As someone who’s been around the Ethereum ecosystem since early 2017 I can safely say that I’ve never been more optimistic about the future than I am today. We’re seeing the first fruits of years worth of work across layer 1 (EIP-1559 and other major upgrades), layer 2 (rollups finally hitting their stride) and the app layer (DeFi, NFTs, DAOs - you name it). We truly are in the golden age of Ethereum.
For me, the most exciting thing about all of this is that it really feels like the Ethereum ecosystem is a “city that never sleeps”. There is always something happening no matter what time of the day it is and you can quite literally use the network whenever you want; wherever you want. Obviously this is quite similar to how the web has worked for a long time but we’ve never had an always on and decentralized value transfer system - this is, at least to me, the most exciting innovation that Ethereum brings to the world. On that note, let’s dive into some of the exciting things happening in Ethereum right now.
Let’s start with ‘The Merge’ which is making amazing progress with most of the people involved in both the consensus layer and execution layer development now focusing their efforts on getting the merge completed. From what I can tell, most of the core research is done and client teams seem to now be making progress on building out the functionality (with devnets and testnets to go live over the coming months). Of course, we’re still a little while away from the merge hitting mainnet (Q1/Q2 2022), but I trust that the researchers and developers will spend as much time as they need to make sure everything goes smoothly and securely. After all, this will be the biggest upgrade in Ethereum’s history - we want to get it right.
One thing that has become a lot clearer for the entire ecosystem over the last few months is exactly how Ethereum will scale. Rollups (and zero knowledge tech) are the current Schelling point that all scalability researchers/developers are working on and there also seems to be a general consensus that the ‘modular blockchain’ design is the one Ethereum should strive for (more on that here). On top of this, we also have data sharding coming some time in the future that will work to enhance these data-hungry rollups to give them even more scale. Though, even before then, we have hybrid solutions such as Validium’s and Volition’s that allow for great scale at the cost of some security (as they keep data off-chain).
NFTs have become the best and easiest onboarding vehicle for non-crypto native people. What makes NFTs extra special is that they’re a different type of onboarding vehicle as they’re much friendlier to newer people since the NFT ecosystem isn’t filled with complicated financial terms like DeFi is. On top of that, NFT collecting and trading is just a lot more fun and intuitive to the average person than financial activities are - I mean, when does the average person ever provide liquidity for anything in the traditional finance system? Though don’t get me wrong - I still think DeFi is going to be massive - but it won’t be the “front door” for most people getting into crypto.
Finally, we now have many different forms of DAOs that exist within the Ethereum ecosystem from old-school ones like Maker to new-age ones like those found in the ‘social token’ ecosystem. There is a through-line here though - all these DAOs are focused on improving social and economic coordination between worldwide participants - all without a centralized intermediary. When it comes to DAOs, I like to take the approach of ‘letting a thousand flowers bloom’ as this allows for rapid experimentation, innovation and ultimately, progress.
This is just a brief view into why I believe we’re in the golden age of Ethereum and I haven’t even touched on things like DeFi and the emerging social token ecosystem. Of course, not every use-case Ethereum comes up with will succeed long-term (pour one out for ICO’s), but as an ecosystem we learn over time which ones are sticky and which ones are fleeting.
Because after all, Ethereum is the infinity network.
Have a great day everyone,
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