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Vitalik Buterin Supports 'Atomic Swaps,' Here's Why You Should Also Use Them

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Mon, 22/05/2023 - 10:08
Vitalik Buterin Supports 'Atomic Swaps,' Here's Why You Should Also Use Them
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In his recent article, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin laid out his thoughts on the growing trend of bridges connecting different blockchain networks. With the increasing need for blockchain interoperability, the concept of bridges has been gaining traction. However, Buterin warned about potential systemic risks brought on by these structures and suggested guidelines for their usage. Additionally, Buterin referred to one particular mechanism, atomic swaps.

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Atomic swaps, also known as cross-chain trades, enable users to exchange cryptocurrencies directly from one blockchain to another without using centralized intermediaries like exchanges. Buterin, a thought-leader in the space, has given his endorsement to this technology, which underlines the benefits of decentralized exchanges (DEX) that operate on the basis of atomic swaps.

Buterin compared the Ethereum network's consensus to a cryptoeconomic system secured by validators worth approximately 18 million ETH, or around $34 billion. These validators finalize a block every 6.4 minutes. This system is backed by a large community of developers and users who ensure the chain's proper recovery if the consensus fails due to a bug or a deliberate 51% attack.

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The post elaborated on various proposals to leverage the Ethereum validator set and its social consensus for other applications, from oracles to Layer 1 recovery for Layer 2 projects. However, Buterin warned that certain techniques within this domain could introduce great systemic risks into the ecosystem and should be avoided. He argued that while dual use of validator-staked ETH poses risks, it remains acceptable. Conversely, co-opting Ethereum's social consensus for other applications is deemed inadvisable.

Buterin stressed the importance of preserving a blockchain's "purity" as a mathematical construct, arguing that attempts to link it with the outside world expose it to real-world conflicts. These could manifest as extreme political events, market price uncertainties and legal challenges.

Buterin's support for atomic swaps is not baseless. The advantages of this technology are substantial. Atomic swaps bring increased security by eliminating the need for third-party custody of funds during the exchange process. They also promote financial inclusivity by allowing anyone, anywhere, with an internet connection to exchange different cryptocurrencies without the need for a centralized authority.

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