On 18th July, Vitalik Buterin got together on a podcast with Tyler Cowen. The podcast “Conversations with Tyler” is a learning channel on Apple Music. The Ethereum Co-Founder explained his views on decentralization and the nitty gritty of the Ethereum blockchain.
Cowen went on to ask Buterin about the concept of blockchain and how it can be easily explained to someone. Buterin replied to this by comparing blockchain to a “world computer” and to some of the works of fiction he likes. He then spoke about decentralization and the different types of decentralization available.
Buterin touched on the topic of a blog that he had published long back, where he spoke about the three different types of decentralization [architectural, political and logical]. He mentioned ‘architectural decentralization’ and its implementations. He stated:
“Lots of things are architecturally decentralized already, like large parts of Amazon AWS, and lots of military hardware, traditional airplanes. Lots of things have aspects of architectural decentralization.”
He next talked about political decentralization which is a form of system that is run by a decentralized system rather than a single party. The third form of decentralization that Buterin spoke about, conveyed the idea of a logical decentralization that comprised the ideas of both architectural and political decentralization. According to Buterin, the entire blockchain technology sphere is logically centralized. He said:
“It is a shared ledger. It is a canonical history. You’re either part of it or you’re not.”
Cowen went on to ask Vitalik about the functioning of Ethereum and what it means to be working under the banner of such a massive project. Buterin replied by saying that people contribute to Ethereum in different ways. According to him, there are people contributing towards the development of Ethereum located in registered locations under the Ethereum Foundation to “lone-wolfs” sitting at home and wanting to be a part of such a project. He remarked:
“I do feel like this is part of what makes cryptocurrencies interesting, in that they are not just a decentralized censorship resistance, whatever system, as a product. But they are also this cultural evolution that itself incorporates many aspects of decentralization in terms of how they’re produced and collaborated.”
Buterin then went on to talk about how cryptocurrencies can be used to apply in the fields of prediction markets and the shortcomings of the fiat currencies. In his opinion, this is the reason why cryptocurrency has drawn so many users and fans. Buterin stated that cryptocurrencies can be part of a grand design where fiat-cryptocurrency exchanges can be seamless and frictionless.
He places his bets on cryptocurrency to reduce gambling and betting. He feels that once society accepts cryptocurrencies as a legal form of transaction, the process of betting would become so complicated that it would deter anyone trying to get into the field.
Vitalik Buterin, during the course of the interview, made it clear that institutional trust still exists in the field of cryptocurrencies. He quoted the example of Jihan Wu, the Co-Founder of Bitmain controlling almost 42 percent of all the Bitcoins in circulation. Buterin stated that Wu, despite owning such a large share of Bitcoin would not use it to leverage his own cause, hence the proof of institutional rust among Bitcoin users. He said:
“For example, bitcoin users already trust Jihan Wu and Wang Chun to not team up and start doing 51 percent attacks pretty much every day. They seem to be nice enough or at least rationally self-interested enough not to do that, but that’s definitely still institutional trust.”
Buterin has also gone ahead and stated that the biggest problems faced by blockchain networks are scalability and improving the user experience. He has said that one of the main focus points of the Ethereum foundation is to ensure that users find it easy to transition between exchanges and also to create a more secure environment for people conduct transactions.
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