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Erik Voorhees "Worthy of Ignoring" Says Coinbase Senior Engineer

Yuga Cohler described Voorhees' ideas at Permissionless II as "jejune, anti-democratic, and disingenuous", suggesting that they should be ignored.


  • Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift and early Bitcoin adopter advocated for a decentralized, rule-based system in his keynote speech at Permissionless II, emphasizing the superiority of code over traditional legal frameworks.
  • Coinbase senior engineer, Yuga Cohler has criticized Voorhees' speech as “anti-democratic, and disingenuous,” asserting that while code has its merits, democratic systems should not be dismissed.

Erik Voorhees, CEO of crypto exchange, ShapeShift, and an early Bitcoin adopter, recently delivered a keynote speech that kicked off Permissionless II on Septemer 11, stirring up significant debate within the crypto community. In his speech, Voorhees argued that "code is better than law" and championed the idea of a decentralized, rule-based system for governing transactions. While his speech resonated with some, it also garnered criticism from a senior staff software engineer at Coinbase, Yuga Cohler.

Cohler did not mince words in his critique, describing Voorhees' speech as "jejune, anti-democratic, and disingenuous." He went on to suggest that while Voorhees' message might appeal to libertarians, it is fundamentally divorced from the realities of global crypto adoption and, as such, is "worthy of ignoring."

One of the central themes of Voorhees' speech was the belief that code should take precedence over traditional legal frameworks. He argued that transparent, mathematically-based rules could lead to better outcomes than opaque, politically-driven processes. Cohler acknowledged the merit in this perspective but took issue with Voorhees' dismissal of democratic systems.

“The reality is that Voorhees - and all of us - do submit to these permissions because we recognize the rule of law under a democratic system, arrived at through voting and lawmaking,” Cohler added. 

Cohler argued that democracy, imperfect as it may be, represents a significant step forward in political progress and should not be scorned. He highlighted the importance of democratic institutions and the need to work within the established legal and regulatory frameworks. Cohler also questioned Voorhees' willingness to comply with regulations and pay taxes while simultaneously advocating for a system that bypasses these mechanisms.

Erik Voorhees, known for his involvement in various crypto ventures, has played a significant role in shaping the crypto landscape. However, Cohler's critique suggests that Voorhees' idealistic and dogmatic approach may hinder the adoption of crypto on a global scale. Cohler encourages the crypto community to recognize the merits of democracy and work within the existing system to expand the reach of cryptocurrencies.

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