[AUDIENCE] Maybe this question will be a good fit.
I am Fabian Vogelsteller, lead developer in Ethereum.
I built the Mist browser.
[ANDREAS] Which project?
[AUDIENCE] The Ethereum Project.
[ANDREAS] I’ve heard of it. [Laughter]
[AUDIENCE] Yes, I guess so! Building blocks
is a really nice way of describing it. Internally,
it works differently than it does
on the outside, like you said.
I would like to hear your opinion about Ethereum,
in general. Bitcoin’s building blocks are rather like…
having only three Lego pieces, whereas with a smart
contract language, you can build whatever you want.
You basically have an unlimited number of building
blocks, and therefore doing things like what the…
previous questioner asked,
would be rather simple to do.
You can build whatever you want; you can build
whatever distributed smart contract you want.
So I would like to hear your opinion about
Ethereum and smart contracts in general.
Where is the future of the blockchain going?
[ANDREAS] I am a fan of Ethereum. I was
involved in Ethereum before it was launched.
Vitalik was kind enough to share the whitepaper
with me, for comment, before he published it.
I was involved and fascinated from the very first day.
When he sent me the paper, I called him up to talk…
about all the ways that I thought this wouldn’t work.
Scepticism is healthy. He persuaded me and
had really good answers those [concerns].
There is a balance to be struck between having
pieces in your Lego set do more [complex] things,
[and keeping it simple on purpose], because there are
things you can’t do with pieces that have four bumps.
You can’t make a wheel or
a head of a little person out of it.
You can’t make a transparent window out of it.
That is why, in Lego, those pieces are
specifically designed as the exception.
If you have ever visited a Lego exhibition, you would
have seen them make entire buildings and structures,
like the Death Star, the Star Trek Enterprise,
and the Empire State building.
They are [mostly] built out of simple,
four-square blocks of different colors.
With [enough scale and] resolution, you can do some
quite amazing things even with little square blocks.
There is a place for both. I think those
two technologies work well together.
Bitcoin is more limited on purpose. It is designed
to deliver a very solid and wide foundation with…
very robust security.
Even though Ethereum now has one sixth of the
capitalization, it has 1/250,000 of the security,
in terms of the hashing power behind it.
For some things, you need a very solid foundation;
for some other things, you need a spike.
You need [a system] that is very focused.
The two work very well together.
I think Ethereum can use some of the underlying
security in Bitcoin to become more robust itself.
We don’t know yet. I am interested in both.
I am even more interested in the broader idea:
how do you use technologies within Bitcoin
and Ethereum for two-way pegged sidechains…
and decentralized exchanges? Could you have
an Ethereum contract that pays out in bitcoin?
[Could a smart contract] control a bitcoin wallet?
You can use everything for what it’s best for.
They can work synergistically. The best part about
Ethereum, for me, was what happened two years ago.
When there was a crisis in Bitcoin because
“Mt. Gox exploded, oh my god! We will lose our money!”
They sold the bitcoin and went into fiat.
This year, when the story was “Mike Hearn
blew everything up. Bitcoin is dead… again.”
For the 112th time, [Bitcoin is dead].
But this time, [a lot of people didn’t sell] into fiat.
A good third of them went into ether. I thought, ‘Whoa!’
That is like changing buses instead of just getting off.
The end result was, when the prices of both went up,
more outsiders joined both Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The whole space [became] bigger.
Cryptocurrencies can work well together.
The barriers for liquidity are very low.
They make great synergistic partners.
I am very excited about the development of
other cryptocurrencies, which [may become]…
robust enough to stand on their own,
and [join in] a partnership with Bitcoin.
Promote the entire space.
They are not competitive.
They are addressing different needs,
which is why Ethereum is so successful.
It is sufficiently differentiated from Bitcoin
to be focused on a different need.
I am invested a bit in Ethereum. I bought a small amount
of ether. That is just a necessary disclosure here.