In a recent blog entry titled “Reviving Ethereum’s Cypherpunk Spirit,” Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, voiced apprehensions regarding the evolving direction of Web3 from its initial ethos.
Buterin argues that the fundamental tenets of Web3 have progressively waned as numerous initiatives within the cryptocurrency realm divert attention from the central concept of decentralization.
Web3’s Ideological Shift: A Growing Divide
Buterin highlights a significant ideological schism, where factions within the non-blockchain decentralization community perceive the crypto sphere as a divergence rather than a sympathetic force and powerful collaborator.
Originally introduced by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, the concept of Web3 was envisioned not solely as ‘Bitcoin plus smart contracts’ but as an integral component of a larger suite of technologies shaping the groundwork for a more inclusive internet stack.
Nevertheless, Vitalik Buterin notes that the real-world application of cryptocurrency for financial transactions in numerous regions often leans on centralized mechanisms, such as internal transfers on centralized exchange platforms or the trading of USDT on networks like Tron.
Vitalik Blames Rising Transaction Fees for the Shift
Vitalik Buterin identifies a significant culprit behind this observed shift — the dramatic surge in transaction fees. In the earlier days when the cost of interacting with the blockchain was minimal, ranging from $0.001 to $0.1, developers envisioned a multitude of applications utilizing blockchain technology across financial and non-financial domains. However, with transaction fees now exceeding $100, Buterin underscores the growing dominance of ‘degen gamblers’ – high-risk traders – as a predominant user group.
As degen gamblers increasingly become the primary users on a large scale, Buterin argues that this reshapes public perception and internal culture within the crypto space. He emphasizes that the escalation in transaction fees has played a pivotal role in steering Web3 away from its decentralized ethos.