Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant) (#504)

Illustration via 99designs

“We wanted digital nations but we got digital nationalism.”

— Vitalik Buterin

Vitalik Buterin (@VitalikButerin) is the creator of Ethereum. He first discovered blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies through Bitcoin in 2011 and was immediately excited by the technology and its potential. He co-founded Bitcoin Magazine in September 2011, and after two and a half years of looking at what the existing blockchain technology and applications had to offer, wrote the Ethereum white paper in November of 2013. He now leads Ethereum’s research team, working on future versions of the Ethereum protocol. In 2014, Vitalik was a recipient of the two-year Thiel Fellowship, tech billionaire Peter Thiel’s project that awards $100,000 to 20 promising innovators under 20 so they can pursue their inventions in lieu of a post-secondary institution path. You can find his website at

Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the co-founder and chairman of AngelList. He is an angel investor and has invested in more than 100 companies, including many mega-successes, such as Twitter, Uber, Notion, Opendoor, Postmates, and Wish. You can subscribe to Naval, his podcast on wealth and happiness, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find his blog at

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Brought to you by Wealthfront automated investing, Pique‘s Daily Immune (Vitamin C optimized for absorption), and Theragun percussive muscle therapy devices. More on all three below.

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#504: Vitalik Buterin, Creator of Ethereum, on Understanding Ethereum, ETH vs. BTC, ETH2, Scaling Plans and Timelines, NFTs, Future Considerations, Life Extension, and More (Featuring Naval Ravikant)

This episode is brought to you by Pique and their brand-new supplement, Daily Immune—Vitamin C optimized for absorption. Pique’s Daily Immune is maximized for absorption with liposomal encapsulation technology, and Pique’s unique formula supports a healthy immune system. It’s so easy to take—just a quick squeeze—and tastes so good—think black European elderberries—you might choose to enjoy it twice a day, as I do.

Try it for yourself risk-free with their 30-day satisfaction guarantee—you either love it or get your money back. Go to and use code TIM at checkout to get 5% off your first order plus free shipping when you purchase a bundle.

This episode is brought to you by Theragun! Theragun is my go-to solution for recovery and restoration. It’s a famous, handheld percussive therapy device that releases your deepest muscle tension. I own two Theraguns, and my girlfriend and I use them every day after workouts and before bed. The all-new Gen 4 Theragun is easy to use and has a proprietary brushless motor that’s surprisingly quiet—about as quiet as an electric toothbrush.

Go to right now and get your Gen 4 Theragun today, starting at only $199.

This episode is brought to you by WealthfrontWealthfront pioneered the automated investing movement, sometimes referred to as ‘robo-advising,’ and they currently oversee $20 billion of assets for their clients. It takes about three minutes to sign up, and then Wealthfront will build you a globally diversified portfolio of ETFs based on your risk appetite and manage it for you at an incredibly low cost. 

Smart investing should not feel like a rollercoaster ride. Let the professionals do the work for you. Go to and open a Wealthfront account today, and you’ll get your first $5,000 managed for free, for lifeWealthfront will automate your investments for the long term. Get started today at

What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


Want to learn more about cryptocurrency? Listen to the conversation Naval and I had with cryptographer Nick Szabo, in which we discuss the problems cryptocurrencies were designed to solve, wet versus dry code, quantum thought, future occupations, and the existential risks of blockchain governance.

#244: The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo


Connect with Vitalik Buterin:

Website | Twitter

Connect with Naval Ravikant:

