What should I ask Vitalik Buterin?

I will be doing a Conversation with him (no associated public event), what should I ask him?

If you have been living under a rock, here is his Wikipedia page.  Here is his Twitter account.  Here is his personal website.


1. In retrospect, was it a good decision to have ethereum bytecodes executed on every single mining node? And if not, would he have selected sharding and plasma or a different solution?

2. How confident is he that transitioning to proof-of-stake will be successful? What are the risks of proof-of-stake?

I'll answer this one here in detail because it's probably too technical for it to be valuable to put a good answer into a Conversation with Tyler.

> 1. In retrospect, was it a good decision to have ethereum bytecodes executed on every single mining node? And if not, would he have selected sharding and plasma or a different solution?

Ultimately the answer is, yes given the knowledge we had at the time, no given what we know today. If I was doing Ethereum back then with the knowledge that I have today, I would obviously shoot straight for exactly the design that the research team is shooting for today (Casper PoS, sharding), and I would have actively encouraged developers to work on state channels and Plasma from day 1. Layer 1 scaling (sharding) and layer 2 scaling (state channels and Plasma) are complementary; gains from the two are multiplicative with each other, so it's not a matter of A vs B, it's A and B.

Ultimately, for a distributed validation system to work, you need to satisfy two properties:

1. There are enough (randomly sampled) nodes on average validating any given piece of data that invalid data will under no circumstances get through.
2. There are mechanisms that can ensure that if bad data *does* get through (eg. because of a 51% attack), then clients can detect this. In a sharded system, there is obviously too much data for clients to verify directly, but there are indirect approaches that can be used that can give equivalent assurances with some additional security assumptions (STARKs, fraud proofs, data availability proofs...)

> 2. How confident is he that transitioning to proof-of-stake will be successful? What are the risks of proof-of-stake?

Close to 100% confident that proof of stake is possible in principle; many chains are using (crappy versions of) it already. There's obviously the question of how strong properties we can achieve with PoS though, and there are some edges of that that are still being worked out. The main risks that I see are (i) weird game-theoretic attacks on the specific design that we end up going with, and (ii) pool centralization.

IMO Satoshi's PoW is really nice in part because of its sheer simplicity; the simplicity helps with decentralization because pretty much anyone can understand how it works, whereas traditional non-PoW consensus algos like PBFT are far more complex. Casper FFG was designed in part to replicate something close to PoW-style simplicity while still having the safety and liveness properties of traditional BFT consensus algos; and I'm obviously interested in minimizing complexity of the sharding design as well.

Wow. Thanks. Answer is much appreciated.

Appreciating the dedication you put into your site and in depth
information you offer. It's great to come across a blog every once in a while
that isn't the same old rehashed information. Wonderful
read! I've saved your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my
Google account.

Thanks for answering personally! That's awesome.

What valuation method do you think is most useful for cryptocurrency? If ethereum sees widespread adoption do we have much reason to think its market price will be higher than it is today?

There are many ICO’s, projects, startups. What is Vitalik Buterin’s criteria to deem them worthy?
How he is selecting promising projects that can be successful?
Thank you.

this is fantastic news

Well he does smack a little of Theranos but I suppose there is no polite question there.

He seems to be the first person of note to have accepted a Thiel Scholarship for Not Going to College. Does he have any thoughts on this and the decline on Higher Education?

He has worked with Russia in developing blockchain crypto-currencies. Obviously the main uses for that are likely to be sanctions busting and paying to subvert other counties. How does he feel about that? Would he do the same for Iran?

Well he does smack a little of Theranos but I suppose there is no polite question there.

No I think that unlike Theranos, Vitalik on Twitter is actually pretty open about the fact that there is no there there yet.

Vitalik has pretty much made nearly 100% of his life's work open source and publicly available and you can directly try out his code and read the things he's published- I can't think of many people in tech more open about their work (maybe Richard Stallman)

3. In the blockchain world we see engineers discussing Merkle trees, VCs claiming that industries will be revolutionized, and economists talking about decentralized governance. Do these groups actually understand each other at all?

