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‘Complexity’ Is a Problem That Can Be Overcome — Solving the Trilemma

4 August 2022

Once you get past the headline, Jameson Lopp published a compelling op-ed at Coindesk, arguing that crypto is its own worst enemy because of complexity, and that, essentially, you can’t overcome the blockchain trilemma of speed, security and decentralization.

“Complexity is the enemy of security. The more moving parts you add to a system, the more potential points of failure. It doesn’t necessarily do a lot of good to create a magical smart-contract platform if you can’t prevent abuse or denial of service. Sometimes impressive white papers fail to translate into effective projects. Perfect can be the enemy of good.


“A large part of engineering (sic) is about managing trade-offs, like the need for convenience, speed and security. Bitcoin was designed as a decentralized network that processes blocks of transactions every 10 minutes, give or take.

“Over the years, many parties have sought to improve upon this design in various ways. Some have tried to increase the number of transactions in every block. Others went after faster transactions. A number of projects have tried to plug other data from the real world into a blockchain to create sophisticated markets like derivatives.

“These efforts have struggled to overtake Bitcoin as the dominant store of value because they usually introduce some form of centralization. Centralization is highly efficient, but it undermines your efforts if your goal is to democratize finance and empower individuals.”

We agree projects have over-promised and under-delivered because they pursued complexity (transactions, smart contracts, on-chain storage, etc.) before any one component was performant enough and hardened to meet market expectations for security and utility.

We agree complexity in consensus creates high costs and reduces network throughput.

We agree complexity in use for consumers and developers creates high friction for adoption.

We agree there is complexity to decentralization and most systems today do not create enough incentives to achieve it. They further hinder the achievement through requiring bespoke hardware.

With Silvermint we want to show it is possible to achieve the promise of blockchain. We will do this through simplifying consensus, the work of validation, the tools for use, and code for development.

We will do this by focusing on iterative delivery to ensure we build on a solid foundation as we add more features to the platform.

This is why we say that with Silvermint, you can choose all three — speed, security and decentralization.