Billed as “the world’s computer”, ethereum has not lived up to its initial marketing campaign. ConsenSys and a crowd of developers are working at a solution, dubbed ethereum 2.0, to fix the blockchain’s scalability problems.
On location in Tel Aviv at the Ethereal Summit, hosted September 15, CoinDesk’s Daniel Kuhn spoke with some of the major players in the ethereum space about where the second largest blockchain is heading.
Leading up to this reboot, the Ethereal Summit served as a progress marker. The community was enthusiastic for what lays ahead.
“It’s it’s still a bit early but I think we’re coming towards a crossroads where we can start to see the maturation of the technology, especially as more enterprises come into the fold”, said Chrissa McFarlane, CEO of Patientory.
It’s not just enterprise adoption that had community members excited, but also the number of developers working on building actual use-cases on the decentralized network. Eyal Shani, a blockchain researcher with Aykesubir, said that ethereum is the “largest blockchain in terms of developers”, having recently surpassed Bitcoin.
Lex Sokolin is one such developer. He joined ConsenSys as co-head of financial technology months prior. Sokolin was specifically attracted to ethereum’s potential to revolutionize banking services.
The point was also echoed by Itzik Yushuvaev, salesman for AlgoZ Liquidity Solution, who sees the amount of developer activity on the blockchain as “a sign of trust in the second system and in the token.”
But it’s not disruption of global finance all the way down.
Marguerite deCourcelle, CEO Neon District, built her yet-to-be-released cyberpunk role-playing adventure on a sidechain off of ethereum, because it offers gamers the ability to accrue actual value through non-fungible tokens while playing.
WATCH: MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan on Crypto Adoption and Ethereum
At Devcon 5 last week, CoinDesk’s Leigh Cuen sat down with MyCrypto CEO Taylor Monahan to chat about user adoption and the state of ethereum.
Founded in 2015, MyCrypto makes the blockchain more accessible through customer-first products for ethereum and ERC-20 tokens.
As Monahan told CoinDesk, MyCrypto focuses on the customer experience:
“People are used to the Googles and the Facebooks and you type in your username and your password and if you forget it like they’ll recover it for you and everything’s fine. And then they enter crypto and it’s like, ‘No, that’s not how the world works.’”
As a wallet provider, MyCrypto is the first touching point for many crypto newbies, and onboarding non-crypto customers to crypto has its own set of unique challenges.
“How can we make this similar to existing systems? And where it just is different, how can we educate the user? Because at the end of the day, we do want people to hold their own crypto.”
Vitalik Buterin Talks Scalability: ‘Ethereum Blockchain Is Almost Full’
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. In an interview with The Star published Aug. 19, he said the hurdle that faces big organizations interested in the Ethereum ecosystem is the still-thorny matter of the blockchain’s scalability.
“Scalability is a big bottleneck”
Buterin’s stark comments were made as part of a discussion of what he perceives to be the biggest roadblocks to the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies. He conceded that:
“Scalability is a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us. There is pressure keeping people from joining.”
As for how to improve the situation, Buterin said that networks need to evolve away from the idea that every computer is required to verify each and every transaction to a model whereby a computer on average verifies only a small portion of the transactions on the blockchain.
The improved scalability this would provide would bring costs down by a factor of over 100, he claimed. And while security is to some extent sacrificed by such a move, the compromise would be fairly modest, in his words.
Beyond scalability improvements and other technical advances, Buterin noted that the challenge remains in terms of transforming blockchain technology into something people will actually use.
Bitcoin’s rival or…?
In recent comments, Buterin has argued that the future of crypto is pluralist and revealed his openness to hybrid solutions that involve both Ether (ETH) and Bitcoin.
The co-founder clarified his stance in response to a proposal to implement the Bitcoin Lightning Network as an interface for Ethereum contracts to enable instant payments in Bitcoin, while simultaneously triggering a series of events on Ethereum, or any other chain.
In July, Buterin had proposed using the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain as a temporary scalability solution for the Ethereum network.