Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin and Bitcoin booster Jimmy Song have finalized the details of their long standing bet: if 5 unique, decentralized applications achieve 10,000 daily active users—and 100,000 monthly active users—for a six-month period, before May 23, 2023, Song will cough up 810.8 ether ($166,741.02).

And if not a single dapp sticks? Lubin will pay Song 69.74 ($561,000.)

Why the weirdly specific sums? Originally, both equaled $700,000, but volatility and shifting exchange rates now raise the stakes. “If Joe is right, then presumably ether will be much more valuable than bitcoin,” explained Song. “If I am right, bitcoin will be much more valuable than ether.”

“It’s a maximum-pain kind of bet,” he said. “Skin in the game, that’s the idea.”  


The bet was originally brokered at 2018’s Consensus Conference, where Song, an exponent of the “Bitcoin, not blockchain” maxim, had said of a trendy blockchain project, “I didn’t see anything other than buzzwords.”

Song and Lubin had agreed to bet a to-be-determined amount of bitcoin that a to-be-determined number of dapps on the Ethereum network would garner a to-be-determined number of users. And now they’ve sorted it!

A trusted, as-yet unnamed third party (not a smart contract) will mediate it, which is good.

Song has been surprisingly generous with Lubin: so-called layer-two solutions, built atop the Ethereum network, are fair game, as long as the network costs the user financially and actual value is being meaningfully transferred. This cost can, however, be deferred to a centralized entity, as CryptoKitties does by paying gas fees itself. It has to be on-chain, too.


But, insisted Song, “It has to be on a blockchain that’s decentralized in a way.”

Lubin agreed.

“I think we’re done here basically,” he said.

Daily Debrief Newsletter

Start every day with the top news stories right now, plus original features, a podcast, videos and more.