What Is The Difference Between Ethereum Vs. Bitcoin Vs. NXT?

Tai Zen:

This is Tai and Leon Fu again with the PrisonOrFreedom.com, it’s a blog where we talk about the tools and techniques and strategies and technology that’s available to help people find freedom in their lives.

In this video we want to talk about the Turing complete script that’s coming out for Ethereum and how that is applied in Ethereum, how that can be applied in Bitcoin and NXT. So those are the questions that we’re going to cover, “Why Ethereum scripting language is so important in Ethereum?”, “Why it’s not in Bitcoin public ledger?” and “If it’s going to be available for the NXT cryptocurrency or not?”.

And with us behind the camera we have Ricky James, an ambassador from the NXT community and he’s joining us here the night before the first Texas Bitcoin Conference and he will be off-camera and it’ll be Leon and me here but you’ll hear him in the background.

Ricky James: I sound like this.

Tai Zen: You’re saying that Ethereum has a Turing complete script?

Leon Fu: That’s the goal.

Tai Zen: Okay now, Ricky here was asking…

Ricky James: What’s the point of having it? Why not do it with the language that the coin is originally encoded in? Bitcoin is written in a language that is Turing complete so why do you build Turing complete on top of that?

Tai Zen: Okay, so I mean I’m curious about that too, NXT has its own language right? It’s own programming language?

Leon Fu: Well, I don’t know if it does or not. It’s a different language, it is very different from what Ethereum is trying to do. Ethereum is trying to build a platform that anyone can build whatever they want, their goal is not to build features. NXT is trying to build features right now.

We’re going to have an asset exchange, we’re going to have aliases, we’re going to have blah blah blah, right? Ethereum’s not having them like that, they’re just going to have this language let other people do whatever they want.

Tai Zen: Okay so they’re building a computer language then?

Leon Fu: They’re building a blockchain that has a complete scripting language that can run on top of it, that’s what they’re trying to do.

Tai Zen: From your background as a programmer, what Ethereum is trying to do, is that thing easy to do?

Leon Fu: No it’s not, it’s not easy.

Tai Zen: It’s not? What are some of the challenges?

Leon Fu: I mean, it’s the hardcore computer scientists that can do that, they’re all designing a language that’s integrated to their own blockchain so you can write and all sorts of things you can imagine, it’s like they added JavaScript to the web pages so that you could start having web pages do all the things that web pages do today. That will not be possible if we don’t have JavaScript that runs browsers.

Tai Zen: So that’s what they’re doing with Ethereum?

Leon Fu: That’s what they’re doing, that’s the goal, yes.

Tai Zen: Okay, so if that’s what they’re doing with Ethereum, creating that Turing complete script, what prevents Bitcoin and what prevents NXT from having Turing complete script on top of their blockchain?

Leon Fu: Nothing prevents them.

Tai Zen: That’s the first question, the second question is if that Turing complete is so important, why haven’t they done that in Bitcoin and why haven’t they talked about it in NXT?

Leon Fu: I think Bitcoin has to be more conservative with what to do, because they’re at the point that they’re already so big they can mess up what’s already there.

It’s very difficult to do this correctly because they have a lot of problems with this. What if somebody decides to write some kind of virus or some kind of loop that clogs the whole blockchain, right? So they are going to have to figure out how to secure the network. Security is key so that is why a lot of this scripting features were disabled in Bitcoin, was because of security.

Tai Zen: So, a new cryptocurrency such as NXT, what’s to prevent something like NXT from implementing a Turing complete script?

Leon Fu: This is a very ambitious thing I mean you have to ask the NXT developers.

Ricky James: They’re still in discussion and I think they actually came up with a list of 10 15 20 of opcodes to implement…

Tai Zen: When you say that they are coming up with some opcodes for the…

Ricky James: The language has words and instructions, so the whole point about Turing complete is what’s the minimum numbers of words you need to be able to say anything you need to say.

Tai Zen: In Turing complete system, can you not add a new vocabulary later on if you decide you need it?

Leon Fu: Of course you could. But I think one of the biggest issues is how do you deal with security problems if you do that.

Ricky James: The real question I got is given all that has happened the past couple of weeks with Mt. Gox, doesn’t that make them more reluctant to embark on some big new process like Ethereum which is a totally secured. I mean you have nothing but faith to go on that the Ethereum

Leon Fu: That’s why it’s still alpha, they haven’t released production code yet, this is a project and it remains to be seen if they succeed.

Tai Zen: So when you say that they’re releasing test codes right? Alpha codes, for you as a coder, right? For you as a coder, what would you have to see in that alpha release or the beta release for you to feel confident that these guys are heading in the right direction? It didn’t have to be perfect but in the right, you know.

