If you are a cryptocurrency enthusiast, this happened to be in Seoul this week, and you should witness the showdown between two celebrities in the cryptocurrency industry.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and the famous cryptocurrency skeptic Nouriel Roubini discussed the true value of digital assets with more than 1,000 people at the Deconomy conference in South Korea.
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They left a lot of wonderful points when they debated in the same stage:
Can cryptocurrencies really bypass the government?
Roubini said the government and regulators will eventually take over the market. He said that the prospect of anonymity and the prospect of a "Swiss bank account" still exist, which is the least likely scenario.
The reality is that this area will not be anonymous. Even in countries like Argentina and Venezuela, if a corrupt government takes over your wealth, they will ensure that everything is registered, and if they want you to pay taxes or take possession of your cryptocurrency assets, it is not a tradition. The financial system, they can do the same.
A completely anonymous cryptocurrency is not immune.
In this regard, Vitalik's view is that regardless of whether cryptocurrency technology can withstand government intervention, it creates new expectations for privacy, and the authorities will have to adapt to this expectation.
Even if the cryptocurrency ends up in vain, I think a positive social impact it may have is… People are used to the idea that their assets should have privacy. I think this may put a lot of positive social pressure on CBDC (central bank digital currency) developers around the world, forcing them to keep these concerns in mind and to ensure that their systems do protect people's privacy.
He also affirmed ZK-SNARKs' contribution to strengthening anonymity. This privacy technology has been adopted in currencies such as Zcash.
Can cryptocurrency achieve true decentralization?
The decentralized future is the focus of this debate, and both sides agree that the status quo is not ideal in this regard.
There is a serious centralization between miners and it has gradually become an oligarchy. The exchange has also become a large-scale centralization… and the centralization of wealth… the centralization of developers.
Vitalik made a counterattack and expressed his concern about the centralized payment platform in the traditional financial sector:
I do worry that we may end up going to a large, centralized online payment platform, all through Apple Pay, WeChat Pay and Facebook Pay, we just need to collect this information.
Sharding may actually help achieve higher decentralization… (because) you will have to verify fewer transactions.
However, he said that the cryptocurrency has not yet reached the end and is still under development. In short, hope still exists.
The development of decentralized exchanges has also just begun.
He pointed out that true popularity will be achieved in the next few years, and when this happens, it will be a completely different scenario.
At first glance, Roubini's comments on the cryptocurrency seem to be correct, but the premise of his judgment is that the cryptocurrency is already a molded product.
Regarding the shortcomings of current cryptocurrency and blockchain applications, Roubini has put forward some very impactful views. Unfortunately, he looks at the cryptocurrency ecosystem on a retrospective basis, and Vitalik sees it on the basis of the outlook. History has proven time and time again, especially when the world's best engineers are involved, past performance is not representative of future performance.