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Algorand CTO responds to criticisms of centralization and permissioned nature of blockchain

John Woods, the CTO of Algorand Foundation, has responded to criticism from Justin Bons of Cyber Capital that Algorand is “centralized and permissioned.” Woods accepted some “critical views” but argued that the chain is still decentralized or permissionless.

Whilst I obviously disagree that Algorand is centralised and permissioned – there are a number of fair criticisms in this thread. It’s vital to be able to consider and accept critical views!
Thanks for the thoughts Justin.
Opening up the Relay program is part of my 2023 strats. https://t.co/RaoxAxR7A5

— John Woods (@JohnAlanWoods) October 21, 2022

Centralization and censorship on Algorand

Bons took to Twitter on October 21 to praise Algorand for its “cutting edge” technology but argued that “permissioned gatekeepers can censor any TX on a whim.” The 25-tweet thread went into detail to say that Algorand is a centralized blockchain controlled by the Algorand Foundation.

“Even though consensus is run through “participation nodes,” which are permissionless The “relay nodes” are hand-picked by the foundation, making them permission!”

According to Bons, the relays can act as “gatekeepers to the entire system” as they are “solely responsible for block propagation.”

In one tweet, Bons did accept that “full decentralization is only a few relatively minor code changes away” for Algorand. However, he believes that the current state of the blockchain, as he postulates that “relay nodes” could be compelled to comply with the OFAC sanctions list” just as we have seen on Ethereum.

Bons also commented on claims that Algorand had solved the trilemma issue of blockchains. The trilemma is an issue whereby achieving adequate levels of security, decentralization, and scalability are a limitation of a blockchain’s makeup. His assertion is that Algorand’s approach to the trilemma may be “good enough” but has “some major limitations.”

It solves it with some major limitations

This means it is still within the trilemma but could very well be good enough

That is if the relay nodes…

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