Leon Fu: We’ll see how the development goes, we’ll see. I haven’t been following Ethereum, the blogs are very technical, I haven’t spent a lot of time to read them yet we’ll just see how it goes. When it gets to alpha maybe when it gets closer to release, I’ll start looking in more detail.

But they definitely have a lot of technical challenges ahead of them. So if you ask me how long before we see, I think it’s months away. I’d be shocked if they go early, even beta, you know what I mean?

Ricky James: Do you believe that NXT has the apps that Ethereum is going to try to develop, but if NXT comes up with that first….

Leon Fu: I think NXT can get to the market first.

Ricky James: Not necessarily, Turing complete solution is the one that works.

Leon Fu: If NXT has the features that people want then perhaps they can get the adoption. Any, not just NXT, a few are out there, counterparts, there’s definitely lots of competition.

Ricky James: Do you think the peer-to-peer exchange is big?

Leon Fu: I think definitely that’s going to be a key feature.

Tai Zen: Because NXT is already released their test net, what is a test net?

Leon Fu: It’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s experimental for you to try to break it. It’s a test net so you can test the features to make sure the code works before it goes into production.

Tai Zen: Okay so the NXT developers have released the test net? And they’re inviting people to test it and they have issued test coins so that people can test it?

So what is the next stage after that? I’ve even heard about that on YouTube… Ricky, have you heard about them testing Dogecoin, they’re testing that through the test net, through the asset exchange to see if that works and so far, what are your thoughts on that Ricky?

Ricky James: It’s one thing to create a coin internal to the NXT system and exchange that inside the NXT system, but to get an external coin, you have to have a gateway and setting up the gateway is a whole different project itself. So you really have 2 projects, you have the exchange and then you have the gateway to get to the other coins.

Leon Fu: And that gateway has to be trusted.

Ricky James: Right and so there’re multiples and they have to coordinate to verify with each other on the same wavelength but if you can get those together then I guess my question is, do you think people would really adopt it?

Leon Fu: A lot of things have to happen; it’s got to work number one.

Ricky James: It would be an amazing technical achievement.

Leon Fu: But it also the user interface would have to be user-friendly, it has to be reliable, I mean there’s a lot of things that…

Tai Zen: This is in regards to peer to peer asset exchange? And the security concerns?

Ricky James: Absolutely, yeah.

Tai Zen: Is that asset exchange, is that connected to the client or it just depends which client you use? Because on some of the clients I see that they have the asset exchange labelled tab on them.

Ricky James: The node has to support also because you have two clients and you’re trying to negotiate an exchange between them. The thing that is processing what each client takes in and puts out are the nodes on the NXT network.

So the client is there to support, so the nodes should have codes for support, it’s 2 different blocks of codes.

And in the NXT organization, there are two different groups of people that generate that. I mean you have a group working on node codes and then you have a volunteer that is working on client code.

The NXT people basically only generated the first client in RES. That’s the original client and I don’t believe the core development team has ever developed a second client.

Leon Fu: There’s like the seven different NXT clients now.

Ricky James: If they support asset exchange, they’re having to do that and independently of the development team that’s putting asset exchange in the node’s code. So there’s a coordination effort between those two groups and you know it’s lumbering forward in making progress which is an amazing thing in itself. It’s not how you develop software at Dell right?

Leon Fu: No, it’s not. This is an open source of volunteer effort.

Ricky James: Even more than open sourced, it is decentralized it’s like everyone showed up to write some codes today.

Tai Zen: And hope it matches up.

Leon Fu: That’s right.

Tai Zen: Does that work?

Leon Fu: It’s been done, that’s how most of the internet run right? Its how most software that runs the internet was developed?

Tai Zen: Yeah?

Leon Fu: Apache, Linux, Mozilla.

Tai Zen: You don’t have a problem with the fact that it’s open sourced and the fact that they’re multiple…

Ricky James: From the security standpoint, open source is a good thing because you don’t want to run something like this that’s not open source because of somebody… open source gives you the ability to audit the code to make sure that it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

Tai Zen: Now back to what you were saying about Turing complete script that Ethereum has, what do you guys think is more important, do you think that if NXT has the Turing complete script or the peer to peer asset exchange? Which one would be more important? From my perspective, I think the peer to peer exchange is way more important at this moment in the market.

Ricky James: First to get there wins the game.

Leon: Why isn’t anybody using MySpace?

Ricky: You got me there.

Tai Zen: But right now out of all the cryptocurrencies, the only one that has even a test net or an alpha or beta version to test is NXT.

