以用一次性的支付来资助他们的工作;

· 由于缺乏由该链提供的持续补贴,项目会转变为一种传统的自由/开源软件模式,内在动力是贡献,而非掠夺;

· ASIC 买家在发布时有暂时(4-6 个月)的垄断,但无法永久控制供应权;于是币的发行变得「公平」;

· ASIC 买家承担将其临时特权货币化的风险和运营成本;ASIC 芯片会贬值,所以铸币税权是暂时的。


· 开发者无法持续地获得补贴;

· ASIC 芯片的投资者必须对发布后 6 个月的回报有高度的信心;

· 必须依靠开发团队和硬件供应商,在发布前保守哈希函数的秘密;

· 该链必须作为一个 PoW 系统而启动;

· 开发团队和硬件供应商必须证明,他们没有偷偷生产出比声称的更多的硬件;

· 为前 6 个月而做的发行工作,并不符合公平的定义,进入硬件市场的后来者也不能确保会公平的作为。

我认为 ASIC 型预售模式的主要优势如下:

你在起步阶段就得到了 ASIC 层的安全保障

和 GPU 式的 PoW 公平启动相比,这是一个巨大的优势。随着我们越来越多地了解 PoW 的安全模式,很明显,除了最大的 GPU 挖矿网络,其他网络都不安全。以太坊是个例外,因为它占据全球 GPU 挖矿的比例太大,而这些 GPU 出售或出租给其他网络的数量不够。除了获得足够的哈希算力这一结构性困难,这还意味着,成功攻击以太坊将导致全球 GPU 的价值下降,这对任何一名攻击者都是一个强大的抑制因素。除了以太坊,大多数 GPU 挖矿的代币都面临着用租借硬件的方法而遭受攻击的风险,我们已经看到了很多这样的例子。如果你认为专用硬件有助于提高安全性,那么你会更喜欢 ASIC 模式。这一方法从起步阶段就提供了牢不可破的安全性。


在 ICO 模式下,你得留出一部分代币做预售。如果这部分代币被人们理解为投资合同或证券,那就有可能损害代币的整体供应,并影响它们在交易所的流通能力。为了规避这一点,有种观点认为,投资合同应该只涵盖未来获得代币的权利,代币本身不是投资合同的主体。正是基于这种理论,有人认为,预售阶段的 ETH 可以理解为差不多是一份投资合同的标的,但在以太坊区块链交付时尚未发行的 ETH 单位本身并不是证券。我实在不太认可这种区别——至少我觉得它很烦人。直接把二者分开,不更简单吗?

在 ASIC 型预售的模式下,投资合同和代币本身可以清晰地区分开来。如果说有什么东西像证券,那就是出售给投资者的 ASIC (不过,如前所述,完全有可能这根本不算证券,因为最终用户必须实际操作它们,给芯片矿机供电,也就不满足 Howey 检验中的「第三方努力」这一项,因而不能算证券)。

在我看来,实际代币本身的性质是非常清楚的,因为它们是根据该链的协议以传统的公平启动方式发行的。我认为,我们有大量证据证明,公平启动的代币不会被 SEC 解释为证券。这为潜在用户提供了真正便利的保证,即该资产的交易不会突然被限定在证券代币的交易场所。这是该模式最大的优点之一。

译注:1946 年,美国联邦最高法院在 SEC v. W. J. Howey Co 一案中确立了「howey 检验」,以确定一项交易是否构成「投资合同」进而构成「证券」。Howey 检验包含四要素:(1)资本投入;(2)投资于一个共同事业;(3)期待获取利润;(4)不直接参与经营,仅仅凭借发起人或第三方的努力。

你得到了 PoW 型的分发,而开发者可以获得范围受限的融资

迄今为止,PoW 的分发优势还没有被很好的书写,但我有一种强烈的直觉:它们会让货币供应更好的散布。和普普通通的 PoW 型启动相比,开发者在这种模式下可以获得一条新链启动所需的研发和管理经费。而且,他们没有违反证券法。完美!


