Vitalik Buterin wants to ‘make Ethereum cypherpunk again’

    2023.12.29 | exchangesranking | 201onlookers

    Ethereum needs to reignite the “cypherpunk” revolution that was first envisioned for the blockchain in its early days, says Vitalik Buterin, one of the network’s founders.

    According to Buterin, Ethereum was initially envisioned as a “public decentralized shared hard drive” that could leverage peer-to-peer messaging and decentralized file storage, but the vision began to fade in 2017 with the turn toward financialization on Ethereum, he wrote in a Dec. 28 post.

    Decentralization, open participation, censorship resistance and credible neutrality are among the “cypherpunk” values Buterin wants to see firmly return to Ethereum’s future, and he remains hopeful that non-financial applications can flourish on the blockchain.

    He highlighted that rollups, zero-knowledge proofs, account abstraction and second-generation privacy solutions have become more mainstream, which could uphold some of these cypherpunk values.

    Cypherpunk refers to a person who uses encryption when accessing a computer network to ensure privacy, especially from government authorities.

    Participating in polls without revealing one’s privacy and implementing mechanisms such as quadratic voting and cross-tribal consensus finding to help organizations govern themselves are among the other cypherpunk-like activities that Buterin wants to see more of on Ethereum.

    “It is very possible to build things within the crypto ecosystem that do not follow these values,” Buterin conceded, hinting at certain examples.

    For example, building a layer that is highly centralized and secured by multisignature with no plans to change or an NFT ecosystem where the NFTs are stored on a centralized website as opposed to a decentralized file storage platform like IPFS.

    “One could build a staking interface that needlessly funnels users toward the already-largest staking pool.” Buterin added:

    “Resisting these pressures is hard, but if we do not do so, then we risk losing the unique value of the crypto ecosystem, and recreating a clone of the existing web2 ecosystem with extra inefficiencies and extra steps.”

    That said, Buterin said he’s been impressed with solutions that have come about from some of the industry’s biggest problems.

    Related: Vitalik Buterin warns against overloading Ethereum consensus layer

    He noted that decentralized exchanges have provided a solution to hacks on centralized exchanges, while Cowswap, Flashbots Protect and MEV Blocker have helped limit the severity of sandwich attacks on Ethereum users by Maximum Extractable Value players.

    Various problems and solutions have been addressed in the Ethereum ecosystem. Source: Vitalik.eth

    Earlier this week, Buterin proposed to make the Ethereum proof-of-stake chain “lighter” and “simpler” on Dec. 27 by reducing the number of signatures that validators are required to make to keep the network running.

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