Ethereum Developer: 'I'm More Worried About Blockchain Safety Than Scalability'

Ethereum Developer: 'I'm More Worried About Blockchain Safety Than Scalability'
Omar Faridi
  • Ethereum developer Vlad Zamfir is more concerned about blockchain safety than scalability.
  • Zamfir also tried to explain the difference between blockchain security and safety.

Prominent Ethereum (ETH) developer Vlad Zamfir recently revealed he believes the crypto community should be more concerned about “blockchain safety” than scalability issues.

Zamfir, who joined the Ethereum community as a developer in 2014 just two years after earning his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Guelph, remarked via Twitter:

I am way more worried about blockchain safety than blockchain scalability, use cases, or adoption.

Security Versus Safety

When asked to clarify his response (by a Twitter user) about whether he meant blockchain security, Zamfir said he actually meant “safety”, and not security. The active blogger who also speaks regularly about topics related to cryptoeconomics explained that the Ethereum blockchain network is adequately secure - as the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) “executes as specified.”

Commenting on the confusion due to using two similar words - security and safety - Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel, said:

It's generally a bad idea to draw a sharp distinction between two words that sound like synonyms and try to force people to accept them as meaning two different things.

Bitcoin "Is Not Safe!"

Meanwhile, Anaïs Urlichs, the head of research at Eblock Ventures, asked which “ongoing processes [have been] implemented in Ethereum and other blockchains to ensure safety.” In response, Zamfir said the best preventive measures currently in place were “disclaimers and tools”, however, he added that “it’s never enough.”

Interestingly, when a Twitter use recommended that people use bitcoin (BTC) instead of Ethereum, Zamfir said: 

Bitcoin is not safe! But it is more safe than Ethereum. But also unfortunately Bitcoiners don’t want to hard fork.

Zamfir went on to explain that most people aren't able to keep their keys safe, and that losing them is a "safety issue because you can lose your ability to spend your Bitcoins when you lose your private keys."

A Twitter user replied to Zamfir’s explanation by noting he doesn't see the safety issue in the situation, but sees it as a personal responsibility issue."

When questioned about whether he views “bad programming practices in Solidity (programming language built for Ethereum) as a vulnerability”, Zamfir said: “A safety issue, not vulnerability."

Solidity Is A "Weak Spot"

In response, another user said that the kind of issues Zamfir was talking about were “beyond what blockchain developers can [control]” as he thinks Solidity is a “weak spot” - “after private key management, but education is all there is to do.”

Héctor Cárdenas, the CEO of a spanish news outlet, joined the conversation by noting: “Curious that you're worried about this, when the biggest threat to 'blockchain safety' is a trusted third party in control, an owner, something like what the Ethereum Foundation is to Ethereum.”

Responding to Cárdenas’ comments, Zamfir said:

You might be thinking about security. I wonder if you'd characterize Tezos as having owners.

The Ethereum developer then went on to allege that Tezos’ developers actually own its blockchain.