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Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, took to Twitter today to ask a few real questions about the crypto space, especially as its total market cap touched $500 billion with a major surge in Litecoin, Ripple and Ether prices.

Vitalik started by asking whether the crypto space has “earned” the $0.5 trillion cap, following it up with: 

“How many unbanked people have we banked?
How much censorship-resistant commerce for the common people have we enabled?
How many dapps have we created that have substantial usage? Low added value per user for using a blockchain is fine, but then you have to make up for it in volume.
How much value is stored in smart contracts that actually do anything interesting?
How many Venezuelans have actually been protected by us from hyperinflation?
How much actual usage of micropayment channels is there actually in reality?” 

Finally, answering his own questions, Vitalik pointed out that the level of activity is positive, but not significant enough to warrant the $0.5 trillion figure:

“The answer to all of these questions is definitely not zero, and in some cases it's quite significant. But not enough to say it's $0.5T levels of significant. Not enough.”

While cryptocurrencies essentially aimed to alleviate the common man’s financial woes, providing tools and means to control money without the need for central banks and issuing authorities, they have lately become get-rich-quick schemes with speculative investments and trading for quick profits.

This week alone we saw massive trading volumes for several cryptocurrencies, especially three of the top five: Litecoin, Ripple and Ethereum, which have gone up by 20%, 70% and 27% respectively in the last 24 hours.

Earlier, Litecoin’s creator, Charlie Lee also advised buyers to be responsible, and warned of the possibility of a bear market following the recent hype and price gains. However, for now it seems the market continues to boom as Bitcoin appears to have stabilized around the $16,000 range ahead of the December 18 launch of CME’s futures contracts.