Parity’s Gavin Wood Takes a Swipe at Ethereum

Gavin Wood, an original co-founder of Ethereum, took a few good swipes at the second-largest cryptocurrency he helped create at Consensus: Distributed.

AccessTimeIconMay 11, 2020 at 1:56 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:39 a.m. UTC

Gavin Wood, an original co-founder of Ethereum, took a few good swipes at the second-largest cryptocurrency he helped create, calling out its lack of “agency” when upgrading to its next version, Ethereum 2.0. 

Wood, the founder of Parity Technologies, said Ethereum lacks governance and ability to easily carry out upgrades during a talk aired at CoinDesk's Consensus: Distributed virtual conference. 

Ethereum is on the cusp of upgrading to its next version, Ethereum 2.0, also called Eth2. The transition will change the consensus mechanism to a system of staking (proof-of-stake) as a way of processing transactions, as well as sharding (splitting) of chains to scale up the number of transactions per second the blockchain can achieve.  

“Agency, and only agency, allows an economy to act as a whole on behalf of stakeholders,” said Wood. “If you don’t have agency, you can’t do this. In the same way, Eth1 doesn’t have agency over itself; so there is no way Eth1 could agree to some other network’s minting process – even if it’s Eth2.”

Wood also took the opportunity to compare Ethereum’s current transactions per second upper limit with that of Polkadot, the blockchain system built by his team at Parity.

“Ethereum can do 25 transactions per second (TPS), but, of course, the more you use it the worse it gets,” said Wood. “Polkadot uses parachains [parallel processing chains] and can go from 100K TPS to up to 1 million TPS.”

Polkadot operates “pockets of transaction processing logic,” which does not specify types of transactions leaving that entirely open to the underlying developers or projects.  

“This gives an unprecedented level of flexibility,” Wood said, “much more so than the sort of dynamic resource metering model that Ethereum gives – although Ethereum was of course incredibly important at the time.”


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk’s longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.