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Vitalik Buterin Talks Dencun, Dark Chocolate, Homomorphism at ETH Taipei

Speaking at ETH Taipei 2024, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin got pulses running with talk of dark chocolate and homomorphism

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Leader of the Ethereum clan, Vitalik Buterin, has waxed lyrical at ETH Taipei 2024 about the hottest developments going on with the Layer 1 blockchain.

As if Ethereum wasn't sexy enough, Vitalik's lengthy interview at the conference brought in sensual topics such as dark chocolate and risqué-sounding homomorphism to get ETH fans' libido running.


With the latest update, Dencun, bringing new life to the Ethereum blockchain, Vitalik was keen to highlight its technical prowess and success thus far.

"The purpose of the Dencun upgrade is to significantly enhance scalability and reduce transaction fees, particularly for L2 and rollups," Vitalik explained. "Over the past week, we’ve already observed a substantial decrease in layer 2 fees, in some cases by up to 50%."

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Vitalik warned that fees might increase "as more users adopt blobs" but highlighted that it still "represents a significant scalability improvement, and we anticipate the number of blobs supported by the Ethereum chain to continue increasing in the coming years."

"From a technological perspective, the upgrade went flawlessly. The network participation rate only dropped from 99% to 95%, which is better than any other fork we’ve had," he said. "Eventually, I believe usage will increase, but for now, it’s beneficial for present-day rollups that it’s very cheap. I’m looking forward to seeing usage go up over the next few months."

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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

When asked the work he's currently most excited about, Vitalik pointed towards AI. "Lately, I’ve been experimenting with recent AI tools, running models locally, and using them for various tasks. It’s crucial to deepen understanding in this space and explore new possibilities. Learning is key, and I believe there’s value in exploring a diverse range of topics," he said.

In January, Vitalik released a detailed article about how AI can contribute to Web3 ecosystems.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of blockchain and AI but warns there are pitfalls both industries must avoid in their blossoming relationship
Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of blockchain and AI but warns there are pitfalls both industries must avoid in their blossoming relationship

Looking Ahead

But in terms of Ethereum's future, Vitalik said he believes the next five years will be "pivotal" for the blockchain as "many applications that were once theoretical or small-scale are now ready for real-world use."

He also praised Reddit's IPO, which he believes will present "opportunities for active community members to participate alongside institutional investors." Stablecoins are also on his radar for having "one of the biggest impacts, facilitating savings, trading, and transactions."

"Over the next five years, Ethereum’s user experience and fee structures are set to improve, with developments like layer twos and projects like Base paving the way," he said. "As Ethereum becomes more user-friendly, it’s poised to lead in making stablecoins accessible and decentralized."

Elsewhere, Vitalik also put the spotlight on Ethereum-based identity solutions with developments in proof of personhood protocols. "These solutions aim to address the challenge of verifying human users in online platforms, mitigating the risk of centralized solutions that could exclude certain groups. Ethereum has the potential to lead in developing decentralized alternatives to this problem," he said.

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Before long, Vitalik was eager to dive deep into the technical, R21 territory. When asked about quantum-enabled threats against Ethereum, Vitalik took an unfiltered, uncensored approach to his racy response in the technicals.

"We have quantum-resistant algorithms for every vulnerable aspect to quantum computers," Vitalik began. "Quantum computers break existing elliptic curve signatures, but we have various quantum-resistant alternatives based on hash functions, lattices, and isogenies.

"Moreover, advancements like Starks, which recently saw a breakthrough in reducing their size, offer quantum resistance due to their reliance on hash functions."

When it comes to the down and dirty in the technical underbelly of blockchain, homomorphism seems to get his motor running.

"Fully homomorphic encryption, fortunately, is inherently quantum-resistant, as quantum computers do not affect lattice-based cryptography," he said. "While theoretically solved, there remain logistical challenges in transitioning from theory to practice. However, emergency recovery mechanisms exist to safeguard most funds, although efforts are underway to ensure complete quantum resistance for both users and protocols."

Yeah, we're going to need a 101 too. This is how ChatGPT explains the phenomenon:

Dark Chocolate

There's been much debate about how human Vitalik actually is. His spiel about homomorphism certainly serves as more evidence that his mind is otherworldly.

Attempting to capture a glimpse of Vitalik's inner workings, the interviewer asked him about his nomad lifestyle, offering a view of his survival technique.

"As a nomad, what’s the quick dish you’ve been making yourself a lot lately?" The interviewer asked casually.

Vitalik, who is otherwise quite candid and open about technical jargon, gave a not-so-straightforward answer to the question.

"Dark chocolate will be one of the main components," Vitalik abruptly answered. We're not sure what dish he's exactly referring to but any "quick dish" that regularly features dark chocolate can't be nutritious for average human consumption.

The Vitalik mystery continues...