Vitalik Buterin’s Vision for a Stronger, Simpler Ethereum

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin addressed a full house of approximately 1,100 attendees at the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) in Brussels. In his keynote speech, Buterin discussed the necessity of fortifying the Ethereum blockchain’s foundational layer. He highlighted both the strengths and weaknesses of Ethereum’s extensive smart-contract ecosystem and expressed concerns about transaction censorship. One significant proposal he mentioned was raising the “quorum threshold” from 75% to 80%.

Buterin praised the Ethereum ecosystem for its large, decentralized staking structure and its diverse, intellectually vibrant global community. However, he acknowledged several areas needing improvement. One major issue is the challenge of solo staking due to the high requirement of 32 ETH to become a validator. Additionally, he pointed out the technical complexity of running a node. Despite these challenges, Buterin emphasized that these issues are “very addressable.”

He also discussed various technical enhancements aimed at simplifying the protocol to address Ethereum’s current weaknesses. Buterin stressed the importance of maintaining a straightforward ecosystem, avoiding overly complicated features and ensuring backwards compatibility only when necessary. He humorously referred to past ideas he had proposed that might have contributed to the current complexity, suggesting a need for simplification.

Buterin also voiced his concerns about the potential for a 51% attack on the blockchain. He explained that the community’s assumed response would be to rally together, execute a minority soft fork, and penalize the attacker. However, he noted that such a coordinated response might be challenging to implement effectively in the future.

A key proposal Buterin advocated for was increasing the quorum threshold to 80% to make recovering from chain attacks more feasible before finalization occurs. He believes that doubling down on Ethereum’s strengths while addressing its inadequacies is crucial to meeting the community’s high standards.

Buterin’s presence at EthCC has been consistent over the years, with past talks focusing on various challenges and developments in the Ethereum ecosystem, including “abstraction” in 2023 and discussions leading up to the Merge in the previous year.

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