Website | Twitter | Naval Podcast

EthereumAngelListNaval Ravikant on Happiness, Reducing Anxiety, Crypto Stablecoins, and Crypto Strategy | The Tim Ferriss Show #473The Quiet Master of Cryptocurrency — Nick Szabo | The Tim Ferriss Show #244Ethereum FoundationWhat Is Bit Gold? The Brainchild of Blockchain Pioneer Nick Szabo | CoinCentralZcashBlockchain: Everything You Need to Know | InvestopediaEthereum vs. Bitcoin | The EconomistENS (Ethereum Name System)Private, Secure Communication | StatusWhat Is DeFi? | CoinDeskSmart Contracts | InvestopediaLEGOVoltron | WikipediaJustin Sun Recounts Steem-Hive Hard Fork at Virtual Blockchain Week | Coin TelegraphHard Fork (Blockchain) | InvestopediaEndnotes on 2020: Crypto and Beyond | Vitalik Buterin“Smart Contracts Are Castles Made of Math, Freely Trading with Each Other.” | Naval Ravikant, TwitterWordPress.orgAutomatticThe Uncanny Mind That Built Ethereum | WiredNamecoinHow Ethereum Works: The History of Ethereum | CertiKDNS on Blockchain: The Next Evolution of Domain Names? | Nameshield BlogWhat’s an NFT? And Why Are People Paying Millions to Buy Them? | NPRDAOs, Blockchain, and the Potential of Ownerless Business | InvestopediaMakerDAOStablecoin RAI Launches, a Pure, Decentralized Alternative for DeFi | Coin TelegraphEthereum 2.0 Is Coming – Here’s What You Need to Know | BoxminingLayer 2 Scaling | Ethereum.orgThe Eth2 Upgrades | Ethereum.orgBitTorrentWhy Proof of Stake (Nov 2020) | Vitalik ButerinAn Incomplete Guide to Rollups | Vitalik ButerinStarkWare Industries, Ltd.Moore’s Law | InvestopediaEthereum Virtual Machine (EVM) | Ethereum.orgzkRollup Exchange and Payment Protocol | LoopringOptimismBitcoin’s “Block Size” Debate: Big Blockers v. Decentralists | LexologyBitcoin CashEthereum ClassicShock: Ethereum Miners Against Proposal to Reduce Block Rewards by 75% | Coin TelegraphConsenSysUniswapThe Diaspora* ProjectPremining | Investopedia‘Fair Launch’ Tokens Outshine the Average Coin’s Performance | Coin TelegraphCryptocurrency Prices, Charts, and Market Capitalizations | CoinMarketCapSushiSwapCoinbaseWhat’s Next for Crypto Regulation | The New York TimesIndia’s Cryptocurrency Ban: Top 5 Things To Know | Bloomberg QuintEthereum’s ‘EIP 1559’ Fee Market Overhaul Greenlit for July | CoinDeskSound vs. Ultrasound Crypto Money | RedditUS Army Fort KnoxA Sudden Loss of Faith in Tether Would Pose Risk to Bitcoin, JPMorgan Says | CoinDeskBitcoin Maximalism | InvestopediaGini Index | InvestopediaTornado CashPublic Good | InvestopediaQuadratic Payments: A Primer | Vitalik ButerinTragedy Of The Commons | InvestopediaGrants | GitcoinZero Knowledge Proof: Explain it Like I’m 5 (Halloween Edition) | Hacker NoonZK-Rollups | EthhubThe Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant | Nick BostromENIAC | CHMBioconservatism, Bioenhancement, and Backfiring | Journal of Moral EducationTracking the Vaccine Race | ReutersWhy America Abandoned Nuclear Power (and What We Can Learn from South Korea) | VoxReal Life Extension: Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting? (Part 1) | Tim FerrissReal Life Extension: Caloric Restriction or Intermittent Fasting? (Part 2) | Tim FerrissMy Life Extension Pilgrimage to Easter Island | The Tim Ferriss Show #193Peter Attia, M.D. — Fasting, Metformin, Athletic Performance, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #39812 Proven Health Benefits of Ashwagandha | HealthlineThe 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman by Timothy FerrissDifferential Responses of Trans-Resveratrol on Proliferation of Neural Progenitor Cells and Aged Rat Hippocampal Neurogenesis | Scientific ReportsSome Thoughts on For-Profit Psychedelic Startups and Companies | Tim FerrissMeetupOfficial Moon MathAn Approximate Introduction to How zk-SNARKs Are Possible | Vitalik ButerinOn Collusion | Vitalik ButerinEthereum Founder Vitalik Buterin Speaks Chinese during QnA | Top StudiosLearn Languages Online | PimsleurDuolingo


What is Ethereum, and how does it differ from Bitcoin? [10:47]Ethereum applications Vitalik is most excited about. [14:48]What is DeFi? [18:41]How does intellectual property retain its value in such an interconnected system? [20:54]Digital nationalism, castles made of math, and comparing and contrasting how Ethereum and WordPress operate. [25:30]What was the initial vision for Ethereum, and what has Vitalik found most surprising about how it’s been used between concept and the current day? [27:53]Addressing the challenges of making Ethereum scale: enter Ethereum 2. [34:21]What does proof-of-stake mean in the context of the blockchain, and why is its efficiency debated? [41:45]How layer 2 operates more efficiently than layer 1, and to what degree when you factor in rollups and future computational capacity. [45:54]When can people betting their businesses on these improvements realistically expect them to be implemented? Is there a risk that some people won’t want to make the transition, and could this cause problems down the line? [54:37]As someone who prefers to coordinate rather than dictate, what happens when Vitalik disagrees with the way developers utilize Ethereum? [1:01:42]How the Ethereum Foundation, ConsenSys, and Uniswap (to name just a few organizations and applications) coexist and collaborate within the Ethereum community and how this dynamic differs from the Bitcoin ecosystem. [1:03:02]How tokens on the blockchain are like fire: crucial to progress but not without their own dangers. It really depends on the motivations of the person using them. [1:05:24]On the sovereign-resistant resilience of cryptocurrencies in the face of regulation and how some authorities are coming around to the idea that blockchain technologies can be useful. [1:13:14]What is Vitalik’s current point of view about where the ETH supply heads and what the ETH price means for the ecosystem? [1:18:05]As someone who’s concerned about wealth inequality, what does Vitalik think about the distribution of wealth in a crypto-run economy as opposed to an economy based on a fiat currency like the US dollar or the Euro? [1:23:08]These days, what’s Vitalik thinking about that falls outside the cryptosphere? [1:28:12]What is quadratic funding, and can it be done anonymously? [1:30:30]How quadratic funding can be combined with other means to finance scientific research. [1:35:39]Naval’s thoughts on campaign financing following a similar approach. [1:39:23]What areas of scientific research is Vitalik most interested in supporting? [1:40:17]What is Vitalik doing to live to 1,000 (and beyond), and what would he improve in the area of scientific research? [1:42:49]After 2020’s tumultuous changes, does Vitalik have ideas of where the world is headed in the next few years that his peers might disagree with? [1:49:54]What advice does Vitalik have for someone who wants to get involved in the Ethereum ecosystem? What are the points of leverage? [1:52:09]Another contrarian thing Vitalik believes. [1:55:57]As a lover of language learning, how does Vitalik recommend someone begin learning a language most effectively? [2:01:32]Parting thoughts. [2:04:54]


Peter ThielZookoNick SzaboJustin SunMatt MullenwegKatie HaunJustin DrakeAya MiyaguchiMark ZuckerbergJack DorseyBalaji SrinivasanWarren BuffettMethuselahHal FinneyWei DaiHayden Adams

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *