This is just a thought experiment/grand scheme of world domination. Not meant to be taken too seriously.
The idea that BitShares and Ethereum could beneficially merge in some way occured to me when I first watched the reveal of Mist, the ethereum "browser" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgNjs_WaFSc
. Until then I'd arrogantly dismissed it as a gimmick project, and never looked beyond the superficial explanations, mostly because I'm dumb. It's only when I realized that what they call Dapps is basically block chain versions of what we currently know as websites, but harnessing the full trustless and antifragile potential of block chain technology combined with p2p filesharing and secure messaging. Ethereum is going to change everything we know about the web, and fully deserves the "web 3.0" moniker. It's going to open up a blue ocean market of unknown size and with unknown ramifications for human society. To give an example of the kind of thing we'll be competing against: While we try to get bitassets adopted by dark markets, the dark markets might simply move to exist entirely on ethereum because it can function as a superior version of TOR that is fully integrated with a trustless payments system that can still earn the creator income.
If BitShares is a nation, Ethereum is a planet.
As a maximalist, I know that long term BitShares would either have to copy Ethereum entirely, and attempt to bootstrap its own "web 3.0" economy on this "bithereum" and have it eventually outgrow Ethereum, or someone will port market pegged assets to Ethereum and these "EthAssets" will become more popular over time since they can be used natively in the digital economy. Either way one block chain (or rather, base token) will kill the other. It'll be BTS vs ETH, and one set of community, users, investors and developers will end up getting screwed over because their unique product will be copied and market and network eventually taken from them.
The only solution to avoid "bloodshed" is to merge the two block chains and communities, and trying to figure out how that can be done is what I've been thinking really hard about. Obviously that wouldn't just "avoid bloodshed", it doesn't require a lot of imagination to realize that Ethereum + BitShares would be an insanely powerful force making everyone involved absurdly rich. But how?
Before I bothered to understand it, I'd always imagined that Ethereum, as this "gimmick turing complete fancy little block chain for nerds", would end up becoming a sidechain of BitShares, where all the useful stuff could then be put on the primary BitShares block chain. However, the reason why Ethereum exists in the first place is because of the reality that over time it's not efficient to hard fork a new transaction type into the block chain every time someone comes up with some new feature that's useful. If block chain scalability is eventually solved (which I think most people believe it will be), then eventually all block chains will have to become turing complete, and all transaction types will have to be rewritten using a generalized contract language (as Ethereum calls it). Even BitShares would eventually have to be reinvented as a turing complete block chain, and the hard coded market pegged assets would likely have to be replaced by scripted MPA's, in order to streamline and optimize everything. So, my point is, while I used to think that it should be Ethereum that "joined" BitShares, I now realize that it will have to be the other way. The BitShares DAC will have to move to the Ethereum block chain.
So my first naive thought was that we'd basically have to approach the ethereum community and beg for them to sharedrop on us some amount of ETH, then have our core devs join the ETH foundation and code market pegged assets into ethereum from there. This would essentially mean that we'd have to completely scrap the bitshares toolkit and more than a years work gone down the drain. As an entrepreneur I wouldn't actually be that "afraid" of this since it'd just be a pivot, something many successful startups have done. But it'd obviously be a huge waste and something that our community and the developers would never accept (even if the alternative was risking a crash to zero), as well as something that ethereum likely wouldn't see any value from and wouldn't accept either.
Okay so all of this was just the build up to my actual "proposal", or idea for how a merger between our two communities, dev teams, and block chains could be efficiently done in a way that leverages the strength of both and benefits all parts.
-Using the BitShares block chain as the vehicle for kickstarting the network effect of Ethereum, and seed it with a popular, self sufficient banking and exchange DAC, through a gradual merger-
(So we assume that we approach the ethereum community and they go along with this idea. )
The deal will be this: BitShares users are to get 1/3* of all ether for eventually migrating our community and products to the ethereum block chain. That's 40 million ETH or around 1 ETH per 625 BTS. It would put the valuation of ethereum at 70 million USD (an instant 400% return for ICO investors), which is honestly a bit on the low side, but so is the valuation of BTS.
In return bithshares will spend all of 2015 using our finished block chain and working products to attract a huge userbase of real users from demographics that wouldn't otherwise know about or get into bitassets or ethereum. Once the ethereum light client is ready and ethereum is ready for mainstream adoption, we'll end on standalone block chain and migrate all the users to join the ethereum ecosystem, ensuring instant network effect and total dominance of the block chain industry.
