Video Of The Week: Ethereum 2.0

I just watched Vitalik Buterin’s keynote at Devcon 4 in Prague last week, on Halloween and on the tenth anniversary of Satoshi’s whitepaper.

In this keynote, Vitalik explains what has taken so long in getting from Ethereum 1.0 to Ethereum 2.0, what Ethereum 2.0 will include, and how we are going to get there.

It is a bit geeky, I can’t say that I understood everything, but if you own Ethereum, or if you believe that a scaled decentralized smart contract platform is important, and I can say yes to both of those emphatically, then this is worth watching. It is 30 mins long.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Yup, I was there in the audience. Most interesting was Vitalik admitting what has not worked in their past efforts. You’ve got to give it to them for being openly critical about themselves.Decentralized projects are not an easy beast. Lots of trial and errors along the way. It kind of stumbles forward.

  2. jason wright

    Did he really say “alligator”?These people may be in grave danger of burning their pump profits on never ending research. Easter Island ran out of trees.

  3. awaldstein

    Thanks Fred.First part of my listen as I’m off to do intervals to kickstart the weekend.

  4. sigmaalgebra

    University research seminars have a lot of solutions still looking for problems.A famous recipe for rabbit stew starts out “First catch a rabbit”.A recipe for applied technology might start out “First get an application.”If you have no destination in mind, then any wind will take you there.For a successful project, the first important step is good project selection.If “a scaled decentralized smart contract platform is important”, then (A) be very clear on this point, (B) have lots of really compelling examples, and (C) focus on how to do that.It appears that for (C) a lot of people strongly believe that that 10 year old anonymous paper is just how to do that; my experienced guess would be that there is nearly no chance of that belief being correct or even close.Yes, none of this means that pursuing blockchain will never make anyone any money. Or, even if the work on blockchain is foolish, there may be an even bigger fool with money who would buy the work.There are more promising ways to use technology than fools using hype to fool bigger fools.

    1. LE

      To counter though ‘build it and they will come’.I remember when I bought my first expensive machine and my Dad said to me ‘eh do you have business already for that machine? If not why did you just spend $X on it’? To him a machine was fine if it solved an existing problem (inability to satisfy demand). But never prior to actual demand.My Dad was both right and wrong (hah depending on the outcome, eh?). He was not in a business where you earned money from machines. He made money from selling merchandise. So his thing would be to buy merchandise without even knowing if it would sell. That to him was comfortable but a machine that made things that you would sell required knowing you had the business which of course is chicken and egg.Sometimes you have to realize that there are angles to things that you don’t understand or don’t put a great deal of credence on. Why are cars on showroom floors shined up? Why do you put coffee on at an open house? Why do you have a fireplace burning?As another example I put money into production in-house because my theory was that it would make my company more valuable than if I used an outsource method which would have cost less (with less aggravation entirely). I was right about that. My company sold because I had machines and a new buyer liked that he could walk around and hear things running and it wasn’t just an office. The sound was like a fireplace to him. Strictly looking at it rationally nobody would come up with that as an angle because it was counter intuitive (other than after the fact where it looks highly logical). I don’t remember at the time anyone thinking this was the right thing to do and if I even told them the logic they probably would have scoffed at that as being valuable because they were not incorporating human emotions into decision making.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Yup, “build it and they will come” has been known to work at times. However risky that is, if don’t build it, then necessarily they won’t come. So, sure, to get them to come, it is necessary but not sufficient to build it. Commonly necessary conditions are easier to understand than sufficient ones.For(hah depending on the outcome, eh?)Yup, you got it: Quite broadly, first cut, for decision making under uncertainty a good decision is not one that came out well but one that had high probability of coming out well. Then betting in Vegas is always a bad decision, even if walk out with $100,000 gains.Second cut, in some situations, betting in Vegas can be a good decision: E.g., FedEx founder Smith was in Vegas waiting to see Howard Hughes and won a nice pot of money at blackjack which likely saved his company. But his situation was either (A) raise some cash or (B) have FedEx (Federal Express) go out of business. So, we could analyze this in terms of utility theory (IIRC a J. von Neumann topic since written up nicely e.g., G. Owen, Game Theory) where we don’t look at the expected value, from probability, of the money but the expected value of the utility. Von Neumann, no dummy, explained in his theory how to estimate utility.Your explanation of the possible role of human emotions is no doubt correct, e.g., from your examples and many more.In some situations, the role of human emotions is primary: E.g., if give her a blue sapphire necklace, then, sure, have it from Tiffany’s even if she can’t tell the difference except from the blue box.But to me, to justify a project, I want a solid foundation. For how luck or emotions might contribute, that’s just a little whipped cream on top of the dessert coffee or some sauce Bordelaise, e.g., as at…(but where he omitted the diced bone marrow) on top of the broiled Porterhouse steak.

