This episode is sponsored by Nexo.io and Bitstamp.

Download this episode

In this premiere episode of “Hard Problems,” join BitTorrent inventor and Chia CEO Bram Cohen, CoinDesk’s Adam B. Levine, community members JMHands and Michel Erb for a lively discussion of Bram’s newly launched reinvention of distributed, proof of work consensus known as Proofs of Space and Time.

Bitcoin’s “Nakamoto Consensus” changed the world. For the first time ever, strangers on the internet were empowered by a system that allowed them to individually and jointly track who owned which internet-native items, first money, then early-stage (and often illegal) investments, followed by digital cats, multi-million dollar art, viral memes and soon enough, well, everything.

If there’s one complaint (whether right or wrong) about Satoshi’s breakthrough, it’s the energy cost.

Whether you’re talking about Bitcoin or the myriad other proof-of-work systems, “Nakamoto Consensus” is a “competitive money burning process.” Each time transactions are added to the permanent history it’s a race to see who can prove their commitment to the network by finding the winning raffle ticket the fastest. Everyone races but only one wins and when each block is found, the process starts over. It’s not a perfect system, but it works and it’s the best one we’ve found, so far.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The challenges Bram believes his new system resolves
  • How "Proofs of Space and Time" works compared to traditional "Nakamoto Consensus"
  • The differences between Bitcoin mining and Chia farming
  • Why improving proof-of-work is the better choice than proof-of-stake or other consensus systems
  • Plus many questions from the live Clubhouse audience, with a special line of questioning from Tuur Demeester

See also: 5 Takeaways From Chia Network’s New White Paper 

If you’d like to join the live audience for our next Clubhouse recording, where Jeffrey “Sneak” Paul joins Bram Cohen to dig into the hard and growing problems behind Ransomware, follow “bramcohen” and “adamblevine” on Clubhouse.