In brief

  • Ethereal Summit runs between May 7-8, 2020.
  • Decrypt will be reporting live throughout the event, and hosting panel discussions as an event partner.
  • Check back here for our coverage throughout the two-day event.

This year, the Ethereal Summit has gone virtual for the first time, in response to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Decrypt.co is an event partner and will be reporting on the latest news from Ethereal Summit throughout the two-day event.  

May 8, 9:55 a.m. — How much can you earn staking on Ethereum 2.0?

Collin Myers, global product strategy at ConsenSys, fielded questions on what kind of returns stakers can expect to make on Ethereum 2.0.

First and foremost, 2.0’s first—or ”genesis”—block won’t be discovered until the total amount of staked Ethereum reaches over 524,000 ETH—which is around 16,000 validators.

“No one will receive any rewards until that point is reached,” Myers said. He also noted that “phase zero” is a continuum and not a set time period, although the developers expect it to last somewhere between 12 and 18 months—or even 24 months, according to some projections. 

Got your curious? You can read more about the panel here.

May 8, 9:15 a.m. — Ethereum on track to offer staking in Q3, says developer

Beacon, the first "master layer" of Ethereum 2.0 appears to be right around the corner.

“It could arrive in weeks to months… But I am 80-90 percent confident it will go live by Q3,” Ben Edgington of Teku—an Eth 2.0 client operator— said, speaking in a group panel moderated by Evan Van Ness, of Week in Ethereum News.

Beacon is the main milestone in Phase 0 of the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap. Beacon will be the master chain of Ethereum 2.0, and will operate with a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. That means users can help secure the network by staking their coins (locking their coins up) on Ethereum 2.0, and in return receive regular payouts relative to the amount staked.

Thirsty for more info? Read our full coverage on the panel. 

May 8, 9:00 a.m. — DeFi needs better loans to see mass adoption, say experts

DeFi loans could become a real saving grace in the current economic downturn, except for one thing. You have to put down collateral to take out the loan. That’s not going to fly in a crisis.  

"Users are in real need for alternatives," said blockchain consultant Jana Petkanic at the Ethereal Summit earlier today. (She even dressed in proper business attire for this virtual conference!) Meanwhile, Mainframe Credit Protocol's Rafaella Baraldo is pinning hope on new technologies. “The space is changing so fast, and now we're able to do things we were not able to do before," he said.

Read our full coverage of the DeFi loan panel here.

May 8, 8:25 a.m. — Rune Christensen on the future of DeFi

May 8, 8:00 a.m. — Gods Unchained is ready for primetime

Immutable, the developer of popular blockchain-based trading card game Gods Unchained and software company StarkWare, has announced its joint project—Immutable X. The off-chain exchange will support a high number of NFT (stands for nonfungible token) trades while taking the load off the main Ethereum blockchain.

In late 2017, when NFT game CryptoKitties went viral, it caused heavy congestion on Ethereum. This has been a potential problem ever since for other NFT game makers.

“We’ve run into quite a lot of technical issues, which we’re happy we can now overcome,” Immutable CEO James Ferguson told Decrypt’s Stephen Graves during the Ethereal Virtual Summit. And now, he said, Gods Unchained is ready to go mainstream. 

Got you curious? Our full coverage on the fireside chat is here

May 8, 6 a.m. — And we're back for Day 2.

Things have kicked off bright and early for Day 2 of Ethereal. Today the focus turns to Ethereum 2.0, DeFi, and the more personal side of tokenization.

Yesterday things focused around blockchain's readiness to take on the burden of becoming a viable alternative to fiat money, state banks, and global institutions controlling the world's money supply. You can read that in full below.

May 7, 3:45 p.m. — 'When paradigms change, stuff happens,' says Mike Novogratz

The economic crisis spawned by COVID-19 seems to be what cryptocurrency was invented to address. But luminaries in the space aren't sure we're ready for it. Too big of a change too soon, maybe?

"Nobody thinks the dollar is really going to lose its reserve status," Galaxy Digital's Mike Novogratz said at Ethereal Summit. "It could. And it could—faster than we think."

"I wanted a lot more time to build, to mature the technology, and I'm not sure we have a lot more time. I think we have to get busy now," ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin said.

Check out our full coverage of the panel here.

May 7, 2:30 p.m. — Where it's at: Blockchain gaming

If you really want to know where the action is in blockchain, check out the gaming apps. At least, that's what we learned today when a trio of Ethereum game creators came together at Ethereal Summit.