Well, this sort of thing might be worth asking about - 'There has been a sharp drop in the price of bitcoin and other virtual currencies after South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinrail was hacked over the weekend.

A tweet from Coinrail confirming the cyber-attack sent the price of bitcoin tumbling 10% on Sunday to two-month lows.

The world’s best-known cryptocurrency lost $500 (£372) in an hour, dropping to $6,627 on the Luxembourg exchange Bitstamp, while most other digital currencies also recorded large losses.

The latest attack highlights the lack of security and weak regulation of global cryptocurrency markets.' https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/11/bitcoin-price-cryptocurrency-hacked-south-korea-coincheck

Ask him if he would give you some ETH.

What is the best way to explain blockchain to a non-technical audience? How does he describe his job to his grandma?

4 months ago he said since cryptocurrencies are a new and volatile asset class: "Don't put in more money than you can afford to lose". https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/964838207215955969

So, does he has an educated guess on how long will take for cryptos to mature? how does he feels after people laughed at his recommendation of putting life savings into traditional assets?

Yeah it certainly seems to me that a lot of people who are "into crypto" are into it because they see it as a potential investment, and I imagine if you are actually committed to seeing crypto become a widespread currency these are not the kind of supporters you want.

Tyler would know better than I, but if an actual currency fluctuated in value the way BTC or ETH do, I'm pretty sure that would not be good for the economy that uses that currency.

What are the constraints of Etherium adoption, now and in the distant future?

Are social and cultural institutions a valid form of technology?

Which group of people or company would he most like to see adopt his platform?

Fundamentally, must we all become smarter as a prerequisite of serious engagement with smart contracts?

Ask him about Peter Thiel's view on Ethereum. Thiel funded Vitalik through the Thiel fellowship in 2014, but recently said:

"I would be long bitcoin, and neutral to skeptical of just about everything else at this point with a few possible exceptions,"


I've not been living under a rock, otoh I'm not familiar with his name. Let's see:1. Does he agree than any cryptocurrency will be subject to manipulation? If not, then isn't that equivalent to saying there is such a thing as perfect security? If so, then how would he envision such manipulations being prosecuted ?
2. What does he think the next 'big thing' will be?
3. Does he see the trend towards subjecting the internet to national controls as an existential threat to cryptocurrencies? In 10 years, will it be more or less available as a platform for the free exchange of ideas?
4. Is he concerned that cryptocurrencies are such an ecological (energy conservation) disaster?

I'm curious to know whether Vitalik thinks ABCT is overrated or underrated.

Looking forward to this convo. Thanks, Tyler.

Is it likely that BTC and ETH can continue long term without being hit by a major hack attack (51%, bug, or something else)?

Well, Bitcoin could be, but ETH has had since the very begging several HUGE hacks. The most important one, the DAO, happened in 2016: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_DAO_(organization)

Obviously: blockchain, underrated or overrated.

What does he think Ethereum's killer app will be?

How will the geography of tech innovation change in the next 20 years?

Can one be ethically consistent, while supporting both the development of blockchain technologies and efforts to combat climate change?

Do you feel pressure for the peak of your creative life to be in the future or would you be okay with peaking so young?

When lambo?

Are countries in the western liberal tradition (i.e. not Russia and China) at a natural disadvantage in information warfare? Can they catch up?

On learning: what made Abelard such a great learning environment and Waterloo not? Had he simply outgrown pedagogy?

Canada, overrated or underrated? Is there a reason it is so good for immigrants and if there are preferable things about it (compared to the United States) why come to the U.S.?

On the U.S./Trump Russia pivot: is this a new era in foreign policy or simply the personal preferences of one leader whose work will be undone by the next administration? What are the cultural opportunities and challenges to a closer Russo-American relationship?

What is the worst use case for cryptocurrencies?

Ask him to point "out similarities between governance challenges of 'apolitical' crypto projects and the eternal stupidity that is mainstream geopolitics"

What is the best form of government? Democratic republic, monarchy, dictatorship, parliamentary, other?

If you weren't working on cryptocurrency what area of technology would you find most exciting and ripe?

Will cybersecurity get better or worse in the next five, 10, 25 years?

