Alex Saunders: The Evolution of Ethereum

Published on
January 8th, 2021
58 minutes

Alex Saunders: The Evolution of Ethereum

The Interview - Crypto ·
Featuring Alex Saunders and Raoul Pal

Published on: January 8th, 2021 • Duration: 58 minutes

Alex Saunders, founder & CEO of Nugget's News, joins Real Vision CEO Raoul Pal to discuss how he discovered Ethereum, the creation of Nugget's News, and the evolution of Ethereum since its inception. Saunders describes how he initially heard about Ethereum because of its initial coin offering (ICO) and how since then there have been many important upgrades that have improved its capabilities. He shares some of its failures, such as The DAO, and also some of the major improvements that are in the Ethereum road map. Saunders also explains some of Ethereum's use cases that are working live in production today and his expectations for the future. Filmed on December 9, 2020. Key Learnings: New crypto projects evolve and change over time as Saunders clearly shows the dramatic ups and downs of the development cycle of Ethereum. Understanding the risks and potential upsides from changes made to the protocols enables viewers to make better decisions when investigating potential investment assets. This video describes some of the coming changes to Ethereum and may help users assess the risks or benefits to those changes.



  • TE
    Tom E.
    18 January 2021 @ 10:30
    Quality conversation.
  • NL
    Nicholas L.
    17 January 2021 @ 05:31
    Wonderful interview! Fascinating to hear how Alex started and really enjoy going on a journey with Raoul to understand the crypto/digital finance space. Both smart, curious, polite. More of this please RV!
  • CH
    Crag H.
    9 January 2021 @ 18:15
    Just checked the RV Crypto timeline. Out of 20 videos, 16 of them covered ETH or some other form of altcoin. Three of them covered crypto in general and only one of them covered Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Jack Mallers announces Strike Global which completely decapitates XRP and every other project that's trying to solve global remittances (Strike is built on top of BTC and LN). If RV paid any attention to the developments of BTC and it's related technologies they would be on top of these things. When is RV going to recognize that there's more to Bitcoin than "digital gold"? I mean, to repeatedly say stuff like that is not only wrong. It's also a bit arrogant. And ultimately it's doing your subscribers a disservice. Currently, you're literally obsessed with covering a failed projects relaunch. Ps. Dont' know why I keep writing these comments. Pretty sure it's pointless.
    • SW
      Steve W.
      9 January 2021 @ 22:38
      absolutely true, RV are dazzled by the lights on 'crypto' - won't be renewing I don't think. Have seen some great interviews on here in other areas but their bitcoin coverage is not great.
    • CH
      Crag H.
      10 January 2021 @ 09:03
      I'm torn. I'm one of the early subscribers and I still remember the days when everything was long format and extremely high quality. They still produce some of this content in the macro 'tier' and I appreciate their daily briefings. But overall the quality have gone down dramatically the past few years. This became especially apparent when they launched the crypto tier. This content literally bring zero value to me. Everything in this tier can be seen or heard on other podcasts or shows for free. And the degree of insight/thoughtfulness of the team behind this tier seem to be fairly low. Don't mean that in a bad way, we all have our own journey in this space. But the RV subscribers are paying for premium content and they're not getting it.
    • MK
      Michael K.
      10 January 2021 @ 17:14
    • bp
      brent p.
      10 January 2021 @ 17:17
      Part of the beauty of BTC is that it doesn't change every week. BTC is not the place to look for innovation it is the place to look for relative stability. Why would they cover something that is largely irrelevant?
    • CH
      Crag H.
      10 January 2021 @ 18:16
      @Brent: Largely irrelevant? Bitcoin is the ONLY relevant thing in the entire space. If Bitcoin fails EVERYTHING fails. And Bitcoin DOES change. It's just that it's changing in a safe and thoughtful way that doesn't break things (they way engineering should be done). The ETH process is a joke in comparison. It's like comparing 10 kids building legos together to a BMW production line. And we've always known that once the BTC base layer ossifies the developments of the layers on top will accelerate. This is happening as we speak, yet RV pays no attention. Because, you know. Bitcoin is just "digital gold". Embarrassing.
    • JR
      James R.
      12 January 2021 @ 04:56
      As they said, if you don't like it, short it.
