Vitalik Buterin co-founder of the decentralized smart contract application Ethereum and Waves Platform founder Sasha Ivanov had a chance to meet for the first time at an open lecture at the Digital October Center in Moscow.
In an exclusive BTCManager interview with Ivanov, we asked him about his experience in meeting Buterin, where things stand regarding Ethereum’s inroads into Russia and what he is focusing on these days at Waves.
What was it Like Meeting Vitalik? Was there Anything You were Surprised to Learn from him?
It was great to meet Vitalik; he is a pioneering guy in the crypto space and someone with some very interesting ideas. I would not say there were big surprises, but it was good to learn more about his thinking on blockchain technology and some of the developments going on in Ethereum and more broadly. There are many challenges facing blockchain adoption, but solutions certainly exist, and it is encouraging when someone like Vitalik can both articulate them and implement them.
Were There Any Commonalities in Your Thinking?
Absolutely! We are both aware of the risks that have been uncovered in the use of smart contracts to date, although we plan to address these in different ways. We are both fans of proof-of-stake, and will implement it in a similar way on Ethereum and Waves. Speed and scalability of blockchain platforms are likewise shared concerns – Vitalik has some imaginative ways of achieving that on Ethereum. And we both recognize the potential of the ICO or crowdsale as a means for businesses to access funding – while also understanding that the various risks must be managed carefully.
How is Ethereum Viewed in Russia?
Interestingly enough, very positive! Blockchain technology, in general, is seeing growing interest, thanks to the shifting regulatory landscape. Moreover, we have a strong tradition of mathematics and computing in Russia, and as a trailblazing smart contracts platform, Ethereum naturally appeals to that mindset. So there is both a curiosity about the possibilities of blockchain and smart contracts, combined with a more open attitude towards blockchain enterprise.
"In the coming months and years, we will no doubt see some major initiatives built on Ethereum coming out of Russia."
What Sorts of New Developments Do You see Emerging for Ethereum in the Next 12-18 Months?
On a technical level, there is the shift towards proof-of-stake and away from the proof-of-work phase. It will be interesting to see how miners react to the reduced rewards, as well as how the market treats the results. Ethereum is also implementing sharding on the blockchain in order to have the speed and scalability to compete with international payments systems. That is very exciting; sharding is not an easy idea to apply, so this will be a great precedent if it goes well.
"As a result of these, Ethereum can be integrated into a significant number of new applications, with efficiencies for the state and businesses."
What is Keeping You the Busiest at Present at Waves?
There is a lot going on! We have now launched the decentralized exchange (DEX) and are in the process of launching fiat gateways. The Waves ecosystem is now reaching a point where it is enterprise-ready – and so we expect the number of businesses launching tokens on it to increase to a point where we can no longer keep track of them all. However, there is always more to do. We will keep refining what we do have, including the DEX interface and our consensus algorithm, and add new gateways.
"Waves will also implementing new features, including voting, messaging and ultimately a form of smart contracts. Alongside all this, there is also the business development and our presence at major conferences and other events in the crypto and fintech space."