jonwu.eth Profile picture
Apr 28 โ€ข 16 tweets โ€ข 5 min read
If DevConnect Amsterdam was any indication, the Ethereum developer community is more fired up than ever.

Here are 5 takeaways on what's coming for Ethereum:

1. The world needs to learn how to think in SNARKs.

ZK tech is still nascent, and brain power is laser focused on cryptographic breakthroughs.

Writing secure, custom zk circuits is hard.
Building great apps is hard.

There are very few brains that can do both well.
We still live in a public blockchain paradigm.

SNARK thinking has yet to reach tipping point awareness among the app developer community.

When it does, watch out.

The power of zk goes far beyond scaling, and gaming, identity, DAOs, and DeFi will be transformed.
2. Speaking of zk scaling, zkEVM szn is coming.

There are a ton of ultra-talented teams making groundbreaking innovations toward zkEVM:
- @Scroll_ZKP
- @the_matter_labs
- @0xPolygonHermez
- @ConsenSys
- @ethereum foundation
They've each picked their place on the spectrum of design decisions:

From EVM compatibility at the bytcode level to creating new zk-based VMs.

With this much talent, Ethereum is going to get a fast EVM chain eventually.

Thread to come!
3. MEV is a serious risk to user experience and system centralization and it isn't going away.

In fact, in a rollup-centric world, it might get worse.

In a cross-rollup world, validators who have awareness of L2 and L1 states can execute efficient cross-chain arb.
And the higher the likelihood they can order blocks, the more efficient they are at MEV extraction.

The network effects represent serious centralization risk to the Ethereum ecosystem.
A side-note on MEV: I was pleasantly surprised at how many talks at MEV day were related to privacy.

- Frequent batched auctions
- Encrypted transactions

Each improves privacy and reduces MEV.
4. wen token??

Many conversations centered around the adoption (or lack thereof?) of Ethereum rollups so far versus EVM-compatible alt-L1's.

But we can't compare apples-to-apples without tokenomic incentives.

Like it or not, L2 szn doesn't really begin until tokens launch.
Optimism and $OP are first out the gate.

We're all watching to see whether tokens are enough to drive the kind of adoption we hope Ethereum rollups will have.

Read: something that looks like Polygon, AVAX, or Solana.
5. UX and user empathy has a ways to go.

With billions of dollars going through early DeFi primitives with consensus awful UX, the bar is set to an embarrassingly low place.

Teams still have an "if you build it, they will come" mentality.
web2 analytics aren't used, web3 analytics don't exist, and product practices deserve attention up and down the stack:

- Multivariate A/B testing
- Cohort analysis
- Basic user feedback and research
The technical talent bottleneck perception is low on the stack:
- Solidity smart contract devs
- Full-stack eng
- Cryptography
Not once did I hear, "We're dying to find a great UX designer," because most projects see UX as the easy part.

From a talent constraint perspective, maybe it is.

From a web3 mass adoption perspective, it almost certainly isn't.
Ethereum is a ridiculously collaborative, open, values-driven community.

It's clear we collectively believe in a co-created, decentralized world.

It's hard to be cynical after last week.

It's even harder to be bet against crypto.
In case you wanted to hear some of the best talks from Amsterdam:

Layer 2:
Applied ZK:


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More from @jonwu_

Apr 29
No bullshit I think I just interviewed a North Korean hacker.

Terrifying, hilarious, and a reminder to be paranoid and triple-check your OpSec practices.

Here's how it went:

It starts with us (@aztecnetwork -- we're hiring!) getting an inbound application on @Greenhouse for "Bobby Sierra - Solidity Engineer."

After internal review the system auto-assigns me an interview, and I go through the usual non-technical pre-interview process.
Resume scan:

Name: Bobby Sierra
Applying for: Solidity Engineer
Location: Ontario
Language: English & some Chinese

Experience: F2pool, with a few DAO and NFT side-projects on his resume.

Remember this. It's relevant later.
Read 24 tweets
Apr 15
My favorite saying of all time is "The prize for winning the pie eating contest is more pie."

When we do things we don't want to do, it earns us more opportunities to do things we don't want to do.

People think you need discipline.

Let me make the argument for hedonism:
First of all, "the prize for winning the pie eating contest is more pie" evocative.

I love the imagery.

You can just imagine some guy burying his face in pie, grimace on his face, with a giant sign overhead saying:

"Big Prize for Winner of the Pie Eating Contest!"
The pie eating contest ends.

The fastest pie-eater smiles, cherry in his teeth, pie tins all around him.

He throws his hands up in elation.

He asks between uncomfortable burps:

"So, what did I get??"
Read 12 tweets
Apr 12
You might've heard of Ichi, a protocol best known for defending its token value with a "price wall."

Well, $ICHI is down -90% from all time highs after skyrocketing 6x in 2 months.

What happened??

Here's everything you need to know about the Fall of the Ichi Wall:

Ichi is supposed to be "currency for every community."

If you're a burgeoning protocol with a volatile native token, and you want to see token price number go up, you need to do two things:

1) Get people to buy your token
2) Get people to not sell your token
Ichi promised people-will-buy-your-token-and-never-sell-it-as-a-service via white-label stablecoins called oneTokens.

Users put in volatile token, and mint stables.

Think @MakerDAO but instead of major assets in, Dai out, it's: protocolToken in, oneTokens out.
Read 29 tweets
Mar 25
The math of zkRollups is pretty simple and only comprises three components:

- Fixed cost of posting a proof to the settlement chain
- # of transactions verified by that proof
- Variable cost of transaction call data

Here's how zkRollups will scale: Image
First off the simple equation:

Proof verification cost / txn per proof + call data cost per txn

= total txn cost

So how do we make it scale? Image
1) Lower the fixed cost of proof verification

There's a bit of an efficient frontier between huge proofs / many txns and small proofs / fewer txn.

Starks: 5 million gas / 10s of 1,000s of txn
Snarks: 100's of thousands of gas / thousands of txn
Read 12 tweets
Mar 9
Privacy coins are absolutely pumping.

I'm clearly very biased but I'm long privacy networks like @aztecnetwork over privacy coins like $XHR and $ZEC and mixers like @tornadocash.

For those new to the concept, here are the trade-offs and my thesis on Aztec:
1) Asset support

Privacy doesn't matter much without utility.

If you can't use coins you have and can buy, then what's the point?

$DAI is 2.7x bigger than $XMR, 5.1x bigger than $ZEC.

Not to mention the EXTRAORDINARY popularity of centralized stables.
Let's zoom in on stable assets.

The most important privacy use-case is the one that has gone largely ignored in crypto: payments.

And payments require stablecoins.

Here's realized volatility for privacy coins vs. #gold $SPX, $BTC & $ETH (reminder that cash is basically 0 vol).
Read 13 tweets
Feb 28
Someone used Aztec over the weekend to send 2,000 $DAI anonymously to the Ukraine crypto donation address.

If you want to support causes with private crypto payments and donations, here's how:
1) Go to and shield some $ETH.

What this does is deposit $ETH into Aztec's rollup contract.

Aztec's rollup then issues you a private encrypted claim note that can be redeemed for the underlying $ETH.
2) Register an alias.

Aliases make it easy to send other users funds internally, but no one can associate your deposit address to your alias, nor can anyone see your balance or transaction history.
Read 7 tweets

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