Crypto-economics is the future, says Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin

For Joseph Lubin, cryptocurrency makes for a profound political stance against centralised economies. At an event hosted by Bengaluru-based Blockchained India at IIIT Hyderabad, techies became aware of the Canadian entrepreneur’s remarkable background in a number of technological subcultures, which inexorably led him to his current position as COO of Ethereum and the Founder of ConsenSys, which, of course, propelled him to godfather status in the blockchain world.

Power away from the centre

“Cryptocurrency was just the first application on blockchain; there will be more to come,” he says. “Cryptocurrency is part of the movement of taking all the foundational technologies and making them natively digital, so that we can all make them more accessible. We’re moving pretty quickly towards an integrated society, sans borders, through these advancements.”

Cryptocurrency as a narrative technology presents a whole new paradigm of interactions across ages. While we’re observing plenty of engagement with Ethereum from the younger generations, Lubin and his team get particularly excited when people who’ve spent years in the traditional system, lean into cryptocurrency investments. “This technology is so profound that we’re seeing older and formerly jaded people in the financial industry and technology industry getting excited, especially having come from a position where they’re resigned to systems they believe. Yes, younger people drive innovation, but this level of interaction is considerably telling of the ecosystem in which we’re living.”

Lubin delves into the technological affordabilities of Ethereum, which he brought into the world in 2014, along with its initial founding father, Vitalik Buterin. Buterin had first presented the Ethereum white paper in 2013, which caught the eye of Lubin, and shortly after, the two met and Ethereum materialised. Then Lubin brought about ConsenSys, his brainchild that would maintain and develop the performance standards of blockchain technologies like Ethereum. In fact, India alone has observed $3.5 billion worth of transactions in the past 17 months, in an industry that continually racks up an additional 2,00,000 users each month.

With the largely positive public response towards Ethereum and ConsenSys in mind, Lubin believes crypto-economics will be a whole new realm of banking in the near future. Ultimately, it allows for many different players on a peer-to-peer network to come into sync with one another on a decentralised ledger or entity like Ethereum.

Ethereum’s growth, and otherwise

Ethereum, being the biggest blockchain technology, is driven by the millions of Ether being sold and bought every day, usually by developers, and then used to run applications and even to monetise work. Now, the physiology of crypto-token realms has garnered interest from the ‘regular’ person looking to make a little bit more money.

“The uptake has been pretty rapid,” he comments. “So when you compare the activity between now and three years ago, the interest and activity are a lot more intense now. Back then, we were working 24/7 — I haven’t had a vacation since January 2014! There was an exponential rise in the beginning and now we’re in the flat of the exponential curve, and as it starts getting steeper, there will be different implications for how human consciousness or human cognitive ability can deal with it. So it’s been overwhelming for quite a while. I was pretty confident that the technologies would take off, and it’s startling to see it happen.

Blockchain has the potential to reduce infrastructure costs by an average of 30% for eight of the world’s ten biggest banks. That equates to annual cost savings of $8-12 billion.

After all, seeing the global response to cryptocurrency has culminated into a whole new banking entity. “This enables many different actors in these decentralised shared systems to be incentivised to contribute their resources to the system, and to validate transactions on the system. In 2012, there were many groups of people around the world who were realising that this decentralised money, which was very much about ‘by the people, for the people’, was a great idea. But the underlying technology was even more profound and we should figure out ways to build many different applications for that trustful infrastructure.”

While the Ethereum platform is doing remarkably well worldwide, a recent and shattering crash in crypto and a few ponzi schemes has seen India’s Income Tax Department send notices to cryptocurrency traders. ConsenSys has opened up a headquarters in Dubai which has been largely well-received. So is their break into India’s market welcome?

Lubin explains that there’s still much to learn with regard to the blockchain climate here, as well as policy, so setting up an education for working with crypto is key — and that’s where community organisations like Blockchained India play middleman.

The scope value for blockchain and crypto-economics in India alone lies in the billions and we’re just getting warmed up.

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