Ethereum’s Inventor, Vitalik Buterin, Meets Putin

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Vitalik Buterin has met Russia’s President Vladimir Putin at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum which started on the 1st of June and is to run until today.

The two held a brief discussion yesterday, according to Buterin, who publicly said “it was a brief conversation at the end of a private CEO meeting,” without providing any further details regarding what was discussed.

According to a very rough translation, Russia’s Press Secretary stated that Putin briefly communicated with Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder, who spoke about potentially using blockchain technology in the Russian Federation.

Putin has “supported the idea of establishing business contacts with possible Russian partners,” the Press Secretary said, which might suggest Russia’s approach towards ethereum may be far more welcoming than towards some other digital currencies, such as bitcoin, a currency they keep banning and unbanning.

Commentary

This is the highest level of contact anyone in this space has made as far as it is publicly known. Buterin stated he has “talked to and had generally friendly discussions with people in governments including US, Canada, UK, EU, Switzerland, Russia, Singapore, China and Taiwan,” but unless those discussions were with the Queen, President Trump or the President of China, he would have not had any higher level encounter, even if brief.

That makes the meeting somewhat controversial because Putin is a very controversial figure, but ethereum espouses a culture of “political neutrality,” focused solely on the technology, within bounds, of course.

“I fully intend to refuse any requests to facilitate dictating, killing or oppressing people,” Buterin said. Neither is likely to have been on the table. It is more probable that, since this was revealed by Russia’s Press Secretary, the brief encounter was as much a publicity opportunity for Putin as for Ethereum.

Rising Moscow

A very smart move which, in some ways, does soften Russia’s image, at least in this space, if regulators there do open their markets in a way that gives entrepreneurs freedom to operate, because some in this industry do think that some hard social problems could perhaps be solved by technology regardless of political leanings.

Shakespeare’s Globe Audience

Far more symbolically, this brief encounter may indicate this space is truly global, and a technology that is seen as desirable by all countries, regardless of whatever different political approaches they may have.

That makes our position incredibly unique. By not guns or pen, but code, we, collectively, this global community, may decide the future of, at least, some parts of our world.

A Shining Light in Darkness?

It is only this space that really swims against the tide of hate, in its own glorious British or British derived way. It is only our code that sees the great complexities and instead of going into us and them tirades tries to provide solutions, for the benefit of everyone.

That makes some in this space what Tesla and Einstein was to previous generations. Apolitical scientists, inventing new things, things many consider magic, but others can see just how it can be very useful.

The neutral idyllic Swiss Crypto Valley where the Ethereum Foundation is based.

In that situation, one has to be neutral because it isn’t the job of scientists whose expertise is in C++ and far more concrete maths, rather than philosophy or history, to critique or engage in dissertations regarding geopolitics and other high political matters.

That’s the job of the best in their country, whether in Russia, China, America, or Arabia, for it is a completely different matter. A very complex matter that we can’t easily analyze objectively because information is intentionally distorted or with-held.

However, what we can say, somewhat objectively, is that in an age of division, to be a uniting force, is probably far better, than to aid those dark forces that try and tear us apart and probably wish to head towards the trenches.

That means, in this space, everyone is welcomed. Whether British or Arabian, Chinese or American, Russian or Italian. Because we’re ahead of them all, and while they look at each other, we look at the moon and Mars, Venus and beyond.

Because, while they fight with the ancient pen, or with the devil’s gun, we fight with code.

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