Fabian Vogelsteller is the creator of the Ethereum browser Mist and Ethereum Wallet. He used to be a leading developer of dApps and proposed the ERC 20 and ERC 725 token standards. For almost nine months now, Fabian has been devoting the majority of his time to a project of his own, the LUKSO blockchain for “digital twins” of fashion items.

Fabian Vogelsteller

Ethereum developer, LUKSO founder

“He’s a real pioneer toward a decentralized world. His Mist showed and proved how traditional web can be stepped into immutable decentralization, like Netscape Navigator [one of the first “killer browsers” that was Internet Explorer’s main rival back in the 90s] did for the web long ago.”

Kazunori Seki, the representative of BANKEX Tokyo, about Fabian Vogelsteller

DeCenter interviewed Fabian to find out which projects are the future of the industry, how LUKSO will interact with Ethereum, and why Ether is more interesting than Bitcoin.

When did you join the Ethereum team? Were you there from the beginning?

I joined the Ethereum Foundation (EF) in January 2015, six months before the main net went live. So not directly right from the start. I was the first to build the interfaces coming from the EF, like the Mist Browser and the Ethereum Wallet, which allowed users and developers to deploy and interact with smart contracts. Later, I worked on web3.js, Ethereum’s most used JavaScript library, and proposed ERC 20 and ERC 725, two popular smart contract standards.

After ERC 20, you developed a token standard for identity. What other Ethereum standards do you think can emerge? Do you have any plans to launch a new standard?

ERC 725, the proxy identity standard I proposed, is still in development, as a standard process is not done until we’ve all found that it makes sense. We are currently working on a version 2 that makes it easier, cheaper, and simpler, but at the same time, more flexible. I am now working on a Reversible ICO that we plan to use for LUKSO. It will make ICOs safer for investors by applying on-chain regulation.

Your new project LUKSO is about the uniqueness of a fashion item and is based on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Does it use the ERC 725 standard for items?

LUKSO is its own blockchain that runs use cases for the fashion and lifestyle space. Digital twins and virtual fashion items will most likely use ERC 725 as proxy and ERC 721 to be ownable. Digital collectibles will be one of the next generations of assets, and the fashion world will have that a lot. When you digitize the physical items like handbags, you can now have a completely different relationship with your customer, as you have a direct connection. Brand tokens will soon also be a thing.

In one of your December tweets, you said that the next wave of blockchains would be based on communities, not just tech. On the contrary, there is a popular belief that there are too many projects trying to implement blockchain where it actually is not needed. Could you elaborate on your views on that topic? Do you consider adding blockchain technology in every industry necessary?

Good point. Blockchain technology itself will affect every industry and create completely new business models and industries. I believe the next generation of blockchains will be based on communities, forming around existing industries, verticals, and purposes. It is the next logical step for any industry to adopt blockchain. We will still see the competition of blockchains on architecture, and this is important, but the context is just as important when it comes to adoption. Even today, almost any blockchain has its own unique community, and some blockchains which are functional the same have their own—see Ethereum and Ethereum Classic; Bitcoin SV, Bitcoin ABC, and Bitcoin Gold. What differs those communities are small differences, while we will [also] see concrete distinct communities adopting their own blockchains, like LUKSO for the crowd interested in fashion and lifestyle, which are more than 500M on Instagram today.

How did your relationship with Ethereum change since the start of LUKSO? It will be no exaggeration to say that you’ve been one of the most notable Ethereum developers. Do you still have time and opportunity to contribute to Ethereum at the same level as before your work on LUKSO?

For almost nine months, I’ve been full-time working on LUKSO, and the months before, most of the time. I do contribute sometimes, but working on your own project takes all the time. I do see LUKSO as an addition to Ethereum, as the audience and use cases are different. But at the same time, LUKSO benefits from every development in Ethereum and the ecosystem, and I hope one day, things built on LUKSO and standards formed here will benefit the larger Ethereum ecosystem as well. What I am doing here is fulfilling the Polkadot vision of the Internet of Blockchains. The one which I talked about myself for years.

In the first months of 2018, there was a lot of tension in the Ethereum community. At least, that was the impression people got from the media. The code editor of EIP 867 resigned from his position, the Ethereum governance problem was out in the open, there was controversy around funds recovery proposals. Was it, in fact, that tense, and what is the situation today, in the epicenter of the long-awaited Constantinople hard fork?

I can not tell, as I was not much involved in that. EIP 867 was an attempt to standardize a recovery process to get to the lost funds of the Parity mistake. The community was not in favor of that, as it created other problems. In my mind, it proved perfectly how the DAO fork was NOT a precedent for constant forks for when there is money lost, as the Ethereum Classic community voiced so strongly back in 2016.

I couldn’t avoid this topic: what’s your attitude towards the Bitcoin Cash hard fork? Is it still a competitive currency (either of them)? Did you foresee the possibility of a fork prior to it happening and did you support Bitcoin Cash at any stage?

I like Bitcoin and hold some, but I never cared about the drama of these forks. I believe technology should be improved. I personally find Bitcoin too limited, and after you’ve worked with smart contracts and seen what the EVM makes possible, everything that solely circulates about money becomes boring. Blockchain and automation using smart contracts make so much more interesting use cases possible, and those are what I am interested in.