What projects are you most excited about outside the crypto space? In particular, charter cities as a tool for economic development? https://innovativegovernance.org/

Ask him how he goes about learning new technical material (programming/math). He’s clearly someone who has a knack for doing this outside an academic environment.

I have kept up with your critiques of DPOS in EOS regarding inevitable cartelization. This criticism seems clear to me but it makes me think about POS itself as well. You say staking pool centralization will be an issue, how will this be any better than EOS’s cartel issue? As a POS novice, I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

Continuing my tradition of answering all highly technical questions straight on here.

There are important differences between Casper PoS and DPOS as implemented by EOS et al. Particularly, in Casper-like PoS designs, nodes are directly rewarded and penalized for good and bad behavior in-protocol, and if users participate in a pool then those rewards and penalties get passed on. So there is no "rational ignorance/irrationality" problem with Casper the same way there is in DPOS, because pool participants have skin in the game.

Also, Casper has some games built-in to incentivize deconcentration. One particular one is that penalties for misbehavior are proportional to the percentage of other validators that are penalized around the same time, which encourages validators to set up their nodes in such a way that their failures are maximally discorrelated from everyone else's; that is, it's an active incentive to not stick your node on AWS if everyone else's node is on AWS. Also, Casper doesn't try to impose very low latency or high performance requirements on individual nodes; we are trying to design for consumer laptops, even though we are aware that in reality some degree of pooling will be inevitable.

great answer, very helpful! Thanks for your time Vitalik! Looking forward to the future of ETH and Casper POS.

What is Vitalik's answer to those who accuse Ethereum of being centralised?

Does he has plans of making himself obsolete like Satoshi? When?

Ethereum was supposed to be a platform for new kind of software "without any possibility of downtime, censorship or third-party interference". So far the only innovation was an explosion of ICOs. Top 5 apps daily usage (https://www.coindesk.com/top-5-ethereum-dapps-daily-active-users) is laughably small (compared to centralized alternatives)? How can dapps compete if they can't scale?

As an open-minded non-expert, I think that the basic issue is that there are not a lot of use cases for truly decentralized apps.

dApps put all the processing and maintenance responsibility on client side in order to get anonymity and decentralization for its own sake. But as a user I would rather just use youtube or spotify rather than deal with LBRY, and I expect that's doubly true for a content provider.

Well said. Ethereum over-promised and under-delivered. There is too much hype and cost. Not enough value.

Does he forget to eat when coding, or are both Russian and Canadian cuisines disgusting?

It seems all layer 2 solutions involve a 'challenge' right of some kind. This adds safety but complicates things as arbitration processes are lengthy and involve many states. Is it inevitable that a layer 2 system will involve some sort of trust in that particular system for it to be viable?

Continuing my tradition of answering all highly technical questions straight on here.

The precise formulation is that in order for a layer 2 system to achieve its *safety* properties (honest users don't lose coins), it relies on the underlying layer 1 system to have both *safety* (the chain doesn't accept invalid blocks or revert long distances) and *liveness* (the chain accepts any transaction paying a high enough fee within some reasonable period of time). This aspect is unavoidable, with the exception of layer 2's that work differently by relying on trusted hardware, eg. Teechan (though those have tradeoffs of their own).

It's also worth noting that _in the optimistic case_ withdrawal from layer 2's can often be instant. This is true with channels, and can be true with Plasma if you assume that the Plasma chain operator is buying up withdrawals in progress at cost (this is riskless for the operator, but does add capital requirements).

I am not an expert of Bitcoin, but I know that it can be split in 10^8 satoshis.
I read on a blog that "splitting bitcoins to even smaller fractions will require a change in the protocol and software, and may be done when their value becomes much larger." Is this true? If yes, does it mean that it is possible to arbitrarily increase money supply by simply changing "the protocol"? Being bitcoin virtual, there is no smallest part of bitcoin. Gold has its own molecule but bitcoin has not.

Isn't Decentralization a paradox? The moment Bitcoin and Ethereum was monetised it didn't make sense for the miners to collabarete and not getting the majority of the hashrate. Now one entity has the majority of the hashrate. aren't we just replacing one Oligarchy with just another?

