Vitalik Buterin, the enigmatic co-founder of the ethereum network, has a penchant for quotable sound bites that rivals his abilities as a developer of cryptocurrency systems. (See also: Ethereum Founder on ICOs: ‘We Are in a Bubble, A Lot of Projects Will Fail.’) Whenever Buterin speaks, people take notice.
Oftentimes, however, it seems that his words get mistakenly twisted. And even when he doesn’t speak, he seems to be involved in news stories which are somehow misrepresented. (See also: Does Ethereum’s Price Depend On the Life of This One Person?) Buterin’s latest eyebrow-raising quote involves Visa Inc. (V), the multinational financial services juggernaut.
According to a report by Tech Crunch, Buterin believes that the cryptocurrency he helped create will rival Visa within the span of a few years, at least by certain metrics.
Scaling Is the Issue
“There’s the average person who’s already heard of bitcoin and the average person who hasn’t,” Buterin said at Tech Crunch Disrupt SF 2017. He said the Ethereum Foundation, his project working in support of the token’s network, aims to develop additional utility in the blockchain, thus creating something that every person will want to be involved in. The idea is that if there is a benefit to everyone, then everyone will want to be involved.
“Where ethereum comes from is basically, you take the idea of crypto economics and the kinds of economic incentives that keeps things like bitcoin going to create decentralized network with memory for a whole bunch of applications,” Buterin explained. “A good blockchain application is something that needs decentralization and some kind of shared memory.”
Ethereum Needs To Be Faster
Part of the reason that ethereum has not yet been able to achieve these goals seems to be the slowness of the network, stemming from its scaling concerns. “Bitcoin is processing a bit less than 3 transactions per second,” Buterin commented. “Ethereum is doing five a second. Uber gives 12 rides a second. It will take a couple of years for the blockchain to replace Visa.”
Buterin later clarified his comment via Twitter to suggest that ethereum and its related projects will have “Visa-scale TX capacity” within a couple of years. He made the clarification after being misquoted as having said his cryptocurrency network will “replace Visa.”
The ethereum co-founder believes that many different types of applications can run on the blockchain, and that as technology continues to expand, the blockchain will be able to replace many services requiring parallelization, when programs are required to run at the same time. “Crypto is all about incentives on various levels,” he explained. “You cannot reason about the security of blockchain consensus protocols without incentives.”