The first half of August has been action-packed when it comes to the blockchain space. There have been several blockchain-related events around the world so far, with the ones happening in Asia this week getting a lot of attention.
The three-part Buidl Asia Week launched late last month by the KryptoSeoul blockchain community has been one of the most well-attended experiences. The latest of the Buidl Asia Week events, ETH Seoul 2022, kicked off last Friday just after the Buidl Asia 2022 conference – a two-day affair that brought together builders from different walks of life and ends on August 13 (Saturday). .
All eyes in Asia
The Buidl Asia 2022 conference focused on decentralized finance and the Ethereum merger. ETH Seoul, on the other hand, has focused on more specific developments around Ethereum, such as ZK rollups, layer 2 solutions, and DAOs. The first two days of ETH Seoul 2022 involved an in-person presence, with the rest taking place virtually. The event brought together several cryptocurrency influencers, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who gave the keynote, and Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal.
This week also marked the start of the fifth edition of Korea Blockchain Week, which is also taking place in Seoul. The main stage sessions took place on Mondays and Tuesdays, with over 7,000 spectators. Some key people who gave presentations include Animoca Brand President Yat Siu and Binance CEO CZ. Buterin and Nailwal also presented, while Solana participated as one of the event sponsors.
Here are the main takeaways in case you missed the live presentations from either event:
Buterin welcomes a reduced role with an increasingly decentralized network
Speaking during a press appearance with Tech Crunch at the KBW 2022 event, Buterin said he expected his role to fade more and more to the point of gradually moving into the background. The chief scientist of the Ethereum Foundation explained that the network is becoming more decentralized day by day, which has reduced his work considerably. Buterin noted that the work allowance he has to perform has decreased every six months.
This is a totally different situation from the nascent days after the network launched in 2015. The Ethereum co-founder said Tech Crunch that he believes his creation has evolved to a point where it can stay afloat without his input. The delegation of tasks over the years has also meant that research and development work that would have been the responsibility now falls to other teams.
Ethereum Co-Founder: Layer 2s Can Help Get ‘Really Acceptable’ Transaction Fees
In 2017, Ethereum co-founder Buterin said that to make the idea of the “internet of money” conceivable, the average transaction cost should not exceed $0.05. This long-term belief in reducing transaction fees to five cents has been one of the factors fueling the pursuit of scalability, as he recently confirmed in a May Tweeter.
“Have to be under $0.05 to be really acceptable, imo. But we’re definitely making great strides, and even proto-danksharding may be enough to get us there for a while!”
The Ethereum co-founder reiterated this claim during Korea Blockchain Week, emphasizing the importance of layer two scaling solutions to achieve the goals outlined in the Ethereum roadmap. Buterin specifically pointed to their abilities to scale massively and cut costs to fractions of what is charged on the underlying basis. He also noted that a lot of work is going on around layer two and these solutions have so far reduced the fee to $0.25-$0.10.
According to his projections, this range could drop to as low as $0.02 in the future – an achievement he called “a complete game changer”.
Buterin insisted that scaling (Lightning Network) is essential even for the leading cryptocurrency to reduce transaction costs to pennies. He explained that although Bitcoin is a predominant store of value, it was designed to be a cheaper P2P electronic payment system than existing payment methods. Although it remained a focus for the first five years, it fell out of “priority” as adoption increased significantly in the later years of the 2010s.
The war of the “scalers”
The Ethereum chief also gave his thoughts on scaling wars involving Ethereum’s layer 2 solutions at the ETH Seoul event, which kicked off on August 5. optimistic sums. Buterin pointed out that this will be the case as ZK rollups achieve faster speeds and maintain bookings.
However, he acknowledged that this technology is in its infancy and more difficult to develop compared to the alternative. There’s also the issue of lack of EVM compatibility, but that may soon change with the zk-EVM implementations already underway by Polygon and zkSync. If these compute environments become a reality, ZK rollups will benefit from smart contract functionality.
Buterin asks for more work on ZK events
Over from the Ethereum-focused event, Buterin emphasized the essence of user privacy without sacrificing scalability and security. He observed that zk technology is best suited to achieve this, as he listed what he considers to be the most important things to build on Ethereum.
In particular, Buterin singled out Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (zk-SNARK), which enabled proofs by verifying the ownership of specific knowledge without necessarily disclosing it. He complimented ZKSNARKs, adding that they could be as important as blockchains.
zk-SNARKs fit the profile to complement blockchains as they effectively realize which blockchain networks are currently trying to provide privacy and scalability without sacrificing security. He used this as a motive to encourage participants to explore the path less traveled of development in confidentiality rather than scalability.
Soulbound tokens (SBTs) for trusting relationships
The Canadian programmer has also advocated for Soulbound Tokens (SBT), which he has been quite candid about recently. He explained that since Soulbound tokens are non-transferable, inappropriate token dumps and allocations are completely avoided, improving governance and making token distributions fairer.
Representing engagements, referrals, and affiliations, Soulbound tokens encode trusted social relationships to gain provenance and reputation. More so, they make it possible to explore increasingly ambitious projects such as community wallet recovery and sybil-resistant governance. Additionally, since SBTs are inseparable from their owners, they are ideal for exclusive airdrops, allowing communities to airdrop specific members.
To learn more about Ethereum, see our Investing in Ethereum guide.