Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin On Public and Private Blockchains

By
Joseph Bradley
March 4, 2016

Recently noted Bitcoin developer and commentator, Peter Todd, interviewed Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of ethereum. Their conversation ran the gamut, but some of the most interesting ground they covered were the public and private applications of blockchain tech.

As Todd put it, 2016 is shaping up to be the “year of enterprise” for blockchain technology. Large raises for companies that have both the motivation and connectivity to actual make it happen. Massive consultancies, banks, and houses of finance are asking more questions and starting trial runs. While much has been discussed lately regarding blockchain within the context of Bitcoin, ethereum is up to some pretty wild innovation as well. The opinion of Vitalik Buterin should not be taken lightly.

Buterin set up a couple fo categories that he felt were pretty interesting. Within private applications he underlined:

  • financial clearing/ settlements
  • IoT (providing ledgers of existence/ cross-device communication)
  • Slock uses

With the financial clearing/ settlements piece, the conversation was pretty linear and centered around the typical targets for the technology which included blockchains as an ownership database, smart contracts for complex financial instruments like options and derivatives, and keeping track of collateral. All pretty standard and, ostensibly, the “beach head” for groups like Digital Assets Holdings. Buterin notes that one of the benefits of these types of private chains is that they are “1oo times more scalable at the current state of technology.” He also states that even if single banks or small consortiums simply use these systems to create a relatively small platform to trade assets, it is worth it if the end game is ultimately just users.

Although Buterin and Todd just glaze over the IoT aspects of the blockchain utilization, I definitely suggest that our readership inspects this point more closely. IBM has been doing some serious exploration in this area. The potential usage and its ramifications are staggering.

Buterin also spends some time on the Slock applications of blockchain as well. Slock stands for “smart lock.” In essence, this system allows tokens to be assigned for a defined amount of time. If you are in possession of this assigned token, you then have the ability to “unlock” a smart contract, et cetera. Slock.it has been an interesting group (with ethereum connectivity) that has emerged from this concept.

Buterin then went on to address the public blockchain applications as he sees them. He mentions:

  • Company share registration
  • Financial contracts
  • Time stamping

These use cases were linear and what we have been hearing for quite some time now. Nonetheless interesting, but certainly not pushing the boundary of possibility with the technology.

The full interview can be watched below:

The take away from this Buterin interview is quite interesting. Developers are really starting to push the limits on blockchain. Luminaries in the community have described blockchain as “the internet of money.” It is turning into much, much more than that. We have a full blown phase shift on our hands. Rarely do people get to see a technology with the agility and ubiquity of blockchain tech. It’s good to be alive.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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