      2. Matt A. Myers

        I was lucky in that my mother being a university professor lead to us having computers at home fairly early in their adoption. I wasn’t so lucky in that my entrepreneurial spirit wasn’t supported.I had the computer(s) and the beginning of skills (self-taught programming starting at 11, then HTML/graphic design soon after), and what would of become a successful and large internet business didn’t because of not having the support. Like your father doubting the value and potential, even though I had a computer – and I had created a “free message board/forum” service (at age 12 or 13, I can’t remember) that quickly grew to 500,000 monthly uniques, leading to my hosting bill being $500/month. Instead of helping support me while the service grew, which I would have eventually realized to support with ads (I did it for fun, and it took off – because anything back then would get traffic from search engines, especially if free), my father yelled at me when I asked for help – asking where I’d get the money/that he didn’t have the money for it; that wasn’t actually true either, though in hindsight I understand he was under a lot of pressure especially from my mother, a lot of that was because he had had kidney cancer 3-4 years prior, removed but malpractice during it [which my parents didn’t but should have sued over] and he didn’t work another day in his life because of the pain he was left in. Anyway. Not sure I’ve written about that before. I guess the point is that another option is: you can build it – they can come, but your father still may not support you.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          I have in the basement a beautiful, classic, maybe cedar, tool chest with wood and metal working hand tools from my father and his uncle. That is some of what Dad left me.He thought that the secret to a good career was to get a BS or MS and a stable job. His uncle also did that. That they went for salaried jobs was a little strange because Dad’s father ran the village general store, and Dad’s step father ran the village feed and grain mill — that is, they were both business owners. Dad was well supported through college — motorcycle, sports car, bowling, golf, ballroom dancing, etc. So, Dad left me with a chest of hand tools and a desire for college degrees.So Dad didn’t see the importance of owning a business; he did well without owning a business. In particular, Dad didn’t see the importance of computing even though I was deep into computing and getting paid well (annual salary 6 times what a new, high end Camaro cost). And, sure, Dad didn’t see the importance of entrepreneurship in computing.Observation: Go back, say, 200 years to 1818. Take all the changes in the society, economy, science, medicine, technology in that time. Partition those changes into 10 intervals of 20 years each, that is, each interval roughly one generation.. Do the partitioning any way you want, and at least one of the 10 intervals will have a LOT of changes. Do the partitioning based on date of the changes or do the partitioning trying to have each partition with just 10% of the changes and will still have most or all of the 10 partitions with a LOT of changes.Net Blunt Fact of Life: The US changes quickly, so quickly that only a small fraction of fathers can do well directing their children’s preparation for life. All the other children have to accept and take advantage of the changes as they come. A lot of the children will miss out on some good opportunities. Welcome to the club. You are not the Lone Ranger.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            I appreciate the analysis – thanks.

        2. jason wright

          Thanks for sharing.

  5. kidmercury

    do folks really believe proof of stake secure enough to for L1 transactions? i know we are moving that way, but i really doubt it and would love to hear arguments for why it is as secure as proof of work. (talking about security, not the other attributes like scalability, speed, etc). i can see delegated proof of stake in a semi-centralized environment with rich governance working on L1, and in fact i think that will end up being the way to go, but unregulated/anarchic proof of stake seems to me like building a foundation on very shaky ground. no?

    1. William Mougayar

      Pow is unregulated too.There will be ample testing prior to release.

      1. kidmercury

        PoW is unregulated like all proof-of-* is, but to me it seems staking ultimately relies on the logic that stakers are inherently incentivized to keep the chain and its coin functioning because they value the coins they have. this logic seems shaky to me. in pure PoS, it seems to me that someone who wants to take a coin/chain down, perhaps an entity with a large position in a competing chain, can invest aggressively in becoming the dominant staker in the chain they wish to take down, and then just stake and destroy the chain and its coin by validating false transactions. at least with delegated proof of stake you have people voting on official stakers, which brings some transparency and democracy to the process. unless i am misunderstanding something.ample testing is nice, but not an excuse for implementing something with a fundamentally problematic incentive structure.

  6. joelsfoster

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new Ethereum standard for subscription payments (EIP-1337) and the potential this opens up for the future:

    1. aseoconnor

      I saw some demos of this at Devcon, and its a really promising feature. IMO we need to solve the use case of getting consumers on ramped before we focus too much on optimizing

  7. Robert Bailey


  8. Chris Phenner

    I think a frustrating thing about watching this video is the urge one may have to want to grok every word and/or every acronym. If you watched this (as I did) and thought about bailing halfway, it may be because ‘he lost you.’ He totally lost me, many times.It took energy to let go of the above urge, and enjoy this talk instead for the density of its detail and its transparency about ‘what didn’t work’ (as William points out). I wish he took time to explain why ‘Proof of Stake’ matters, but I think I follow (and will research).My view says ‘messy is rigorous’ (even when confusing), and what I saw was a multi-year process that carefully, finally found consensus (Serenity). I heard performance improvement metrics at the end that sounded impressive; that was gratifying.So many threads after an AVC post have readers jump in with points-of-view informed by what they know (or experienced). This video asks for more, and so little of what I click on takes that kind of energy. I’d love to see more posts that do that.

  9. Vitomir Jevremovic

    I’m dying to ask one simple question: Who and what is Ethereum for, and how do they plan to get there and when?To clarify: if it is for hundreds of thousands of apps using their own coins, storing the data in one unified blockchain, then IMO we have a problem.After watching the keynote, I must say that development of ideas that are intended to power worlds transformation in a decentralized ecosystem are a big responsibility, and probably unrealistic when real-world comes to collect it’s debt. Greed rules man, and we have seen this unfolds in front of our eyes during the last year. Vitalik is only a kid, disconnected from what is really happening, surrounded by worshipers, not disturbed by the mess they created. Etherum is unusable for any real world application with even small number of users in a single app. Promoted as the next evolution in crypto path to world domination, it created chaos where tons of people lost billions, thus yes making whole lot of people more interested in tech, but at the same time making the system that shredded the very foundation of proposed revolution.While talking PoS, Sharding, VMs, are important, they are more academia type research, and there is nothing wrong about that, but if there are people waiting for this so they can get their real-life applications finally rolled out and used by users that are not traders on the exchanges, then IMO they should look elsewhere and forget about Etheruem. Yes, it might get there eventually, but we have turned away our binoculars.

    1. jason wright

      Yes!Theoreum would have been a far more honest name.

      1. fredwilson


  10. TeddyBeingTeddy

    Sometimes unusual art is hard to understand but symbolic and beautiful. And sometimes it’s just a heap of garbage created by a wannabe hopped up on drugs and narcissism. I’m going with B on this one.