Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin: Head to Head with One of the Men Shaping the Future

“It’s a price collapse and it’s just that. we are in a bear market; We have experienced it at other times before,” he said. Vitalik Buterincreator of ethereum, when analyzing the recent crash of cryptocurrencies and the bankruptcy of the FTX exchange. hand in hand with THE NATIONthe Russian, who was in Buenos Aires to participate in the meeting Labitconfrelativized the short-term impact of this fall in the values ​​of crypto assets and said that the ecosystem “learned lessons” from similar episodes in the past.

In turn, he highlighted the potential of decentralized tools, and described how platforms such as Ethereum have the potential to be used for other uses beyond the financial, such as digital contracts or social networks. “The experience three years from now will look much better than it does today“, forecast.

-Why does the crypto ecosystem generate so much movement in Argentina?

-One of the things that really motivates Argentines in particular is the financial situation, having to deal with an average annual inflation of 30% in the last two decades. It’s an interesting middle ground where people need to take care of their own savings and figure that out on their own, but it’s not a terrible situation where the country collapses, and that scenario generates interest. It is a country that has a political system that has a lot of problems and at the same time there are very intelligent people, very motivated and dedicated, who work very hard and it’s in a good position to build things and position the country for a better place in the next century. And so I think it’s obvious that cryptocurrency and its financial applications have a lot of appeal to people, but also the broader idea of ​​building things that work without relying on centralized intermediaries.

-You usually talk about blockchain as a tool with applications beyond finance. On what topics and when do you think they will become widespread?

-The technology has to improve to the point where these other applications are useful for more and more people, because the non-financial functionalities of ethereum already exist –ENS (ethereum name service), the signature of Smart contracts, proof-of-stake-. All these things are useful and they are fascinating, but in practice today many of these things have high costsyou have to have accounts on crypto platforms and they are complex to use. There are still technical or practical problems, and one of the things that I really deal with is identifying these issues and trying to solve them. I posted a few weeks ago roadmap of Ethereum, with the issues that still have to be resolved, and there are bigger issues and other smaller ones. You have to look at and resolve each of these issues, and I think it is something that could happen in the next three years.

-Is that the time you estimate for the massification of these blockchain-based tools?

-I think that the etherum space and the experience three years from now will look much better than it does today.

The bitcoin price has plummeted in recent weeks.

-What is your view on the recent collapse of cryptocurrencies?

-It’s a price collapse, it’s just that. we are in a bear marketWe have experienced it at other times before. Bitcoin fell from $69,000 to $15,000, but earlier, in 2014, it fell from $12,500 to $1,500, a much higher rate. From a purely price point of view, we’ve already seen it. But the other issue is to look at it from a less financial and more spiritual point of view, and see people’s trust in the ecosystem; trying to keep it. That contribution is something where you see the stories we tell, in terms of what crypto is for, and what can we do if you’re in crypto. That is changing. This year we saw the importance of decentralization, of good projects and it is something that has to continue working like this.

-How can you convince people when collapses like the current one occur?

It’s something that’s happened before. In 2014 he collapsed Mt. Gox. And that caused around 5% of existing bitcoins to disappear. And at that time it was even worse than what happened this year, it was terrible, but people recovered, and people learned a lot of lessons, and so we made progress in decentralized exchanges, such as uniswap. A big part of the motivation for why people are working hard to create and strengthen these decentralized spaces is because they saw the input they generate. We have technology and smart contracts, we can build better alternatives and they did. So I think we need this kind of energy again, which is what got people looking at what happened to Mt. Gox: Something centralized went bankrupt, we decentralized it and now it doesn’t break, but we need to make it useful. That energy led to uniswap, which is an awesome decentralized product, very easy to use, it does not hack. We need a lot more of that, for people to build more of that.

-What applications stand out beyond the financial?

-I’m very bullish [optimista] in the identity of the ethereum space, which includes ENS, signing with ethereum, proof of humanity. There are a lot of projects and things that you can do today that couldn’t be done a year ago. There are chat applications where you can register with your ethereum account, and even write me a message. These are apps that have a lot of synergy with each other, because once you have an identity system, you can create a reputation system, which allows you to distinguish a real person from a bot or someone you can trust from a spammer, through ethereum accounts, it is a simple step that has a certain cost, and then you can check and validate identities with proof of humanityand you can start building applications on top of that infrastructure that allows you to check if you’re talking to someone trustworthy, or how trustworthy this person is, if it’s worth paying attention to. There are people building reputation systems, privacy-preserving systems on top of this identity, and we’re starting to see decentralized social media platforms.. All of that is happening and I think the whole system around this ecosystem will be much bigger in two years.

-What do you expect in terms of regulation?

-I think it’s going to happen, definitely, and it’s important for the good part of the ecosystem to make their voices heard. It must be remembered that the question is not whether crypto is good or bad, but which part is good and which part is bad, because it is 100% clear that the bad in crypto exists and also that the good exists. A lot happens in crypto. For example, a huge number of charities received donations using crypto and would not have done so with traditional money, because cryptocurrencies are much easier to use for international transactions. There are millions of dollars that are mobilized with this mechanism. Activism around the world can be financed with cryptocurrencies. I come from Russia, it is a country that obviously has a terrible political situation today, much worse than what is happening in Latin America. because it is not just the economy that is causing human suffering, and there are a lot of good people in Russia who are quietly working to plant the seeds of change, and cryptocurrencies help those people to pay for their work, and I think which is something incredible. It’s important to really talk about all these different and good things that are happening. But at the same time, we cannot forget that FTX existed, that Luna existed, Bitconect existed, and several more.

-What is your vision of the impact on the climate and energy consumption of the crypto ecosystem?

-I connect it with the previous answer. It is something that can be solved. There are a lot of people working in the ecosystem, and I think the most important lesson for people inside and outside of the crypto space is to think about what we can do to stop the bad parts of crypto and what we can do to make sure that the good parts have their share. place and may they prosper. Treating crypto as something that is always the same is a big mistake, because it hurts the good people and helps the bad ones. And at the same time, the whole ecosystem needs a push to be more environmentally friendly and to be more reliable in generating solutions that help people preserve their money and not lose it. And these are things that there’s a lot of work going on within the space. Regarding the impact on the environment and the climate issue, I think it is a success story. Ethereum started as a proof of work network, it worked like that for seven years, and thanks to the work of hundreds of people we had the merge, and now it is a proof of stake network. So the running power consumption dropped by 99.95%, and I want to see more of these things.

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