Anything said on April Fool’s Day must be taken with a grain of salt, but in the case of Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, his joke has turned into quite the talking point. The young founder released a series of tweets entertaining the idea of possibly putting a hard cap on the amount of Ether that can be created. As things stand now, there is no limit to how much Ether can be produced.
In the time since Buterin’s posts, it appears that he is seriously considering the idea of limiting the amount of available Ether. He mentioned economic sustainability as a reason to stop developing more Ether once 120 million are in circulation. This is a much higher ceiling than Bitcoin, meaning there is plenty of room to grow from an investment standpoint. Anyone involved in Ether trading does not have to worry about it coming to an abrupt halt anytime soon due to a lack of Ether.
There has been some opposition to the idea of putting a cap on Ether. This includes thoughts that the cryptocurrency will not be updated regularly because there would be a fixed amount in play as opposed to a limitless market. Critics have spoken on how there needs to be much more research into this issue to determine whether or not it is actually a good idea. Perhaps the most significant piece of opposition comes with the ideology that Ether is the product of Ethereum, a much larger blockchain technology that does not solely focus on e-commerce.
The blockchain was designed to support smart application development and has more far-reaching technical implications than the one-sided Bitcoin. Some believe that with less Ether in circulation, there would be fewer transactions as people will want to hold on to their Ether as opposed to trading it and stimulating the digital economy. Also, miners have less incentive to support a cap because that means their jobs just got an expiration date.
Putting a cap on Ethereum would more help those who have a lot of stock built up. It is an immediate wealth-builder for those with a considerable amount of Ether because since there is less of it, the existing product becomes more valuable. For those looking to enter the market and help grow the digital economy, a cap on Ether is counterproductive.
Gambling is one industry that cryptocurrencies seem to flourish in. There are multiple Ethereum gambling sites on the market and they present a new way of gambling online. If Ether is capped, it could lead to people not using it to gamble as much because there is a finite amount available. Now, it is important to understand we’re talking millions of Ether, so we are nowhere that point. But, at some point Ether will run out if it is capped. With growing markets like Ethereum sports betting on the rise, it would seem foolish to limit the amount of Ether available.
All of this is just speculation at this point. Buterin will need the support of major developers if this is to happen, but first, he will have to earn it. Ethereum is a promising concept with a lot of real-world applicability, so it seems like this move wouldn’t happen. However, these early talks could be a sign of change in the future.