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Vitalik Cheers NFTs, Layer 2s, and Previews Ethereum 2.0 in Podcast

Vitalik Buterin is just like everyone else — he digs NFTs, too.

That was just one of the observations made by the co-creator of Ethereum in an appearance on Bankless’ podcast on Jan. 4. In a freewheeling discussion, Buterin also weighed in on Ethereum 2.0 and Layer 2 scaling solutions.

Buterin described the rise of NFTs as “really fascinating,” asserting that the sector has inspired many new entrants into the crypto sector from the mainstream and artistic communities.

“At the beginning of [2021] there were only one or two Layer 2s on mainnet and they only supported a couple of applications, and now we have this thriving ecosystem.”

Vitalik Buterin

“To me, blockchains are about creating these innovative new ways to organize society,” Buterin said. “In some ways, what’s happening with artists being able to sell NFTs really is a realization of that spirit, because we actually are giving people who are creating art new business models — giving the creators of this thing is very valuable but often has a hard time getting business models, a new way to get funding.”

Ethereum’s chief scientist highlighted the “amazing” growth of Layer 2 scaling, describing the technology as having evolved “from theory to practice” over the course of 2021.

“At the beginning of [2021] there were only one or two Layer 2s on mainnet and they […] only supported a couple of applications, and now we have this thriving ecosystem, and people are really experiencing what a Layer 2 Ethereum looks like first hand.”

Lastly, Buterin highlighted “very interesting and exciting” evolutions in the organization of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), noting experimentation with new governance algorithms and real-world assets. He also gave a nod to the growth of Sign-In With Ethereum, Proof-of-Humanity, and cross-Layer 2 bridges.

On the subject of Ethereum 2.0, Buterin also asserted that the Beacon Chain “proved itself” in 2021. Buterin highlighted the success of Ethereum’s Altair hard fork, stressing that the event was an “important trial run for The Merge,” predicting Ethereum’s highly anticipated chain-merge will be the Beacon Chain’s next hard fork. 

2.0 Roadmap

Looking ahead, Vitalik described Ethereum as having progressed 50% of the way to realizing its 2.0 roadmap, also highlighting the release of full technical specifications for the merge process and implementation of support for light client protocols. 

However, he said that “a lot of testing and auditing” still needs to be done before the network can transition away from Proof-of-Work consensus, in addition to “adding armor to make [Eth2] more robust against certain types of attack.”

Buterin also noted parallel development on the other phases of Ethereum’s 2.0 roadmap: The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge.

Stateless Clients

The Surge describes a series of upgrades that will increase the scalability of rollups. Buterin predicted the transactional throughput of L2 rollups could increase from less than 1,500 per second to more than 100,000 once The Surge has been completed. 

The Verge will implement “stateless clients,” allowing for lightweight transaction verification and the removal of barriers to validation. Buterin suggested that stateless clients could mean that Ethereum transactions can be validated by a smartphone in the near future.

The Purge will see “the dead-weight of history from Ethereum” erased, with validators no longer required to store data that is more than 12 months old. Finally, The Splurge will see additional non-critical functionality implemented that takes advantage of Ethereum’s new design.