In a recent talk with Karthik Talwar, the host of the EthGlobal summit Vitalik Buterin, the founder and the lead researcher of Ethereum and the renowned American economist Tyler Cowin had a captivating conversation on Ethereum, blockchain and governance.
On governance, Cowin said that he believes that, “crypto governance is both a great virtue and a great problem and they stem from the same factor. Incredible flow of cash into the crypto space attracts smart people into a lot of experimentations because of that portfolio value. If a bunch of companies want to send their one percent portfolio into Bitcoin the value can go a lot more, same with Ether. That subsidization also means you do not have something in your governance experiment, it is hard to tell what really works because there is a slaughter wave of wealth coming in your way.”
Is Crypto Libertarian?
In response to Peter Theil’s statement, “AI is communist and crypto is libertarian”, Tyler said he is still unsure as what role crypto will play in the world's future. Although he is happy that crypto appears libertarian as for now. AI is somehow totalitarian because surveillance needs here to stay. Sometimes it allows the government to reduce liabilities. There need not be a policeman at every street of China. AI is doing its job. Surveillance has some aspects that make autocratic society freer.
Role of institutions in governance
Tyler Cowin discussed the role of institution and governance in crypto space with Vitalik, the founder of Ethereum blockchain. The role of social media especially that of twitter was also discussed. Bitcoin Cash has been trying to create a developer fund but it got interrupted into being a much more acrobatic and unsuccessful project. Sometimes governance even blown up.
Ethereum has been doing experiments with Gitcoin Grants and quadratic funding. Vitalik here referred to Steem hard fork. This year a large group of Steem blockchain community members announced to hard fork the Steem blockchain and create a new platform called Hive. He said, “A few months back when we tried to take over hostile and governance of the Steem project, the community reacted to this by making a fork of Steem called HIVE. The split happened but conflicts remained intact between the two communities- the Steem community and Justin Sun, the community-led Hive hard fork. A lot of drama is happening on social media.”
Tyler feels that rumors are spread on social media and people tend to believe them before the company could say anything. Sharing, broad view on Twitter as monitoring the outrage, Tyler said that the media has always been unfair in most of the societies. He further said that people's interest is shifting towards crypto. Mainstream media is showing this,
“People are realising we can make a lot of money from crypto assets. I think there is a lot of proliferation and twitter will be less as centralised as it is right now. There are a lot of alternatives- an improved version of whatsapp. I am more optimistic about more diversity, more choice. This will limit the ability of crypto censorship by twitter.”
Governance in Ethereum
Tyler mentioned the statement that he gave two years back that if Ethereum services would become more popular then will there be more or less governance? He said that Algorithms seemed weaker years back than Bitcoin, but now he thinks that upgradability matters more and there is more direct discussion and involvement of developers, “I think governance and institutions are winning in what is winning and you (Vitalik) are part of it.”
Talking about trust, he mentioned Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, no matter what he does or does not do on a given day, he is the certifier of trust. But when you have to interact with the so-called real world, it will give more importance on governance and trust.
“People trust in you (Vitalik) and Ethereum more than they trust a lot of institutions, not everyone understands what you are doing. But we are seeing this ongoing proliferation of trusted micro institutions but they have a long reach in terms of what they enabled people to do," said Tyler
Future of Eth 2.0
Ethereum 2.0 is fundamentally an active governance and institutional creation. According to Tyler, in some ways it is like American constitutional convention and not very algorithmic.
On being asked about the certainty of Ethereum in the next two years, Vitalik replied it in three words- Continued, steady growth and technical progress, “This will be necessary bedrock to enable a lot more applications. Once the tech is actually handling it, the results may well be amazing.”
Overall it was a fiery conversation with both Vitalik and Tyler discussing various perspectives and the future of Eth 2.0.________________________________________________________
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