Recently, MIT Technology Review published a popular article titled: “Vitalik Buterin says his creation can’t succeed unless he takes a step back.” Inside the article, there’s an interview MIT conducted with Vitalik Buterin at the Ethereum Devcon4 conference, held in Prague last week.
While the article’s title seems to imply Vitalik is planning on leaving Ethereum, this is seemingly not the case. In a Twitter conversation, Bitcoin price analyst Tone Vays accuses Buterin of “getting ready to pull a Dan Larimer.” For reference, Dan Larimer is the creator of BitShares, Steemit, and EOS, who has been criticized for leaving projects behind and moving onto different ventures. Buterin answered:
1. I am not leaving. No plans to stop or reduce blog posts / ethresearch posts / github commits.2. Vitalik is "in charge": ETH is centralized! Vitalik is not "in charge": Vitalik is pulling a Dan Larimer! This is why BTC maximalists have zero credibility.— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) November 2, 2018
From there, Vays followed-up by asking Buterin if he is saying the headline and subheadlines in the article are innacurate. Buterin responded:
Umm.... this is MSM we're talking about. So, yes.— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) November 2, 2018
Therefore, it seems that MIT’s article is reaching a bit, and that Buterin will not be “stepping back” from Ethereum.
Despite this controversial article, Vitalik Buterin’s involvement in Ethereum has been an ongoing point of contention for the cryptocurrency community. Although Ethereum is a decentralized network, composed of thousands of nodes, developers, users, and advocates, some have described Buterin as a “benevolent dictator” who leads the way.
Although Buterin is responsible for Ethereum’s creation, and is heavily involved in ETH’s research team, many argue that his role has been shrinking. Hudson Jameson, member of the Ethereum Foundation, has been quoted as saying that Buterin is “out of the decision-making in a lot of ways," and that “that’s something that I think is really really important for the ecosystem to thrive and become more decentralized.”
Why is there so much concern about Buterin’s involvement in Ethereum? The reason is no cryptocurrency wants to be centralized around one person. Having a leader creates a single point of failure, and in the case of Ethereum, Buterin’s disappearance could be a threat to the community. Some believe Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, disappeared to make sure the cryptocurrency didn’t depend on him.
Buterin seems to agree his infleunce over Ethereum has to start decreasing over time, as in his MIT Technology Review interview he said that it’s “a necessary part of the growth of the community.” Nonetheless, he said, his involvement in the project has amounted to “a significantly smaller share of the work than I had two or three years ago,” adding that downsizing his influence is “something we are definitely making a lot of progress on.”