2023 Ethereum Community Developer Conference: Without Black Mountain, No “Clear Path” in Sight

By/Zhang Yuge

Produced by/Gyro Finance

The convening of the new year’s EDCON once again demonstrated the importance of Ethereum to the cryptocurrency industry and the whole DeFi ecosystem.

EDCON is a non-profit global Ethereum annual conference held in different countries. As one of the Ethereum and blockchain community events, EDCON is committed to serving the Ethereum ecosystem by strengthening global communication and interaction among the Ethereum community. This year’s EDCON began in Montenegro on May 19th, with the conference focusing heavily on the potential of Ethereum for cryptocurrencies and other areas.

Prior to the conference, those in the industry may have had the impression that Montenegro was chosen as the location due to Vitalik Buterin being awarded Montenegrin citizenship. However, aside from speculative reasons, Montenegro’s inherent advantages cannot be ignored.

Montenegro is located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. It has beautiful natural scenery, a long history and culture, and a unique geographical location. It has a positive attitude and policies in promoting blockchain technology and the digital economy. The Montenegrin government has formulated a series of laws and regulations to support the development and operation of blockchain projects and enterprises, while protecting the interests of consumers and investors. The government has also established a dedicated blockchain committee to coordinate and promote cooperation and innovation in the blockchain field.

Montenegro is also a strategically important and geographically advantageous country. It is located in the center of the European continent, adjacent to countries such as Italy, Greece, and Turkey, and is also a member or candidate country of international organizations such as the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations. Montenegro can serve as a bridge to connect blockchain communities from different regions and cultures, promoting global exchanges and cooperation.

So what are the highlights of this year’s EDCON worth paying attention to?

01, Overview of EDCON 2023

EDCON 2023 features keynote speeches, technical workshops, and group discussions covering blockchain regulation, Layer 2, decentralized society, decentralized governance, and more.

EDCON 2023 brings together top talents from the Ethereum community, including Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Ethereum), Balaji Srinivasan (Network State Author), Scott Moore (co-founder of Gitcoin), Primavera De Filippi (Blockchain researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research and the Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University), Tim Beiko (Ethereum Foundation), Barry Whitehat (Ethereum Foundation), Cy Li (Head of Ethereum University), and more.

In addition, the conference also features Ethereum Forum Day, Community Activity Day, and a Super Demo Competition, providing ample opportunities for collaboration and discussion.

02, V God: ZK-SNARK will be as important as blockchain

As the most heavyweight guest of the conference, V God gave a keynote speech on the theme of “Three Technical Challenges of Ethereum: Scalability, Privacy, and User Security”. Interestingly, he also wore traditional Montenegrin clothing during the speech.

Image source: Twitter

First of all, V God believes that Ethereum has moved from the theoretical stage to the application stage, but unfortunately most people are still only concerned about prices, buying and selling NFTs, and a large part of them are using centralized exchanges for trading, which can cause harm to many users if someone like SBF appears.

As for why people rarely use dapps for trading, V God believes it is because Ethereum’s scalability is poor, and it is expensive and slow. However, in recent years, the rapid growth of Layer 2 has gradually solved this problem, such as Optimism, Arbitrum, Zksync and other ecosystems are growing stronger, and the community has also proposed EIP4844, EIP3668, EIP5559 and other proposals.

On the other hand, regarding privacy issues, V God pointed out that most people do not want to tell others their ENS address, let others know how much money is in their wallet, and what coins they have bought. Stealth addresses are one solution, which can generate a temporary address for receiving funds, but this has also led to new problems. If it is completely anonymous, it will be used by illegal elements for money laundering, so they are trying a Proof of Innocence solution based on zero-knowledge proofs.

The final issue is user security. Vitalik mentioned that he uses multisig and social recovery to protect his wallet. He believes that using ZK-SNARK for social recovery is a secure and private way to manage encrypted assets. Vitalik stated that in the next 10 years, ZK-SNARK will be as important as blockchain.

ZK-SNARK stands for zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge. Its core is to build a proof system through mathematical algorithms, which allows the verifier to verify the correctness of the data without knowing the original data.

Its implementation involves complex technologies such as verifiable circuits, elliptic curve cryptography, hash functions, and encryption algorithms. SNARK can compress the original data into a minimal proof to verify the correctness of its input data. The foundation of ZK zero-knowledge technology allows ZK-SNARK to demonstrate its scalability, privacy, and security in blockchain.

03, conclusion

In addition to Vitalik, other guests at the conference also made relevant sharing. Balaji Srinivasan, former CTO of Coinbase, author of The Network State, discussed the concept and practice of network countries based on Ethereum, and how to use blockchain technology to achieve global citizenship and governance. Scott Moore, co-founder of Gitcoin, introduced Gitcoin’s mission and vision, which is to empower open source developers to promote the creation and maintenance of public goods, and how Gitcoin uses Ethereum and other decentralized protocols to achieve this goal. Jordi Baylina, the technical leader of Polygon zkEVM, talked about the design and implementation of Polygon zkEVM, a zero-knowledge proof technology-based Ethereum-compatible virtual machine that can run any smart contract on L2 and maintain interoperability with the Ethereum mainnet.

Overall, the entire EDCON 2023 emphasized the large-scale application of Ethereum L2 scalability solutions and how they will affect the entire crypto ecosystem. However, there is not much discussion about this year’s EDCON, which can be attributed to the impact of the market environment, and the hype of meme tokens has also taken away some attention.

Regarding this conference, people are instead talking about Vitalik’s black mountain traditional costume, which seems somewhat comical. There are rumors that Vitalik refused to take a group photo with Chinese people, which has caused some criticism and boycotts. It seems that a few gossip news are more substantial than the quality of the conference content.

After years of development, Ethereum has gradually encountered a bottleneck, and the lack of scalability has also led to many criticisms. Developers have also realized the shortcomings of Ethereum and emphasized that they will gradually make up for them in future upgrade proposals. However, the emergence of public chains such as Sui has also brought competitive pressure to Ethereum. Under internal and external troubles, the development of Ethereum needs to be accelerated, but it is not easy to turn a big ship around.

At this year’s EDCON conference, V God clearly did not find the “bright road” for the development of Ethereum in Montenegro.

Reference article

EDCON 2023 speakers and themes announced, with big names such as V God and Balaji Srinivasan gathering together

V God: Ethereum’s three challenges are “scalability, privacy, and user security”, and zk-SNARKs will be as important as blockchain in 10 years.

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