Decentralization, privacy, and a credibly neutral Ethereum

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Tl;dr: The following post recaps this episode of Coinbase’s Around The Block podcast in which Viktor Bunin hosts Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin discuss decentralization, privacy, and a credibly neutral Ethereum.

By Viktor Bunin, Senior Protocol Specialist at Coinbase Cloud

After 7 years of research and development, the Merge is just around the corner. A crowning achievement, the Merge will finally transition Ethereum from Proof-of-work (PoW) to Proof-of-stake (PoS).

I encourage everyone to listen to the whole episode, but I wanted to take this opportunity to pull out what I believe are the key messages to take away from the conversation between two industry giants.

  • The transition to PoS wasn’t immediately obvious. As Vitalik put it, even if the idea can be scary as if it’s a pond filled with sharks, once you figure the sharks out, you at least know what you’re going up against, which makes it possible to deal with the problem.
  • Scientists and engineers are equally needed. Incredible researchers, like Vitalik, do the tough work of pushing the envelope on what’s possible, but it’s up to the builders to then take the baton, commercialize the products, and bring the technology to millions of users.
  • Good times create centralized projects. Bull markets tilt the scale from principles to expediency until a bear market tilts them back. The reality is that principles aren’t just principles, they result in decisions that keep projects secure and mindsets that keep builders building.
  • Decentralization is vital low in…

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