    • JD
      John D.
      12 January 2021 @ 13:39
      Few understand this. RV is not for bitcoiners, just move on somewhere else.
    • CH
      Crag H.
      12 January 2021 @ 16:09
      @James: I hope you're 100x leveraged long on ETH? I mean, you can't be bullish if you're not. @John: RV most certainly IS for Bitcoiners. Raoul was a *very* early bull and he still is. "RV Crypto" on the other hand seems to be aimed at people who missed the 2017 ICO craze and just want the hype sauce. No fundamentals. No scrutiny. Just moon.
    • JB
      Jamie B.
      14 January 2021 @ 11:29
      @CragH - BTC is in the unique position of being positioned perfectly as it is, I'm not sure why BTC should be anything else. Why adapt something that is basically pristine as it is, into something else? There is room for BTC & ETH and one thousand other quality projects given the magnitude of what the disruption of blockchain is facilitating. The space is young and there will be failures but the progression of disruption is undeniable and BTC cannot be all things to all people. And nor should it be.
    • CH
      Crag H.
      14 January 2021 @ 20:34
      @Jamie B: You still seem to believe that Bitcoin is a finished product. Look closer. The Bitcoin universe is just getting started.
  • LC
    Leon C.
    10 January 2021 @ 13:13
    Can we please have a disclaimer when guests are pumping bags they own. That’s the responsible thing to do! Is Alex a decentraland bag holder?
    • AD
      Alexander D.
      10 January 2021 @ 17:38
      I think we have to have a base assumption that just like the tokens which the ETH core crowd talked about doing well/outperforming in the past, Alex would have some stake in the token he talks about Enjin or Mana (for Decentraland). But this same thought should be triggered when another interviewee is talking about something on RV on a different topic.
    • CD
      Christopher D.
      10 January 2021 @ 20:15
      He always mentions it but i still dont know what exactly the thing is about. Safe to assume he owns it, it would be nice to know why.
    • AS
      Alex S.
      12 January 2021 @ 00:39
      Yes I generally have 1% positions in these small projects I like the fundamentals of. My portfolio is transparent for all to see on our website platform.
    • JB
      Jamie B.
      14 January 2021 @ 11:06
      If we were on YouTube I would agree with you wholeheartedly. However! On RV If you gain value from someone's perspective and they give you the insight of their opinions, its a very safe bet that they invested in what they discuss. If they didn't you just couldn't trust them. Alex is a very trusted source on this platform and extremely switched on. You could do a lot worse by NOT taking note of what he mentions because it's rare for him to openly promote anything. Important to know who to listen to in this space and Alex is someone you can rely on for an overall quality perspective. Did you get value from this discussion?
  • LO
    Lard O.
    14 January 2021 @ 05:52
    Great interview, thank you for sharing.
  • RD
    Ryan D.
    9 January 2021 @ 15:57
    Can someone tell me if his newsletter nugget news is worth it? Has anyone done the Pro member subscription at 199.op per month ? That’s not cheap- but I want to keep ahead of the game. Is this the best Newsletter or Pomp’s ? Any insights welcome !
    • DD
      David D.
      12 January 2021 @ 11:40
      I would skip Pomp.
    • TD
      Tijl D.
      14 January 2021 @ 01:36
      Membership has proven to be of value to me, especially to keep track of everything evolving in the cryptospace. There is much value to be found. Have spent days, if not weeks on their forum, educating myself, having a good structured space I can rely on for info that serves as a great guideline. Do not expect extremely detailed info and all experts, but a nuanced picture and thinking that helps you formulate and articulate a better view/understanding. Expect an efficient source that serves many people who simply cannot or will not afford all the time needed to do all necessary research. If you are somewhat new to the space, I can highly recommend them, 100% worth the money. Hope this helps.
  • bf
    bill f.
    13 January 2021 @ 17:46
    i like Alex's big picture views. i was a bit cynical before this interview but it was impressive what you saw in bitcoin before others did. can Ethereum scale with volume?
  • RI
    Richard I.
    13 January 2021 @ 14:14
    I'd love to hear Alex's views on some of the so called ETH Killers.... PolkaDot, Cardano, Elrond & Ziliqa to name a few. Will there be space for more than one Blockchain or can there be only one?
