Vitalik answers everything: personal interests, AI technology and RWA, encryption narratives such as Layer2

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Q: What is your favorite book/game/movie?


1. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, a Harry Potter fan-fiction novel;

2. Unsong, a fantasy science fiction novel by Scott Alexander, set in a world where the Kabbalah is real.

Q: Have you ever had a supernatural experience or encountered something that you could not explain?

A: Seeing many of our worst enemies self-destruct or at least make themselves look very foolish.

Q: Are you concerned that Ethereum culture may follow a path too similar to Bitcoin culture, where the loudest voices are non-technical?

A: I’m not sure if non-technical itself is the problem; more importantly, the combination of (i) non-technical, (ii) overconfident, (iii) combative. I think the latter two are more important. Either way, we should be careful!

Q: What excites you or interests you in the space of regenerative/public good funding?

A: Better traceability and provenance tracking in retroactive funding, so that you can identify and reward the entire path that led to some selective work being done. Some work has already started in this area, and it would be great to see more.


Please answer the following questions, ignoring any that are not quick, easy, or fun!

ps: Zuzalu is a pop-up city experiment launched by Vitalik in Montenegro from March to May 2023.

● What has surprised you about Zuzalu compared to what you expected?

● Who are some leaders you admire now or in history?

● What daily habit have you developed over the past few years that you particularly enjoy?

● Which author do you guess you will have read the most by in 2023?

● If you had to choose one country right now and live there for the rest of your life, which country would you choose?

● What is the probability that you will live to be 123 years or older?

● What is something you measure or track that most people don’t pay attention to?


I think Zuzalu has been successful as an experiment! Many core assumptions have been validated:

● Everything can be organized

● People are willing to stay

● Successful idea exchange

● Integration of zero-knowledge technology works

● A positive and healthy culture has been established

The biggest unresolved issue I see is how to balance quality and inclusivity at scale. A multi-level “community network” seems to be the approach I (and others, including myself) lean towards when discussing this. How it is actually implemented will depend on the specifics…

The biggest unresolved issue I see is how to balance quality and inclusivity at scale. A multi-level “community network” seems to be the approach I (and others, including myself) lean towards when discussing this. How it is actually implemented will depend on the specifics…

There is an important divide on the issue of “jurisdiction”: what are your expectations of the government you are under?

Possible answers include:

● Nothing really, just want to stay united

● Visa-friendly

● Provide more meaningful freedoms for specific industries (biotech? drones? other industries?)

Zuzalu itself was just a temporary experiment, but the community it contained cared about these three things.

But the latter is inherently more difficult; as such, these three things seem to trend towards different types of countries.

Q: (Continuing the above question) If I understand correctly, that makes sense what you said. You delegate the responsibility of quality filtering to each community to make scale more feasible while maintaining a certain level of quality control by carefully selecting the communities themselves.

A: A certain degree of quality control is achieved by carefully selecting communities.

I think even that setting is not quite accurate! Rather, anyone can create a community, and there is a concept of relationships between communities, which become stronger if they trust each other.

Q: This is a question about Zuzalu: what is the biggest achievement? What improvements will there be next time? When is the next time?

A: This is just one of over 10 ideas, but:

● I would like to see coordinated adoption of free/open/decentralized/privacy-focused technology that goes deeper than just ZuBlockingss and Zupoll.

● Use ETH payments on L2, abandon Telegram, use @ethstatus or @skiffprivacy or other alternatives.

It’s the same for health. Make it easier for people to get their metrics and personalized advice and provide them with tailored nutrition and exercise, etc. Make the community a comprehensive health resource.

Q: What do you think the final state of L2 governance will be? Will we always be stuck with mechanisms like token voting, “security councils,” multisig, etc.? This seems far from the ideal of cryptocurrency governance (for me, the ideal would be “vote according to the node software I’m running,” plus immutable smart contracts).

The same question can also be considered from another angle: is it worthwhile (ultimately) to fix a single L2 (Rollup) as part of the core client code, subjecting it to governance mechanisms on the Ethereum chain rather than individual L2 projects’ governance?

Because if we can’t bring scaling solutions under the same governance mechanism, people like me who are cautious about mechanisms like token voting may be drawn to single-piece L1 projects.

Governance is the only thing that shouldn’t be delegated from the underlying base chain for core functionality.


Implementing ZK-EVM verification internally in Ethereum is definitely an idea worth exploring!

I tend towards achieving our goals with a minimal L1 fix. You could enshrine the entire L2, but you might get 90% of the benefit and 3x the flexibility by fixing ZK-EVM verification and letting people use it however they want.

