Text | Kai Morris
Translation | Bite
As the co-founder of Ethereum and an outstanding leader in the industry, Vitalik Buterin, he recently gave a speech at the StartmeupHK Festival 2021 Technology Conference in Hong Kong. Among many topics, Vitalik Buterin shared his views on Ethereum’s high-profile transformation from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS).
However, to the disappointment of many people, according to the reality of Ethereum’s latest roadmap, the sharding chain is not expected to be realized until some time in the end of 2022. Although the transition from PoW to PoS is expected to occur within a certain period of time in 2021/2022, the sharding chain is regarded by many in the industry as a sign of the official completion of the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade. In addition, many people also believe that the delay of Ethereum 2.0 is due to technical difficulties, but the actual problem is obviously not the case.
Ethereum 2.0 delay: it’s a human problem, not a technical problem
At the meeting, Vitalik Buterin explained: “I found that one of the biggest problems of the project is not technical problems, but people-related problems.”
This explanation of Vitalik Buterin is very surprising, because it sounds difficult to change the consensus algorithm of the largest ecosystem of the blockchain, so many people think that the delay of Ethereum PoS is caused by calculation or programming problems. But this is clearly not the case.
Vitalik Buterin also talked about disagreements and problems with the Ethereum team. He said: “In the past five years, we have had a lot of internal team conflicts. If you want to build a team, it’s very important to understand who your colleagues are. Think about people such as Polkadot and Kusama. Co-founder Gavin Wood, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson and others, considering how many Ethereum co-founders have left to build competing blockchains in the past, this is not shocking. In fact, in Ethereum Among the original co-founders of Fang, Vitalik Buterin is the only one who is still on the team.
Vitalik Buterin revealed that it is people, not technology, that hinder the upgrade of Ethereum, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, this shows that the Ethereum upgrade is feasible in calculation and practice, which means that it will be launched one day after all. But on the other hand, this kind of thing also paints a picture of the poor operation of the Ethereum team.
Vitalik Buterin’s account of team conflicts also seems to contradict the public’s previous understanding of Ethereum. The main reason for this situation is the comments of many blockchain workers, such as Tim Beiko. In the past period of time, he talked about the dilemma of Ethereum mainly due to technical reasons. For example, earlier this year, Beiko pointed out that sharding (the ability to run nodes on low-spec computers) is one of the biggest obstacles to blockchain. However, Vitalik Buterin’s recent words hinted at another situation.
Ethereum needs PoS more than ever
The demand for Ethereum to convert consensus algorithms has never been higher. The bull market of the Ethereum chain from the end of 2020 to 2021 acted as a stress test for the blockchain, and unfortunately it failed. The GAS fee is astronomical, and the transaction time is longer than usual.
In the past few months, many traders rejected Ethereum because of its high transaction price and slow transactions, especially for smaller retail investors. In addition, Ethereum congestion is a fatal blow to DeFi projects such as Automated Market Makers (AMM), such as Uniswap and AAVE, which become unsustainable due to congestion. Therefore, alternatives such as Binance Smart Chain are also booming.
Not only that, with the recent attention to the environmental impact of PoW, people have been paying attention to the progress of Ethereum. In the long run, Ethereum’s switch to PoS is hailed as the savior of cryptocurrency, partly because of this.
Considering the huge scale of the Ethereum ecosystem, if it cannot solve its congestion problem in due time, it may temporarily prevent the market from developing further, because high transaction fees and slow transaction times deprive retail investors of their rights. At present, the supporters of Ethereum can only hope that these internal conflicts will be resolved quickly. If the problem persists, the future of the blockchain looks increasingly confusing.