Also is maximalsim not true by default of the hashrate? There is now enough hashpower out there to attack every new Blockchain and making them unsafe by default.

He's keen on using Ethereum to experiment with Posner and Weyl's ideas. Sounds fascinating, but difficult to understand what it means in practice. Please ask and challenge him about that!

Yes! This! What does Buterin think about Cowen's critique of quadratic voting (QV)? I perceive QV to be a hybrid between voting and spending. How will Buterin determine whether QV is better than its parents at ranking things?

Is Buterin familiar with the idea of donation voting (DV)? DV is most commonly associated with using donations to decide who will kiss a pig, or get a pie in the face, or get dunked into a tank of water. Sometimes zoos use DV to decide what to name a baby animal.

The thing is, whenever anybody makes a donation, each dollar they donate is essentially a vote. This means that DV is used to rank/sort/order/prioritize all the non-profits. The Red Cross, for example, receives very many donation votes, which allows it to use a huge amount of society's limited resources.

Personally, I would be very surprised if QV is more effective than DV at ranking things. I can't imagine why it would be beneficial to arbitrarily diminish the Red Cross's control over society's limited resources. Perhaps though I'd be singing a very different tune if the Red Cross and the KKK were switched in the rankings.

My best guess is that it would be maximally beneficial if we used DV to rank potential people for Cowen to interview. DV should also be used to rank potential questions for Cowen to ask people that he plans to interview. All the money raised could be given to me. Alternatively, it could be given to Marginal Revolution University, which would allow it to compete more resources away from other uses.

It can be said that DV gives too much influence to the wealthy.
But it can also be said that it gives the smallest amount of influence to the biggest free-riders.

Does Buterin believe that blockchain (and cryptocurrencies specifically) will resolve the dilemma studied by Douglas North, i.e., that transaction costs will become an ever increasing share of GNP. North was highly skeptical that politicians could solve the dilemma, indeed, just the opposite because politicians are motivated to self-aggrandizement (i.e., ever larger government to maximize their personal benefit). North could not have anticipated Donald Trump. If Trump does create the chaos in the global economy that he seems hell-bent on creating, the path for blockchain (and cryptocurrencies) may well be there for the taking. Can a technology that is all about disruption serve to restore order?

+1 for the doug north question

Ask him for his thoughts on Urbit.

I would like to know more about his conceptual framework about the economy. During the last couple of months here and there he tweeted about how he rejected Austrian economic school and as I understand he believes mainstream economics is the one he thinks is the closest representation of the reality we live in. Anyways It would be great if you ask him about Hayek, Mises, Keynes, Marx etc

wiki: "On June 25, 2017, Buterin was the subject of a death hoax originating from 4chan."

Wow - how cool is that?

Why does his native patriarchical hellhole country relegate so many women into STEM participation, at rates much higher than the West: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-39579321

Lotta Jews? And just, y'know, Russian women in general.

Doubtful. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/02/the-more-gender-equality-the-fewer-women-in-stem/553592/

How do you estimate the tractability of problems? Specifically when deciding which technical avenues to pursue, you must assess a priori the likelihood they will prove impossible to solve.

This is an excellent question- Vitalik has a ton of experience relating to "tractability" of difficult engineering challenges.

I think "tractable" vs "non-tractable" is often the wrong emphasis. In practice, the question is rarely "is this possible at all?", but rather "if we want to push in this direction, how strong can we make the properties that we achieve, and what are the fundamental barriers and tradeoffs, and what's the simplest design that comes close to or exactly reaches them?". Proof of stake is one instructive example; it took about a year of thinking to realize that proof of stake cannot solve long-range-attack problems unless you're willing to go with infinite-term deposits (ie. push the "virtual miner" analogy to its limits), but that doesn't mean proof of stake is intractable; rather, it means that that particular territory is impenetrable and the focus instead shifts to accepting that weakness and getting the best possible results on all the other dimensions. Real world problems aren't like pure computer science land where there's a clear yes/no answer or even a clear optimization function; rather, the optimization function itself is subjective knowledge that needs to be dug up and understood and you often end up learning what you really do and don't value over time.