In particular, I expect the non-ZK-EVM parts of L2 to be small enough to be formally verified.

I hope we can move to the second stage in the next few years, where security councils only arbitrate in cases where there’s a divergence between two different proof systems.

ps: In the face of criticism of the centralization of the security committee, Vitalik believes that a security committee with cross-institutional participation and an (important) 75% threshold for trust in the code is a fairly high standard for decentralization until the threshold is reached.

Q: What is your longest running/walking record?

A: Running: 44 km, 4 hours, pace 5:26 min/km.

Walking: 113 km, 23 hr 12 min.

Q: Do you listen to music/podcasts while walking?

A: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, especially the first four episodes about WWI.

Q: Will you continue to donate to Ukraine?

A: Yes, I’ve donated to several places this year.

Q: What are your top 5-10 most likely catastrophic scenarios for humanity in the next century?

I guess this question is related to whether humanity will face further climate and planetary resource issues. Are you optimistic about global coordination?


● Artificial intelligence (AI)

● Engineered pandemic

When it comes to catastrophes that approach the level of existential risk, nuclear war is one of them. Unbeatable AI-enhanced totalitarianism is also concerning.

Climate may be fifth or near fifth. It’s important to push for progress in solar and nuclear energy, etc.

As for “resources will run out” type issues, I’m not too worried; as resources get depleted, things will get more expensive, and we’ll find substitutes.

Q: What are your thoughts on the current state of Bitcoin Cash?

I remember you mentioned in a recent public comment that Bitcoin Cash failed largely due to being too focused on a splitting rebellion. However, have the 2.5 years of stability and current unity of the community made you reconsider?

A: I do see cultural improvements! Good luck.

Q: What is the latest research direction for P2P networks related to Ethereum and worth the time of emerging researchers/research engineers?

The following is a conversation in which someone asks questions and another person answers them.

A: Make the existing Ethereum P2P layer more robust (including protections against intentional censorship, firewalls, etc.) – this may not be exciting, but it is very important.

Q: What do you think about the idea of DAI moving completely off-chain (supporting more RWA real asset) rather than insisting on decentralization?

A: I think there is some validity in this design space, but careful engineering design is required to ensure broad asset support and stable governance.

Q: In your opinion, which country is most likely to become the friendliest country for cryptocurrencies and become a livable cryptocurrency center in the long term?

A: I’m more optimistic about small countries than big ones.

Q: Besides cryptocurrency and longevity, what other areas are you interested in?

A: Homelessness?

Q: It is worrying that the military field is excluded from the regulation of various fields of artificial intelligence in the “Artificial Intelligence Act”. For those who drafted the bill, it is naive to believe that the military will act according to their knowledge and beliefs. If there is an opportunity to use a technology that can bring significant advantages, someone will abuse it sooner or later for personal gain. What is even more worrying is that intelligence agencies are excluded under the regulated interests, and seem to be given complete freedom. This is not only morally questionable, but also extremely dangerous.

A: Yes, I absolutely oppose AI regulation plans that assume that the military is more trustworthy than others.

Q: Will quantum computing destroy blockchain or make it more secure?

A: Blockchain will have to adapt to QC, but we’ll be okay.

Q: Does public key encryption exist unconditionally?

A: What you call “unconditional” refers to the security of public key encryption not relying on any specific assumptions or conditions. The security of public key encryption depends on the intractability of some complex mathematical problems. These problems include large number factorization, discrete logarithm computation, etc., which are considered difficult to solve efficiently in computation. However, there are some mathematical structures, such as curves and lattices, that are considered to provide the conditions necessary to satisfy the security requirements of public key encryption, while hash algorithms do not meet these requirements.

Q: How do you view the pros and cons between MPC-based EOA wallets and smart contract wallets?

A: MPC-based external accounts (EOAs) are fundamentally flawed because they cannot revoke keys (re-sharing keys doesn’t count, the original holder can still recover the key), and smart contract wallets are the only choice as they can solve this problem.

Q: The deficiencies of smart wallets:

1. Only support ETH/EVM, not networks such as Bitcoin

2. L1 setup and recovery costs are high (recovery requires $40)

3. Smart contracts can also be revoked (not always)


1. Yes, Bitcoin needs to upgrade its technology. We have known about this problem for over 5 years now.

2. This is due to the high cost of the entire L1. That’s why L2 and smart contract wallets are needed to get more protocols to support them.

3. I’m not quite sure what you mean here?

Q: Favorite dinosaur?

A: I like ducks.

