Vitalik Buterin talks crypto’s perils in Time Magazine interview

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin graced the front page of Time Magazine this month after he interviewed the publication about the potential perils of the industry he helped create. 

During the 80-minute interview, Buterin explained the “dystopian potential” of digital assets if implemented incorrectly. Among his biggest worries are overzealous investors, high transaction fees and public displays of wealth by those claiming to have made a fortune trading cryptos and nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

Although Buterin has high hopes for Ethereum — the network powering the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and countless other projects — he fears that his vision of creating a more egalitarian digital economy risks being overtaken by nefarious actors who are only after greed.

“If we don’t exercise our voice, the only things that get built are the things that are immediately profitable,” he said.

The interview also delved into other Ethereum-focused pain points for Buterin, such as how much power to exercise in the community during highly contentious periods in its evolution, including the infamous 2016 hack of a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or DAO. The interview painted Buterin as a pragmatic leader taking a “middle ground” approach to solving issues that impact the community.

Over the years, Buterin has used his personal blog to advocate for technical solutions related to Ethereum’s development. In December 2021, he published “Endgame,” a thought experiment that explores the evolution of Ethereum 2.0, which is now referred to as the “consensus layer.” In the post, Buterin suggested improvements to network scalability with notable trade-offs — chief among them being the centralization of block production.

Related: Andreessen Horowitz invests $70M in Ethereum staking protocol Lido

While Ethereum’s evolution to a proof-of-stake chain remains mired in delays, the investing community has high hopes for the future. Ethereum’s Beacon Chain now has over 316,000 validators and roughly 10.1. billion ETH staked.

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