Plagiarism, non-attribution claims split the IOTA community

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Ibis
Jun 1, 2019

Did IOTA plagiarize its proposed solution to a ‘blockchain trilemma’ from a little-known project’s 2018 whitepaper?

This is the claim made by ‘Lucian’ in his latest medium post, in which he alleges striking similarities in the two concepts and suggests a conscious effort from IOTA to avoid giving credit where credit’s due.


In short, a blockchain trilemma posits that no current project’s been able to achieve the coveted trichotomy of scalability, security, and decentralization at the same time. All existing blockchains are forced to skimp on at least one of the sides of the triangle for the sake of optimizing the other two.


Up until now, IOTA claimed to have achieved both  scalability and security but has remained decidedly centralized, as evident by its so-called Coordinator which is currently responsible for controlling transactions and security on the IOTA blockchain.


However, the project has recently announced an attempt to solve the blockchain trilemma by killing off its Coordinator (they dubbed this effort ‘Coordicide’), which they hope to do by implementing a mathematical concept dubbed ‘Cellular Automata’.


I’m not going to even try to explain the theory behind Cellular Automata (more details on it can be found in Lucian’s post), nor is the concept close to being implemented in IOTA’s blockchain at this point. The drama, however, stems from the fact that this same premise was introduced in a 2018 whitepaper by a small crypto project known as ‘NKN’ (New Kind of Network).

Lucian goes on to make the claim that NKN’s work on Cellular Automata should be impossible to miss for anyone doing serious research on the topic, leading him to conclude that IOTA intentionally omitted any reference to the project in their recent documentation on the topic.


And while IOTA’s Hans Moog denied any such efforts, the allegation made waves across several crypto subreddits, splitting the community on the claim’s legitimacy.


While some believe IOTA must have been aware of NKN’s work on Cellular Automata:

Others dismissed malintent by pointing to the fact that CA is not exactly a new concept, first being introduced back in the 1970’s:

Finally, some took a wholly pragmatic view of the situation in saying that the best would be for IOTA to retroactively acknowledge NKN in its documentation, which should lay the entire issue to rest:

For his part, Moog did say IOTA will add the necessary NKN citations, and proposed that the two projects jump on a conference call to discuss their respective CA implementations:

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Ibis
Jun 1, 2019

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