Opening the Ethereum Foundation Devcon IV conference in Prague on October 31, Vitalik Buterin presented an abbreviated and expanded roadmap for ethereum. Briefly outlining the history of Casper protocol and sharding technology, Buterin announced that the fourth phase of the development of ethereum will soon begin – after Frontier, Homestead, and Metropolis.
In particular, he said that the Solidity language served as the realization of various areas of research for which the project team had been spending all the time over the past four years.
Speaking of new developments, Buterin mentioned eWASM sharding technology and many others. He explained that Serenity is a new blockchain in the sense that it is a data structure, but connected to a chain based on the Proof-of-Work (PoW). Linking a chain based on Proof-of-Stake (PoS) with a chain based on PoW will allow ethereum to move from the PoW algorithm to the PoS.
The long-term goal is that one day this new system should become stable enough. Then, all applications on the existing blockchain can be transferred into a contract of one segment of the new system. This solution will become an interpreter of the ethereum virtual machine written in the eWASM language. The expected phases of Ethereum 2.0 .
Phase 0: Beacon Chain PoS
Phase 1: shards as data chain
Phase 2: state transition (EWASM)
Phase 3: further development: iterations, development, adding new technologies
Buterin further explained that PoS of the Beacon Chain was a kind of dummy chain.
“Beacon Chain Proof of Stake is kind of… the blockchain is not holding information. It’s kind of like a dummy chain. All you have is validators, and these validators are executing and running the PoS algorithm,” – he said.
This is basically the middle path between the testnet and the mainnet. According to him, this is not quite a testnet, because the user should be able to own the real ETH and receive real reward, but not mainnet either, since it has no applications. So If the network collapses, “people are hopefully not going to cry too badly”.
Phase number 1 is a stage at which sharding is implemented. This is a simplified version that does not shard a state, but shards data.
According to Vitalik, at the described stage those who want to create a decentralized Twitter on the blockchain, for example, will have scalability that allows it, but will not have the state execution capability to create applications of smart contracts "and all the fancy, complex stuff.”
The corresponding opportunities will become available as the second phase takes place when ethereum becomes available for moving through the shards, allowing you to change states, work a virtual machine, and other technical delights.
Ethereum 2.0 expected parameters:
- pure PoS consensus;
- reduction of the synchronous confirmation period (8-16 seconds);
- “economic finality” (10-20 minutes);
- fast virtual machine operation with EWASM;
- 1000 times increase in scalability.
One confirmation in the Beacon Chain assumes the participation of thousands of validators, so it will be possible to consider it as close to the final one. Buterin hopes that the scalability of ethereum will increase a 1000 times. This will enable approximately 14,000 transactions per second compared to the current 14 transactions.
According to Buterin specifications are changing pretty quickly but very soon they will take their final form. Eight parameters of Ethereum 2.0 have already been introduced.
By some estimates, testnet can be launched in the first quarter of next year. Buterin said that it would be great if we saw the testnet’s work between the two phases of introducing new parameters or even after one phase.
According to Vitalik, it took 19 months to complete the journey from white paper to the launch of Ethereum 1.0. In part, such a long time was due to the fact that developers had to ensure cross-compatibility long before they completed work on technical specifications. Thus, first they need to change the technical parameters, then carry out a cross-compatibility test, change the parameters again, test the compatibility again – and so on for five times in a row.Buterin noted that the team is not so far from reporting the final version of the specification – at least for limited parts that do not include the execution mode.
Thus, there is hope that the PoS algorithm will be ready next year. Then, somewhere in 2020, simple sharding will be launched. Buterin explained that it will work for decentralized applications (dapps) only, not for transactions.
The launch of eWASM implies completing the implementation of the most important part of sharding. At this stage, ethereum will be able to process many more transactions, but it is possible that the thousandfold scalability will start with simple sharding.
Beacon Chain is a complete PoS. As soon as the “beacon” is launched, the role of the PoW miners will significantly decrease, as well as the size of their reward. Later on, the PoW chain will be completely eliminated, but, according to Buterin, this is a question for the distant future, so the miners will be active for a while.
At least this is what the situation looks like from the current perspective. Depending on the speed the changes are implemented, the picture may differ, too. The main thing is that the path to Serenity looms quite clearly. In addition, now it is understandable why Buterin’s team decided to get rid of Hybrid Casper. It seems that there was no other choice as the goal to achieve increased scalability by 2020 was not happening with Hybrid Casper. It was slowing down the process and hindered any work pursuing sharding.
According to the creator of ethereum, Beacon Chain is a blockchain of a new generation with full PoS, presumably optimized by sharding and not having any serious effect on the PoW chain, but still associated with it during the transition period.
Everything will start very soon: 2019 will be the year of hard work aimed at creating a scalable blockchain PoS, the concept of which is completely ready, Buterin summarizes.
So, for those who managed to stay with us up to this point there is a reward. The whole concept of the past and future developments has been described in a song. Spoiler: Vitalik Buterin is singing!
Subscribe to our Telegram channel to stay up to date on the latest crypto and blockchain news.