Transcript of our interview with Vitalik Buterin
The 4th edition of EthCC, the conference on the Ethereum ecosystem, brings together more than 1,500 people this year in Paris. The months that have just passed for Ethereum are a reflection of the success of this conference. The Vitalik Buterin of the time, in 2015, had he imagined such a success for his creation?
No, I couldn’t imagine it. The Ethereum community has grown very quickly. When I started the project in 2013, I imagined devoting myself a year or two to it before going back to university. But Ethereum has grown into a very big project. I remember the first Devcon (a developer conference, editor’s note) in Berlin in 2014 when there were only about fifty of us.
Today, the event brings together 5,000 people like many other conferences of this style around the world, including the EthCC. The French Ethereum community is also very large. And communities around the world have developed well.
These shows are an opportunity to meet the project teams that make Ethereum. What relationship do you have with them?
I discuss with many teams, especially those present in this conference; Stani d’Aave, the Status team, Swarm, 1Inch … [Regarde les logos des entreprises présentes à la conférence, ndlr].
I also know Sergey Nazarov, the founder of Chainlink. At the time, his project was small and he came to workshops to discuss technology issues. But there are also a lot of new projects that I don’t know about; it is proof that the ecosystem has become very large!
You have spoken on the main stage of Ethcc in order to boost a new dynamic for Ethereum in the months to come. What themes should the ecosystem focus on?
I think it’s time to move beyond finance applications. There are many DeFi projects on Ethereum, but we can also move forward on other projects: decentralized social networks, ENS, NFTs, or even decentralized identities. To carry out these projects, we must solve the problems related to the scalability of the network (its ability to process more and more transactions, editor’s note.)
To make a transaction on the network, you have to pay between € 5 and € 10 in fees. If it’s damaging, but functional for decentralized finance applications, it won’t work for social media type projects or NFTs.
We are currently solving these problems with rollups and other Layer 2 solutions. Remember that in 2018, sharding (one of the solutions for scaling the network, editor’s note) was just an idea; in a few months there will be an operational testnet. Once these solutions are installed, Ethereum will be able to process many more transactions. It therefore seems relevant to me to start working on these themes.
This Thursday August 5 gives the starting signal of the EIP-1559. Are you confident for its launch?
I am very confident. It’s a project we’ve been working on for 4 years with a large team. This is a very important thing for the ecosystem.
What do you say to detractors of Ethereum who accuses it of being too centralized today? Can this centralization be dangerous in a world where Ethereum 2.0 will become the norm?
I don’t think this is a big deal if the nodes are used by the users themselves. But it could become so if a lot of validators use Amazon AWS or Google cloud services. We have reflected on this problem; if only one validator has a problem, it will lose little Ethers. But if this validator has a problem along with many others, they will lose more Ethers.
It is a solution that we have imagined against centralization. While many validators are already using Amazon AWS cloud services, new ones should not put theirs on the same service, so as not to run into a problem at the same time as others are heavily penalized. It will then be necessary to host its own node, or to move towards another cloud service.
The fight against centralization is daily. There are in particular other concerns, linked to the high use of the Infura service in particular (a development tool on Ethereum, editor’s note). If the latter breaks down, that’s a concern. To try to solve this problem, we try to make the protocol as simple as possible so as not to go through this type of intermediary in the future.
If you are interested in the audio format, find our interview with Vitalik Buterin, exceptionally in French, on our YouTube channel:
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About the author: Valentin Demé
Passionate about Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, I am the voice of the Cryptoast podcast. I also write a lot on DeFi topics.
All articles by Valentin Demé.