  • MA
    M A.
    9 January 2021 @ 14:36
    Request for comments/suggestions on dweb/web3.0/whateveryoucallit (eth is known already): - decentralized blockchain based storage projects with working product - decentralized blockchain based apps and/or app portals - decentralized blockchain based mutable DB's Alex mentioned also gaming platforms, does anyone know any? I'll start: Storage: - Sia / Filecoin / Storj - Proximax (under development) Apps: - Sia / Proximax (under development, both) DB: - Sia (under development) Gaming related: - Theta (video streaming, maybe something else in the future?) No wrong answers, just curious what there is. Also Alex was talking about coin indexes, that was interesting stuff also. Any pointers? Sure... I can delve to these on my own but why not do it with crowd :)
    • JD
      John D.
      12 January 2021 @ 13:42
      I love HNS. Solves single hair on fire problem - domain names. Is compatible with current DNS and respects current domain owners so transition could be smooth. Still cheap.
  • DD
    David D.
    12 January 2021 @ 11:45
    I like Alex's perspective in this and other videos.
  • PT
    Peter T.
    9 January 2021 @ 22:11
    Is it just me or do you also get this terrible lag with all the videos? Is there something I am missing?
    • DO
      David O.
      11 January 2021 @ 03:09
      honestly, I'm not seeing any lag/stutter at all, but my connection is very fast
    • DD
      David D.
      12 January 2021 @ 11:37
      not a problem on my end
  • JD
    JM D.
    12 January 2021 @ 00:51
    Thank you, Raoul, for having Alex. Superb.
  • AS
    Adrian S.
    12 January 2021 @ 00:50
    Great interview gentleman!
  • JG
    JAMES G.
    11 January 2021 @ 14:45
    Very interesting to see Ethereum’s trajectory based off of past and current development. I wish Alex or someone like him could begin to disrupt the medical structure like finance is being worked on now. Insurance, hospitals and drug and Pharma need to be disrupted for the benefit of the many. No better way to do it then from the free market.
  • DO
    David O.
    11 January 2021 @ 03:08
    Wow... I've invested maybe a hundred hours in researching crypto... and this interview is the best 45 minutes I've ever invested... a great story combined with a deep, deep understanding... absolute kudos to you Alex, you are a flipping genius. Raoul, this was a GREAT interview :)
  • ac
    adam c.
    10 January 2021 @ 14:15
    I love how his early understanding and faith was able to see through the early hiccups and very high volititlity. He must be really reaping the rewards now good luck to him. :-)
  • TP
    Timothy P.
    8 January 2021 @ 18:31
    Another ETH-centric interview, another raft of badly researched statements. Oh, and bonus for the usual "Bitcoin Maximalist" (The Vitalik Buterin slur) and "Tribal", among other stalwart components of RV crypto. "(ETH) is a platform not a currency" < goes on later to talk about price appreciation in ETH > "Bitcoin never changes" - Oh I see, so SegWit never happened? Or Lightning? Or Schnorr signatures (incoming) or Taproot (incoming)? Does RV even do any due diligence on the falsehoods that come out of people's mouths? Apparently not. ETH total coin issuance -- "Its negligible, and it has been blown out of proportion" -- the honest facts are that ETH doesn't care about its issuance. They never did, since the mechanism to increase the supply resides with the 13~ or so ETH devs who tweak things here and there. Maybe a few extra pills in a bottle doesn't bother a former pharmacist, but a few extra tokens certainly bothers people who know crypto. Adding "burning" is just another after-thought, and the statement "But ETH isn't competing on Bitcoin on monetary policy" is outright laughable. If anything ETH borrowed quite a bit, from the BIP (Bitcoin Improvement Proposal) Called EIP's on ETH, to the use of a "difficulty bomb" which is loosely based on how BTC's difficulty works, but they kick the can every now and then because hard decisions are hard. But hey, everyone pile in, "DeFi" is the new craze now - and we pinky-swear all those projects are super-legit (lol SushiSwap) and you won't lose money, for realz. Now go mortgage your house and pile in to ETH. The market is a better teacher than any post I can make.
