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Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin Warns Against Risks Of Overloading The Network

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Vitalik Buterin Ethereum overload
Vitalik Buterin Ethereum overload

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Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has warned against the risks that come with Ethereum consensus layer overload. The news comes after a blog post published on Sunday, May 21, before the crypto executive echoed it in a Twitter post.

From the blog, it is clear that Buterin, the co-founder of the largest smart contract blockchain, supports a dual use for staked Ether (stETH). However, he warns against the use of the ETH consensus layer for layer (L2) applications.

Dual-use of validator staked ETH, while it has some risks, is fundamentally fine, but attempting to ‘recruit’ Ethereum social consensus for your application’s own purposes is not.

Based on his analogy, systemic risks are involved when one uses the consensus layer for re-staking and soft forks. In his opinion, this leaves the Ethereum blockchain vulnerable.

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin concerned about network overload

Vitalik Buterin has cautioned that the Ethereum consensus layer could be vulnerable to an attack if the blockchain gets overloaded. The Russo-Canadian cryptoprenuer addresses concerns about re-staking initiatives or layer-1 (L1) soft forks on the ETH blockchain in the post.

Breakdown Of Case Scenarios Presented in The Blog

A breakdown of Buterin’s post about cases through which the Ethereum network could face high system risks is as follows:

  • Proposals, wherein users vote by sending Ether (ETH), with those opting for the majority answer getting a proportional share of all the ETH sent to vote for the minority answer.
  • Re-staking Ethereum stake and using it to “vote” instead of in-protocol incentives.
  • Layer-1-driven recovery of layer-2 projects in the event that L2 has a bug and L1 forks are used to recover it.

Further, Buterin appreciates that most of those who propose to use the Ethereum consensus layer or staked Ether do so with good intentions. Nevertheless, he says that they ought to be discouraged as they pose significant risks to the underlying blockchain.

The purpose of this post will be to explain in detail the argument why, in my view, a certain subset of these techniques brings high systemic risks to the ecosystem and should be discouraged and resisted.

Basically, the Ethereum executive’s concern is that an expansion of the duties of the Ethereum consensus layer, regardless of the magnitude, leads to an increase in the costs, complexities, and risks of running a validator.

Exposing layer-1 by advancing the duties of the consensus layer to risks could be detrimental to the industry, going as far as causing lagging growth.

It is natural for application-layer projects to attempt such a strategy, and indeed such ideas are often simply conceived without appreciation of the risks, but its result can easily become very misaligned with the goals of the community as a whole.

Ethereum Co-Founder Advocates To Preserve The Chain’s Minimalism

According to Buterin, there is no limiting principle to such a process. This is because it could easily lead to a blockchain community having more and more “mandates” over time. This would compel it into an “uncomfortable choice where network users have to choose between a high yearly risk of splitting or some kind of de-facto formalized bureaucracy that has ultimate control of the chain.

In this regard, Buterin advocates for the preservation of the chain’s minimalism.

Impact of Buterin’s Expression on Ethereum Price

Based on the post, Vitalik Buterin is committed to sustaining the resilience and stability of the Ethereum blockchain. In case of occurrences such as re-staking and soft forks, the Ethereum consensus layer faces risks involving unexpected forks or something as bad as its community splitting to follow different validators.

It is worth mentioning that Ethereum (ETH) is the native token of a neutral technical problem, which means a fork or community division could have a negative impact on the utility of the asset, its adoption, and in the long term, the price.

At the time of writing, Ethereum price is $1,813, a daily drop of 0.08% with indications of strong instability and therefore high market volatility. ETH was also recording a 16% increase in its 24-hour trading volume, suggesting increased activity in the ETH market.

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