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Buterin’s plans for Ethereum

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

In recent months, Ethereum (ETH) has often been in the news as a result of the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi). However, according to its founder, Vitalik Buterin, there is more to it than that. He even pushes developers and users to “go beyond DeFi”.

Since the beginning of 2020, DeFi and the various protocols that comprise it have been growing steadily on Ethereum. Thus, far from the era of ICOs known in 2017, Vitalik Buterin’s network now offers a complex financial system with a plethora of services, from borrowing and saving to synthetic assets, and all of it, decentralized.

However, for Buterin, Ethereum can go much further. Speaking at the Ethereum Community Conference (ETHCC) in Paris, he urged developers and users to move forward:

“The Ethereum ecosystem needs to expand beyond just creating tokens that help exchange other tokens. This is already happening to some extent, but we can do more.”

However, the founder of Ethereum does not deny the strength and importance of DeFi. As he pointed out, “being defined by DeFi is better than being defined by nothing”.

In the rest of his speech, Vitalik Buterin expressed his wish to see a more open and socially inclusive Ethereum platform.

To underline his words, he took the example of fees. Indeed, the gas fees, which are often too high, restrict access to Ethereum to the wealthiest traders and investors. According to him, this barrier limits Ethereum in its possibilities of expansion to the greatest number.

For him, Ethereum must become a “public good”. To do this, he imagines a platform on which projects would benefit from “retroactive funding”. In practice, this means that developers build a public infrastructure for free and are only paid once it pays dividends.

This is a very ideological way of imagining work, but one that, admittedly, could appear dissonant with its primary goal of social inclusiveness.

Vitalik Buterin also imagines the creation of decentralized social networks, which abrogate censorship and encourage better quality publications. In parallel, access to these networks could be done through the use of decentralized digital identities.

A desire that aligns with that expressed by the founder of the Aave protocol, Stani Kulechov, who recently announced that he wanted to create a decentralized version of Twitter on Ethereum.

Unfortunately, not a word about the numerous hacks and sloppiness on Ethereum. Indeed, between January 2019 and May 2021, more than $284 million was stolen from Ethereum’s DeFi. This figure, which continues to grow and every week, calls into question the legitimacy of auditing companies and some developers.