    • AH
      8 January 2021 @ 20:36
      Yeah I'm just missing something fundamental that Ethereum people believe in: why is it that "deFi" HAS to be on ethereum instead of just layered on bitcoin? Makes no sense to me. If RP wants to tout it as a decent "VC"-type play, then I can understand that. But this conversation reminds me of people trying to talk about quantum physics. It's just completely... incomplete! For example... there's a smart contract layer on bitcoin now, so why do I need ethereum? There's like this religion that assumes you need ethereum...................... until bitcoin shows that we don't.
    • CH
      Crag H.
      9 January 2021 @ 17:52
      @Timothy: I applaude you for still trying to call out RV on their one sided ETH takes. I think it's because the RV stance is "it will be a great trade" rather than thinking of it in fundamental terms. They're simply not interested in whether or not it's a good technology or not. It's unfortunate, because many will loose money on this in the long run. @Alex H: Completely agree. The "smart contract platforms" will cannibalize on each other until the same functionality gets implemented into Bitcoin. After that, these things will simply die off. Also a comment on Raoul's use of analogies: He uses the gold analogy for BTC, the application platform analogy for ETH and the VC analogy for DeFi simply because he's not competent enough to understand what these things really are. Now, I don't hold this against him at all. Only technologists have a reasonable chance to get these things. But by dumbing things down to that level he's leading a lot of investors into instruments that they have no clue about. And that's bad because 99% of these instruments are not good investments.
    • CU
      Christian U.
      10 January 2021 @ 07:25
      Bitcoin Maxis could just shut up and not worry about ETH and all the value that is generated on it. I agree with you ETH does compete with BTC. I sold some of my BTC for it and most of my investment energy goes into it, because the value all the projects are building on ETH compounds. ETH has consistently outperformed BTC, i put 2% of my BTC into it in the beginning, now its the majority of my portfolio. Had I put all my btc into ETH i would be 70x more richer today. You don't need to take part of it, just like fiat and wall street investors do not need buy btc. But stop talking nonsense about something you seem to not comprehend. Bitcoin loves centralized exchanges, centralized mining and and a company that controls most of bitcoin and its development. Some of us, prefer decentralized and open systems for those DeFi is a valuable solution.
    • CH
      Crag H.
      10 January 2021 @ 09:16
      @Christian: Your profits in ETH and DeFi seem to blind you. I urge you to think about these systems from a fundamental perspective and not from an investment perspective. - Which system have a higher chance of becoming the worlds best decentralized, open, politically neutral, programmable money system? - How easy is it to run a BTC node compared to an ETH node? - How easy is it to maintain the BTC code base compared to the ETH code base? - What does the governance process look like in these systems? - What infrastructure choke points are there? Any differences in the two? - What does the security profile look like in POW compared to POS? Why are ETH *really* transitioning to POS? And speaking of profits: Have a look at the BTC/ETH chart. ETH is *down* 78% from it's ATH in 2017. Just holding BTC would have been much more profitable than holding on to ETH.
  • DW
    Dean W.
    8 January 2021 @ 19:02
    Good interview, especially for people who aren't yet familiar with Alex. However, I didn't hear anything that addresses two concerns I have regarding Ethereum. Issue 1) Someone posted on the Exchange a link to the following article that makes a strong case that while the original ETH was not considered to be a security although it may once been, ETH 2.0 is a strong candidate for meeting the criteria for being a security. I'd love for RV to bring Peter Van Valkenburgh on to discuss Coin Center's perspective on whether ETH 2.0 could be classified as a security and the implications of that. Issue 2) RV and Alex appear to accept as a fait accompli that the technical battle over what platform will be the primary smart contracting platform going forward into the next decade is over and it will be Ethereum. Perhaps it will, I'm not writing it off but the reality is that Ethereum has never had any real competition for that role yet. That should soon change with the first parachain auction on DOT sometime early this year, along with competition from Cardano, Cosmos and other platforms. From what I can tell, DOT appears to be everything that ETH 2.0 aspires to hopefully achieve by 2023, except DOT is here in 2021. Because of projects like Moonbeam, every ERC-20 token will be able to easily migrate to DOT. DOT should offer greater computing efficiency than ETH, which will lead to lower transaction (i.e., gas) fees. I don't see why many tokens would not migrate to faster, cheaper platforms than ETH. To date, RV hasn't brought on any leaders from projects that can be expected to seriously compete with Ethereum. It would be great to have Gavin Wood or Charles Hoskinson or one of their representative on to discuss their projects and how they relate to ETH. Will be interesting to see how all of this plays out over the next few years. RV, keep up the great work!
