Computer scientist and Blockstream CEO, Adam Back, has compared Ethereum and other high-cap altcoins to Ponzi schemes in a Twitter tirade today:

“Bitconnect, Charles Ponzi, Ethereum, Onecoin, Cardano, Ripple, Bernie Madoff, Stellar, Dan Larmer. All looking very similar grade to me.”

Charles Ponzi and Bernie Madoff are two of the most famous creators of Ponzi-schemes, while Bitconnect and OneCoin are famous cryptocurrency projects that were revealed to be Ponzis. Back likened such schemes to altcoins Ethereum, Ripple and Stellar, along with “Dan Larmer,” presumably a reference to Bitshares and Steem creator Dan Larimer.

Back’s swipe came in a dialogue with TV journalist Layah Heilpern, who asked whether he thought Ethereum was a scam or if it added value to the ecosystem in terms of DApps.  Back responded simply:

“Well 70% pre-mined says it all. Which would you say is a bigger scam, Ripple or Ethereum.”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin hit back, calling Back’s views “tired old propaganda”:

Raging against ETH

It is not the first time that the HashCash proof-of-work inventor has taken a swing at Ethereum. In another tweet exchange in November last year, he compared Ethereum to the now-defunct biotech startup Theranos, which created a fake medical machine. 

Back argued that management went too far into overselling what it could do while misrepresenting the state of the tech, adding that Theranos was “uncannily Ethereum-like.”

The computer scientist has been a Bitcoiner from the beginning and has been linked with Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto several times. He once reportedly claimed to have had a beer with him in London.

Bitcoiners getting worried?

It’s not difficult to imagine there could be a link between the rapid rise of the Ethereum price this month amid excitement over the DeFi project and a revival of crypto tribalism from Bitcoin true believers.

Since the beginning of the year, ETH prices have more than doubled, with the majority of that gain being over the past month. Bitcoin has also gained in price, but not as much. The momentum for Ethereum has been driven by the hope that the long-awaited first phase of the ETH 2.0 shift to a proof-of-stake consensus will be launched within months. If successful, Ethereum will eventually be able to process exponentially more transactions than Bitcoin.