Vitalik Buterin wants you to know he is alive. In recent years, after it was discovered just how Orwellian a few Western countries had become as regards digital age communications, people became suspicious that the likes of Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and others had been disappeared. Buterin plays on this, maybe making a clever nod to regulatory capture, in the following tweet:

The 0x… numbers mentioned in the photograph correspond to this Ethereum block. By doing this, Buterin confirms that he is alive at the time of that block – because that information is not predetermined. In doing so, he also demonstrates a powerful way for activists, protestors, and other dissidents facing government, religious, or other persecution to communicate their own proof of life. Of course, the dark side of this is that the same method is pretty useful in things like kidnapping/ransom cases. The analog version would have been the likes of holding a current copy of the Wall Street Journal beside one’s face.

The Value of a Distributed, Immutable Ledger

In modern times, we’re in a situation where nearly anything can be faked. A mildly disturbing application of technology began a couple years back, wherein even live television can be falsified. A wide-spread, decentralized ledger which contains basic, current factual data serves as a reference point in such a potential flood of misinformation and dangerous falsehoods. We’re speaking purely in hypothetical terms here, but the overarching point is that cryptocurrency does incentivizing the blockchain does, indeed, represent a net good for humanity. An indisputable, hopefully immutable public good.

As it turns out, there was an actual fake news article regarding the supposed death of Vitalik Buterin, rumors of whose demise were incredibly exaggerated.

Nonetheless, Twitter had its day with the tweet.

(It is an odd placement of the index and forefinger, though.)

The first tweet most definitely corresponds to an underlying, somewhat widespread (see Ethereum Classic) mistrust of Buterin as a result of his organization’s infamous DAO episode.

The second is an attempt at humor when a sobering topic is brought up. The blockchain can be used for more than the storage and transfer of wealth. Information is often more valuable than wealth, and it so happens the blockchain is great at protecting that as well. Factom and dozens of other innovators see this plain as day, and risk everything to make it happen. Volatility is a factor in dealing in cryptocurrency, surely it is, but the technology itself can be incredibly valuable at many price points, thereby ultimately raising its “inherent” value year over year.