许多人注意到,就新货币的产生机制而言,在分发中存在的时间偶然性引入了一种任意性,这种任意性会限制币的散布。换句话说,发行时间短(一些 ICO 只花几分钟就结束了)使得供应量高度集中。而较长时间的发行,则使每个人都有机会获得一定量的代币。EOS 的 ICO 过程长达一年,背后就有类似的直觉,这想法相当聪明(只有一个问题:在这段时间里,众筹钱包地址有代币持续流出,因此有一种阴谋论认为,资金库的基金被重新投入这个 ICO)。

仔细想想你会发现,EOS 长达一年的代币销售有点类似于 PoW 型启动(唯一区别是,众筹获得的币没有被烧掉)。PoW 模式给了你一个漫长的免许可的分发阶段,尽管区块奖励递减意味着早期供应量会多得多。比特币的发行将持续 100 多年,但 80% 以上的比特币已经被挖出来了。

将一个 PoW 型启动与一个普通 ICO 进行比较,很明显,在一个新启动的 ICO 中,不存在什么免许可的获取权。Tezos 跨越了这一转变,它在众筹阶段先不进行 KYC,随后强制用户进行 KYC,这样才能解禁用户手里的 Tezzies。我本以为,接下来所有的 ICO 将会跟进。

而 PoW 模式则不同,你是从一个协议中获取币。虽然 ASIC 供应商可能会要求 KYC,但总体而言,挖矿比 ICO 或众筹所需要的许可要少得多。另外,在全球范围内电力比资本市场显然更容易获得,所以 PoW 看起来非常有吸引力。一份在漫长时间里以电力来交换和分发代币的协议,是向全球大众发行某个资产的一种极其有效的方式。到目前为止,还没有人想出其他更好的办法。


当今 PoW 链最大的问题之一就是模糊性,尤其是关于改变哈希函数。只要有歧义,就会有辩论、游说,以及开发者利用他们在系统中的特权地位的可能性。这通常会带来灾难性的后果,降低了它的社会扩展性以及系统的可信度。

如果人们发现一小群人滥用跟协议的亲近来赚钱,系统的声誉就会受到损害。一种选择是,设定 PoW 函数并承诺永不改变(这实质上就是比特币选择的道路,所以,除非发生某种灾难,否则比特币永远不会改变其 PoW 路线)。这也是我们这个模式的诉求,没有辩论,没有游说,没有秘密掠夺。


与在预售中出售的 PoS 代币不同,ASIC 式启动的系统,其初始的力量均衡会随着时间发生巨大变化。最初,一群被选定的少数人在供应量上有近乎垄断的权力,但这只是一种暂时而有限的优势,随着新一代 ASIC 芯片的出现,甚至是随时间流逝而来的贬值,都会侵蚀这种最初的优势。我想强调的是,我认为这是一个很好的特性。将过多的权力授予网络中的早期利益相关者——再加上能永久地、无成本地保留这种权力——其实是一种退化的特性,它会极大地抑制持有者基数的散布。所以,PoW 的存在很有价值,它使得矿工必须不断出售新挖的币,也就减少了他们和协议亲近的特权,而 staking 模式就没有这种特性了。在 ASIC 式启动的模式下,最初会有少数的特权者,但他们的优势会迅速减少。



· 有无可能从 ASIC 上获取足够的利润,以成就一家盈利的企业?

· 供应曲线的形态应该是什么样子,才能让未来用户接受这种对供应量的暂时垄断?

· ASIC 的购买者如何能够确信,没有人偷偷创建超量的 ASIC?

· 一次性融资是否足以引导这项构建一个开源协议的事业?

· 就创造一个货币资产而言,有限的铸币税是否说服力不够?

· ASIC 本身是投资合同 / 证券吗?或者它们的性质清楚吗?

· 建立一个 ASIC 供应链,且该供应链不会被一两个实体单边控制其硬件生产,这有可能实现吗?




