Vitalik Buterin has high hopes for using the Ethereum network for social good that go far beyond the quick financial returns generated from DeFi.
Ethereum’s main problems
Ethereum needs to move beyond the wild, speculation-stained DeFi (decentralized finance) movement, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin said in a particularly rousing speech at the Paris EthCC conference. His remarks covered many interesting areas, from complex blockchain-based login mechanisms to recent social media comments.
“Being defined by DeFi is better than being defined by nothing” – Buterin confessed. “But it needs to go further.”
Buterin said Ethereum must be both socially useful and financially beneficial. This elicited an enthusiastic response from an audience filled with DeFi entrepreneurs, investors and developers.
The Ethereum creator complained that much of Ethereum’s functionality is currently limited to just a select few. He pointed out the high level of gas fees stressing that while expensive fees can be afforded by the richest traders and DeFi fanatics, they cripple the network’s capabilities for average, ordinary users.
What did Vitalik Buterin propose?
Buterin explained some alternative approaches to Ethereum technology that he thought should deserve more attention. One idea was “retroactive funding,” where developers effectively build public infrastructure for free and then are paid through a dividend mechanism. He explained that such a process would allow Ethereum projects to flourish in the spirit of “public good.”
The crux of Buterin’s speech expressed his hopes that Ethereum would be the basis of a new social media ecosystem that would encourage the publishing of higher quality content and underpin users’ online identities. This would provide a direct alternative to centralized social media networks, which Buterin criticized for unmanageable data collection and “mismatched incentives” that reward little worthwhile content with high engagement and likes.
At the heart of the proposed approach was the use of Ethereum wallets as universal online identities that could be used to log into a wide range of Ethereum-based applications, just as mThis is the case with Gmail and Facebook accounts.
Ethereum-based login options would provide “trustworthy neutrality,” resistance to censorship, and a “built-in economic layer that makes it easy to design the entire mechanism.” Buterin floated a vision of social networks that would allow only authorized DAO members to publish.
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