- Vitalik Buterin has said that blockchain applications will have to prove their usefulness rather than promise that they could be useful in the future in the next 10 years.
- Buterin also said that he expects some Optimistic Rollup projects working to scale Ethereum today to pivot to adopt ZK-Rollups due to their “fundamental advantages.”
- He added that Ethereum would need to be updated to protect against quantum computing attacks in the future, but it could be a few decades until updates are needed.
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Buterin has reiterated his view that ZK-Rollups are likely to be Ethereum’s top layer 2 scaling weapon, saying that quantum computing will be a major consideration for the protocol going forward.
Buterin on the future of Ethereum
Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of Ethereum, but believes there are big challenges ahead.
The creator of Ethereum discussed the long-term future of the protocol in a closed press conference ahead of BUIDL Asia and EthSeoul today, focusing on scaling technology, quantum computing, and significant obstacles facing the network.
Buterin said that the next decade will be crucial for blockchain technology, arguing that applications will soon need to prove their usefulness in an open market. “I think the next 10 years is when cryptocurrencies have to transform into something that isn’t based on promises of being useful in the future, but is actually useful,” he said. “Because many applications are promising in theory, but not feasible at all due to current scaling issues.” He added that if a blockchain application doesn’t work once Ethereum completes its “Combination” with Proof of Stake and zero proof-of-knowledge technology takes off, there’s a good chance it “doesn’t make sense” to use blockchain. blocks in the first place.
Delving into the scaling issues facing Ethereum, Buterin expressed his enthusiasm for the next wave of Layer 2 rollup solutions, taking the stance that ZK-Rollups based on zero-knowledge proofs would prevail over Optimistic. Rollups like superior technology, albeit misleading. “In the longer term, ZK-Rollups will eventually beat Optimistic Rollups because they have these fundamental advantages, like not needing a seven-day withdrawal period,” he said, before commenting on the difficulties of building ZK-Rollups. “ZK is a technology that is difficult to build. There are many challenges and Optimistic Rollup technology is more mature.” Buterin clarified that he was still confident that some of the current Optimistic Rollup projects would be successful, but hoped that some projects would turn around in the future. “They are going to do very well. But I fully expect that they will eventually switch to ZK at some point.”
A “Full” Ethereum
Buterin also commented on how a “full” Ethereum would fare in the deep future following his recent comments at EthCC in Paris, where he stated that Ethereum would be “55% complete” after the Merger. “After the big articles—you know, the merge, the surge, the purge, the edge, the spill— Ethereum will basically be in a place where the protocol doesn’t need to change. Everything can be done in Layer 2.”
Buterin added a caveat that Ethereum would need to account for developments in quantum computing at some point in the distant future. “We have to upgrade to quantum security at some point,” he said, considering a switch to “new forms of cryptography” that would be resistant to potential attacks. Cryptocurrency skeptics have frequently pointed out that quantum computing could kill off blockchains, but Buterin said it will be a while before cryptocurrency developers need to make changes. “We are constantly very much in touch with the AI researchers who continue to work on that problem and create better algorithms,” he said. “But that’s a long way off, and that could be 10, 20, 30 years from now.”
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this article owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.