By: Sead Fadilpašić
Ethereum (ETH) cofounder Vitalik Buterin decided to do “a random twitter experiment” answering his followers’ many questions – stating that his biggest Ethereum regret is the idea of eight cofounders, and that he was too confident in the network’s speed of moving to proof-of-stake (PoS), further touching on a number of crypto-related points.
Buterin took to Twitter today, stating that for one day the 268 people he personally follows will be able to reply to the tweet and ask him what they’d like, be it crypto-related or not. The reason behind it is that he wanted to see if “there’s any format at all in which twitter can still be a useful conversation platform” for him.
And people did ask indeed.
Many questions, naturally, were focused on Ethereum. Asked what his biggest, non-technical regret is related to it, Buterin simply replied without elaborating any further: “The whole “8 cofounders” thing (and choosing them so quickly and nondiscriminately).”
This reply particularly caught the Cryptoverse’s attention.
As a reminder, the founding team of Ethereum also include Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di lorio, Charles Hoskinson, Amir Chetrit, Joseph Lubin, Gavin Wood, and Jeffrey Wilke. Hoskinson today works on Cardano (ADA), Wood on Polkadot (DOT), and Lubin is the founder of Ethereum-focused major blockchain company ConsenSys.
Perhaps related to this, replying to the question by Emin Gün Sirer, CEO of Ava Labs, the team behind Avalanche, Buterin said that the hardest lesson he learned through the Ethereum experience is that people are harder to tightly coordinate in small groups than he had expected, stating:
“You can’t just get everyone to sit around in a circle, see each other’s inherent goodness and get along, especially when huge incentive conflicts are at play.”
As for an Ethereum-related thing he was very confidents about, but ended up being dead wrong, he said: “Ethereum will move to proof of stake within 1-2 years”
When it comes to the Ethereum use-case that surprised him the most, Buterin named non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have been all the rage in the space lately, even moving into the mainstream.
Going back to the game theory mentioned above, speaking about his favorite application of it, Buterin stated that “arguably EIP 1559 was a really successful application of ideas from mechanism design […] but of course that one looms large because it was so recent, and it’s a big one that’s not just theory but actually live.”
As all of these are steps towards the network’s next iteration, Ethereum 2.0, much of the community’s focus now is on merging the existing mainnet with the ETH 2.0 beacon chain. Regarding the protocol upgrades he considers to be a high priority after the merge, the cofounder listed three: account abstraction, statelessness, and sharding.
Now, sharding is one of those technical solutions to scalability that have been much and long discussed by the community and Buterin himself. Sharding divides the blockchain’s nodes into smaller groups, known as ‘shards,’ and different shards validate different sets of transactions, increasing the number of transactions that can be processed per second.
Besides sharding, and in addition to it, Buterin is also a well-known supporter of zk-SNARKs and rollups. In this latest thread, he named zk-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) as the research that excites him the most lately.
“ZK-SNARKs getting powerful so quickly to the point that a full-on SNARKed EVM [Ethereum Virtual Machine] is not so far away is definitely exciting,” he said. He added that, when it comes to privacy-focused technologies, he “expect[s] ZK-SNARKs to be a significant revolution as they permeate the mainstream world over the next 10-20 years.”
In regards to this project, he said that he hopes for it to switch to PoS soon, “perhaps using ethereum code,” and that they “don’t cancel the 5b/year annual PoW [proof-of-work] issuance, instead they put it in some kind of [decentralized autonomous organization] that funds global public goods. Would fit well with dogecoin’s non-greedy wholesome ethos.”
Buterin is working less on “monetary theory” these days, and doesn’t see it “anywhere close to the world’s most important problem the way I would 10 years ago or the way many BTC people do today.” He is, however, looking more into the long-term future of unit of account stability, as is currently thinking about stablecoins, stating:
“Some people think stablecoins are purely transition tech, and post-hypercryptoization BTC or ETH will be stable. I think there’s a big chance this is wrong and even post-hypercryptoization we would still need explicit stablecoins.”
If not working in the crypto industry, Buterin would likely be “making some kind of new social media platform…. basically something that involves mechanism design of some kind,” he said.
He also shortly touched on the ongoing discussion of regulations in the crypto space, arguing that the best regulatory strategies involve avoiding such mechanisms as: “you must get a complicated license to participate at all”, having “more requirements kick in with greater size” instead.
And for Buterin, it seems that the question is not about governments embracing private electronic payments or not – they did not embrace torrent networks either, but they still “flourish,” while governments are putting far less effort than they could into attacking them – partly because torrent networks still have a lot of legitimacy, he argued.
“I think that’s a middle outcome that could easily happen,” concluded Buterin.
Meanwhile, there were bound to be some jokes popping up in the thread, and perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the Twitter’s biggest – if not the biggest – pranksters got involved: Tesla chief Elon Musk.
Taking the advantage of ‘ask me anything‘, he posed a question: “What is love?”, to which Buterin replied with the name of Musk’s and musician Grimes’ first child, named X Æ A-12, adding “don’t hurt me” to it.
That’s, of course, not all, as other questions included those like why Buterin eats plants, to which he replied that they’re healthy and delicious, and if he had to choose between cats and dogs, Buterin would choose monkeys.
Also, it appears that the ETH 2.0 masternode will not be moved from the Mines of Moria to Cirith Ungol post-merge, should the current quarantine requirements stay in place. Community criticism is expected due to yet another ETH 2.0-related delay.