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Vitalik Buterin: "Ethereum Depends Less on Me Than Ever"

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin answered some of the crypto community’s most important questions on Twitter yesterday.

Photo: Flickr/TechCrunch

Key Takeaways

  • In a Thursday AMA on Twitter, Vitalik Buterin answered questions from people he follows, with topics ranging from philosophy and health to online privacy and game theory.
  • Buterin suggested that he regretted having eight co-founders behind Ethereum.
  • He also said that he thinks Ethereum depends less on him than ever before today.

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In a Thursday AMA on Twitter, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin answered some of the crypto community’s most important questions, sharing his thoughts on crypto privacy, game theory, protocol design, and what excites him most about the future. 

Buterin is Long Privacy, Short Added Sugar

Ethereum inventor Vitalik Buterin took to Twitter Thursday and gave the 268 people he follows a chance to ask whatever they’d like, whether crypto or non-crypto related.

Emin Gün Sirer, Cornell professor and founder of Ava Labs, the team behind Ethereum competitor Avalanche, asked Buterin about the most challenging lesson he learned through the Ethereum experience. Buterin answered:

“People are harder to tightly coordinate in small groups than I expected. 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.”

When asked about his biggest non-technical regret concerning his Etheruem journey, Buterin mentioned “the whole “8 cofounders” thing” (and choosing them so quickly and nondiscriminately).”

Ethereum was co-founded by Mihai Alisie, Anthony Di Lorio, Jeffrey Wilcke, Charles Hoskinson, Amir Chetrit, Joseph Lubin, Gavin Wood, and Buterin himself. Of the eight, only Joseph Lubin, who founded Consensys, has remained closely involved with Ethereum, while many o the others went their own way. Charles Hoskinson and Gavin Wood founded their own blockchains projects, Cardano and Polkadot, while the others either left the industry entirely or stayed more at the margins.

While Buterin is still Ethereum’s central figure, he pointed that the blockchain has never been less dependent on his inputs than it is at the moment. He said:

“The good news is that I feel like Ethereum depends less on me than it ever did at any previous point in history! Amazing people like @dannyryan, @drakefjustin, @dankrad, @pipermerriam, EF administrators and many others keep taking over tasks that before I had to do myself.”

Buterin also admitted that he was surprised by the emergence of NFT technology and that he had underestimated the time it would take for Ethereum to transition from the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism to Proof-of-Stake. Interestingly, he said he thinks that Ethereum’s upgrade to EIP-1559, which revamped the protocol’s monetary characteristics by introducing a fee burn mechanism, is the most interesting real-world application of game theory in terms of protocol design.

Commenting on the research that excites him the most, Buterin highlighted the privacy technology ZK-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge). “I expect ZK-SNARKs to be a significant revolution as they permeate the mainstream world over the next 10-20 years,” he said in response to a question about the dominant privacy technology of the future.

Addressing one of the less technical, non-crypto questions, Buterin said that taking a step to “cut extra sugar out of your life entirely” would be beneficial for anti-aging.

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