Last Thursday (June 3), Vitalik Buterin, the author of the Ethereum white paper, addressed Elon Musk’s suggested improvements for Dogecoin ($DOGE) and talked about potential future interoperability between Dogecoin and Ethereum during a conversation with MIT AI Researcher Lex Fridman.

The Russian-Canadian programmer’s comments about Dogecoin’s future were made during episode #188 of the “Lex Fridman Podcast“.

Fridman started this segment of the interview by reminding everyone that on May 15, Musk said that Dogecoin would beat Bitcoin “hands down” if its developers made three improvements: 10X faster block production time, 10X larger block size, and 100X lower transaction fees.

On May 23, Buterin published a blog post that challenged the Tesla CEO’s ideas for blockchain scalability, saying that they could lead to “extreme centralization” and “compromising the fundamental properties that make a blockchain what it is.” This was the Musk’s response:

Fridman wanted to know what are the “technical hurdles” for Dogecoin that “prevent it from becoming one of the primary cryptocurrencies of the world”. He also wanted to know if Buterin was afraid of Dogecoin (as Musk had alleged).

Buterin replied:

I definitely feel obligated to correct the record. I definitely do not fear the Doge! I love the Doge. I actually visited the Doge in Japan a few years back. She’s an amazing dog that’s still alive…

We accept Doge every year for our annual Devcon conferences. I definitely don’t think Ethereum is opposed to dog coins… I love Doge. I bought a bunch of Doge. I still hold a bunch of Doge…

On the scalability question, the challenge basically is like the limits to scalability and the tradeoffs with centralization… if you just increase the parameters without doing anything else, then it just becomes more and more difficult for people to validate the chain and it just becomes more likely that the chain becomes centralized and becomes vulnerable to all kinds of capture…

I personally think that if Doge wants to somehow bridge to Ethereum and then people can trade Doge thousands of times a second inside of a Loopring then that would be amazing. If they want to just like take zkRollup-style technology and just have thousands of transactions a second on their own chain, then that would be a great outcome as well...

I think if we can have a Doge to Ethereum bridge, then that would be amazing and then when Ethereum gets its scalability — any scalability thing that works Ethereum assets, you would be able to also look trade wrapped Doge with extremely low transaction fees and very high speed as well.

And when Fridman asked Buterin how hard building a secure bridge between two blockchains would be, Buterin replied:

It’s definitely something that’s in its infancy. There definitely have been some cross-chain interaction things that have been done before. The earliest is probably the concept of merge mining, when a chain just makes its entire proof of work algorithm dependendent on the proof of work algorithm of another chain.

I think Dogecoin actually merge mines Litecoin, which I think in retrospect is not looking like a very good choice because now Dogecoin is bigger than Litecoin, but if there’s potentially some way for Dogecoin to merge mine with Ethereum… then that could be an interesting alternative…

As far as bridges, like one chain reading another chain, early in Ethereum’s history, there was this project called BTC Relay. It’s a smart contract on Ethereum that just verifies Bitcoin blocks. I think people stopped really caring about maintaining it because there just weren’t enough applications that were actually interested in using it at the time and then transaction fees got too high to actually maintain it.

So I think if we want to make a BTC Relay 2.0 that becomes cheaper because it uses snarks or something like that, then you probably could, but maybe now is the time when you actually can do that sort of verification… But the one challenge though is that if you want to have a bridge that allows you to move assets between chains, then you don’t just need one-way verification — you need two-way verification.

And Ethereum can verify anything because of Ethereum smart contracts can just run arbitrary code, but if you want Bitcoin to be able to do things based on what happens in Ethereum lands, then Bitcoin would have to basically… and then well they can do everything with soft forks… that’s their religion…

And if Doge wants to make a fork where that allows for two-way transferability with Ethereum, they could and I think that would be a lovely collaboration to make it if there’s interest… I think there might actually even be some multi-sig funds that has some funding for someone to make a bridge between the two.


The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.