如果你把这个模型应用到比特币上, 6 个月的挖矿相当于 130 万比特币,这在总供应量中占的比例太大了

你可以随意调整供给曲线的形状,让垄断者在起步的 4-6 个月分配到某一比例的供应量。你可以设计某一曲线,让他们得到供应量的 0.1% 或 99.5%。我认为,发行人可能会将初期供应量的目标定在 5-10% 左右,但这完全是一种大胆的猜想。

为什么你认为第一批 ASIC 将维持 4-6 个月的优势?为什么它们不能永远存在,给 ASIC 买家永久的优势?

如果最后出来的项目协议的确比较重要(就其市值而言),那么,ASIC 制造商必定会介入并为其制造特定的 ASIC 芯片。在与 ASIC 制造商的交谈中,我知道,为一个新的加密货币算法制造一个有用的 ASIC,最短大约需要 4 个月时间(欢迎专家们在这方面提供意见)。这种情况下 FPGA 的竞争力是不够的,这是因为,在起步阶段就存在特制的 ASIC ,意味着竞争性硬件面临一个相对较高的门槛。不管怎样,我的观点仍然成立——我预计,首批矿工最迟会在 6 个月内遭遇竞争对手。

本例中的 ASIC 实际上不是证券

确切的说,这不是一个反对意见。但我还是想回答一下。我承认我不知道答案。要获得回报,你必须将 ASIC 与你自己的劳动(和电力)结合起来,这样一来,它们的价值就不会全都来自一个第三方的努力。我只是模糊地猜测,ASIC 可能类似于一份投资合同。我不是律师。这也不是法律建议。不管怎样,如果它们不是证券,那对这个模式来说就更好了。记住,我们要做的,正是不要违反证券法。

发行人给予 ASIC 制造商全部的权力。他们可以制造额外的 ASIC,并在这个过程中蒙混过关

这绝对是一个风险,所以 ASIC 制造商必须受到发行团队的合同约束或紧密信任。他们的确有可能暗中制造更多的 ASIC。有一些方法或许可以缓解这一情况。我在这方面没有想得太远,我觉得团队可以建立一个类似于谷歌 authenTIcator 的协议,协议规定,他们向矿工提供的密文必须被包含在头几个月的 coinbase 的输出里,以确保被挖掘的区块仅仅是由指定的那些 ASIC 创建的。我觉得会有聪明人想出更好的方法来确保这一点,即只有这个获许可的 ASIC 群体才可以在他们暂时垄断的时期内挖矿。




从定义上说,这不是预挖矿。没有「提前挖矿」。(我承认在定义上吹毛求疵是没有意义的)。这个模式其实是发行人利用他们的信息优势赚钱。他们知道将采用哪一种哈希函数,并出售这些信息,以便买家构建有内置目标的硬件。ASIC 卖给谁,谁就可以来挖矿。他们确实获得了暂时的垄断。你可以把它想象成一个出租车牌照,六个月后就会失效。这显然不公平。但是在观察了 Grin 的启动、ProgPoW 的争议,以及门罗币和 Vertcoin 的多次「抗 ASIC」硬分叉后,我认识到,开发者很容易受到和 PoW 相关的游说的影响。我宁愿哈希函数永远不变,这样游戏规则就能固定下来,游说的回报为 0。

因此,在这种情况下,我们有一个透明的不公平模式,而不是人们天真地以为很公平,但可能隐蔽的并不公平的模式。后者将是灾难性的。想象一下这种情况:一条抗 ASIC 的区块链分叉为一个新的 PoW 链,后来人们发现,开发者早已有了为它定制的硬件,而其他人却还在用 GPU 挖矿。这是在利用和剥削社区,对信任造成破坏。在抗 ASIC 的币的框架中,这完全是有可能的。而且我认为,在某一时刻真的会发生这种情况。而我提出的模式是,存在暂时的有限的不公平,这种不公会随着时间的推移而消解,并在之后变得相当公平。


