In what amounted to one of the most far-reaching and interesting conversations at TC Sessions in Zug, Ethereum masterminds Vitalik Buterin, Justin Drake, and Karl Floersch spoke openly – and often candidly – about a bright future for Ethereum scaling and, more interestingly, their way to build teams that work.
“There’s definitely changes that we could have made into the protocol,” said Buterin when asked whether or not he would have changed anything if he could start Ethereum again. But, he said, “there are ways in which that the problem is fundamentally hard.” In other words, growth was the only option.
“The demand for using public blockchains is high and we need to up the stability in order the meet that demand,” he said.
Floersch discussed the problems associated with Ethereum in the context of “adversarial networks.”
The network, he said, should “penalize people who don’t provide guarantees” and he felt that the tools available to simulate economic actors – including bad actors – are still weak.
“We come up with ideas, try to formalize them, and implement them,” he said. But, he said, the simulations still aren’t available.
The team expects aspects of Ethereum 2.0 – namely the Casper upgrade and the addition of sharding – to begin rolling out in 2019. After that, said Floersch, Ethereum 3.0 would enable quantum secure systems i.e. systems that can withstand the power of quantum computers.
“We’ll push quantum secure updates before there are commercial quantum computers,” he said.
Ultimately, said Buterin, Ethereum runs because the team is so tightly knit thanks to a clear roadmap. He said Bitcoin has many heads and the gridlock created was dangerous.
“Can they agree? No. You have gridlock,” he said.
“Part of the reason is that the Ethereum community early on [continued] to promote the idea of the Ethereum roadmap,” he said. “I feel that the roadmap is part of the social contract.”
“People who buy into ethereum buy in knowing that these are the things that people are going to want to push it forward. There may be deadlock on what specific path the community should take,” he said. But, he noted the roadmap keeps everyone on the same path. Given the expansive popularity and reach of the technology, it’s a fascinating bit of team-building that should inform other open source and blockchain projects over time.