Highlights from Vitalik Buterin’s Keynote at the World’s First Ethereum SuperMeetup – TOKEN2049

TOKEN2049 and the inaugural Ethereum SuperMeetup with Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin happened last week in Hong Kong. Here are the key highlights from the meetup session.

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TOKEN2049 ETH SuperMeetup

Right behind the tail of Hong Kong Blockchain week was Asia Crypto Week that happened from March 11th to 17th in Hong Kong. The one week consisted of many independently planned educational events that was mainly developer-oriented, with the aim of encouraging mass adoption of blockchain and crypto.

TOKEN2049 was without a doubt the flagship event, happening over two days on March 13th and 14th. The event featured more than 100 speakers from around the world, and saw the appearance of some of the biggest names in the crypto space. Amongst the bustle and the many different panels, speeches and pitches, however,  the one event that caught our attention the most was the inaugural Ethereum SuperMeetup that happened post-TOKEN2049 on 13th March.

What is the Ethereum SuperMeetup?

The inaugural Ethereum SuperMeetup is an event that saw 9 Ethereum communities across Asia come to Hong Kong to discuss the future of the Ethereum Community. It also saw the attendance of Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum and one of the major contributors to the blockchain and cryptocurrency community.  

Highlights from the Meetup

Vitalik kickstarted the event with a 20 minute speech first covering the technical developments of ETH 2.0 (aka Serenity), before moving on to his take on blockchain and Ethereum adoption. Below are some key points that he mentioned:

1. ETH 2.0 and 1.X are in the works to build a more efficient protocol

According to Vitalik, ETH 2.0 (aka Serenity), which has been happening over the last couple of years, is currently in the works to improve the efficiency of the protocol and create a next generation blockchain. It comprises of 3 phases, each at different stages of development:

  • Phase 0: Proof of Stake – “spec in final stages” and “nearing completion”
  • Phase 1: Sharding of Data – “ongoing process” and “still in the works”, while
  • Phase 2: Sharing of Compensation of Contracts – being started

Phase 1 is still in the works as the core team is working to overcome existing technical challenges, such as in the implementation of peer to peer network. Even then, technical documentation on the progress of  the different phases can be found online, with ongoing cosmetic updates to be made for developers who are interested in finding out more.   

On top of ETH 2.0, Vitalik talks about ETH 1.X, which he describes as “a series of  proposals that are more short term in nature”, but “equally important” to get ideas on how to increase the efficiency of the Ethereum protocol. These proposals for new features will be reviewed and chosen to go towards ETH 2.0, hopefully bridging the gap between the existing ETH 1.0 and 2.0 over time. An example of a proposal that they are currently reviewing is stateless nodes.

Vitalik also briefly touched upon Layer 2 solutions, which is a mechanism that overcomes the issue of scalability of blockchain while keeping it decentralised. Examples of Layer 2 scaling solutions for Ethereum are the Loom NetworkRaiden, and Plasma Cash. They are programmed into the Ethereum protocol as a base layer of security and finality. On this topic, Vitalik gave updates on a few key points below:

  • Multiple plasma chain projects are in the testing stage,
  • State channel frameworks, in which technological development is near the stage whereby it can be used already, and
  • “ZK STARK and STARK scalability and privacy solutions”

2. Non-financial applications are a harder pitch but encourage mass adoption of blockchain

Vitalik also spoke of how encouraged he feels by the many projects and dApps that are developing in the Ethereum platform.

A noteworthy mention includes DeFi , a shared community for  projects developing open source financial primitives to create a truly decentralized financial system. Another mention was MakerDAO, a stablecoin project to remove volatility in the value of crypto in order to encourage greater adoption of blockchain and crypto. The Dai Stablecoin has a value that is stable relative to the USD. However, what is unique is that unlike other stablecoins, the Dai is completely decentralized. Other mentions include browsers such as Brave Browser and Opera, and phones like the HTC blockchain phone, all of which he describe as ‘positive for the ecosystem’.

Vitalik further shared how he was a fan of real life non-financial applications of blockchain, including digital and reputation certificates, digital identity management, as well as blockchain applications in the gaming and microinsurance space that do not require cryptocurrencies or any aspect of the financial market. Such applications in real life would further encourage the mass adoption of the blockchain technology.

However, he cautioned that decentralization should remain a value add to such applications, and that it would lose its value if they can be done in a shorter and more efficient way without the use of blockchain technology. Therefore, that remains a challenge that needs to be addressed.

In his own words, Vitalik says, “The problem is that decentralization is basically their value add. With finance, you’re competing with banks that take five days to do something interesting. With anything that’s not financial, chances are there is some internet thing that does what you want, that’s just centralized. So it’s a bit of a harder pitch.”

Growing and active ETH community

Following Vitalik’s keynote speech, representatives from the other Ethereum communities around the region and abroad also went on stage to share about the various efforts they were spearheading to further contribute to the development of the Ethereum community in their countries. They include representatives from Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Philippines and Germany.

From their presentations, one can’t help but sense how active the Ethereum community is around internationally. We look forward to what is to come from the community in the future!

LATTICE80’s KAYA Token is linked to ETH and currently trading on COSS. The KAYA Network is LATTICE80’s vision to connect (1) Fintech Startups, (2) Financial Institutions & Corporates, (3) Government Institutions and (4) the Public to build an ecosystem conducive to creating next-generation financial products and services. The LATTICE80 KAYA Network is the fusion of four synergistic efforts. The result is a community-driven ecosystem that brings innovative financial services to the existing market and reaches out to the unbanked and the underbanked individuals and SMEs. We are in support of global initiatives with social impact, especially with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).