Interview with Vitalik, see him talk about Ethereum 3.0, Libra, central bank digital currency, zero-knowledge proof

Recently, Unitimes interviewed Eitafang founder Vitalik Buterin, talked about the latest developments in the Ethereum field, and talked about things outside of Ethereum.

The big boy who is regarded as the "V God" by the Chinese Ethereum fans, whether it is the confidence and erudition conveyed on the stage, or the optimism and modesty shown in the audience, can give a deep impression. , causing curiosity that people seem to be unable to get satisfied.

Technically, he is deeply convinced of cryptography, computer science, mathematics, blockchain technology, etc. In life, he treats people with sincerity and conveys correct values ​​and humanistic care. This is the feeling that the interview brought to Xiaobian.

With the questions of members of the Unitimes community, we started this interview.

Unitimes: What is the most exciting thing about the current Ethereum ecosystem?

Vitalik: In the past few months, much progress has been made in the Ethereum ecosystem. For example, zero-knowledge proofs, related technologies are developing rapidly, and some applications based on zero-knowledge proof techniques are also under development.

The development of Ethereum 2.0 has also made very rapid progress. The Ethereum 2.0 public test network will also be launched soon; it has also been greatly improved in other scalability technologies, and many applications have been built. come out. In general, there are many great things that have happened or are happening.

Unitimes: What is the current evolution of Eth 2.0?

Vitalik : At the beginning of September, the seven client development teams of Ethereum 2.0 gathered in Toronto. They realized the interaction of these seven clients, enabling these clients to accept each other's blocks and achieve interoperability.

Before the launch of the multi-client public test network, we only have some work on peer-to-peer networking protocols. The primary work of Ethereum 2.0, the census proof mechanism (Casper FFG), will soon be available.

Unitimes: There are already projects that have launched Proof of Entitlement (PoS) mechanisms, such as Cosmos and Livepeer, etc., followed by Staking pools and Staking as a service platform instead of users participating in staking. Occasionally, these infrastructures provide hosting services for staking. How do you see the Staking pools that may appear after Eth 2.0 startup? Does this have an impact on the validation of Eth2.0?

Vitalik : Of course there will be people who create Staking pools, because there are a lot of people who want to participate in Staking, but probably because they either hold less than 32 ETHs. (Note: Users who participate in Ethereum 2.0 staking need to pledge at least 32 ETH ), so that you can't run the certifier client yourself, or they don't have the ability to run the node themselves and keep the node online. Therefore, the existence of Staking pools is reasonable.

But the main concern with Staking pools is that they may make the staking market too central. But we have already made some efforts in this area to reduce the possibility of this problem. For example, some of the features of the protocol make it easier and safer to run small or multi-operated Staking pools, so participants don't have to trust any single operator (thus reducing the risk of centralization).

Unitimes: You have previously expressed concern that after the beacon chain is launched, there are not enough certifiers involved in staking. Why do you have this concern?

Vitalik : I think people will definitely have to worry when they first participate in Ethereum 2.0 staking, because this is a protocol and network that has not been tested (in the official network), and the participants were unable to ETH at first. From the beacon chain back to the current Ethereum old chain.

Therefore, I expect the participation rate of staking to be lower than expected at the beginning, but it doesn't matter much, and I feel that there is no need to involve everyone at the beginning before the agreement is ready. So let some users first participate in testing the new protocol, which is better, and then increase the participation rate based on this.

Unitimes: Eth2.0 will implement Sharding as a scalability solution. How does Sharding guarantee the security of the network?

Vitalik: The main difference between a normal blockchain and a blockchain using Sharding is that in a normal blockchain network, all nodes need to verify each block; in a blockchain that uses slices. Instead of having all nodes verify each block, randomly select some nodes to verify each block.

Since the way of selection is random, an attacker cannot attack a particular slice chain: from a statistical point of view, if the attacker pledges ETH tokens less than 1/3 of the total number of ETHs pledged in the network (That is, the number of nodes controlled by the attacker is less than 1/3 of the total number of nodes in the network), and the probability that the attacker successfully attacks a certain fragmentation chain is very, very low. This is the first defense.

The second defense is that if there are invalid blocks in the network, there are mechanisms in the protocol, such as fraud proofs and data validity checking, and some other technologies we are researching for testing. Invalid block. Therefore, if an invalid block appears in the network, proof that the block is invalid will be broadcast to the entire network, so that everyone in the network knows that the block is invalid.

Unitimes: In addition to the scalability and decentralization improvements, what are the major improvements in Eth 2.0?