Q: What aspects of socialism do you find interesting?

A: I think the focus on the harm caused by private monopolies and resource inequality is important, and I appreciate the willingness to address these issues in principled ways. Additionally, the internationalist spirit, especially in the early days of socialism, is very good and valuable.

Q: What is the timetable for AGI and what is p(doom)?

ps: AGI refers to Artificial General Intelligence, also known as superintelligence, which refers to artificial intelligence systems that can perform at or above human levels of intelligence in multiple fields.

p(doom) refers to the probability of doom, an estimate of the likelihood of a severe disaster or catastrophic-level event. In this context, it refers to the likelihood of a severe disaster related to artificial intelligence.

A: For the timetable, it’s very broad. I have a 95% confidence interval for the timetable for ASI between 2029 and 2200 (I think AGI may maintain roughly human-level performance for some time).

p(doom) is approximately 0.1. This of course makes it important to take the risks of artificial intelligence seriously.

Q: What do you think will be some warning signs? Or, what do you think might happen to raise your pdoom above 10%, or bring forward the timeline to less than 10 years?

A: People have asked this question, and it’s hard for me to articulate important things AI still can’t do well. Roughly, it might be understood as “interacting with other intelligent agents in complex environments, and formulating and executing plans involving novel behavior.” If AI starts doing this well, then I’d say we’re very close to superintelligence.

I think one important reason why my p(doom) isn’t as high is that I’m not completely convinced by arguments for fast takeoff and “no fire alarm for AGI” (I know fast takeoff isn’t a prerequisite for disaster, but it pushes things in that direction importantly!) If I were convinced by these arguments, my p(doom) would go up.

Q: If we assume AGI is achieved at some point, what do you think the path to human flourishing looks like after that?

A: Personally, I’d like to see a path that preserves human agency. This will of course require higher bandwidth and more frequent communication between the computation supported by the technology and human wills…

Q: “Bandwidth” is a word that appeals to me 🙂

In your model, does “human agency” mean biology-based?

If it’s biology-based, the non-biological side will dominate, and we might face risks from AI.

If it’s non-biological, the outcome may not be so pleasant for most people.

It’s a dilemma. Do you see any other options?

A: The ultimate form of the non-biological (unless synthetic biologists can compete with metal computers, which would be cool). I expect that as the technology becomes more normalized and risks are reduced over time, it will become more acceptable to people, as with all radical technologies.

Q: What is the aspect you dislike the most in the crypto world and what drains your energy and motivation the most?

A: As usual, the thing I dislike the most are people who think the main innovation of crypto is introducing tokens to everything. After that, I would say:

  • Massive misallocations of capital
  • People who are easy to sway from principles (cough cough, fake libertarians…)
  • On the other hand, completely impractical purist beliefs (“12-word mnemonics are good enough for anyone!”)
  • Needless conflict

Q: What are your thoughts on the latest developments in proof systems (especially proof aggregation, recursion, and composition)?

A: Techniques like aggregation, recursion, and so on are crucial for quickly proving complex statements. For example, we ultimately need to prove the validity of Ethereum blocks in under 4 seconds; you need some way to parallelize and combine things to do that.

Q: Do you think governance systems with negligible power can stay uncaptured indefinitely? What is the parameter of the “time_to_capture” function?

A: @SamoBurja would say it’s an unsolved problem. I tend to agree. You can get close, but you have to accept some trade-offs. Having very specific and limited goals (e.g. maintaining a price oracle) can help, though even then you’ll run into trouble if things get extreme.

Q: What’s your imagination for the scale and complexity of the human Martian city? If by 2050, there are 1 million people living on Mars, and a ticket to Mars costs only $50k, and Ethereum’s transaction volume reaches 60 million per second, would you move to Mars permanently?

A: It depends on quality of life! (And the eventual legal jurisdiction, culture, etc. of the Martian city.)

Q: Do you think it’s worth to foster a closer relationship between the Ethereum community and the Bitcoin community, and if so, how can we achieve that?

A: I think a potential area of cooperation is to more aggressively support non-blockchain freedom and privacy tools together. End-to-end encrypted messaging (without phone numbers), internet anonymity, end-to-end collaboration tools, secure operating systems (like Graphene, Qubes?), open hardware, open virtual reality, and so forth.

Q: What are the disadvantages of introducing EIP1559b, which distributes some of the burned tokens to family independent verifiers? It can increase the allocation according to the sliding ratio for those who run a small number of clients.

A: The protocol cannot distinguish who is an independent verifier for a family individual.

Q: The safest cold wallet?

A: Safe Wallet.

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