I was a Cardano fan boy, and I probably still am, but I dropped more than half my bag after trying to dive further into developing smart contracts on Cardano. Since all the Plutus Pioneer lectures and exercises are online, and I’m a programmer, I figured I would get a jump on things and skill up.
The problem is, the attitude that Charles has, and seemly a lot of the team, is everything I hate about old style software development: measure 5000 times, cut once
Are there smart people involved? Yes! Are there great ideas and innovative thought? Yes! Am I surprised to hear that the testnet is failing? Not at all. Would a major flaw kill Cardano? Maybe, and it might take another 4 years to make a second cut.
Reading through the Plutus Pioneer material and messages, there is an overwhelming attitude that if you don’t understand UTXO and Haskell, it’s your own fault, and you should take a few years to study before you continue. “Plutus is a mathematician programmer’s program for mathematics programmers programming mathematics. If you don’t spend as long studying, as we took to build it, fuck you”, is what the opening slide for the Plutus Pioneers program said (I think. It went by kind of fast so I may be paraphrasing. That’s what it felt like it said). The second slide was for a lab where we are supposed to spend 4 years white boarding a Hello World smart contract. They want to make it clear that if they give us a nice shiny new platform, and we write garbage, we should self immolate. It’s like Charles was still trying to incorporate proof-of-work, and decided that developers needed to solve an increasingly more complicated development environment if they wanted to produce a contract on the chain.
Plutus and Cardano, with its weird 1980s views on SDLC and waterfall methodology, may eventually produce some great stuff, but it’s going to take years for some projects to ramp up and release. Meanwhile, start ups will come along and try to go to market quickly, without the proper skills, and there will be a flood of slow and sloppy code, all blamed on Cardano.
It’s going to be like back in the 90s when every high school kid was writing Java applets for web sites. They were terribly written, slow, and hated by users, to the point that you never see Java applets on websites anymore.
Maybe I’m not smart. I’ll totally buy that. I could spend a few years getting a master’s degree in Plutus Alchemy, or I could use an easier platform and solve business needs quickly. Tough choice.