Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s cofounder, is increasingly finding himself target of very public rumors about his role in the project’s supposed love of secrecy. Charges of lacking transparency are equivalent to mortal sins in the cryptocurrency space. Ethereum too is particularly sensitive about accusations along these lines, especially in the ongoing light of a possible US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) crackdown. Mr. Buterin and his supporters are fighting back.
Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Responds to Critics
And there it was, as Mr. Buterin, skeletal boy genius behind Ethereum, took to Twitter: “[…] it was organized without my permission or even involvement [….]” The turn of phrase, without my permission, might well haunt him in the days and months to come. It presupposes his benevolence, of course. What was it organized sans Mr. Buterin’s blessing or presense?
The “it” was a recent meeting in Toronto, Canada of Ethereum players, promptly blasted by Catallaxy co-founder and Satoshi Portal CEO (Bylls) Francis Pouliot. He described the event as a “Secret meeting of Ethereum management committee,” in a Tweetstorm for the ages, continuing about how “blockchain governance rules were decided by the stakeholders.”
The entire Ethereum project of late has come under ecosystem scrutiny due to SEC regulators in the United States set to determine its legal fate. Judged a security, and therefore subject to regulatory jurisdiction as a public company, could conceivably rock much of the crypto world. A healthy majority of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and smart contract platforms are dependent upon ERC20 tokenization.
The not even three-year-old tech is many a developer’s choice, allowing for ease of integration and largely trusted. It is unclear, as of this writing, exactly what implications are carried with an unfavorable SEC determination, but most analysts believe it to be negative at least in the short run. Indeed, most ICOs openly forbid US citizens’ participation in anticipation of odious regulations and subpoenas.
Ethereum as an Insane, Plutocratic Government
“This is insane,” Mr. Pouliot insisted. “They are establishing a plutocratic government. This has provably failed with Bitcoin (UASF/NO2X). Does anybody even care?” The evidence marshalled for the slam came from a lone news source, which described the event in worrying terms, according to Mr. Pouliot’s reading.
And it does appear discussions about decentralization, mining, scarcity, and the infamous cases of frozen funds were had in Toronto. However, the cryptosphere seemed unconvinced about a cabal, and took Mr. Pouliot to task. Principal Lane Rettig argued “The event was not secret, in fact we livestreamed a lot of it. We also did a public AMA. There is no ‘Ethereum management committee’ and no rules were made. Please get your facts right. Your message is intellectually dishonest.” Mr. Pouliot shot back paraphrasing attributed to Mr. Rettig, and the thread continued along those lines.
Vitalik Buterin was eventually compelled to address the issue as it gained traction among the other rumors and news surrounding Ethereum. “I was not at this meeting,” Mr. Buterin tweeted in response, “it was organized without my permission or even involvement, and I honestly don’t really know much about what happened there.”
In what might be considered a classic Twitter tangent, Mr. Buterin was sucked, then again, into another side argument about privacy coins and the phenomenon of maximalism. Asked his opinion of Monero, he insisted, “If I was doing anything seriously privacy-demanding I’d probably go for Zcash first.” This brought further rebuke from privacy coin guru Rhett Creighton, himself the subject of much derision lately, who snarkily wrote in response, “Says the paid Zcash advisor,” landing him in a strange bedfellows situation with polemicist Whale Panda. News of potential regulation and very public Twitter flames might have also contributed to an immediate dip of roughly a 5% price dip for ether, but it seems to have recovered at time of publication.