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Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has spoken about his relationship with Singapore and his views on the city-state’s firm regulatory stance.
In a casual interview with the Straits Times, Buterin wasn’t exactly pressed too hard about the current states of the crypto world, considering the absolute mayhem the market is enduring.
When asked about his views on the MAS approach to crypto, Buterin safely said he “definitely apreciates the amount of effort [MAS] has been putting in and their willingness to explore many different kinds of applications and be supportive.”
He sympathised with the challenge of making “a distinction between blockchain usage and cryptocurrency,” adding that it’s “of the mindset that every regulator want to be supportive of technology and making things easier for people but finds cryptocurrency weird and scary.”
“But the line that they’re trying to take is they’re trying to discourage cryptocurrency speculation, but they’re not actually banning it,” he said of MAS. “People here who want buy sell and can if they want to. There’s even banks that support cryptocurrency custodial services – I think there could be a good balance.”
Buterin’s views on Singapore are not from an outsider’s perspective either. In fact, when asked where he considers home, Buterin pointed towards the Little Red Dot.
“I feel like maybe Singapore more than anywhere else now actually,” Buterin said in response to where he feels is home. “I feel like in the last five years, it might be the place or the city I’ve spent the most time somehow.”
Nonetheless, Buterin warned about the “biggest risk of being friendly” to the crypto space for Singapore. “You’ll end up attracting terrible people,” Buterin explained. “The thing with the crypto space is that it’s very high variance. You have these amazing and genuine people like Zooko (Wilcox-O’Hearn) for example, and then you have Do Kwon. The problem is that if you get a certain kind of reputation, it’s very easy to accidentally attract all of the Do Kwons.”
“In Singapore, the crypto space has not been sending it’s best!” Buterin continued. “Do Kwon himself spent some time here, and some people who were involved in the LUNA collapse… If you’re friendly, then people who can’t get anywhere else will come. I appreciate the tough balance that Singapore and MAS are in. It’s definitely true that if a country is not smart about it, they can easily end up being stuck as a base for all the Do Kwon people.”
It wouldn’t be a Buterin interview without showcasing Ethereum and slamming Bitcoin. This time, he took a swing at the Bitcoin community for “automatically loving everyone rich and powerful who supports Bitcoin.”
Highlighting the El Salvador situation, in which Bitcoin was made legal tender, Buterin said “a lot of Bitcoin people just kind of ignored the fact that Bukele’s government was not every democratic and had a lot of problems, and was not good at respecting people’s freedom. [The Bitcoin community] just kind of let themselves ignore that because ‘a country is adopting Bitcoin’.”
El Salvador was celebrated as BItcoin went up but it ultimately “ended up going down and it looks terrible cos not many people are using it. The way Bitcoin adoption was being done was top-down enforced and it just ended up being not very sustainable.”
Buterin described the situation as the kind of “mistake a crypto community could do to enable that behaviour” and said the Ethereum community “dodged a bullet in this case”, adding “there’s a reason why LUNA wasn’t built on Ethereum.”