2017/11/27(Mon.)[Student Club-Baichuan Seminar] Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin speaks about the application and future of blockchain technology
Activity day:2017-12-05 
Published At:2017-12-05 
Views:1181  2017-12-20 updated
**The article's quoted from No.12 epaper of Student Club**

Blockchain technology and its application is currently one of the hottest issues. As China moved in September to prohibit ICO funding while the price of Bitcoin surpasses USD 10,000 per unit, people have begun to wonder if virtual currencies are a viable investment and is the application of blockchain technologies secure enough? Will it be another tech bubble similar to the DotComs, or will it be a chance to overturn societal norms to create new opportunity?

Blockchain technology gained recognition through its use in Bitcoin; however, the majority of blockchain development is happening in Ethereum Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum has been hailed a wunderkind and he has accepted the invitation to the Blockchain Reading Club from National Taiwan University’s EMBA student council and FinTech Industry Development Association. Vitalik joins us on the evening of 11/27 at NTU’s College of Management to discuss the underlying technology and future applications of blockchains through sharing and exchanges with EMBA alumni and professionals from multiple industries. 

Vitalik began by explaining the core concept of decentralization in blockchains through the development of decentralized networks; for example, peer-to-peer data transfer is viable, but there are other challenges in digital currency transactions in a decentralized network. The first challenge is the issue of double spending. When someone has NTD 100 and wants to do a NTD 200 transaction, if this transaction can’t be certified the value of the New Taiwan Dollar would plummet to the Zimbabwe currency. We need a blockchain system that allows the first NTD 100 transaction, but blocks the second and subsequent transactions. 

He then went out to explain how the eco-system of blockchains operate. There are 2 key points in Bitcoin mining, the first is the mechanism of anonymity that prevents miners from being controlled by specific institutions and the second is an award mechanism that attracts people and makes them willing to become miners. Mining is actually just downloading and installing basic software, verifying that the computer has the appropriate computing power, then obtaining the rights of a Block to further gain rewards. Compared to any centralized financial institution, the decentralization mechanism is far safer; hackers must attack more than half of this system to destroy this decentralized mechanism. Building a centralized system with high security is very expensive, so why not use decentralized blockchain technology to build a cost-effective system. Furthermore, building a new application that can achieve global trust requires good company reputation and government permissions and other mechanisms; rather than spend huge costs on advertising, it’s better to use the trust mechanism in blockchains to reduce related costs. 

Smart contracts are an important characteristic of the Ethereum blockchain, similar to a vending machine. The application directly controls digital assets and allocates assets according to a preset order based on agreed upon rules; this doesn’t require a middle man and situations such as edited or deleted data doesn’t occur. Ethereum has been used in e-Voting, anonymous identification, and international humanitarian aid such as U.N. organizations using Ethereum blockchains to provide assistance to refugees and recording details for further tracking. These uses far surpass simple digital currency transactions and give blockchains a broader application and value, establishing new and trusted social relationships. Globally, there are currently many decentralized blockchain apps (Dapps) being produced that are worth a deeper understanding and participation.

The second portion involved exchanges between Vitalik and NTU Information Management professor Cao Cheng-Chu, who’s familiar with blockchain technology and the audience. The audience asked many questions in regards to the technological aspect to development and application. In regards to the question of whether the ICO will become a bubble, Vitalik stated that traditional funding methods aren’t necessarily better, and that even if there’s only a 20% chance to change the world it would be worth it. Furthermore, although the platform technology of blockchains isn’t completely mature, but choosing a platform requires evaluating the technological aspect but also understanding the number of application vase volume and maturity. In the beginning this can be done through small scale testing but after a few years, he believes that when technology and application both mature, we’ll be able to see their true value. At the end of the event, professor Cao Cheng-Chu concluded that he hoped that through Vitalik, Ethereum could greatly impact society through revolution and innovation.