“Very confident” about phase zero of Ethereum 2.0

Vitalik Buterin is “very confident” about launching phase zero of Ethereum’s mammoth scaling project early next year, but less so about the incentives driving people who will use the blockchain.

Ethereum’s cofounder made his remarks. and a host of others—on subjects as diverse (and unconnected) as altruism and Facebook’s Libra coin—during the 80,000 hours podcast on Tuesday. 

The non-profit podcast is focused on solving bottlenecks in the world’s most pressing problems, which is something that the 25-year-old Buterin enjoys discussing. 

He said that the technical aspects of Ethereum’s scaling magnum opus were well in hand, and the network aims to run at “tens of thousands of transactions a second.”

But it was the real-world interactions—what would happen when theories were let loose in the wild—that still worried him. And many of his fears were based on whether people would use the new proof-of-stake network in the decentralized way for which it was intended—or take the easy option, and assign their “stake” to an exchange. 

“For example, are people just going to be lazy and run all their staking nodes on AWS,” Buterin asked. “Are people going to be lazier and just do all their staking by sending their money to Binance, and Binance are going to stake for everyone? Are people going to stake in ways that are insecure and lead to a bunch of people getting hacked at the same time? And how decentralized is it actually going to be?”  

He added “that some of the uncertainty is starting to be resolved already: “I’m pretty confident that there aren’t any showstoppers,” he said, adding that the platform would be the first of its kind. 

Buterin also admitted that Ethereum developers had learned “quite a bit” from watching events unfurl at competing blockchain, Cosmos, which launched its own proof-of-stake blockchain recently.

“Of course,” he added, “when, Ethereum 2.0 launches, we’re taking this kind of…

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