我非常同意!我认为,由协议提供资助和奖励有一个最反动的结果,那就是自由 / 开源软件的开发者失去了为协议做贡献的动力,而所有工作都留给了那些直接从协议资助的经费龙头中获得报酬的专业人士。这本质上把一个自由 / 开源软件项目变成了一个企业项目,从一开始就把使用自由 / 开源软件模式的所有优点扔掉了。

而我提出的模式设置使得赚钱机会非常有限。开发者以市场能够容忍的价格出售 ASIC,这是他们能够直接将协议的接近权货币化的唯一机会。此后,他们可以考虑采用 Red Hat/ COSS / Blockstream 模式,即用他们和协议相关的专业知识来赚钱。当然,这种模式也使得最初的发行人 / 开发者可以平稳退出,且不对该项目造成伤害。因为他们在该网络中没有永久的权威,而那些发行团队保留了大量 PoS 代币的网络,情况就不一样了。


在我看来,如果一个货币化的协议让其开发者可以过度赢利,那是非常危险的。过了某一阈值,系统会让人们主要去抽取租金,而不是以商品价格提供计算服务。如果开发者在系统中滥用自己的权威——包括提取超过最低要求的价值(很可能是 0)——那就会破坏系统的信誉,用户就有可能离开该系统、转向索取更少的系统。我通常认为,如果一个项目不存在任何由协议资助的赢利模式,那是最优选。但如果真的需要一点点赢利,那么我能容忍它的条件就是,它是暂时的、有限的、不给开发者在该系统有一种永久的权力。而这个模式满足了这些条件。


这个批评相当有理。开发者必须真正地创建并出售硬件,而不是免费创建某种代币并出售。ASIC 通常很贵。我想不同类型的价格会有所不同,但像模像样的运行应该会花费数百万美元。因此,发行人将需要足够高的定价才能让收入有一定的利润。于是,发行的「定价」效应就是一个有趣的问题了。

如果该 ASIC 预计在前 6 个月有垄断挖矿的能力,且在此期间共发行 10% 的货币供应量,那么,完全稀释的供应量的价值,大约是买家为 ASIC 支付的金额的 10 倍。这为该项目所需的估值奠定了一个基础,也就是让发行人能够以这种方式赢利。假设让 1,000 台 ASIC 矿机跑起来要花费 500 万美元(可能更多——我对硬件了解不多)。开发者要筹集相当一部分资金来资助研发,比如再筹集 500 万美元。因此,他们需要合计销售 ASIC (或者说每台 1 万美元)获得这 1,000 万美元。假设他们决定在前 6 个月发行 10% 的货币供应量,而且他们认为 ASIC 在这段时间内能扛住。这意味着,为了让发行人获得足够的利润,该区块链的市值必须达到总计 1 亿美元(在 ASIC 出售阶段)。

为什么要用这么复杂的方式来启动?为什么不简单地做一个 ICO,并保留一个资金库来做长期的激励分配呢?

首先,几乎在全球任何一个司法管辖区,ICO 似乎都违反了证券法。在 2020 年,许多发行人可能会发现,「离岸」操作可能完全不够用了。本文是对 PoW 型「公平」启动提出的一个替代性建议,而且我认为,这个想法在各方面都有所改进。它不是 ICO 的替代方案。我相信,在今时今日(其实是在 2017 年 7 月 SEC DAO 报告发布之后的任何时候),从监管的角度看,ICO 基本上是不可行的。另外,我认为, ICO 这种启动方法在创造出持久货币方面会面临艰难时刻。

这仍是一种假设,但我强烈认为,一个新的货币体系的最重要的特征是其所有权的广泛分布。它的初始基尼系数是 1,目标是随着时间的推移达到一种合理的分布。我并不是指结果的完全平等——这种事情是不可能的,甚至不清楚它能如何运作。在 2019 年,让每个成年人都能被平等赋权以获得一个新货币体系的一份子?那么未来的人类呢?未出生的孩子呢?即使可能,一个全球性的 UBI (全民基本工资)仍然会受到巨大的时间偶然性的影响——偏向今天的人们的利益。


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *