What Crypto Exchange Coinbase and Infrastructure Provider Infura Have in Common

Beginning with Coinbase’s direct listing on Nasdaq, Kim and Edgington consider whether this watershed moment in the cryptocurrency industry is really something to get excited about.

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In this week’s episode, CoinDesk’s Christine Kim and Consensys’ Ben Edgington discuss the significance of three events: an Ethereum 2.0 milestone, an Ethereum hard fork upgrade and the public listing of a major cryptocurrency exchange.

This episode is sponsored by and The Sun Exchange.

Beginning with Coinbase’s direct listing on Nasdaq, Kim and Edgington consider whether this watershed moment in the cryptocurrency industry is really something to get excited about.

“Bitcoin was created to be this peer-to-peer payments network, where you don’t need any financial middlemen; but here’s Coinbase. Everyone is getting so excited and happy [about] Coinbase even though it’s doing the very thing that Bitcoin was created to deal with and get rid of,” Kim said.

Concerns over centralized actors overshadowing the decentralized purpose of blockchains is also relevant to Ethereum. Ethereum infrastructure provider Infura is an example of a company who has faced criticism in the past for their expanding role as the “gatekeeper” to Ethereum.

“It’s an interesting spectrum and we’ve only just begun on this journey,” said Edgington. “Only a few million people have interacted with the blockchain, any blockchain, so far, and there are a few billion yet to reach. I think we need to make it as easy as possible from them to do so.”

Kim and Edgington also discussed the milestone of the Ethereum proof-of-stake network, also called Ethereum 2.0, reaching its one millionth slot. A slot on Eth 2.0 is space for a block containing transactions and user data to be processed and finalized. Every 12 seconds validators, which are the equivalent of miners, can propose a block into a slot and earn rewards.

“It’s just a number, but it’s a good point to take stock of where we are. [Eth 2.0] has been running for four and a half months now and it’s been totally trouble free. It’s just been incredible,” said Edgington.

Finally, the two dissect the post mortem of Ethereum’s latest backwards-incompatible system-wide upgrade known as the Berlin hard fork. Everything didn’t go as planned and, as Kim notes, it’ll become increasingly important that things do work as Ethereum releases more ambitious upgrades in future.

Check out the full podcast episode hosted by Edington and Kim to get all the latest commentary around Ethereum and Ethereum 2.0.

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