“I don’t think it’s really possible to force people to use Ether for any particular purpose and not use it for other purposes; it’s a general-purpose tool.”
These are the words of 23-year-old Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-born co-founder of Ethereum, the world’s second largest crypto-currency.
Speaking to the Hong Kong Economic Journal about the strong speculative sentiment towards Ether, the digital money that floats on the Ethereum network, its creator says there are certainly people using it in ways other than what was originally intended, but there’s not much he can do about that.
As a vivid example of always-volatile crypto-currency, Ethereum was once up 4100 percent year to date in June, and then dropped from US$310 to just 10 cents in seconds, before rebounding again later.
On June 26, rumors circulating online that Buterin died in a car crash and that “insiders are selling like crazy”, sent a jolt through the crypto-currency market. The overall market value of ethereum fell by around US$4 billion after the online fake news, according to Coindesk.
Buterin then posted a selfie picture on Twitter to quell the false rumors that night, citing a new piece of data from ethereum to show he is still alive. His posting helped ease the market sell-off but the episode showed how ethereum can be subject to market manipulation.
While Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop Ethereum, has warned in a recent interview that the crypto-currency market becomes “a ticking time-bomb”, Buterin said “it certainly has gone through several bubbles”.
He prefers not to comment further on current market condition.
As investors are piling onto the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) madness, Buterin asserted that “I would not call ICOs a ‘main goal’, especially when there is already a lot of institutional interest in using the technology.”
For example, the open-source blockchain initiative, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has become the largest of its kind with over 150 members including heavy hitters such as Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, the Indian government, MasterCard, ING, Intel and others leading the pack.
“The main important factor at this point in translating this interest into success and adoption in practice is improving the tech itself, and solving challenges in privacy, scalability, and security,” Buterin adds.
Buterin reportedly first developed interest in Bitcoin when his father introduced him to the concept. He helped launch the Ethereum Foundation to begin researching the cryptocurrency since 2014.
The young inventor believes there are always risks with any new technology, but “it is important not to over-correct too early, as the ecosystem will mature and communities will evolve defenses to various risks on their own over time.”
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