How Much Sway Does Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Hold?

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has stewarded his project through rough times, but how much power does he really have?

By Zack Abrams

November 7, 2022

More than a decade has passed since Bitcoin's founding, and yet, its creator Satoshi Nakamoto remains anonymous. There are theories as to who Satoshi might be, or which people acted as Satoshi back in the early days, but it makes Bitcoin quite unique in the crypto space.

It also makes Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin all that more unique. Ethereum's visionary is visible and writing blog posts about how Bitcoin maximalism is a good thing, actually.

Vitalik is a known quantity and a visual proponent of the Ethereum ecosystem. He's got plans to upgrade the network via a Surge and Purge and Splurge. And he wields a lot of influence over Ethereum, so it's important to investigate — does he hold too much sway? Or not enough?

Here's what Matt Cutler, CEO of Blocknative, has to say:

Vitalik has no control over the network. He doesn't say what goes in and goes out. He complains about EIPs [Ethereum Improvement Proposals] that he's written and that they haven't been really paid attention to or incorporated. He is literally just another voice. And so while a prominent voice, he doesn't have any sort of power over the network which is not commensurate with anybody else. And he has acted selflessly on multiple occasions. So I think we're lucky to have Vitalik.

Cutler also discusses risks to the Ethereum ecosystem, including the threat of so-called "Ethereum-killers" like Solana (watch Coinage Episode 2 if you haven't already) and inter-chain projects, like Cosmos. Cutler admits there's plenty of room to grow: "Ethereum today, even post-Merge, processes on the order of 14 to 15 transactions per second. That's not going to be sufficient to power the next economy."

Are Vitalik's proposed solutions the answer? Or maybe other scaling solutions that have been proposed by the community? Many seem to think Ethereum will figure it out, even though Anatoly Yakovenko, founder of Solana, told Coinage that many of Ethereum's solutions are "solving the wrong problem."

For more, check out our community extra above.


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