Recently at an interview at the Ethereum San Fransisco meet, Vitalik Buterin, the Co-Founder of Ethereum and Balaji Srinivasan, the CTO of Coinbase spoke about the early days of the blockchain industry and its mainstream adoption.
Vitalik Buterin began the discussion by speaking about the specific roles he plays on a day-to-day basis in the projects that he is involved in. He stated that his primary role was to fundamentally research on concepts like Proof of Stake, Sharding, Plasma, Protocol Economics.
Balaji Srinivasan also spoke about his role as a CTO in Coinbase. He stated that he was partly involved in the technology and partly in the management. The CTO said that his functions involve working on legal details before the launch of any product and writing API specifications on a day-to-day basis. He also stated that they wanted to drive Coinbase towards a new cryptocurrency technology.
During the discussion, Vitalik stated that his vision for Ethereum started off being “unambitious.” He said that the idea took off when he wrote a white paper that he called “Ultimate Scripting”, the concept then gave birth to Ethereum.
He went on to say that over time, the vision expanded. Buterin stated that the community started realizing the use of general purpose blockchains for things like building applications.
“It kind of slowly dawned on you know, probably both me and the Ethereum community that general purpose, blockchains, really are general purpose and really are usable for a much wider variety of things, than we thought blockchain should be used for, back in 2013.”
Speaking about the early days in the cryptocurrency space, Srinivasan stated that some people working in the space at the time spoke about “colored coins”, now known as “tokens”. He also mentioned that at the time, it was interesting to see certain things that could not be done on the Bitcoin blockchain. He said that they witnessed the first exit in the form of Ethereum. According to him, a lot of innovation has been seen over the past year.
On being asked what mainstream adoption meant to him, he said:
“Where we are now, I think is, you know, in 10s of millions of users land, right, and there’s a difference between that versus hundreds of millions and obviously billions.”
He went on to say that when the space witnesses hundreds of millions of users, it can be said that it is mainstream in the U.S. When the number crosses hundreds of millions globally, it can be called as mainstream adoption, he added. According to the CTO, it will be mainstream in the U.S in the next 10 years but worldwide adoption will take over 20 or 30 years, which still depicts a fast growth rate.
Buterin also presented his view on the matter. He stated that the cryptocurrency space has witnessed enough adoption. However, the industry was in a ” time will tell” phase.
He further said:
“The big question is, basically are there going to be applications that actually do manage to use blockchains, and use blockchains kind of front and center in ways that, you know, reach very large numbers of people.”
Buterin believes that cryptocurrencies are the major candidate for the applications of blockchain. He concluded by stating that the cryptocurrency space has begun to witness more candidates.