    • OQ
      OLIVIER Q.
      8 January 2021 @ 23:17
      Amen Dean. You have laid out perfectly what I wanted to add in the comment section. Alex is sentimental about ETH and I feel like he often lacks objectivity or curiosity for what is not in the ETH ecosystem. ETH has proven use cases and all the credit goes to ETH for this. But it cannot scale. When the network is congested, fees skyrocket above 100$ mark. All decentralised exchanges and Defi app loose money and users. And crypto is only a small niche overall, with less than a million daily users. ETH 2.0 will try te replicate, in 2 years time at best, what DOT already offers, and what ADA is going to deliver in Q12021, after 5 years of development. ETH sounds to me like that Netscape or Internet Explorer that launched internet but has never manage to catch up with Firefox and Chrome, even despite launching Edge later on. The tech and the architecture don't seem to be in ETH's favor. Time will tell. There is on top a risk that ETH 2.0 is a security. As an investor the above does not work for me. It may be ok for others. It's a market. But I have personnally taken actions, started to take profits on ETH and I invested on ADA over the past months for the team and their leader Charles hoskinson and the tech they are delivering. Good luck !
    • CU
      Christian U.
      10 January 2021 @ 07:30
      To your first point: It does not matter if ETH is a security or not in some country. Who cares. The SEC does not control or own ETH and cannot impact its growth. to the 2nd: There have been hundreds of competitors for ETH and I am sure there will be more. We will see if dot can make anything happen. All the projects of matter are on ETH right now and this network effect will be hard to beat.
  • IG
    Iason G.
    9 January 2021 @ 20:11
    no, not anyone can run a full (true) node on Ethereum
    • MA
      M A.
      10 January 2021 @ 06:50
      That is true, anyone wishing to run full node needs to read and learn some skills about a) computers b) ethereum - luckily all that information is available for free. Apart of the HW costs, one does not need money (or investment in ethereum) to run ethereum node (archive, full, light: each of these have different disk requirements). If you have no investment in ethereum, running a node is quite altruistic act :) However, not anyone can run any full node of any blockchain.
  • df
    darth f.
    8 January 2021 @ 09:15
    Excellent. What is the documentary referred to several times in this video?
    • RG
      Rahul G.
      8 January 2021 @ 10:32
      Realvision did a 90 min doc on ETH that Alex did a lot of the interviewing for.
    • LM
      Laura M.
      8 January 2021 @ 10:48
      Darth F, here it is!
    • CH
      Crag H.
      9 January 2021 @ 17:57
      "Documentary" It's an infomercial. Complete joke of a documentary. Zero scrutiny or critical thinking.
  • IG
    Ignacio G.
    8 January 2021 @ 16:21
    Great conversation! ps. If you don't like it, short it!
    • CH
      Crag H.
      9 January 2021 @ 17:56
      If you like it, go 100x leveraged long!
  • GC
    Gregg C.
    9 January 2021 @ 14:20
    The world seems to be spinning ever faster and I think Ethereum and Bitcoin will be a valuable load stone to keep financially sane.
  • JA
    Josh A.
    9 January 2021 @ 10:30
    I’ve so much from watching these two Channels.. great to see them come together
  • jl
    johan l.
    9 January 2021 @ 09:21
    Good interview. The part Alex said about the community shunning / not paying attention to projects that Vitalik and crew didn't address on the forums is a feature as long as that isn't driven by Vitalik et al. favouring projects they are involved in over other projects that are actually more promising. if that happens, a feature becomes a bug really quickly as resources/liquidity are pushed into a path of more resistance for Ethereum as a whole. Current gas prices and Eth 2.0 being some years out makes me think that may have happened. A topic I would like for you to touch in the next time you talk is Layer 2 solutions, like, and how they both strengthen the Ethereum ecosystem, while also making industrial transaction / data heavy applications a possibility.
  • UJ
    Ulf J.
    9 January 2021 @ 06:08
    I think this year security token will have some attention it will be the next space to track attention. Great as always
  • DJ
    D J.
