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“I think if we want Bitcoin to be more than payments, it needs more scaling solutions,” said Vitalik Buterin, on a Twitter Spaces this week, pointing to several experiments that Ethereum has been trying out over the past years.
But the main problem, for him, is politics.
“Bitcoin has really weird politics,” he said, adding that he “doesn’t vibe with them.”
The trio tackled one of the main pain points of the world's biggest cryptocurrency by market cap: Bitcoin's slow transaction throughput, and thus the need for layer two scaling approaches to increase the speed at which people can send and receive the digital asset.
The majority of the discussion revolved around scaling, which is where Buterin, Wall, and Wertheimer think Bitcoiners could learn the most from the presumed rival chain.
“I think if we want Bitcoin to be more than just payments, it will need scaling options like Plasma or ZK Rollups,” said Buterin, both of which have been tried on Ethereum. Optimism and Arbitrum are two successful examples of “rollups” that could serve as case studies for Bitcoin, he said, adding that it would “be good to have an open mind” with regards to ZK-snark based solutions—indicating a clear preference.
Ethereum has been experimenting with a wide variety of scaling solutions over the years, and is in the process of its latest update, EIP-4844, which introduces blob blocks–enabling up to 100,000 transactions per second.
Wall pushed the idea that Bitcoin should be studying these trials, fearing that the ecosystem will be left with less secure rollups. Buterin responded that the proposal will likely draw “controversy with security hawks.”
Wall, who has been taking center stage as of late with the Taproot Wizards, brought up Bitcoin’s security model, and the 21 million hard cap. It’s a question that Buterin said he has grappled with, although he pointed to Ordinals as providing a reasonable fee market to cover the reducing block subsidies as well as subsequent security concerns.
Buterin also thinks Ordinals have brought a “return to builder culture” which in his words “is very good.” He added that he “definitely see signs of hope now that we have Ordinals,” calling them a “real pushback to laser eyed maximalism.”
Buterin also tried to find ten things that both ecosystems shared. He pointed to claims of immutability by both chains, along with the fact they both have issues with layer-1 privacy. Buterin also mentioned that both Ethereum and Bitcoin have showcased how difficult it is to do things in decentralized consensus models.
The Ethereum co-founder ended on a rather optimistic note, trying possibly to bring together both communities.
“I think a world where there is at least one of these chains is better than one with none,” he concluded.