Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin has given about 1,000 ETH tokens each (currently worth about $324,000) to three separate startups that are working on the Ethereum ecosystem.
The startups, namely Prysmatic Labs, Sigma Prime and ChainSafe Systems were gifted the tokens by Buterin as a “contribution to the push the development of Ethereum 2.0,” For instance, while Sigma Prime is looking to develop Lighthouse, an Ethereum 2.0 client, Prysmatic Labs will focus on improving the scalability of the entire Ethereum network. Canada-based ChainSafe is also reportedly in the process of developing an Ethereum 2.0 client as well. Buterin himself received a $100,000 fellowship grant years ago, with the donation paving the way for what is now Ethereum itself.
The donation was inspired by a conversation which started on Twitter, where a group of Ethereum developers complained about the lack of funding for projects focused on developing the blockchain, which has contributed to a slowdown in the pace of project development.
Our biggest distraction @prylabs is that we are still working full time for other jobs. Even with recent grants, it’s hardly enough to take the whole team full time with significant pay cuts and it’s certainly not even for us to scale the team to where we need it.
— Preston Van Loon (@preston_vanloon) December 18, 2018
Preston Van Lon one of the founders of Prysmatic Labs, who still works as a software engineer at Google, stated that his team had received grants in the past, but they were “hardly enough to take the whole team full time with significant pay cuts and it’s certainly not even for us to scale the team to where we need it.”
Buterin, whose Twitter account specifically signifies he doesn't give away Ether ("Vitalik Non-giver of Ether"), responded:
Just sent 1000 eth. Yolo.https://t.co/s1q8K5Wlhs
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) December 19, 2018
Prysmatic Labs is a team of blockchain developer who banded together to proffer solutions to Ethereum’s scalability problem. According to the Medium blog operated by the team, they are looking to scale the network by implementing a Sharding client for Ethereum 2.0.
The donations lowered the balance of the Ethereum wallet Buterin used from over 10,000 Eth (about $1,097,700 USD) to around 7,600.
With this approach, they will split the Ethereum network into various components that collaborate and communicate, as opposed to employing the structure of full nodes. The Sharding idea is much more responsive to the addition of transactions to the ledger, but it will also require an overhaul of the Ethereum network’s current protocol topology.
While Prysmatic Labs and the other recipients are planning to expand, Ethereum development studio ConsenSys, who recently laid off staffs due to the downturn in market realities, said it was going to be cutting off underperforming projects for those that either benefit the Ethereum ecosystem or generate revenue or for social good.
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