Vitalik: Ethereum, Part 2

This post is by naval from Naval

Haseeb and I interview Vitalik Buterin about Ethereum and blockchains. Also see Part 1.

Protocol Politics

The elder statesman of smart contract blockchains

Haseeb: Vitalik, I want to ask you a little bit about how your role has evolved since it began at Ethereum. In the very beginning before all of this, of course, you were once the uppity young entrepreneur. It’s been six or seven years now, and you’ve moved on from being the entrepreneur to being the chief technologist to being the politician. You’re now sort of the elder statesman of smart contract blockchains.

What have you learned about protocol politics?

Vitalik: Protocol politics is less different from regular politics than you might think. It’s all this emergent phenomena of what happens when you stick many thousands of people together.

You have incentives that are aligned in some cases; you have some competition in other cases. You have different groups of people that have different opinions, and they have to fight it out, sometimes within one protocol and sometimes between different protocols, where there’s competition.

A lot of the dynamics that you get are surprisingly familiar to the kinds of religious fervor that you get when people defend their opinions. Is it better to have blockchains that have smaller blocks so they’re easier to verify, versus bigger blocks so that more people can afford to use them?

People have very strong opinions in the same way that people have strong opinions about religion, or democracy, or freedom (Read more...)