On December 27, 2017, Vitalik Buterin, the 23-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer responsible for the creation of Ethereum, admitted that the possibility of him distancing himself from the cryptocurrency is increasing by the day. Citing concerns of immaturity and the community’s failure to accept the technological and financial revolution that digital currencies have to offer Vitalik threatened to stray away unless things improved.
In response to a tweet by Amir Taaki on December 26, 2017, that called bitcoin a “failed project” because of its community, Buterin began venting his similar concerns on the matter. Agreeing with Taaki, the creator of Ethereum cautioned cryptocurrency enthusiasts that every digital currency is susceptible to the same problem of its community being solely interested in “sloshing around hundreds of billions of dollars of digital paper wealth.”
Continuing his message of frustration, Buterin expressed disappointment over the Ethereum and digital currency community being largely preoccupied with “lambo memes and immature puns about ‘sharting.’” Finally, he warned the world at large that he would leave if things did not improve. He did, however, say that he has a lot of hope that the community will be able to “steer in the right direction.”
From the tweet, it is clear that Vitalik is not keen on stepping down from his role at the helm of the cryptocurrency at this time. However, given enough stimulus, it is definitely an option he is considering. At what point that decision will be made can only be approximated at this time, but the Twitter rant is a telling tale of how toxic the cryptocurrency community has become.
The disappearance of Vitalik Buterin wouldn’t be the first time a prominent face of a cryptocurrency stepped down from the limelight though. Shortly after the release of Bitcoin in 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto, inventor of the digital currency, began to fade into obscurity until one day, he abruptly stopped all correspondence with the people who had previously worked with him. The relative anonymity of Bitcoin’s creator has been a topic of discussion for several years now, but Nakamoto’s true identity has not yet been uncovered.
Bitcoin is almost a decade old at this point and continues to thrive in the absence of its creator. Given that the vision, groundwork, and roadmap for Ethereum has already been laid down, he can move away from the cryptocurrency with little to possibly no consequences whatsoever.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ethereum’s Casper update, designed to move the currency from its current proof-of-work algorithm to a proof-of-stake system, is on track for its release date sometime in the future. A developer for Ethereum, Vlad Zamfir, confirmed this in a tweet on December 27, 2017, and said that it would be released soon.