That said, there are some cases where significant problems really are impossible; in those cases, I try my best to come up with a maximally simple impossibility proof, and ideally a constructive one (ie. feeding any proposed algorithm into the proof tells you where the hole is); this for example is what led to my realization that fully coercion-resistant (ie. unbribeable) on-chain voting without semi-trusted parties is not really feasible (think simulating a chain with and without votes from specific voters to get information about what they voted for).

How do you think about human (cultural) reactions to software projects? Do technical or cultural challenges pose more of a threat to ethereuem? What are surprising lessons you learned from the cultural developments around prior technology projects?

"What do you think Brock Pierce is really up to in Puerto Rico?"

"Do you think McAffee actually killed that guy?"

"When, if ever, might IBM's 'crypto anchor verifier' make use of quantum metrology and encryption? What impact, if any, do you anticipate this having on geopolitics and journalism, specifically regarding middle east real estate?"

In addition to your 2.4M donation to SENS Foundation, how more are you planning to participate in the fight against age-related diseases?

Is direct investment in anti-aging startups in your plan?

How can anti-aging activists convince cryptos to join us?

There has been some critique of Solidity by programming language theorists as being not sufficiently resilient against mistakes of logic, syntax, and structure. Vitalik is a very capable person, but in retrospect does he admit that these are issues within the Solidity language?

Solidity definitely has its problems. There have been efforts recently in Solidity to improve its issues, and it has made a lot of strides since the DAO days. I also created Vyper (http://vyper.online/) as an alternative to try to improve on some of the security issues while still keeping the language noob-friendly (I think noob-friendliness is particularly important to smart contract security because it increases the set of people that can audit a contract). The Ethereum Foundation is also actively giving grants both for tools that can improve Solidity and Vyper as well as smart contract programming languages that compile to EVM that compete with Solidity and Vyper; here's the application form for those interested: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf195OoiPPiOAF1SBeDih8c0mcRQpSSiarAQe4ushhTAVIRgg/viewform

do you really think that extra sets of eyes on a smart contract will improve its security, even if those extra eyes don't really understand the semantics of the EVM? that seems a bit like if Goldman Sachs outsourced its legal work to first-year law students...

Per-smart-contract auditing should not focus on the EVM code; it should focus on the high-level language code (Solidity or Vyper or whatever else). Auditing (and hopefully formal verification) of the translation from the high-level languages to EVM is something that only needs to be done once for each HLL.

What kind of beauty products and fashion accessories will you cross promote on your Instagram account? Will you be helping to release anyone incarcerated? What are the hot crypto vacation destinations this summer? Will you have a Hamptons presence or are you thinking Vineyard?

> What kind of beauty products and fashion accessories will you cross promote on your Instagram account?

FYI that Instagram account is a scam. My only legitimate "mainstream" social media accounts are Twitter and Reddit.

I'm joking - I think you're awesome!! Just keep innovating and don't turn into a douchebag celebrity techbro!

Blockchains -- like modern rocket engines, sports cars in space, and personal flamethrowers -- are seeing investment (labor, capital) in part because they're futuristic and capture the imagination. Maybe this is good because it means we're investing in long-term moonshots with transformative effects. Or maybe it's bad because these investments are more about status-seeking, in-group signaling and short-term emotional payoff than any expected economic gain.

In Vitalik's opinion, is futurism making our investment decisions more efficient today or less? Should we encourage and seek more investment in futuristic goals on an individual and group level, or less?

By necessity, Vitalik has had to learn a lot about economics, but from a very unique vantage point.

If Vitalik was tasked with teaching an average person everything he could about economics in a day, what topics would he focus on? What is it that an average person fails to appreciate about economics that they could be taught with some limited effort?

The "trick" of the blockchain has always seemed to me to be social, not technical: Combining a Merkle tree with a Byzantine consensus algorithm in such a way as individual actors are incentivized to be loyal. ETH seems to be similar, except that boolean algebra on consensus data is used to determine what is stored next on the blockchain.

1) Do you agree with this characterization? Why or why not?
2) If we assume that BTC and/or ETH were necessary to demonstrate the usefulness of a transparent, non-owned ledger, then why could we not bootstrap a similar system based on contract law and a POS system that actually required participants to put up some fiat money as "hostage" for a transaction until a transaction was X nodes deep?

