On 2 January 2022 Vitalik Buterin (VB) published a tweet thread setting out some of the things he has said and written over the past decade, and what he thinks about those subjects today.
I try to read everything VB writes (I do not claim to understand it all) but I thought it particularly important to document these tweets given that Ethereum has one of its most important — life defining — up-grades due in the first half of 2022.
So here we go…
#1. VB in 2013 is saying that the censorship resistance of Bitcoin is the magic and it’s use internationally is it’s superpower. He has witnessed this in a recent trip to Argentina where he saw high stable coin adoption alongside high crypto adoption. People just want a secure, cheap and trustworthy way to store and move their wealth. He notes though that if stables coins devalue the monetary properties of Bitcoin(21m limit) may make it more attractive.
#2. In 2013 VB is saying that regulators are not able to stop Bitcoin because they do not have the technology to do so once fiat has been converted to Bitcoin and is running on the Bitcoin blockchain. Today he reflects that while this is true, in order for Bitcoin to thrive it needs also public legitimacy.
#3. Here VB is laughing at himself and his 2015 overly optimistic timeline for upgrades.
#4. In 2017 VB states on reddit that ‘The Internet of Money should not cost 5 cents per transaction’. The Ethereum team are still working towards that goal.
#5. VB notes that sharding is (still) a key part of scalability solution.
#6. VB’s evolution in thinking from PoW to PoS. He mentions a book called ‘The Scout Mindset’ which is about how to have an open mind willing to accept a change in thinking…
#7. VB well ahead of everyone else in his thinking about DAOs wrote this piece in February 2014. Still relevant today. At the same time he recognises that there are limits to this type of thinking. See his writing on collusion here and here.
#8. In 2013, before the launch of Ethereum VB sets out why he likes altcoins. Today he still likes Layer 1 projects and thinks there is room for more. Although he concedes that a lot can be done on Layer 2 so the need for Layer 1 (altcoins) has diminished somewhat. I feel that VB likes experimentation.
#9. Like me VB was optimistic about Bitcoin Cash, I like Roger Ver’s attitude and the big block arguments made sense to me…but in the end, as Vitalik says ‘…communities formed around a rebellion, even if they have a good cause, often have a hard time long term, because they value bravery over competence and are united around resistance rather than a coherent way forward.’
#10. No narrative needed from me…
#11. Interesting self assessment of the Whitepaper vs Outcomes…VB concludes (and many would agree) that most of the outcomes have been achieved.
#12. Again VB’s analysis on stable coins in 2014 (before most Central Banks had any notion of them whatsoever) stands the test of time well. Although he is ‘…more pessimistic about this now especially because of the PoS switch. We will need oracles. And if we want to make stablecoins robust to USD collapse (by switching to their own native CPI if that happens) we’ll need more active governance…’.
Overall, if this was a report card I would grade it 9/10, but who am I to judge. In any case 2022 is IMHO the most important year for Ethereum, it is a high stakes upgrade. Good luck to all those who are intimately involved and thank you for everything you have done thus far…humanity has some hope.