Photo credit: VivaTech
While crypto encompasses a world of decentralized finance, it also leads the way in innovations related to Web3, NFTs, decentralized applications and more. Two of the biggest names in the crypto industry joined our VivaTech stage in 2022 to discuss the latest happenings in the ecosystem: Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance and Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum. Here’s a recap of what went down on stage.
Changpeng Zhao, known as CZ, is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record of successful startups. He launched Binance in July 2017 and within 180 days, grew Binance into the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world.
Binance, since its beginnings as a crypto currency exchange, has also evolved to encompass Wallet Direct, one of the most popular decentralized wallets, CoinMarketCap, a media where people can get information about the crypto ecosystem, and its own crypto Binance Coin (BNB). The exchange platform has over 120 million users, which has grown from 20 million just last year.
Vitalik Buterin got into the crypto world in 2011 as a writer for bitcoin magazine. Through speaking with an international network of crypto enthusiasts, he came up with the idea to create a blockchain technology and make it work for a multitude of applications. Ethereum was born in 2015.
Ethereum is a general purpose blockchain, meant to support a wide range of applications, such as open and decentralized financial systems, DAOs, create an alternative to a domain name system – replacing a lot of the infrastructure that runs the internet. The crypto currency Ether is second only to bitcoin.
The nitty gritty
With currencies all around the world, including crypto currencies, fluctuating based on markets and local economies, are non-volatile currencies possible? How much should governments be involved in the creation and control of finances? How does blockchain technology change the future of Web3 and what is possible for the internet?
Our two crypto experts answered the questions most of us are asking surrounding this new, and sometimes confusing, industry.
How can we address the issue of volatility and guarantee that these currencies have a real value over time?
CZ: “I’m not saying that governments shouldn’t be involved in currencies, I’m just asking how much? Can private enterprises be involved too? We are just shifting the spectrum and exploring those options.
Will a free economy cause more volatility, yes. Is that good or bad, we don’t know yet. But the idea that everything should be controlled by the government, I’m not sure about it.
I don’t think it’s black or white. I'm not for anarchy, governments are necessary so that society can work together, but we need to test those limits and explore if there are better ways to do things.”
Vitalik: “As our society enters the information age, the most important things are going to become digital. That’s going to create a society and economy that looks weird. But that’s not just crypto, it’s just the stage of technological advancement our society is in.
I don’t think that crypto currencies are going to take over the world, but I do think that they play an important role in creating an alternative currency. This is especially true, not for wealthy countries whose currency is rather stable, but for developing countries where they can’t always trust the currency there.
It’s an evolving space.”
CZ, you created a new blockchain, is this in competition with Ethereum?
CZ: “Vitalik is a genius in creating Ethereum. And I have to admit I actually doubted him previously. Back in 2015, Vitalik came to my house in Tokyo and told me about his idea. I told him that's too big of a bite to chew. So, I didn’t buy Ethereum when it came out. But now I have total confidence in him and his team.
We actually did create BNB from parts of the Ethereum code, but it’s not about competition. Each is different in its own way. We see high-value transactions on Ethereum and smaller retail transactions through BNB since it is cheaper. Overall, we encourage as much innovation as possible from everyone, that is how the industry develops.”
Both of you are at the forefront of Web3 with your technologies. Can you define the role of Binance and Ethereum in the world of Web3?
CZ: “Vitalik is a true genius and I think Ethereum is the one pushing the innovation front for Web3. But I see Binance as more the application side. We are trying to scale and make as many technologies available to as many people as possible.”
Vitalik: “My view of Web3 is a collection of efforts to make a better internet that uses blockchain, zero knowledge proofs, and other kinds of technologies that try to solve the problems around centralization, privacy, security, the problems that people are concerned about in Web2 right now. Blockchain definitely plays a role in the creation of Web3, but it’s not it entirely. And blockchain isn’t just finances either, there are other applications for it as well. It’s about identity, creating better formats of internet applications, and improving upon privacy.
I also think that Binance is a really great gateway for Web3 and its application. These gateways, and what CZ has done, have an important function to play.”
Web3 will be a great tool for the decentralized economy. What is your view of the future economy?
CZ: “Web2 really decentralized information. created a better way to transfer information, which has completely changed the way we live, interact, communicate, etc. Web3 is going to change the way we transact value. It’s going to change how we invest, how we raise money, how we do transactions, how we do business globally. There will be more participants in the ecosystem. We will see more startups – we’ve now seen startups raising money using blockchain is much easier than before. So I see this as a more fundamental change of how we do business and how we structure business models.”
Vitalik: “As I said, I think that there are a lot of different applications of Web3 and blockchain than just financial. Improvements in the internet such as reducing the infringements on privacy, a level of centralization and much more that go beyond finances. I think that the blockchain space has a lot to contribute to those areas.”
Access the full video
There was a lot to dissect about crypto on our VivaTech stage and luckily no crypto rivalry came about – there was nothing but support coming from each of the blockchain experts.
If you want to watch the full session, you can watch it on our Digital Platform here!