1) Does the ability of smart contracts to organize participants undermine proof of stake? That is, for every proof of stake system, can't I simply create a system of contracts that is specifically engineered to reduce the risks of loss by coordinating participant's actions in a way that safefly helps me game the system? 2) In my naive attempt to understand sharding, it seems like you're faced with the challenge of splitting up work amongst different shards (to do more in parallel), while at the same time ensuring that the different shards remain in states that are consistent with each other.... which sounds like a difficult feat. My question is whether you can reward miners (or any other participants) to make that task somehow easier by getting them to do work in the assembly of transactions that reduces the network or computational burden of shards (through things like grouping transactions, assigning them to the right shards, or even creating additional transactions). In short, is there a way to reward participants for organizing transactions in a bottom-up way that makes things easier for shards?

1. Obviously Vitalik is an optimist about blockchain, but I would be curious to hear him discuss the limits of its uses. What probability would he give that the only useful application of blockchain turns out to be as a store of value (i.e. Bitcoin)? And what is his best case scenario? His most-likely scenario?

(Related: how does he feel about this essay by Jimmy Song on why implementing the blockchain technology is hard, and why centralized systems are still often the better choice

2. How well does he feel the economics of de-centralized systems are understood? What are the big open questions? Where would he like to see progress?

Also on today's (11.6.2018) Slashdot I found:"Catalin Cimpanu, writing for BleepingComputer: A group of hackers has stolen over $20 million worth of Ethereum from Ethereum-based apps and mining rigs, Chinese cyber-security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab reported today. ...."

Regarding the usefulness of dApps. I think a while ago you gave an example of decentralized exchange as a viable application to benefit from being implemented on a blockchain.
If I remember correctly the advantages you mentioned:
1. Trustless. No need to trust the devs, we can just trust the code.
2. High inter-regional availability - no need for China to trust US servers.
3. Accessibility - can be used by anyone around the world without AML and KYC.

However, as we see now, these supposed advantages did not materialize.
1. We still need to trust the devs while they add more features, fix bugs and address newly discovered security issues in the EVM.
2. High availability is a thing, but we can just run two exchanges and then just use atomic swaps.
3. Looks like the governments can enforce KYC/AML regulations on most for-profit enterprises or even on those that finance their operations via ICO.

So, it looks like your previous example is not a good one.
Can you elaborate on the issues above and provide a good example for a viable dApp?

Blockchain enthusiasts often talk about the potential for blockchain to address corruption and inequities in the existing financial order. I've watched Ethereum closely since the crowdsale, when I bought spontaneously and have mostly held since (a decision that society as expressed through money apparently values more than anything else I've done or am likely to do in my life, which I find both fortunate and disorienting). While I tend toward optimism, I'm never quite sure if I really even understand how this revolution is going to happen. In my life the most staggering displays of corruption and disregard for fairness that I've personally witnessed have been within the blockchain world (generally, not Ethereum!!), whereas in my professional life in government and the private sector I've mostly encountered decency. What is it about blockchain, if it is anything at all, that deserves to be thought of as revolutionary? When all is said and done, is the promise of blockchain greater efficiency (even radically so), or something more fundamental? Are there steps that you think the blockchain community ought to be taking now, or perhaps particular projects or approaches that we can support, to try to ensure that blockchain delivers on its promise?

What does he think of discount token economics vs utility token economics and the implied hedging that users have to make to access services with utility tokens.
Does he think there will be enough liquidity to automate trading to access those services that forces the use of their utility token.
What does he think of this token economy of permanent opportunity losses regarding riches vs poors

Does he have a girlfriend?

Very smart questions here. Let me dumb it down because I think that for any form of global adoption at scale, the experience of dealing with crypto (transacting, storing, securing, etc) will have to be much smoother
- from the users perspective - and require less technical prowess. Fiat banking is much more forgiving to user mistakes than crypto is (if you send coins to the wrong address... well.. bummer). So, Vitalik, do you think this complexity is an inherent structural property of the technology itself, or is this just a matter of creating services that will better leverage the existing mental models of the average Joe/Jane. Thanks.