Vitalik: The adoption of the Casper FFG mechanism is a very important aspect. With Casper FFG, the Ethereum 2.0 network protocol will become more efficient, consume less power, and the ETH token will have a lower rate of increase. At the same time, we used a number of methods to simplify the Ethereum 2.0 protocol to make it more efficient. One example is that we will use eWASM instead of the current Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

[Unitimes Note: The current Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) used by the Ethereum network is essentially the underlying structure of Ethereum, responsible for running all the smart contracts in the Ethereum network and ensuring the accuracy of the following information: Account Information (such as account balance), current Gas price, address and block information.

Because EVM is responsible for many of the important features on the Ethereum network, the speed at which it runs and processes transactions affects the overall speed and performance of the entire network. Similarly, the efficiency with which EVM executes code directly affects the efficiency of the network.

In recent years, the increase in Ethereum network workload has caused EVM itself to become a bottleneck, reducing network throughput and increasing transaction time. One of the main reasons why Ethereum 2.0 plans to use eWASM (ie Ethereum WebAssembly) instead of EVM is the efficiency issue. ]

Unitimes: You said before that the gas fee in Eth2.0 will drop by more than 100 times. How is this achieved?

Vitalik: This is the result of the relationship between supply and demand. Because Sharding will significantly increase the scalability of the Ethereum network, competition for block space will be reduced.

As the application's competition for block space is reduced, the transaction fee is correspondingly reduced. Of course, in the future, there may still be a rise in transaction fees due to the increase in the use of (network), but at that time the Ethereum network will have been very successful.

Unitimes: What are you most looking forward to for the upcoming Istanbul upgrade?

Vitalik: I think the most important change is the change in the cost of Gas. The most important change is that the data cost of the transaction will drop from 68 Gas per byte to 16 Gas per byte.

The reason why the cost of data can be reduced is because we have done a lot of tests and experiments, and found that the data size of the blockchain has no such influence on the probability of bifurcation in the blockchain, and it does not affect the blockchain itself. Scalability. Competition for block space can lead to more unstable blockchain networks.

Basically, current data costs are too high, and competition for block space, especially disk I/O, is too large. Therefore, the data cost of the transaction will drop from 68 Gas per byte to 16 Gas per byte.

At the same time, this means that with the scalability technology such as Rollup, after the upgrade in Istanbul, the ETA network can further increase the transaction volume (TPS) per second, from 700TPS to approximately 3,000 TPS.

In addition, the cost of running the elliptic curve encryption algorithm, etc., will also be reduced by approximately 2-3 times, which will make the cost of privacy protection applications even lower.

Unitimes: How do you see the digital currency and Libra stable currency issued by the central bank?

Vitalik: In general, I think the central bank digital currency (CBDC) is interesting, but there are many different ways to achieve it. The main challenge is that many related projects want to achieve many goals at the same time. I personally think that the best way is to persuade governments around the world to allow more different types of companies to deposit directly in the central bank.

Currently, in many countries, only banks are allowed to make deposits at the central bank, others must make deposits in banks. Therefore, if the government allows companies such as payment service processors or any companies with financial services licenses to make deposits directly in the central bank and create financial services on this basis, then the private sector can launch more trustworthy stable currencies, let Many different legal coins are on the chain and can even be used on platforms other than the blockchain.

The only thing the government has to do is to change the relevant regulations, and other things can be pushed to the community. This will not cause the current currency to be replaced by (cryptocurrency) and will expand the use of national currency in a more efficient and convenient manner.

Libra is also very interesting. Many technology companies want to enter the financial sector in some way for two reasons: First, people see companies such as WeChat are very successful in the financial sector; second, the current business model of many technology companies All are collecting data.

About 10 years ago, collecting data was very simple, and it didn't face any problems, but now people are paying more and more attention to data privacy, as are regulators. Many new regulations, such as GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulations) Wait, they are all near. Therefore, business models that collect data and sell it are becoming increasingly difficult. Therefore, these technology attacks are seeking other business models.

Part of the reason I think Facebook plans to launch Libra is that if Faceook launches Libra in a centralized way, it would be very difficult from a regulatory perspective and would be less likely to be accepted by the 150 countries it plans. Especially in areas such as the United States, users are dissatisfied with Facebook in many ways, and many people do not trust Facebook. So for Facebook, launching Libra with many other companies will make it even more acceptable, because people will feel that Facebook doesn't have much control over Libra, and that other companies are involved.

But Facebook's strategy has not been successful, because both the public and the government, when they discuss Libra, are tied to Facebook. And as of now, other Libra members have not paid the $10 million fee, which shows that other member companies are not involved as much as Facebook.

Unitimes: You said during the recent deep conference that the public chain and the alliance chain can be combined in some way. Can you elaborate?

Vitalik: Some people pay attention to the alliance chain because they think that there is a trade-off between centralization and decentralization: they like decentralization, because decentralization means more open and easier to achieve trust, without any single center. Institutional control; but they also need to be centralized, whether it is to achieve technical scalability, or to comply with regulatory compliance.

