Understanding the Potential of Ethereum

Published on
December 22nd, 2016
19 minutes

Understanding the Potential of Ethereum

Cypherpunks beyond Bitcoin ·
Featuring Arthur Falls

Published on: December 22nd, 2016 • Duration: 19 minutes

Cryptocurrency expert Arthur Falls has spent the last two years exploring the new wave of projects in the Bitcoin and blockchain space and he’s become an expert in Ethereum, which has emerged as the dominant agreement network. Arthur runs through some of the practical applications currently in development using the Ethereum blockchain, with a number of consumer-based services set to appear in 2017.


  • RT
    Roman T.
    12 June 2019 @ 19:57
    Regarding his BHP mining example, a big issue in any blockchain is the accuracy and truthfulness of the entries to the blockchain. People can falsify records that will be recorded on the blockchain and there is no good measure to avoid this yet. Additionally blockchain are far overhyped solutions in search of problems. Bitcoin solved the store of value problem but most other blockchains are in essence very expensive database solutions to other problem where we already have much cheaper existing database solutions. In so many cases simply throwing your problems on the blockchain solves nothing but adds cost.
  • bs
    bob s.
    18 January 2018 @ 15:58
    Are there other chains with lower market cap with similar technology or better?
    • JW
      Joakim W.
      28 April 2018 @ 13:57
      Cheack EOS. It's similar at least
  • AL
    Alex L.
    23 May 2017 @ 06:03
    Presenter did a good job of explaining the concept behind Ethereum, but like others even with a basic understanding of blockchain I can't help but wonder how the Ethereum blockchain can possibly support the billions if not trillions or even quadrillions of transactions that such a fanciful future would entail, all using complex and probably large amounts of data that have to sync across the entire network... Anyone got a Yottabyte hard drive and terrabit fiber connection?
    • AW
      Anak W.
      18 December 2017 @ 07:36
      when we all connect to internet which connect to all the website, we don't need to have all the data on our computer right? so this is the same idea here.
  • DD
    Derek D.
    22 December 2016 @ 16:36
    As a retailer, I'd love to learn more about entrepreneurial opportunities to bring cryptocurrencies, digital gold payments, etc. to consumers and my retail colleagues. I want to push it mainstream.
    • TS
      Thomas S.
      6 July 2017 @ 15:49
      Excellent point. You should open an account at goldmoney.com It remains a mystery to me why goldmoney has not taken off yet. Yes, I understand that goldbugs don't like Soros being an investor, and yes I understand the CEO is young and still believes the World Gold Council actually works in support of gold. But the fact of the matter is it provides good value as a savings and transaction facilitator outside the banking system using fully allocated physical gold and silver as money. Debt free money.
  • GG
    George G.
    22 December 2016 @ 16:27
    '' Everyone is familiar with bitcoin'' is incorrect. Most are familiar with the word ''bitcoin'' but still do not understand it or its value. I do not know Mr Falls background in crypto currencies but would be more comfortable having Vitalik Buterin. the founder of Etherium explain his creation. Bitcoin experts are of the opinion that should any alt coin emerge offering an undeniable value then Bitcoin can adopt it. The qualities that Etherium offers like smart contracts can be adopted by Bitcoin via lightning networks and side chains. Etherium is currently trading at about 1/100 the the price of bitcoin. Some very smart people are involved so it is worth keeping an eye on
    • CP
      Cole P.
      28 May 2017 @ 10:17
      now it's at 1/20th, and moving fast.
  • LS
    Lorenz S.
    25 December 2016 @ 15:47
    Should have discussed the price also. ETH (not ETC) chart looks like crap. If the current level (~0.008) does not hold we will see prices from the beginning of the year, maybe even lower. With bitcoin possibly challenging its all time highs in the coming weeks this is going to be a very tough test. Kathleen, I agree. They should never have hardforked. They pay the price (literally) now.
    • CP
      Cole P.
      28 May 2017 @ 10:15
      I love reading these types of comments later on. We only wish we could buy more at that level now.
  • KE
    Kenan E.
    13 January 2017 @ 14:02
