On August 7, 2018, I had the wonderful opportunity to join the prodigious Vitalik Butarin, the founder of Ethereum, and Jason Hsu, at an intimate event organized by the Blockchain at Berkeley forum, Origin, and the Modernist Club’s co-founder Steve Chen. Interestingly, it was Butarin who gave Hsu his nickname, the crypto congressman, and now the entire world knows him by this name.
Apart from the “fireside chat” between Hsu and Vitalik, the event featured a series of “lightning talks” delivered by enriching personalities such as Dawn Song of Oasis Labs, Paul Veradittakit of Pantera Capital, and Jason Poon of Lightning Network.
Among other things, the event was meant to discuss the present state of Ethereum, the possible future of Blockchain, and the significance of regulations in this regard. And Vitalik, as always, was succinct in whatever he had to say.
Not wanting to delve into the nuances, presently, I’ll only highlight some of the pertinent points which emanated from the discussions that day.
In Hsu’s opinion, and quite aptly so, the Blockchain industry suffered for its obsession with crypto finances, rather than with other, non-financial and innovative project developments. And, Vitalik obviously agreed to this, as would any sensible person with an insight on the going ons.
He went on to point out that the actual valuation of substantial, world-changing Blockchain projects at that time was much less than the industry’s $200 billion market cap. One of the reasons for this, in Vitalik’s view, is the lack of proper protocols to ensure optimum privacy on the Blockchain.
It’s true that Ethereum and Zcash, among others, are striving to develop methods to enhance Blockchain privacy, especially with their experiments with Zero Knowledge Proofs. Yet, we are still far from what is desirable, and it’s expectedly still long before we get there.
In this context, obviously, the discussion also focused on Blockchain regulations. And, true to his aura, Vitalik presented a wonderful analogy to explain the situation. He envisioned a world in which we could buy crypto coins from convenient stores, using our bank’s card.
This, he says, and I second, would be the keystone to a regulated Blockchain ecosystem, ripe for mainstreaming. The future of our dreams.