Nuclear Weapons Vs. 'Network Weapons:' Ethereum's Vitalik Buterin Says Latter Makes It Hard To Reduce Conflict

Ethereum ETH/USD co-creator Vitalik Buterin jumped on a Twitter thread discussing nuclear weapons and "network weapons" on Sunday, saying that the asymmetry prevalent in the latter made it hard to reduce conflict “by agreeing on limiting principles.”

What Happened: Buterin’s comments came in response to a Twitter thread from former Coinbase Global Inc COIN Chief Technology Officer Balaji Srinivasan.

Srinivasan said network technology, much like nuclear, found "dual use" during peacetime and wartime.

Srinivasan, a former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and founder of, noted that network weapons, unlike nuclear weapons, have an “intrinsic asymmetry.”

He cited the example of South Korea, where many people use Alphabet Inc's GOOGL GOOG Google as a search engine, but few Americans use the Korean web portal Naver in comparison.

This, according to Srinivasan, means that Google “can exercise more digital power over Koreans than Naver can over Americans.”

Buterin said that asymmetry makes it “hard to reduce conflict by agreeing on any limiting principles.”

See Also: How To Buy Ethereum (ETH)

Why It Matters: Earlier this month, Buterin urged compassion for Russians and Belarusians resisting the war and President Vladimir Putin’s “Z-ombie Regime.”

Ethereum co-creator Joe Lubin last week said that the Russia-Ukraine conflict had pushed cryptocurrency adoption to a point of “no return.”

Benzinga’s Take: The global asymmetry in network weapons is readily apparent. 

Google accounts for 92% of global web searches, according to Statcounter data. 

Of the nearly 4 billion email users worldwide, more than 1.8 billion use Gmail alone, according to Statista data from 2020. 

American companies dominate the internet, be it email and search or social networking and mobile technology companies. Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc FB or Apple Inc AAPL are prominent examples. 

Srinivasan's words that “digital power is much cheaper to project abroad than analog hard power" resonate.

Decentralization could thus act as an antidote to network technology’s weaponization in the future, provided it gets an adoption rate similar to today’s highly centralized internet services.

Price Action: At press time, Ethereum spiked 10.1% to $2,843.23 over 24 hours. 

Read Next: Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum Classic Shoot For The Moon: Are People On The Hunt For 'Cheaper Alternatives' To The Big 2 Cryptos?

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Posted In: CryptocurrencyNewsPoliticsMarketsTechGeneralBalaji SrinivasanEthereumRussia-Ukarine warVitalik Buterin
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