When New Technologies and Dated Policies Collide

January 2, 2018

When New Technologies and Dated Policies Collide

Cryptocurrencies continue to make headlines as their value and global accessibility grow, but blockchain — the underlying technology that powers these cryptocurrencies — has generated a great deal of skepticism, too. 

CIGI Senior Fellow Julie Maupin sits down with Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, to raise the curtain on this complex platform and its governance implications. Their discussion covers a wide range of subjects: Buterin’s introduction to cryptocurrencies; the creation of Ethereum; how hardware — big and small — plays a role in future development and adoption; and Ethereum’s imminent transition from the “proof of work” model to “proof of stake.”

Maupin and Buterin’s discussion then moves toward questions of cryptocurrency governance. Who gets a say in changes to the protocol? What domestic and international legal implications do cryptocurrencies present? And what accessibility hurdles are ahead for cryptocurrencies?

In the final segment, Maupin and Buterin discuss the role founders play in the promotion and direction of emerging technologies. Given the “cult of Vitalik” that has taken shape in the Ethereum community, Maupin asks how the platform’s road map would be altered without Buterin at the helm. 

CIGI’s work in the blockchain space this past year has demonstrated our ability to connect with many of the stakeholders vital to the discussion around and development of cryptocurrencies. This interview with Maupin and Buterin was conducted during the ETHWaterloo hackathon, a three-day event at the CIGI campus, with more than 400 hackers in attendance.

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