    Paul N. explained the problems with Proof-of-Stake... But even BitCoin which has a far better design (It does what a basic, lower layer should do and expects the applications relying on it to implement additional functionality) has problems with its Proof-of...-system. It only works when the computing power securing the network is distributed enough. When you get only a handful of different parties doing the mining (AKA run the system) those parties will have the ability to do with the blockchain whatever they like to do. This is a real problem (e.g. see https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/184427-one-bitcoin-group-now-controls-51-of-total-mining-power-threatening-entire-currencys-safety).
  • KE
    Kenan E.
    13 January 2017 @ 13:52
    Well -- he should have talked a little more about the problems in the ethereum design. But Paul N. did a good job summing everything up. I also think there was another video on RVTV which explained much of this, wasnt it? (Maybe by Tuur Demester??).
  • AC
    Andrew C.
    8 January 2017 @ 03:38
    @Arthur... as a geologist your BHP-B example is of interest to me. But actually once the lab tests are done, the results/reports become more valuable than the rock sample (particularly as some tests are destructive). Yes the gov'n still wants the rock, but the test data usually gets lost. Many, many, many hours are wasted trying to find "original" reports and then many more hours are spent trying to verify some file found on the pc of some long-retired geologist. Does the system keep the reports and results as verified/certified data, as well as the chain of custody record?
  • JM
    James M.
    2 January 2017 @ 13:08
    Dear RV team, please go back to publishing the "filmed date". It is really a very useful and important piece of information. Sure we may moan when we see a 2 month old video but you produce excellent material and we understand there will be reasons for the delay. But to deny this information does not seem fair.
  • PN
    Paul N.
    1 January 2017 @ 05:26
    Firstly, I'll say that out of all the altcoins that exist, Ethereum is one of the few which is genuinely different to Bitcoin and is not a copycat. Ethereum has also helped to draw a lot of attention to the space, some good and some bad. However there are fundamental flaws in its architecture: 1. Architecture and Scalability - ETH is designed in such a way that all of these smart contracts and complex applications are processed at the base layer, meaning every node has to execute these things. This has led to multiple breakdowns in the network this quarter alone, and continuous hard-forks to fix them, as every new kind of app introduces new bugs. Fundamentally networks cannot scale with such a large attack surface. Bitcoin's base layer is highly reliable because it only does one thing (transfer value in the form of BTC) and any complex apps are going to be built on network layers above it. This is how the internet itself has scaled - its base layer of transferring bits of data is simple and reliable. In addition, the need to process and store these complex applications on the base layer has massively bloated the Ethereum blockchain with the problem likely to get worse. Ethereum's blockchain at 1.5 years old is already larger than the Bitcoin blockchain at 8 years old. Bitcoin is already running into scalability problems with its relatively simple, safe design and Ethereum's is far worse. 2. Proof of Stake - ETH is going to be shifting toward a non-mining consensus system called Proof of Stake. Instead of mining, ETH will trust the verification of their blockchain to the largest holders of ETH tokens, with the view that (a) mining is a waste of electricity and (b) those holders would never mess with the blockchain as it would harm their own interests. However this system is fundamentally flawed as there is no cost to attack the network consensus (see: Nothing at Stake problem) and is ultimately a delegated consortium of trusted actors - not a decentralized system. Mining is not a waste of electricity. It is what secures the blockchain. It is the actual solution to the problem Bitcoin solves - the ability to generate network consensus amongst untrusting actors (See: the Byzantine Generals problem). Participation in the network consensus MUST have a cost. 3. A Central Authority - Even without Proof-of-Stake, the collapse of the DAO and the ability of the Ethereum Foundation to unilaterally decide to reverse their blockchain and give DAO investors their money back has created a huge (and familiar) moral hazard in the ETH ecosystem. One of the major purposes of the blockchain is not to have a central authority, and in doing so to prevent the kinds of bail-outs, censorship, and short-term thinking that occurs as a result of central planning. If a government can strong-arm the Ethereum Foundation to censor or reverse ethereum transactions in the future then (even if their intentions are good) the entire experiment has been a waste.