I agree that a compromise between centralization and decentralization is a good thing, but I don't think the alliance chain is the best way to achieve this compromise. For example, another way to achieve this trade-off is the Plasma chain. For example, there are many exchanges in the field of cryptocurrency, and exchanges are often hacked and lose $200 million in funds, and we have become accustomed to it, which is a big problem.

Many people think that this issue needs to be resolved. One way to solve this problem is to reduce centralization. Israel has a blockchain company called StarkWare, which is using STARKs, a zero-knowledge proof technique.

StarkWar is working with the Coinbase exchange to transfer the cryptocurrency hosted by the centralized exchange to the smart contract and transfer the transaction to the chain, so the transaction still takes place in a centralized system (to ensure Transaction speed and privacy, etc.), but all operations will be submitted to Ethereum and verified using STARKs.

With this design, although Coinbase is responsible for operating the exchange, Coinbase cannot steal user funds. This is also a compromise between centralization and decentralization, but the compromise is different from the alliance chain. I think this design will be more successful for many applications.

Unitimes: How do you think that there are many people who now see cryptocurrencies as something that is not reliable? Or even think of blockchain as an unreliable technology?

Vitalik: In the blockchain field, there are a lot of things that are not trustworthy and unreliable, and this is an area that is still in its infancy, and there are a lot of bad things happening.

The reason for this problem is that it is a very new field. People don't know what will succeed and what will not. Second, many people enter the field without any experience. They don't know who is trustworthy and who is not trustworthy.

But I think this situation will improve over time. In fact, this problem has been improved. For example, the development of technologies such as smart contracts allows people to avoid having to trust centralized institutions (such as exchanges); the ICO model can also be implemented through other mechanisms, such as the developer team will not raise all funds from the beginning, and It is time to get funding, so the risk is even smaller for investors.

At the same time, regulation in this area has also increased, and the government will also participate in tracking offenders. In addition, blockchain and cryptocurrency communities have also played a role in cultural transmission in this area, such as setting expectations for quality/substandard projects. The Ethereum community has made great efforts in this regard, but further efforts are still needed.

In general, I think the problem in this area will gradually improve, but the fact that this problem cannot be changed is that there are many communities currently using blockchains to do very good and very meaningful things, and already Bringing a lot of value to people.

Unitimes: I believe that you have visited China many times. What kind of food do you like most in China?

Vitalik: leeks buns, haha…

Unitimes: If one day, Ethereum can operate autonomously, what would you choose to do?

Vitalik: I am not sure. I think there are still many areas in the current Ethereum ecosystem that need improvement. For example, in the Ethereum platform, after the implementation of Ethereum 2.0, there are other upgrades to be completed, such as Casper CBC, and in the later Ethereum 3.0 stage, we want to achieve zero knowledge proof, which makes the agreement more secure. There are other things to do, such as funding for public projects, decentralized governance, and economic incentives for blockchain applications.

If the work in the Ethereum field is not that much, I might be more focused on writing blogs, going back to being a writer, writing more educational articles, and so on.

Unitimes: It is said that you are very concerned about Africa and have donated many times. What is the reason for your donation?

Vitalik : I think Africa is a place where there are still many problems, and there are also many opportunities. At present, there are about 1 billion people in Africa, but it is expected that by the end of this century, Africa will have a population of 5 billion, even more than the Asian population.

At present, some economies in Africa are beginning to develop rapidly, but at the same time many places are very poor. There are many ways to help these places, and they can help them at a lower cost. For example, people have made statistics. If you choose to donate to a malaria-fighting charity, you only need to donate about $4,000 to save a life.

For me, this data means that this $4,000 can be used to buy a first class ticket, or to buy an expensive bag, or to save a person's life, so why not save a life? What? This is very meaningful.

Unitimes: In 1994, you had 18 years of code experience. How did you do it?

Vitalik: My parents have given me a lot of support. When I was young, they taught me to write code, I also bought books about programming, introduced me to programming languages, let me participate in the courses I was interested in, and I often participated in programming competitions, so this It is something I have been actively doing. I think programming is very interesting.

Unitimes: Our Chinese parents are very concerned about their children's education. They definitely want their children to be as good as you. What do you think your parents are doing best in your education?

Vitalik: I think my parents are doing very well in this area. They don't try to control me, they always support me. They are always happy to buy books for me and support my interest in mathematics and programming. When I do something that they don't like, they don't force me to do anything. For example, when my father thinks that I have been playing computer games for a long time, he will tell me " Vitalik, don't you think maybe you Are playing computer games a little too much right now? " Then I will not play, haha…

When asked how he viewed China's Ethereum fans calling him "V God", Vitalik smiled slyly. Despite his reputation, he is still the big boy who never forgets his heart and treats others with sincerity. We have reason to believe that under the leadership of Vitalik and many excellent Ethereum development teams and projects, Ethereum will go further and bring more value to people!