Leon Fu: Well I think Mastercoin is also a competitor and they’re also very well-funded and I think there’s a new one on the block named CounterParty and they’re also trying to be like Mastercoin too.

Ricky James: Both of those use the Bitcoin blockchain?

Leon Fu:

That’s right exactly. Both of them are trying to do these features on top of the blockchain, they’re trying to create their own currency within the Bitcoin blockchain. So it’s trying to piggyback right?

I know Peercoin is also doing an effort, they’re trying to do something called Peershares, the ability to do some kind of shares exchanged. And they raised half a million dollars and they hired the developers and they’re going after this too.

So there’s a lot of competition here, we don’t know who’s going to be the winner. Competition is good.

Tai Zen: Now when it comes to Turing complete script, only Ethereum has that right now.

Leon Fu: Right now, only Ethereum is attempting this and they do have an alpha test net and they have been running contracts that are not ready for general consumption but they have a test net that you can go download software and play with it.

Ricky James: How big is their team?

Leon Fu: We’re going to go find out tomorrow.

Tai Zen: We’ll find out tomorrow at the Texas Bitcoin Conference. We are just meeting up before the conference on the night before. Anything else that people need to know about the Turing complete script?

Leon Fu: No that’s it. That’s definitely one of the major projects to follow because it’s very ambitious.

Tai Zen: When you say very ambitious, for the non-technical people that are watching this, can you give a comparison? What is the equivalent? Is it like designing an iPhone software?

Leon Fu: It will be an equivalent of creating the web I would say. It would be as big as when JavaScript was added to the webpage.

Ricky James: For the non-technical people that don’t understand Java, what does that mean? How big is big?

Leon Fu: If we didn’t have JavaScript that you can embed on web pages, half the things on the internet would not be possible.

Tai Zen: MySpace would not be possible.

Leon Fu:

Myspace, Amazon, Facebook. Anytime that you go to web pages and they do all these crazy stuff, a lot of that is JavaScript, it’s not HTML. HTML is just the layout language; JavaScript is actually handling the logic as to how things are happening.

Just like when JavaScript was added to web pages, we saw an explosion of web apps right? You have email clients on the web now, right? You have shopping carts, all of these things will not be possible if we didn’t have JavaScript.

Tai Zen: Now that Turing complete script, if it’s made and it’s working would that be as big as the invention of the Bitcoin public ledger itself?

Leon Fu: I think Bitcoin is comparable to the web. We came first with HTML, right? And the web itself was huge when it first came out. The fact that you can hyperlink pages and navigate the internet and search. That was already big and when you added the programming language on top of that, now you could do web apps. You can write applications on the web. And there’s a web that does everything, the Google Docs site, there are spreadsheets, word processors, there are weather apps, there are stock market tips.

Tai Zen: Let me ask you this, what keeps somebody from creating that Turing complete script on top of the Bitcoin blockchain? Is it for security reasons?

Leon Fu: I think they didn’t do that because of security, that’s definitely one thing.

Tai Zen: But is it safe to go back and do it now or is it just that Bitcoin is so widespread and you can’t go in?

Leon Fu: I think the core developers of Bitcoin has to be much more conservative than everyone else because they have…

Ricky James: They have an existing infrastructure that they can’t afford to destroy.

Leon: They can’t afford to destroy. You know there’s so much usage on it, there are so many people that rely on it that they have to be extremely careful that they don’t blow something up.

Tai Zen: Because if they implement it wrong they can crash the whole system.

Leon Fu: They’re going to affect the whole. Because of where they are they have to be very careful and doing something like this is very risky. This is a high-risk thing and Ethereum can do it because they’re new. If they blow up…

Tai Zen: They can fix it from the very beginning.

Leon Fu: If it blows up they can just start all over again. No one gets hurt. But if Bitcoin blows up then we have a very serious problem.

Ricky James: At what point does Ethereum start a bit chain that is a blockchain?

Leon Fu: Mass production? We don’t know that, that’s up to their core developers. I think its months away.

Ricky James: And at that point, will there be Ethereum coins?

Leon Fu: There will be Ethers yes.

Tai Zen:

Alright well, thanks for watching this video guys. Again this is Tai Zen with Leon Fu from Prison or Freedom.com and we hoped that you enjoyed this. And if you want to support our efforts, you’re welcome to donate to us and we also have as a guest Ricky James.

He’s off camera but he’s the ambassador for the NXT community and he helps organize the committees and you can contact him on Bitcoin Talk by Ricky James or you can find him at NXTcoin.org or my NXT.com or NXT.org. So thanks for watching this video and we’ll see you guys on the next one.

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