Hug at the Hilton: Ethereum’s Joe Lubin, BTC’s Jimmy Song Finalize Blockchain Bet

Hug at the Hilton: Ethereum's Joe Lubin, BTC's Jimmy Song Finalize Blockchain Bet

TL;DR: Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin and former Bitcoin Core (BTC) developer Jimmy Song have come to terms over a wager, taking a full year to finalize. The two men were interviewed together on stage during the 2018 Consensus conference in New York City, when Lubin challenged Song’s blockchain skepticism in the form a bet. Song has dogged Lubin ever since, demanding he make good on the details of his proposal.  

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Ethereum’s Joe Lubin, BTC’s Jimmy Song Finalize Blockchain Bet

Last year, Song and Lubin were on a main stage together at Consensus. This year, at the New York Hilton Midtown on the Avenue of the Americas, smack dab in the city so nice they named it twice, both men were meeting once again for a live video update … far away from any house audience.

Hug at the Hilton: Ethereum's Joe Lubin, BTC's Jimmy Song Finalize Blockchain Bet
Lubin (L), Song, Dale

Brooklyn-based CoinDesk reporter Brady Dale hosted, moderating a 20 minute rehash of the bet’s chronology, as the men took turns establishing their points of view while correcting one another. Dale, hipster bespectacled, neck tie loosened for utmost irony, played the role of reigning-in Lubin and Song, who both at times tended to get lost on minutiae, having trouble framing what the fuss was even all about. “I need you,” Dale tweeted earlier, “Send a really on point question over the @coindesk Periscope for my live bet setting conversation with @ethereumJoseph and @jimmysong in 15 minutes!”

Lubin appeared calm and patient during the live recounting with Song, carefully modulating his voice, and smirking as Song gesticulated in utter frustration at what he characterized as the Ethereum and ConsenSys co-founder’s stalling tactics. Song was under the impression Lubin wished to litigate terms on Twitter, but Lubin failed to respond in most cases, choosing instead to send Song on a wild goose chase for pinned-down answers, according to the former BTC dev.

Not for Charity

Essentially, Song and Lubin are poles of acceptable opinion within the mainstream crypto ecosystem, neither of whom have much to say about its currency aspects. For Lubin, he appreciates the limitations of BTC, and seems comfortable with Song’s contention it is a digital gold commodity money and eventual banking settlement layer. Lubin has built a large business on the concept of Ethereum’s world computer model, blockchains on blockchains, tokens, decentralized applications (dApps), and smart contracts.

Hug at the Hilton: Ethereum's Joe Lubin, BTC's Jimmy Song Finalize Blockchain Bet

Song, a former BTC dev, author, coding instructor, and podcaster is notoriously down on Lubin’s assumptions, and especially when it comes to blockchain hype. Song has accused him of being less than genuine about blockchain-based dApps, insisting nothing sustainable will ever come of either. That’s when, last year, Lubin stressed a bet, to the assembled audience’s delight, terms to be worked out later. Song has been waiting ever since. From that 2018 dust up, they’ve emailed back and forth, appeared on a popular podcast, but Song believes Lubin was hoping his bravado (Song’s word) would be forgotten along the way. Lubin confessed he simply had other things to focus on, and that the bet took a very low level priority.

As of 14 May 2019, however, Song agreed to pay Lubin 810.8 in ETH if, by 23 May 2023, dApps are widely used (according to certain metrics). Lubin, in turn, will owe Song 69.74 BTC if dApps and their like fail. Essentially $500,000 is at stake, and Song insisted proceeds not be given to charity for “maximum pain” and “skin in the game,” presumably humiliated at paying the other rather than coming off as a good guy. At the eventual on-camera agreement, Lubin opened his arms, signalling a hug, and Song obliged with a smile while Dale clapped. For Lubin, he’ll likely plug away at his dApp businesses even harder now, and Song will be kept relevant regardless of the outcome due to at least Lubin’s coattails (or eventual lack thereof). As for peer-to-peer, global digital cash used by folks for everyday necessities, that was neither a concern for either man nor for the 2019 Consensus conference as a whole.

DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH. 

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