“We’ve seen a big move towards this term: play-to-earn,” Jeffrey Zirlin, who leads business development at Axie Infinity, said. Some crypto companies will even subsidize games by providing tokens to players, he added. He thinks growth in the space will explode in the next two years, like a "chemical reaction."

Sound intriguing? Read our full coverage on the gaming panel here.

May 7, 1:30 p.m. — DeFi set to change the world

Decentralized Finance is poised to turn traditional finance onto its head. On Thursday, four panelists—all of them founders of DeFi companies—came on strong with a "there's no stopping us now" attitude at Ethereal Summit. They spoke about the challenges of operating and growing a DeFi platform.

“Instead of building on top of the existing financial world, we’re rebuilding everything from scratch, and everybody on this panel is building a small component of that,” said Felix Feng, CEO of TokenSets, an asset management platform.

Check out our full coverage of the panel here.

May 7, 1:05 p.m. — DeFi-ing the hackers

Vitalik Buterin took on the thorny issue of hacks in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space at Ethereal Summit, arguing that there's no "inherent property in DeFi itself" that leaves it vulnerable to hacking, despite a spate of recent DeFi hacks.

“Centralized exchanges get attacked all the time," Buterin said. "Mt.Gox in 2014, Bitfinex in 2016. Centralized finance definitely gets attacked over and over again.”

Read our full coverage of Buterin's discussion at Ethereal Summit here and here.

May 7, 11:20 a.m. — Virtual Insanity

Decrypt was extremely excited to discover that you can watch Ethereal Summit live in virtual reality. Don your headset and head to AltSpace VR to jack into the crypto matrix. Meantime, here's a selfie.

You can watch the Ethereal Virtual Summit using AltSpace VR (Image: Decrypt)

May 7, 11:10 a.m — Vitalik Buterin says Ethereum will heal the world

Speaking to The Defiant's Camila Russo, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin suggested that Ethereum could be the glue that holds together a fractured post-coronavirus world. "2008 was entirely a financial crisis. 2020 is not really a financial crisis first and foremost...it’s a virus crisis, and on top of that it's a political crisis,” said Buterin, who added that there's a role for blockchain to play in being the glue that holds countries and currencies together. "Ethereum definitely has a role to play in being the glue," Buterin said.

Read our full coverage of the interview here.

May 7, 9:55 a.m. - Changpeng Zhao on the "perfect storm" for crypto

In conversation with podcaster Laura Shin, Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao—a late addition to the Ethereal Virtual Summit line-up—discussed the Bitcoin halving, the "perfect storm" of the coronavirus-induced economic crisis, and why Binance doesn't have an office in China (or anywhere, for that matter).

CZ said that offices, entities, headquarters and bank accounts “don’t have to exist for blockchain companies,” pointing out that "Bitcoin doesn't have an office." Head here for our full coverage of the interview.

May 7, 9 a.m. — Changpeng Zhao added to the line up at the last minute.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao is slated to kick off the virtual Ethereal Virtual Summit at 7:15 am EST Thursday. Zhao, aka "CZ" to his many fans, is the first of 100 speakers and panelists at the two-day conference. Zhao will be interviewed by podcaster Laura Shin. If it's anything like the last time they spoke, we're in for a treat.

You can check out the rest of the lineup below.

May 6, 12:13 p.m. — Getting ready

Ethereal Summit kicks off tomorrow, so we've rounded up some of our advance coverage of the event.

As we've mentioned earlier, the event has gone completely virtual in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with production studio Consensys (which funds an editorially-independent Decrypt) stating that: "We’ve decided to postpone the Ethereal Summit New York in-person event to the fall of 2020. In the meantime, we’ve already gone to work reimagining Ethereal NY as the first-ever Ethereal Virtual Summit 2020, which will take place on May 7-8."

Ethereal will now be held virtually (Image: Ethereal)

Headline speakers include:

  • Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum.
  • Joe Lubin, founder, and CEO of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum.
  • Mariano Conti, head of smart contracts, MakerDAO.
  • Robert Leshner, CEO & co-founder, Compound.
  • Camila Russo, journalist, author and owner of The Defiant.

We've also published our interview with Itamar Lesuisse, co-founder of smart wallet Argent, ahead of his talk on Day 2: 'Bringing DeFi to 1 Billion People.'