Miguel Castillo

22m22 minutes ago
Ask whether he believes that forking the Ethereum chain in order to replenish funds for the DAO hack was a proper remedy or should the fork be considered the same as printing money out of thin air.

What led him to be concerned about AGI?

In Tyler's conversation with Ezra Klein about social media and the internet, there was a bit of nostalgia for older, less individually filtered forms of media that would tend to expose a reader to a broader range of content, often leading to new interests and understanding of other viewpoints. As I understand it, part of the challenge is that social media profit models tend toward more directly personalized content that appeals to individual tastes (or sense of outrage) because that draws clicks. What kind of potential do you see in blockchain platforms to offer other models? (my personal dream would be a menu of algorithms, so I could choose, say, pure random, or longer form articles, or the most highly upvoted content from other political bubbles, or my own bubble, depending on mood). If blockchain can help, how?

Hi Vitalik,

Not a technical question, but do you (or any other Torontonians reading this) want to go for ethnic food and discuss Marginal Revolution/SSC/Robin Hanson adjacent topics?


With the advent of quantum computing that can break crypto, doesn’t cryptocurrency comes with its own currency collapse capability?

Please ask his opinion on private smart contract platforms like what TurtleCoin's Karai is trying to accomplish, benefits and downsides would be great to hear

There has been news about Vitalik's departure so has the Ethereum's scaling problem got too large to solve without rewriting the whole thing from scratch again and now the Rats are leaving the ship ?

This is not a joke question. It is very viable and importan question.

I'm not going anywhere.

Question 1: Ask him on the importance of memes!

A society needs cultural norms. They can be enforced by law or through cultural memes.

Example 1: While central religions used to hold western societies together, Chinese community came from memes aka moral rules, spread peer-to-peer.

Example 2: Wechat kickstarted it payment feature through a cultural meme, aka 红包。

Example 3: Vitalik-leader meme is holding Ethereum community together.

Question 2: If Blockchain fails, (POW not scalable. POS fails because staking centralization) what alternative protocols could enable decentralization?

Do you think it is feasible to create a cryptoasset that would both:

1. become a widespread, globally accepted currency

2. not award huge windfalls to early adopters for what essentially is just betting on the right horse

Does the Gas price will go down once scalability issues are achieved ?
It is important since the gas price is limiting a lot the possibility of generating dapp where a lot of user interaction is required.

Please ask him about token-curated registries and their relevance to content curation. How could these systems be relevant for bloggers?

What wealth and income distributions are ideal? What are unacceptable? Should we try to have on-chain policies that target specific distributions?

Do you favor some kind of social welfare? If so, should social welfare be provided by an on-chain or off-chain mechanism? What do you have to say about the Circles (Martin Koeppelmann) basic income?

If we had a widely-used anonymous token (like Zcash, but faster), it seems it would be easy to avoid taxes. Do you think such tax-avoidance with on-chain assets could be a problem? If so, how should we address it?

How does the new term "crypto-economics" differ from economics? Why does traditional economics not apply to design in cryptocurrency systems?

I think some folks in the space are reinventing the wheel when they study "crypto-economics"

Which of the bullcases for Bitcoin makes him optimistic/pessimistic for the future of Ethereum? E.g. censorship-resistant payments, sound monetary policy, etc.

Will decentralized software systems always be confined to use cases where censorship, fraud, etc. are utmost concerns? Or, could you see decentralized systems becoming the de facto solution for the majority of new software being written?

I am a big crypto and block chain skeptic, but I am looking forward to being proven otherwise (or not) on this podcast Mr. Buterin.

While I understand they might be some value in blockchsin, arguablt, I don't see the point of crypto other than if you're a gold bug type that dot don't trust CBs. Why do ethereum contracts have to be settled with ethereum and not USD? Why can't miners be rewarded with USD, too? Second, how are ethereum contracts actually imposed? I heard in a podcast that there were ratings associated to each persond, with all due respect, isn't that jusy a glorified Ebay/Amazon vendor rating system?

Thank you,
Artus B.

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