Original Web3 Visions Are Losing Prominence, According To Vitalik Buterin
- Vitalik Buterin highlights a fading focus on decentralization in the evolving Web3 landscape.
- Buterin notes a growing divide where some see the crypto space as a distraction rather than a valuable ally.
- Rising transaction fees, especially surpassing $100, contribute to a shift in blockchain usage and culture.
- Despite challenges, Buterin outlines positive developments in Ethereum, including scaling solutions and privacy enhancements.
- Urging the Ethereum community, Buterin emphasizes the importance of adhering to core values to preserve the unique essence of the crypto ecosystem.
In a recent blog post titled “Make Ethereum Cypherpunk Again”, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin candidly discusses the evolving landscape of Web3, expressing his concern that the original visions have somewhat receded.
Buterin identifies a growing ideological divide where parts of the non-blockchain decentralization community perceive the crypto space as a distraction rather than a valuable ally.
Web3’s Shifting Focus
Buterin acknowledges that Web3, a term initially coined by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, has strayed from its core principle of decentralization.
Originally envisioned as a foundational layer for a more open internet stack, Web3 has encountered a shift in focus, with some projects deviating from the ethos of decentralization.
“Rather than seeing it, as I initially did, as ‘Bitcoin plus smart contracts,’ Gavin thought about it more broadly as one of a set of technologies that could together form the base layer of a more open internet stack,” notes Buterin.
Decentralization vs. Distraction
Highlighting the divergence in ideology, Buterin emphasizes that the non-blockchain decentralization community views the crypto world as a distraction rather than a kindred spirit.
The rise in transaction fees emerges as a significant factor contributing to this ideological shift.
“When the cost of writing to the chain is $0.001, or even $0.1, you could imagine people making all kinds of applications that use blockchains in various ways, including non-financial ways,” Buterin writes.
Impact of Transaction Fees
Buterin identifies rising transaction fees as the primary catalyst for this shift, particularly when fees surpass $100.
He observes that as transaction fees escalate, a demographic of “degen gamblers” (high-risk traders) dominates blockchain usage, influencing public perception and internal culture within the crypto space.
“When degen gamblers become the largest group using the chain on a large scale, this adjusts the public perception and the crypto space’s internal culture,” he states.
Hope Amidst Challenges
While acknowledging the challenges, Buterin also outlines positive developments within Ethereum during 2023.
Advancements in scaling solutions, second-generation privacy solutions, and the emergence of account abstraction and light clients provide hope for a revival of the decentralized ethos.
“Unchecked centralization and over-financialization cannot be what crypto is about. Increasing realization and key technologies present us with an opportunity to take things in a different direction,” Buterin notes.
Zero-Knowledge Proofs and Future Vision
Buterin envisions a future where Ethereum becomes a hub for a variety of applications, ranging from decentralized social media to secure, anonymous voting systems.
He emphasizes the significance of zero-knowledge proofs and their potential to enhance Ethereum’s scalability while preserving privacy.
“These technologies are most widely adopted as ways of improving Ethereum’s scalability, as ZK rollups, but they are also very useful for privacy,” he explains.
Urging Core Values
In his closing remarks, Buterin urges the Ethereum community to adhere to core values, emphasizing open global participation, decentralization, censorship resistance, auditability, credible neutrality, a cooperative mindset, and tool building.
He underscores the importance of resisting pressures to build systems that deviate from these values, preserving the unique essence of the crypto ecosystem.
“Resisting these pressures is hard, but if we do not do so, then we risk losing the unique value of the crypto ecosystem,” he cautions.