Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin says the term “world computer” is still a good way to describe Ethereum, a public, blockchain-based, open-source platform, because its purpose is to aid collaboration through a shared computing environment.
But the corporate titans that are also using blockchain technology to build computing environments are coming up short, according to Buterin. He calls a lot of the “big corporate blockchain stuff” wasteful.
Regarding IBM’s blockchain initiative, he told Quartz,
“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP, and this is basically our platform, and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point…”
As more big tech companies build private blockchains or start offering services to create enterprise solutions using private blockchains, such as Amazon, the distinction between “blockchains that power cryptocurrencies” versus “blockchains that power private, centralized databases run by big corporations” is becoming increasingly clear.
Buterin thinks some of the best use cases for blockchain tech are for payment rails. When asked what industries he thinks blockchain is most viable for, he replied,
“Cryptocurrencies and making international payments easier. All of the other ideas – whether we’re talking about products or the self-sovereign identity stuff – that’s clearly something that still needs much more time to be worked out before we can see [whether it] makes sense at scale.
Going beyond money, I think the value is that you create a token and you immediately have access to wallets, multi-signature wallets, decentralized exchanges, and just using it as collateral – all of this infrastructure that you wouldn’t have access to if you just created a currency and tried launching it off your own server.
I feel like actual utilities in the space are going to start getting closer to things that are more purely digital.”
Buterin also says he’s reading Tyler Cowen’s Stubborn Attachments: A Vision for a Society of Free, Prosperous, and Responsible Individuals.
“Both reasoning from behavioral-economic first principles, and my personal experience, people are at their most evil out of fear, not greed. Growth means there is less fear going around.”
You can check out the full interview here.