ETH Network Turns 5, Vitalik Buterin Warns DeFi Users Are ‘Underestimating Smart Contract Risk’

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by Wanguba Muriuki · 4 min read
ETH Network Turns 5, Vitalik Buterin Warns DeFi Users Are ‘Underestimating Smart Contract Risk’
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Ethereum went live five years ago changing the entire blockchain and crypto sector with developers envisioning a new form of money and social interactions and it has so far revolutionized the nascent industry.

Five years ago, an ambitious project went live. The ETH network changed the landscape of the crypto and blockchain sector. The developers envisioned a world computer era that would change money and social interactions significantly. It was designed to push boundaries of what might be done using cryptography and distributed consensus. Ethereum had finally arrived.

Ethereum is a culture on its own ranging from technical aspirations to interesting unicorn memes. It has managed to spawn inventions like yield farming and digital cats that were previously unimaginable. It now faces a major overhaul dubbed Eth 2.0 which is meant to enable the network to keep up with market demands.

Since its launch on July 30, 2015, Ethereum has undergone multiple planned changes. The recent shift into proof-of-stake (PoS) has faced several delays. By February 2016, Ethereum had managed to become a major operator in the crypto and blockchain sector. At the time, the Ether (ETH) asset held the spot as the second most valuable crypto on the market.

Notably, Ethereum had four mains stops in its development journey including Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. On Feb. 29, 2016, Ethereum publicized a scheduled shift into Homestead expected to launch on March 14. Homestead arrived on schedule according to a ConsenSys blog post.

Metropolis Delays

The move to Metropolis was scheduled to happen in September 2017 as Coinspeaker had published. Hard forks Byzantium and Constantinople were the expected outcomes of that event. But, there was a delay with Byzantium coming on October 16, 2017, while Constantinople came in on February 28, 2019. Instanbul followed the development path on December 7, 2019.

Serenity, the fourth phase, also known as Ethereum 2.0 (ETH 2.0), remains in the pipeline after several delays. The industry still awaits the network change late in July 2020 although the team had publicized a January 2020 launch. ETH 2.0’s completed test network allegedly opens on August 4 in a move that will usher in Proof-of-Stake.

Ether Still Lags Behind Bitcoin

Ether has surged above $300 recently but it is still under-performing compared to Bitcoin. Data from Skew shows that ETH/USD as a percentage of BTC/USD is far below its all-time highs. Ether’s share stood at about 3.1% of the bitcoin price. The figure was 11% at its January 2018 peak.

Since the altcoin boom that happened more than two years ago, ETH is yet to reclaim its lost glory as Bitcoin took over the wider crypto market cap. It is only recently that ETH has started rewarding the patient hodlers as developers work on Ethereum’s shift to ETH 2.0. Ether has gained 45% in the past week beating BTC’s performance.

ETH/USD is hovering above $320 fuelled by the DeFi token phenomena and associated trading boom. In the meantime, the past few weeks have seen considerable changes in the realized correlation between the two cryptos. Their 1-month measure reveals a specific divergence from the norm.

Vitalik Buterin Warns DeFi Users

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin highlighted on the dangers of ‘smart contract risk’ in DeFi protocols. Also, he warned users not to ‘risk their life savings’ in Decentralized Finance. While explaining his worries about DeFi, Buterin said:

“I think one big one is just that a lot of people are underestimating smart contract risk.”

According to him, the interest rates are quite high compared to the traditional bank accounts. Thus, DeFi products are riskier and have a greater likelihood of ‘breaking’. Buterin is not confident that even the audited protocols and platforms can assure that they will not break within a set period by a certain percentage margin.

In 2020, there have been several high profile smart contract exploits in DeFi including the bZx flash loan exploit that happened in February. On that occasion, investors lost almost $1 million worth of crypto. In June, the Bancor smart contract bug resulted in network shutdown.

Buterin is worried about the unsustainability of ‘yield farming’ that is taking the space by storm. He said that the high-interest rewards are paid for by a protocol that is doing the lending. Platforms cannot keep on printing coins to attract people on to their network. He said:

“It’s a short term thing. And once the enticements disappear, you could easily see the yield rates would drop back down very close to zero percent.”

Read other blockchain news on Coinspeaker.

Altcoin News, Blockchain News, Cryptocurrency News, Ethereum News, News
Wanguba Muriuki

Wanguba Muriuki is a content crafter passionate about putting everything into writing. He is passionate about Blockchain and Traveling. He is also an experienced creative and technical writer. Everything and everyone has a story to tell. What better way to capture the real story than in words.

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