(*just my suggested valuation, will likely end up being something different)
So here's how I imagine it could happen over the course of the gradual merger.
The back-end/block chain core devs of BitShares will immediately join Ethereum as c++ client core devs. Blacksburg will turn into a new ethereum development hub (to complement their existing Berlin and Amsterdam hubs). Frontend devs will stay with the BitShares block chain at first and turn market pegged assets into a great product with light and mobile client support, that can be marketed throughout 2015.
Once the Ethereum block chain launches these devs will also be responsible for making an ethereum metacoin that will temporarily be called BitShares ETH and will eventually replace the current BitShares once our stand alone block chain is phased out.
Once BitShares standalone is functional with wallets working well enough to begin serious marketing to our target demographics (argentina, venezuela, russia, africa, black markets, swiss bank customers etc.), the bitshares devs will begin focusing entirely on implementing the BitShares Exchange on ethereum, using BitShares ETH as the mechanism for selecting price feed delegates. BitAssets will be backed by ETH, since that is the base token of the block chain. We'll temporarily call these ETHassets. BTS ETH delegates will gain income from things like exchange fees, order overlap, and perhaps a slice of the yield for every ETHasset. Long term, as the BitShares community finds new markets, the range of income can increase and the new BTS will become a valuable asset in addition to ETH itself.
Meanwhile as ethereum is working out its kinks and probably having all sorts of trouble in the beginning, likely also having almost no dapps creating actual value, bitshares standalone will be hard at work marketing bitassets and gathering a huge amount of new users who interact with the bitassets through simple interface and will not care about what system is running underneath. A one-way, proof of burn peg from 625 BTS to 1 ETH will be in place, so BTS holders always know that they can receive what they've been promised. However bitassets will likely be a lot more liquid on the standalone chain, along with bitasset exchange support and UIA gateway integration.
After one year, in early 2016 after Ethereum has switched to PoS and their light client is finally out, the final merging will happen. The ethereum light client will be bundled with all bitshares clients. The bitshares block chain will then stop block production, and all bitassets will be sharedropped 1:1 into the ETHassets on ethereum, while all BTS will be sharedropped 625:1 as ETH on the ethereum block chain. Collateral will stay tied up as colleteral on ethereum, assuring that the bitasset markets will stay completely solvent and will be able to continue trading right away as if nothing happened. The bitshares clients will be able to use the bundled ethereum light client to instantly claim their sharedrop, so average users will see no difference except for a confirmation box asking them to approve importing their private keys into the ethereum client. They'll also have their name migrated, unless it's already taken in which case they'll have to register a new one (so people will be encouraged to do this in advance).
Around this time the ethereum ecosystem will likely have grown up, and the BitShares Exchange will already be heavily used on the ethereum block chain, with ethUSD (which now can finally be called real bitUSD) integrated with the dapps that actually create value. As the block chain switch happens a flood of new users will now join the ethereum ecosystem and can begin using all these new value-adding dapps through the ethereum light client. Around this time ethereum will actually be a full product, and because of the bitshares kickstart it will have a huge amount of active users, giving it a guaranteed critical-mass network effect.
BitShares will continue to exist as a DAC forever, with our community spreading the usage of bitassets, doing marketing and outreach that benefits both our community and the ethereum ecosystem at large. As ethereum explodes in value and popularity, and bitassets becomes the currency most people use when interacting with it, bitshares will begin to earn significant income that will be enough to pay a high salary for the developers that didn't become ethereum core devs, who can then instead continue to work on creating new banking and exchange related products that can earn BTS holders dividends.
Okay, that's almost the wall of text. I don't think this is likely to happen because it'll be close to impossible to agree on a BTS-to-ETH valuation, and there's a good chance that the ethereum community will simply not accept the premise that block chain communities can merge out of principle, even if they think it'll benefit both parties.
But I can't help but hope it will go through somehow, because ethereum + bitshares is really my biggest dream, and I'd hate to see one of the two communities go extinct. If our community rejects the idea of a merger, I might still try to get BitShares ETH and "ethassets" running myself, since I'm convinced that market pegged assets will be copied either way and it's important that the bitshares community gets to benefit from them. In this case half could be sharedropped to BTS holders, and the other half ICO'd to cover development cost of porting the bitshares exchange and market pegged asset code to ethereum.