On January 4, the co-creator of Ethereum appeared on Bankless’ podcast. Buterin also weighed in on Ethereum 2.0 and Layer 2 scaling options during a free-wheeling conversation.
Buterin called the emergence of NFTs “very exciting,” saying it has spurred many new participants into the crypto industry from the mainstream and artistic worlds.
“At the beginning of  there were only one or two Layer 2s on mainnet and they only supported a couple of applications, and now we have this thriving ecosystem.”
“To me, blockchains are about creating these innovative new ways to organize society,” Buterin said. “In some ways, what’s happening with artists being able to sell NFTs really is a realization of that spirit, because we actually are giving people who are creating art new business models — giving the creators of this thing is very valuable but often has a hard time getting business models, a new way to get funding.”
The “amazing” evolution of Layer 2 scaling was emphasised by Ethereum’s chief scientist, who described the technology as evolving “from theory to practise” during the course of 2021.
“At the beginning of  there were only one or two Layer 2s on mainnet and they […] only supported a couple of applications, and now we have this thriving ecosystem, and people are really experiencing what a Layer 2 Ethereum looks like first hand.”
Finally, Buterin emphasised “extremely intriguing and exciting” evolutions in the organisation of decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs), mentioning experiments with novel governance algorithms and real-world assets. He also mentioned the growing popularity of Sign-In With Ethereum, Proof-of-Humanity, and cross-Layer 2 bridges.
Buterin also stated that the Beacon Chain “proved itself” in 2021 in relation to Ethereum 2.0. Buterin emphasised the success of Ethereum’s Altair hard fork, calling it an “essential trial run for The Merge,” predicting that Ethereum’s widely awaited chain merge will be the Beacon Chain’s next hard fork.
Looking forward, Vitalik stated that Ethereum has made 50 percent progress toward completing its 2.0 vision, stressing the publishing of full technical specifications for the merging process as well as the deployment of support for light client protocols.
However, he said that “a lot of testing and auditing” still needs to be done before the network can transition away from Proof-of-Work consensus, in addition to “adding armour to make [Eth2] more robust against certain types of attack.”
Buterin also mentioned that the other phases of Ethereum’s 2.0 plan, The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge, are all progressing at the same time. Buterin also mentioned that the other phases of Ethereum’s 2.0 plan, The Surge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge, are all progressing at the same time.