Ethereum has been prominent in recent years for its Ether cryptocurrency, tokens, and smart contracts; however, Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum’s creator) mentioned in his keynote speech at the EthCC Paris conference that it is vital for developers to focus on other types of ‘non-financial applications, rather than focusing on ‘yield agriculture’ (a way to generate rewards and earn returns on cryptocurrency assets secured on decentralized finance or DeFi platform).

Approach to the social good

Buterin believes Ethereum has achieved massive growth in the last year, thanks to incorporating DeFi; however, he mentions he hopes we will focus the use of the network on the social good, which would go beyond the fast financial returns from investment DeFi. He emphasized the importance of “Ethereum being socially useful” and, at the same time, being financially beneficial.

Vitalik mentioned that much of Ethereum’s functionality is limited to a select few, that is, people or companies with medium and high income, for example, he highlighted the high transaction fees as something not very inclusive or encouraging, since through this system, wealthier people can pay such transaction fees, which is a holistic Ethereum ecosystem would not work as these high fees exclude the average user. Significantly, Ethereum is currently driving other uses of blockchain technology, such as identity verifications, supply chains, and decentralized social media.

The dream

The young programmer mentioned his dream is for Ethereum to be useful to everyone; for this reason, the “alternative approaches” to the technology, which should receive more attention, are others. For example, he mentioned the idea of “retroactive financing,” which consists of developers building public and accessible infrastructure and then receiving income for that work when the expected dividends have been generated. This process would allow Ethereum projects to flourish as a ‘public good.’

Multipurpose wallets and login neutrality

The central point of his presentation was based on the use of Ethereum wallets as multipurpose online entities, which could be used to log in to a wide variety of Ethereum-based applications, similar to logging in with an account of Facebook or Gmail; Vitalik mentioned that the Ethereum-based login options would provide credible neutrality, which will be resistant to media “censorship,” and allow a more decentralized and transparent process.

Decentralized social networks

Vitalik mentioned Ethereum could support a new social media ecosystem, encouraging higher-quality posts and forming the basis of users’ online identities; this would be a natural alternative to today’s centralized social networks, which he criticized for their “rampant” data collection and “misaligned incentives” that reward posts with more “likes” or irrelevant interactions.

What do you think about this topic? Do you think Ethereum should direct its efforts towards a more “social” use of cryptocurrency?

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Image by master1305 via Pixabay.com under Creative Commons license.


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