At ETHSeoul, Ethereum Developers Turn Attention to Privacy and Users

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Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

SEOUL, South Korea - Ethereum developers turned their attention to privacy solutions, scalability and enhanced user-friendliness as the bunch gathered at a swanky building in Seoul’s Gangnam business district for ETHSeoul 2022, a technical conference focused on the second-largest blockchain.

White tees and gaming laptops were everywhere as enthusiasts cheered on Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin, who took the stage to kickstart the event that ran Aug. 5-7.

Buterin cited zero-knowledge (zk) proofs and Soulbound tokens as major developments within the Ethereum ecosystem that could provide better privacy, better security and real-world use cases for users.

“With zk proofs, you are able to prove you are a human without actually revealing it. You are also able to have reputation systems where you can prove you have done or did not do something,” he said.

“With Soulbound tokens, which are non-transferable, you can prevent dumping and unequal allocations, leading to better governance and fairer token distributions,” Buterin added, referring to the parts of the crypto world filled with opportunistic developers and rug pulls.

That was a view shared by Janmajaya Mall and Barry Whitehat from the privacy and scaling team for the Ethereum Foundation. Mall and Whitehat said the concept of offchain microtransactions, or transfers of small tokens that are outside of a network, was a way to expand scalability for blockchain users while zk proofs improved the privacy aspect.

Nik Kunkel, developer at Ethereum lending and borrowing platform MakerDAO, summarized the problems and concerns brought about by the lack of transparency and actions of centralized institutions such as Celsius, BlockFi and Voyager, and introduced the concept of community consortiums.

“Essentially you want to onboard everybody in the community and every stakeholder to get consensus,” Kunkel said. “You are essentially betting that the entire community isn’t going to murder itself.”

Rahat Chowdhury, an engineer at blockchain network Polygon, emphasized the importance of security and user experience for achieving mass adoption.

“People who are in the space understand gas fees and why we need them, but those who aren’t native to Web3 don’t get it and don’t want to,” Rahat said. “We need to make apps more inviting to people that aren’t native to Web3 if we are to achieve mass adoption.”

Michael Blank, COO of network developer Polygon Studios, spoke on the challenges of bringing Web3 to the masses.

“We need to ask ourselves what additional value the technology provides to the one before it, how easy it is to enter and engage users, and how many repeat users there are,” Blank said.

The Ethereum Foundation’s Aqeel Mohammad expressed the need for more proof-of-stake validator nodes to be established in Korea and Asia to fulfil the aims of decentralization. Currently, the majority are in Europe and the U.S.

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Ethereum Foundation's Aqeel Mohammad ended the event with a session on the upcoming Merge. (CoinDesk)

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CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Shaurya is an analyst/editor for CoinDesk's markets team in Asia.

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