  • PS
    Patrick S.
    26 December 2016 @ 20:22
    Of value to your subscribers. Many thanks
  • PS
    Patrick S.
    26 December 2016 @ 20:22
    Milton. Thank you for presenting an alternative view to BTC. The comments section is revealing. A discussion/debate on the uses and value of BTC vs ETH and other ALT coins is something that could be o
  • TA
    Trevor A.
    25 December 2016 @ 04:02
    As someone in the cryptocurrency industry I want to point out that Ethereum is a poor demonstration of cryptocurrency. Ethereum is mostly hype, it does not scale, the economics of decentralization are not considered and there is not one real business using the technology beyond testing. Decentralization is expensive therefore it is generally best suited to underserved markets. Put simply, Bitcoin is a bearer asset while Ethereum is an expensive database with a limited future. Real Vision should consider covering asset protocols next.
  • GF
    Guillaume F.
    24 December 2016 @ 09:16
    And the ETH pumpers are back... ETH has major flaws and no real utility (you can automate things w/o blockchains...). Please get better guests on crypto (Tuur is great for example).
  • SD
    Shyam D.
    24 December 2016 @ 07:56
    Forget being perfect and scalable right now, internet had these problems in 1994. Focus big picture. Both ethereum and bitcoin will succeed for different reasons.
  • NU
    Neale U.
    24 December 2016 @ 02:09
    Some resources for those who'd like to explore further: "What is Ethereum" - http://ethdocs.org/en/latest/introduction/what-is-ethereum.html; google "Introducing Ethereum" "Piper Merriam"; google "Ethereum For Everyone" "Paul Jones"; google "OMG, Ethereum Is So Hard Forked" "Joseph Lubin". Also, see YouTube for videos featuring Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood, Joseph Lubin. And, of course, https://ethereum.org/
  • BK
    Bruce K.
    23 December 2016 @ 23:29
    Like most of the people discussing Bitcoin, the speaker clearly does not understand blockchain technology. Ethereum (and Bitcoin, for that matter) hold great potential, but how can people get comfortable if the workings of the underlying blockchain technology is lttle but hand waving? Learn about blockchain technology: it is both novel and fascinating. Then you can judge Ethereum and its applications for yourself.
  • LP
    Lawrence P.
    23 December 2016 @ 16:42
    would have loved discussion around the value of buying actual ethereum (coins?) versus the usability of the blockchain underlying it as retail "investors" can only interface with the coin.
  • CM
    Carl M.
    23 December 2016 @ 04:49
    ...and as applied to derivative markets and inflated asset classes, can it distill systems as complex as these?
  • CM
    Carl M.
    23 December 2016 @ 04:07
    At the very least, the retail, comerce application is huge. Apply this technology to import/export systems ......looks like Amazom might have just aquired the port of Los Angeles
  • JS
    Jon S.
    22 December 2016 @ 23:50
    I don't get it. First, define the problem, then present a solution. This presentation was fits and starts intermixed with possible analogies. Perhaps I missed something, but I do not see the purpose of Ethereum.
  • KS
    Kathleen S.
    22 December 2016 @ 21:57
    Ethereum is crap, I do not trust any organization that picks winners and losers, after the Dao debackle they should never have hard forked -- they did because founders of Ethereum did not want to take loses (too bad, you made a mistake you pay the price, no do overs). When a plane crashes there is no do over , thus air travel becomes safter. I do not trust Ethereum.
  • KO
    Kieran O.
    22 December 2016 @ 18:02
    We need a crypto currency roundtable/debate!
  • TH
    Timo H.
    22 December 2016 @ 16:37
    He forgot to mention the big issues of Ethereum: lousy performance/scalability and non-existing data privacy. Both alone are showstoppers for financial applications.
  • AA
    ALI A.
    22 December 2016 @ 15:43
    Not very well explained