Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin answered questions of the Moscow blockchain community
During the public lecture held on April 11 in Moscow, the founder of the Ethereum platform Vitalik Buterin answered questions from the members of the Russian blockchain community. Buterin`s visit to the capital was arranged by the founder of the Waves blockchain platform, Sasha Ivanov.
When introducing the speaker, Sasha noted that the Ethereum founder helped the global blockchain community forward: he indicated a new direction for the development of blockchain technology by offering smart contracts and languages that allow to perform arbitrary operations on blockchain.
About conclusions drawn from the attacks on The DAO
The first question from the audience was related to conclusions the Ethereum team drew after hack of The DAO. Buterin said that the system security was improved. According to the Ethereum founder, the attacks taught them many lessons, revealing what features in the protocol can be dangerous and what categories of attacks can happen.
Thanks to the conclusions drawn following the attacks, the Ethereum platform limited the maximum contract size to 24 kilobytes.
In addition, a new rule was introduced on the Ethereum platform: if the contract calls the function of another contract, it cannot transfer 100% of the Gas amount, but only about 98.5%.
Waves founder Sasha Ivanov asked Buterin to comment on the vulnerability found in the Ethereum Solidity language. Vitalik explained that there was no bug in Solidity and the reason lied in the very type of attack that had not been foreseen.
About Ethereum transition to PoS
Another participant of the event asked Buterin to comment on the possible risks of centralization in case of using the Proof-of- Stake (PoS) consensus, which Ethereum is going to shift to. Vitalik replied that the protocol was supported by both cryptography and economic initiatives simultaneously. The Ethereum founder recognized the risks of centralization in case of using PoS, while recalling the risks of using Proof-of- Work. According to Buterin, users who do not trust PoS will always have an alternative of the projects based on Proof-of- Work, such as Ethereum Classic, for example.
In the course of his speech, Vitalik named the most important requirement for master nodes during the Ethereum platform transition to PoS: in the first stage, each validator should have an amount of approximately 1,000 ETH on the balance.
These measures will allow to eliminate the risk of overloading the platform by a too large number of validators. If the participant`s balance is less than 1,000 ETH, such a user will be able to join the already established stake pool. According to Buterin, the size of the required balance for validators will be reduced in the future.
Buterin confirmed the decline in payments to miners due to the implementation of the first stage of the Ethereum transition from PoW to the hybrid consensus based on PoW and PoS. According to Vitalik, if the PoW mining’s role in security is reduced from 100% to 50%, the reward to the miners will reduce accordingly: from 100% to 50%.
About developments based on Ethereum and other blockchain platforms
The next question was about the analogy of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance with other blockchain consortia, such as R3. Buterin said that unlike all other consortia, any development within the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was fully compatible and could also be used within the framework of the Ethereum public blockchain.
Answering the question about the prospects for the cross-blockchain systems development, Vitalik brought an example of the BTC Relay system, which allows to count Bitcoin’s blockchain inside the smart contract for Ethereum. Another example is the Hash Time Lock technology, which allows to perform a transaction on one blockchain only if the same transaction has been performed on another blockchain.
Ethereum will be able to compete with international payment systems in transaction speed thanks to 2 key solutions: Raiden Network (similar to Bitcoin`s Lightning Network) and sharding on blockchain. The alpha version of the first solution is already scheduled for this year, while the implementation of another one is planned several years later. According to Buterin, blockchain has prospects at the state level, but the peculiarities of internal processes that are peculiar to large organizational structures can slow down the process of technology integration into everyday processes.
During the discussion of the ICO, Vitalik called for thinking more of the problems existing both in the ICO and in the traditional approaches to launching projects. Buterin brought the attention of the lecture participants to the useful features of the smart contract technology in solving these problems.
When asked about his attitude to ICO projects that don’t have their own cryptocurrency and economic system, Vitalik replied that it is hard to trust such projects and he personally would not back up such initiatives. Vitalik called for considering the creation of a social infrastructure that would allow members of the blockchain community to better understand which ICOs are worth participation and which aren’t.
When asked by the Waves founder Sasha Ivanov whether the IPO would turn into the ICO, Buterin replied that the gap between companies and protocols would narrow in the long run. The market needs time to prepare for a massive shift from stocks to tokens.
Vitalik voiced his positive attitude to the ICO of charity projects and announced his readiness to support them.
About promising blockchain solutions
According to the Ethereum founder, decentralized registries will have an impact on economic and legal relations on the level of entire states in the future. At the moment, there are few projects in these areas, but blockchain will allow for interaction between people directly, avoiding intermediaries, in the long run.
Buterin singled out distributed systems of digital property from the most promising blockchain solutions in the near future. Unlike centralized systems, blockchain will allow each user to exercise a full control over storage of personal information. According to the Ethereum founder, another possibility of storing personal information on blockchain is the transfer of personal data, such as a reputation rating, when switching from one service to another. For example, when an Uber driver moves to Lyft, the blockchain solution will allow to keep the driver’s reputation rating. Another possible area of blockchain application is registration and verification of the goods authenticity.
Vitalik noted significant prospects of blockchain development in Russia due to the strong mathematical and IT culture, as well as the warming of the state`s attitude to technology.
According to Vitalik, infrastructure in large banks and government agencies operates using the old model. However, some private initiatives aimed at using blockchain in both business and government administration have every chance of success. According to Buterin’s words, the work just needs to be done to make this prospect a reality.
Coin Interview. Quick chat with Vitalik Buterin and Sasha Ivanov.
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