Home Insights How Vitalik Buterin is Killing Crypto

How Vitalik Buterin is Killing Crypto

by Matthew Harris

Ethereum 2.0 is on the horizon and while there is quite a lot of hype over the pending upgrade and improvements to scalability and usability, there is another side that I haven’t seen many, if any actually, discuss.

Vitalik Buterin, the renowned creator of Ethereum, has plans for 2.0 to move from the proof-of-work protocol, the system most of us are most familiar with where miners can utilize their systems to make money, to a proof-of-stake consensus protocol where anyone that wishes to participate in validation has to stake their own funds.

This means that instead of relying on miners, many of whom have been supporting Ether from the start, Ethereum 2.0 will rely on staked wealth.

There are plenty of articles explaining Constantinople, the official name of this hard fork, including one from our staff Writer Alan Daniel, that covers all of the anticipated changes and benefits, so I’m not going to go into the specifics of this “upgrade” as Vitalik likes to call it. What I want to discuss is what this sort of change could mean for crypto.

With a minimum staking requirement of 32 ETH, not to mention the inherent computing and maintenance costs and power consumption, the “little” guy that has been integral to the increased adoption and popularity of Ether and other altcoins may not have the financial ability to participation 2.0.

Miners have been one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factors in making various cryptocurrencies so popular to this point and effectively blocking new enthusiasts and lower-end participants from the new fork just feels like a slap in the face.

Yes, I know that proof-of-stake can, at least in theory, prevent 51% attacks and that there are other benefits the protocol, but at what cost?

While Vitalik and the 2.0 team are still tweaking the overall proposal, the fact remains that this will be a big change. Of course the big question is, if it works and actually does recreate the wheel so to speak, what will it mean for other altcoins?

Will we see Litecoin, XRP, and yet another Bitcoin fork to implement proof-of-stake? Will individual miners have to dig deep, band together, or resort to those sometimes questionable pools in order to participate? Or will they simply have to move on to other endeavors?

At today’s rates, miners on 2.0 will have to invest almost $9,000 USD just in Ether, and that money is tied up for as long as they wish to participate. Again, that’s not including the other aspects of this investment and I don’t know about you, but a ten-grand investment for a validator return rate that could fluctuate from anywhere between 1.56% and 18.10%, is a much bigger gamble and larger investment than either myself or any enthusiasts I personally know can afford.

Of course, it’s anybody’s guess on how popular this hard fork will turn out to be, but it could be set to completely change the crypto landscape in the coming years.

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