Vitalik Buterin Says Sam Bankman-Fried Never Had Crypto Industry Respect.

Ethereum‘s cofounder says leaders in the crypto community harboured concerns about Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX right from the start – in stark contrast to Bankman-Fried’s positive portrayal in the mainstream media as a prominent pioneer within the industry.

In a podcast interview with Sriram Krishnan and Aarthi Ramamurthy, Vitalik Buterin said, “I think a lot of people have this misconception that everybody deeply respected Sam and that he caught the entire ecosystem by surprise … I think it is true that nobody expected a literal $8 billion blow up but if you’re looking at Ethereum influencers like Anthony Sassano, a lot of them disrespected him and FTX from the beginning.”

Krishnan and Aarthi interview founders, CEOs and filmmakers on their eponymous podcast, which featured Buterin last month.

Buterin went on to explain that many in the crypto ecosystem were suspicious of Bankman-Fried because he seemed unable to articulate a coherent vision for why cryptocurrency technology was valuable – “He was just not able to articulate a vision of why crypto was good—he just clearly saw it as purely a business opportunity … It’s like, ‘Oh, hey, crypto is this thing where you can make money.'”

Buterin juxtaposed Bankman-Fried’s perspective with foundational cypherpunk principles and decentralization objectives that initially inspired Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchain initiatives. He said that Bankman-Fried was essentially “regurgitating other people’s perspectives of ‘disintermediation is good, creating more open markets is good’—things that have been said by influencers for years … He just, I think, never really struck the community as a person who deeply believed it … That more than anything else might really be the cause of the mistrust that existed already.”

Buterin also delved into the swift advancement of AI networks like ChatGPT, conveying a hopeful outlook on their capacity to enhance human creativity instead of entirely supplanting human occupations and abilities.

“I think one of the positive aspects of this is that I think it’s a good example of how, instead of AI killing 30% of the jobs, which would be catastrophic and terrible, it’s like, AI is killing 30% of your job, which is like actually an amazing time saver,”.

Though acknowledging the eventuality of job displacement, as AI approaches human-level capabilities, Buterin emphasized the importance of embracing AI as a positive development.

“At this stage one, the last section of the sprint to human-level AI, that aspect of things is interesting—it’s empowering people with more than replacing people, at least so far,”

He also proposed that potent AI tools, such as image generators, could potentially empower individual creators to produce films and other artistic works without the necessity of expensive Hollywood-style production methods.

“The thing happening that we don’t want to see is artists getting replaced; the thing that I want to see is an author, instead of just being able to write a novel, also being able to personally make a movie … I would want to see the cost of making a movie go down from $100,000 to one person with basically just his creativity and a couple of months with an AI platform.” Buterin went on to say, “we get away from all of these horrible remixes, like, Marvel fights King Kong with a touch of Star Trek versus Star Wars on the side … Get to actual real stories reflecting different people’s values. That enhancement of existing individual creativity, that excites me,”

Though Buterin also acknowledged the need for more research and regulation around advanced AI, to address possible risks down the line, he went on to emphasize narrow specificity regarding those rules – that they should not lead to sweeping bans that would hinder innovation.

“I see these really compelling arguments from the AI risk to people. But then, like, we have yet a long, multi 100-year history of people predicting all kinds of really awful consequences to the next wave of technology. What’s happened, over and over again, for centuries, is we adapt.”