Guest: Paddy Cerri, Co-Founder and Chief Architect of Minima
Interviewer: Griffin McShane, Thought Leadership with CoinDesk
Over the past few weeks, the collapse of FTX and other major CeFi institutions has brought about new conversations surrounding decentralization. Despite being one of the central tenets of cryptocurrency, recent events have highlighted how crypto venture capital, as well as other major industry players, can be misaligned with the goals of decentralized networks.
In looking to find how crypto will return to its roots, we had the opportunity to speak with Paddy Cerri, the co-founder and chief architect of Minima, an ultra-light blockchain striving to create a censorship-resistant, completely decentralized network. In our conversation, we talk about what true decentralization looks like, why we should care about censorship resistance and how Minima plans to create a better protocol for everyone.
Can you share a bit about your personal journey into crypto and what led you to co-founding Minima?
I’ve been programming since the ZX Spectrum 48K at the ripe old age of nine. Owned almost every computer since then, worked in almost every computer industry since then and, before starting Minima, was a full-stack programmer contracting to the highest bidder.
I fell in love with Bitcoin in 2012, and that love affair has never really stopped.
The first cracks in our relationship started to appear after “The SegWit Wars,” when it became clear to me that there were different interested parties. That we were not all on the same page. Not all in the same boat. Miners and users were two very distinct groups, not one and the same. Delving deeper, it became clear to me that what I thought Bitcoin was, was not what it was.
I was a bit player, not an equal. I was a user, not a miner. The mantra started: “Verify, don’t trust!” Yes, yes, obviously that is important, but verifying has nothing to do with censorship resistance. Only the miners decide that. And that stung. That hurt. That gnawed at the back of my mind.
And so – Minima. As a coder, how could I not try and write my own version of Bitcoin? My vision of a better version of Bitcoin. Frankly, I would be derelict in my duties if I did not attempt to better Bitcoin. The ultimate programmatic life form. The ultimate piece of code. How can any coder resist? It’s too much. It’s intoxicating. I didn’t realize how absolute this desire was until I started coding up my own version.
What are blockchains ultimately trying to achieve?
Whatever anyone has told you … the only true and indisputable value proposition of blockchains is censorship resistance. It’s not transactions per second, it’s not clever scripting, it’s not convenience or even privacy. We have all that already – better, faster and cheaper with Visa.
Censorship resistance is achieved through decentralization.
Every single current blockchain is totally centralized. The financial incentives in mining or staking always lead to economies of scale and massive centralization. Once you own 51% – or can coerce 51% – you can censor whatever you like.
Why should people care about censorship resistance?
Because without censorship resistance, we can’t have freedom.
Censorship resistance with regard to Information means always being able to send information from one party to another.
Censorship resistance with regard to value means always being able to send value from one party to another. But it also means no party being able to control, inflate or dilute the supply. No party being able to destroy the value you are trying to transfer. That’s just another form of censorship.
No middle man to appease. No criteria to satisfy. No hoops to jump through. No critical single points of failure to attack.
You would think there are other ways to achieve censorship resistance. Techniques other than decentralization... but there aren’t.
How has Minima achieved decentralization?
To create a truly decentralized protocol, every single participant on the network has to be an equal – both fully validating and fully involved in the construction of the blocks. Everyone.
Minimas’ protocol is so compact that everyone can run a complete node on their phone.
Minima does not financially incentivize mining. You mine your own transactions. All the work is added together to make blocks. All the blocks are added together to make a chain.
Minima is the only truly decentralized base-layer protocol for censorship-resistant value transfer.
It seems like many other projects look to launch a token as soon as possible, while Minima has taken its time following its roadmap. Why has Minima been building since 2018?
A blockchain cannot be without a central authority, or be considered a solid foundation to build on, if certain developers can “govern” and change the rules of the chain. A blockchain can only be truly decentralized if it is complete.
Since Minima places decentralization above all else, the protocol must be finished when we launch and so the process has taken longer. Regardless, we’ve learned a lot along the way from the battlefield of blockchains.
Any milestones you’d like to share before we close?
We’re launching at Mainnet next year. Register for our Incentive Program and get your node set up to help build a truly decentralized network where everyone cooperates as an equal.
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