Buterin’s Views on Bankman-Fried and Cryptocurrency Outlook
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently discussed his skepticism regarding Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX in a podcast interview. While acknowledging Bankman-Fried’s high profile as an industry leader, Buterin emphasized that he and many others in the crypto community had reservations about him from the start.
According to Buterin, a common misconception exists that the entire crypto ecosystem was surprised by Bankman-Fried’s actions. He stated:
I think it is true that nobody expected a literal $8 billion blow up, but many Ethereum influencers disrespected him and FTX from the beginning.
He specifically named Anthony Sassano as one of those who were suspicious early on.
He was just not able to articulate why crypto was good
Buterin went further to explain that Bankman-Fried’s lack of a clear vision for cryptocurrency technology’s value was a significant cause for concern. “He was just not able to articulate why crypto was good—he just clearly saw it as purely a business opportunity,” Buterin recalled.
Contrasting this outlook, Buterin highlighted the cypherpunk values and decentralization goals that initially inspired blockchain projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum. He characterized the entrepreneur as simply “regurgitating other people’s perspectives.” Buterin’s conclusion was clear: “He just, I think, never really struck the community as a person who deeply believed it. That more than anything else might really be the cause of the mistrust that existed already.”
The interview was conducted by Sriram Krishnan and Aarthi Ramamurthy on their eponymous podcast, where they regularly talk to founders, CEOs, and filmmakers. Buterin was featured on the show last month.
Buterin’s Thoughts on Artificial Intelligence and Creativity
Aside from his thoughts on the crypto community, Buterin also shared his optimism about the rapid progress of AI systems like ChatGPT. Rather than viewing AI as a threat to human jobs, Buterin expressed excitement about AI’s potential to augment human creativity.
“I think it’s a good example of how, instead of AI killing 30% of the jobs, it’s like, AI is killing 30% of your job, which is like actually an amazing time saver,” Buterin said. He admitted that full human-level AI might lead to more job loss but emphasized that, at this stage, AI is empowering rather than replacing people.
I would want to see the cost of making a movie go down
Buterin was especially enthusiastic about AI’s potential to lower the cost of creative endeavors like filmmaking. He said, “I would want to see the cost of making a movie go down from $100,000 to one person with basically just his creativity and a couple of months with an AI platform.” In his view, this would lead to more authentic stories, away from “all of these horrible remixes.”
He also praised the idea of enhancing individual creativity with AI and referred to the human to superhuman AI transition as one of the most substantial developments in history. However, he also acknowledged the need for targeted regulation to manage potential risks, insisting that any rules should avoid hindering innovation.
Reflecting on historical fears about new technology, Buterin concluded, “What’s happened, over and over again, for centuries, is we adapt.” His remarks offer an optimistic and thoughtful perspective on both the present and future landscapes of technology and creativity.
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