    8 January 2021 @ 16:39
    By the time the "ETH maxis" realise that the transfer to the new ethereum blockchain isnt going to solve the problem, the Flare network with avalanche protocol, on top of the XRPL will be live and leaving this failed project in the dust. Being first out the gate is exciting, running at the front of the pack fast and hard looks good to the uninitiated but the true winners are the ones who can make it to the finish line.
    • JL
      James L.
      8 January 2021 @ 18:12
      That sounds great. What's your favourite DAPP on the Flare network?
    • UJ
      Ulf J.
      9 January 2021 @ 06:06
  • TJ
    Tarpley J.
    9 January 2021 @ 00:16
    Excellent video
  • MS
    Michael S.
    9 January 2021 @ 00:10
    The double whammy, Raoul and Alex! Love it!
  • MH
    Matt H.
    8 January 2021 @ 22:28
    suppose - sorry!
  • MH
    Matt H.
    8 January 2021 @ 22:28
    very enjoyable - two good talkers - why does Alex refer to "we" when talking about crypto projects? supose it shows how engrained he is in it and its success
  • kh
    kurt h.
    8 January 2021 @ 20:50
    Two of my favourite financial knowledge resources (@Alex and @Raoul forgive me for calling you resources) again in an interview ... Thx !!! I have honestly never understood, why you would prefer BTC over ETH ... BTC is old technology store of value (I agree safe) ... ETH is store of value, smart contracts, world computer and off course one of the most intelligent persons in the world (Vitalik) I asm also big fan of polkadot ... The trio BTC , ETH and DOT will have a great future !!!
  • RG
    Raul G.
    8 January 2021 @ 20:45
    As a total newbie in crypto and investing, I am finding way too much noise out there. Everyone's an expert it seems. I put in many hours a day researching on my own. Somewhere along my journey of learning I stumble into the likes of Raoul and Alex. I am immensely benefiting from their macro view of this new world. Suddenly I don't feel alone anymore. So I finally pulled the trigger and bought ETH on Xmas eve, and so far...WOW!!! I really appreciate these interviews, great work guys!
  • FG
    Frode G.
    8 January 2021 @ 20:14
    Another amazing interview, thank you Raoul and Alex! I am simply stunned by the quality here at RealVision.
  • CE
    Cassidy E.
    8 January 2021 @ 19:57
    Absolutely wonderful, thank you both.
  • GT
    Guillaume T.
    8 January 2021 @ 19:48
    Cool content/topics. Would love to see more videos about how crypto brings value to digital files/creations in a work-from-home era. When everyone celebrates the rise of Netflix and other broadcast stations. The reality is that you can still find the content somewhere else for free. Everything is still being copy/duplicated. If values can be set to digital assets and or link to profiles. It could be a really interesting time. Maybe cleaning up digital waste (cost of storage/energy) at the same time?
  • MB
    Michael B.
    8 January 2021 @ 19:23
    Wow, f'ing wow, amazing content , many thanks
  • CL
    Claudia L.
    8 January 2021 @ 19:11
    Awesome video. Doesn't mention the recent advent of bridges between chains and cross-chain communication and how the smart contracts of established chains like Ethereum compile down to WASM format so they can be deployed on different chains when they're ready to scale, those that support the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).
  • GB
    Glenn B.
    8 January 2021 @ 18:41
    Another premium interview ...Alex knows his stuff, and of course Raoul knows the right questions to ask...
  • YB
    Y B.
    8 January 2021 @ 18:13
    Great interview from two great open minds. Thanks guys
  • KG
    Kris G.
    8 January 2021 @ 18:02
    When you see someone you highly respect have an a-ha moment... Thank you for everything, guys!
  • RM
    Robert M.
    8 January 2021 @ 16:44
    great interview. Raoul get this back every two months ... learned allot and made me think
  • PJ
    Peter J.
    8 January 2021 @ 16:20
    Brilliant, Alex very good as always!!!
  • AF
    Andrew F.
    8 January 2021 @ 11:15
    Loved it!
  • sS
    selim S.
    8 January 2021 @ 10:06
    thank you Alex and Raoul
  • DV
    David V.
    8 January 2021 @ 08:34
    Good episode.