During his Q&A with Forbes Senior Editor Laura Shin, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin discussed the power of blockchain technology,
Lubin, wearing a typical tech-guru casual t-shirt and jeans, addressed the audience with a casual but serious tone, initially discussing bitcoin’s influence on cryptocurrencies as a whole. He said that whereas bitcoin was an experiment with the potential of decentralized currencies, Ethereum and other projects want to take that idea to the next level, allowing people to get paid for the work they’re truly interested in.
“Our company ConsenSys was started to continue the vision of the Ethereum project,” Lubin said. “It’s an open-source project, with 100,000 to 200,000 people around the world building off of this system… The bounties network incentivizes people to do work in certain kind of projects, everything from health to supply chain to law.”
Lubin said he sees the business world shifting, with Web 3.0, or the semantic Web, at the core of it all. Whereas the current form of business is companies offering services to the consumer, Lubin envisions a world where exchanges happen from consumer to consumer without restriction, although he noted that it will take time for systems to be built out and used on a wide-spread basis.
Shin asked Lubin about the legality of these aspirations, but Lubin emphasized that the aim of Ether and the Ethereum Project isn’t to become a cryptocurrency, but rather a cryptofuel for projects, hence his lack of concern for legal issues. He also ensured the audience that Ethereum plans to avoid money laundering, something other currencies have struggled with and continue to battle today, with a confidential form of identification. Lubin reminded that law enforcement can easily track these unlawful actions with modern technology, meaning the fluid, trustworthy and collaboration-focused infrastructure won’t be plagued by illegal activity.
“There are so many great projects in our space,” Lubin said. “There are so many bad projects in our space. There are so many fraudulent projects in our space. We understand that for hundreds of years, fraudulent transactors have been taking advantage of people… it absolutely makes sense for regulators to take a look.”
Diving deeper into music as an example of why the blockchain could revolutionize payments, Lubin emphasized that intermediaries take 70-80% of any music transaction today. With blockchain, Lubin said that consumers will have lower prices, and in turn artists receive 100% of the revenue from their work instantly,
Lubin said the Ethereum’s success revolves around the Ethereum Improval Process, giving a voice to thousands of people online to improve the protocol. Lubin emphasized that as Ethereum grows, more and more people will naturally be concerned with its development. For example, Lubin proposed if transactions should be able to be voided, to which he said he would support of the majority were for the idea, but emphasized that the definition for such an action needs to be narrowed in on to ensure the community puts its full force behind it.
Concluding the discussion, Shin circled back to how Ethereum will supposedly change the world. Lubin said that there’s nothing for the average person to worry about, and that improvements will come in every form of life, from security, transaction speeds, contracts and more. Concerning recent spikes in value for cryptocurrencies, Lubin said he doesn’t worry about prices and instead focuses on the bigger picture
“Increases in prices drives speculation,” Lubin said. “And speculation drives innovation. So we like when prices go up, but it’s bigger than that.”