Outline of Bob Summerwill's Speech at ETHDenver 2023

March 13, 2023

You may watch Bob's presentation at ETHDenver here:

Note: The microphone did not work the first few minutes so you may want to skip to minute 3:56.

You may see the slides for Bob's presentation here: Cypherpunk Beginnings and the Case for Proof of Work.

ETC Cooperative's Executive Director, Bob Summerwill was a speaker this year at ETHDenver 2023, the largest and longest running Ethereum event in the world. The event occurred from February 24 to March 5, and Bob spoke on stage 7 last Friday the 3rd at 9 AM CST, 11 EST, 16 Hours UTC.

Bob's talk centered around the argument for proof of work (PoW) as a consensus mechanism. After Ethereum's migration to proof of stake, there seems to linger the idea in some circles that proof of work based Nakamoto Consensus, the original and most important invention in the blockchain industry, is in some sort of retreat or path to be considered "old technology". But this is far from true.

Bob's talk was be titled "Cypherpunk Beginnings and The Argument for Proof of Work". Following is the outline of his speech:

  • The Cypherpunks and Surveillance Capitalism
  • Who were the Cypherpunks and what were their roles?
  • Cypherpunk profiles: Tim May, David Chaum, Adam Back, Nick Szabo, Phil Zimmermann, Zooco Wilcox, and Julian Assange.
  • Post Cypherpunk heroes and villains? Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Aaron Schwartz, Ross Ulbrecht, and Virgil Griffith.
  • The search for trust minimization and the invention of Bitcoin.
  • Proof of Work.
  • Why PoW does not waste energy.
  • Comparing Proof of Work with Proof of Stake.
  • The Ethereum transition to Proof of Stake and why PoS is centralized.
  • PoW has division of power.
  • PoW is far from obsolete.
  • PoW is good for the climate.
  • Measuring Bitcoin's energy per transaction is a misleading metric.
  • PoW incentivizes renewables and transforms methane gas into useful value, probably turning Bitcoin carbon negative by 2025.

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