Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin bashes ultrawealthy for buying ‘wasteful zero sum crap’ like $50 million superyachts instead of bettering the world

June 23, 2022, 8:21 PM UTC

The creator of Ethereum has a unique goal for society.

“I want to make our world more like the Yudkowskian dath ilan utopia,” Vitalik Buterin tweeted on Thursday, referring to a fictional, parallel Earth called dath ilan, created by artificial intelligence researcher, safety activist, and writer Eliezer Yudkowsky. In this “utopia,” he said, “instead of rich people’s desire for wealth signaling going into wasteful zero sum crap, it goes into supporting public goods.”

Buterin mentioned this vision in a thread encouraging Gitcoin grants, where donors can support Web3 projects. 

“There are far more honorable ways to burn $50 million to impress people than buying a superyacht,” Buterin said, seemingly referring to unconfirmed rumors that Zhu Su, CEO of struggling crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, bought a $50 million yacht. 

“As a frontier social movement, we’re supposed to be trying to execute on visions like this,” he added, referring to dath ilan–like projects, “not just repeating unimaginative 20th century crap except with ourselves at the top.” 

In the past, Buterin has shared similar hopes for the space, urging that crypto be used for social causes rather than speculative financial bets. Recently he shared a vision for another, called soulbound tokens, which he subsequently told Fortune had been somewhat misinterpreted.

“With NFTs, for example, I know there are a lot of these artists in all sorts of far corners around the world that are getting this chance to participate in a global economy that they otherwise can’t, but then at the same time, there are rich people selling $3 million monkeys to other rich people,” Buterin recently told Fortune. “We should actively support a lot of applications that reflect our values better.”

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.