The emergence of EthereumPoW (ETHW) kicked off what is arguably the biggest blockchain war since 2017, when Bitcoin split into three competing versions.
We wanted to know why Guo came out of retirement to front the upstart chain, but Guo had more than that on his mind.
In this incredible interview we learned why Guo decided to take on EthereumPoW, how Vitalik Buterin made the Ethereum mining community mad, and why the Ethereum founder now needs to “shut up.”
Why did Chandler Guo take on ETHW?
One of the curious things about Guo’s involvement in EthereumPoW (ETHW) is that he is no longer a miner himself. Despite this, he has become a major focal point of proof-of-work Ethereum. Be[In]Crypto wanted to know how a retired Guo came to become an important figurehead for the movement.
Guo says, “At the beginning I didn’t care about this Merge thing, but when more and more miner businesses came to me and asked for my help… I wanted to help them and to keep them alive.”
Even then, Guo was shocked at just how quickly things took off. Shortly after expressing an interest in ETHW, the entrepreneur took a short fishing vacation in Moscow to mull things over. During that time EthereumPoW began to pick up some serious momentum.
“Seven days with no internet and no signal, I was thinking a lot. I thought, ‘maybe I should do something’,” says Guo, but when the trip ended, and he finally got connected again, “the price had already gone to $12 – double the price – and the developers were already more than 15,” leaving Guo to simply exclaim, “Wow, this is crazy!”
At that point Guo decided he was in. Having gone from indifference to acceptance to suddenly being overwhelmed in a matter of weeks, Guo is now more settled and philosophical about his involvement in ETHW, which has meant an end to his early retirement.
“Man, I’ve been retired for a long time. In 2017, I did the investing banking business, helping ICO projects. I’ve been retired for a long time, but you always want to do something, right? So I think this [ETHW] is a good thing,” he says.
Butting heads with Vitalik over proof-of-work
One of the recurring topics in our discussion is Vitalik Buterin and his relationship with the proof-of-work mining community. One area of disagreement between Guo and Buterin was the existing proof-of-work (PoW) chain Ethereum Classic (ETC), which the Ethereum founder saw as a “fine” PoW alternative to proof-of-stake (PoS) Ethereum.
“Vitalik is not happy,” says Guo. “He suggested to me that all the miners should go to ETC, but ETC has no ecosystem,” he says before concluding, “it’s not good enough.”
As Guo sees it the miners felt as though their hand was forced by the Merge, and the creation of a new PoW Ethereum chain was almost inevitable.
“So the miners are kind of angry about that, so almost everyone went to the ETHW. Twenty mining pools and 5,000 miners. I think Vitalik helped me to push this and push the miners towards ETHW.”
Despite this, Guo believes that Ethereum and the Ethereum Foundation has done well from EthereumPoW and have no cause for complaint.
As Guo says, thanks to EthereumPoW, “everyone on Ethereum got an airdrop… and especially the Ethereum Foundation.”
Fixing Vitalik Buterin’s big mistake
During our talk it becomes clear that Chandler Guo is no fan of proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms. For Guo, proof-of-work is the superior solution.
“Two things happened after the Merge,” says Guo as he explains the problems he sees with proof-of-stake and centralization. “One thing is that the [Securities and Exchange Commission] came to Ethereum PoS and wanted to take control. The other is that Binance Smart Chain had maintenance, and they were down for days. A blockchain could never shut down on PoW.”
As far as Guo sees it, “they made a mistake. The mistake is that they abandoned PoW.”
Guo also draws parallels between a post-Vitalik Ethereum and Bitcoin.
“It’s like Bitcoin without Satoshi Nakamoto,” says Guo. “Ethereum without Vitalik Buterin is maybe much better.”
Guo dismisses environmental impacts
One benefits of proof-of-stake is that it requires far less energy than proof-of-work. We asked Guo if he would concede that proof-of-work has a greater environmental impact.
It’s not a proposition that the entrepreneur was willing to accept, because according to him, intelligent mining operations don’t rely on power from the central grid.
“Miners are always searching the world for cheap energy. Cheap energy means abundant energy and that means almost for free,” says Guo.
Guo rattles off a number of examples to back his claims, including hydroelectric energy in Tibet. It’s a subject he has some experience in, having previously owned a mining facility in that region that reportedly made around $8 million a year.
Guo adds that anyone who wants to own a truly profitable mining business, “can never buy energy from the network.”
Concluding thoughts on Ethereum and Buterin
Having rebuffed our question on the environmental impact, we asked Chandler Guo if he has any final message for Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin.
According to Guo, however, who says he “helped [Buterin] a lot” and was at one time “the biggest miner of ETH,” the die is now cast and the time for talking is now at an end.
“Keep silent,” is the message from Guo. “Just let me do my job. Keep your mouth shut up.”
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