Binance Smart Chain (BSC) has long been marketed as an Ethereum killer and a magical solution to the blockchain scalability problem. Its chief selling point has been low fees, fast tx processing, and Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatibility, allowing devs to seamlessly create and/or migrate across. However, there appears to be trouble in paradise and a recent Github issue “BSC is a lost cause #553” gives an insight into how bad things really are and why the developers are worried about the blockchain’s unsustainability.
The issue opened on Nov 16 and penned by a user Kaber2 starts with expressing surprise on Binance Smart Chain core devs, as the platform is securing billions in value and yet being maintained like an amateur project. Reportedly, the team’s conduct isn’t professional, updates are further deteriorating and the state of affairs is getting worse. The Binance Smart Chain blockchain appears to be having critical syncing issues.
Several other issues opened on the Binance Smart Chain Github point towards the same thing that nodes are crashing randomly, not syncing up and it’s not possible to run a full node anymore, meaning that independently verifying the blockchain isn’t an option, at this point. The developer community is further concerned because the core team is simply applying patches without review, no beta testing is being done, no description of what they are trying to do, or the problem it’s supposed to solve.
The general atmosphere apparent in Github is that there’s no core team response to the bugs/issues and repeated attempts to get their attention have been unfruitful. Despite Binance Smart Chain already being a Proof of Authority chain, the centralization is further increasing. In an extremely surprising move, the core devs have suggested that the fundamental feature of all blockchain platforms – the ability for transactions to be broadcasted to nodes be disabled, which can cause massive malfunction and defeat the whole purpose of a blockchain’s open and shared ledger.
It appears that there are no magical fixes to the blockchain scalability problem and any kind of shortcuts or magical fix is bound to run into critical problems sooner or later. The issue writer expressed deep frustration at Binance’s lack of interest in maintaining their project and concluded the post by mentioning “As someone else already wrote, the root cause of the problem is that you mindlessly increased the block size and reduced the block time without doing the actual work required“.
Binance Smart Chain is effectively an Ethereum clone with enhanced block sizes and reduced block times, without any consideration of how the blockchain would react and without asking the question “If it were that simple, why didn’t the other smart contracts blockchains do it?” The developers are explicitly saying that it’s nearly impossible to work with the blockchain and they can’t recommend anyone else try to work with the BSC.
The Binance Smart Chain appears to be in grave danger and serious doubts are being cast over its future. As @ChainLinkGod puts it, increasing the block sizes further will keep tx fees low, but stabilize the network further. And if they try to limit block size, the transaction fees will climb higher, beating the whole value proposition. The developers threatening to pull the plug should sound serious alarms, but so far, the world’s largest centralized exchange has pretended that everything is good and dandy.
About Binance Smart Chain (BSC)
An initiative of the world’s largest centralized exchange Binance, the BSC is a fork of the Ethereum blockchain with a Proof of Staked Authority (PoSA) consensus mechanism and seamless compatibility with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). It relies on 21 validators with large BNB token holdings, who process transactions on the network.
These validators are mostly assumed to be Binance-operated entities since the BNB token distribution is skewed in favor of the founders/team and validators are approved by the exchange. It’s essentially permission and inarguably centralized.
The high throughout and negligible fees are attained through the same, as fewer nodes can provide immense computational power without getting clogged. Binance returns around 30% of the fees paid to the smart contract deployers to finance continued interest and aligned incentives. The remaining fees generated are returned to the exchange.
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