Ethereum developers have long been planning to transition from the blockchain to a more cost-effective, secure, and scalable network. They now have an official Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EPI) to work with. ConsenSys researcher Mikhail Kalinin created a pull request for EIP-3675, which would update the blockchain consensus mechanism for proof of participation, a system that allows people to validate transactions and create new blocks based on how much ETH they contribute. Today's proof of work system instead relies on miners, who compete to be the first to validate transactions. The proposal, which sets the stage for “merging” with Ethereum 2.0, will be discussed at the developer meeting on Friday. But contrary to some speculation, that doesn't mean ETH2 will necessarily happen this year. Tim Beiko, an Ethereum Foundation developer who coordinates the updates, told Decrypt that a merger in 2022 is unlikely in his opinion. “Everything would have to go perfectly,” he said. The intent of Ethereum 2.0 is to allow more – and faster – transactions over the network. The blockchain has often struggled with congestion as it is not able to process more than about 15 transactions per second. With decentralized finance (DeFi) applications – which replace financial intermediaries with blockchain-based code – accessing the Ethereum network, every buy and sell order adds to the tension. As a result, transaction fees have exploded this year, sometimes reaching triple-digit dollar amounts for single-digit transactions. Ethereum's method of getting a more functional network is to get rid of the miners, the people who run the software that processes all transactions on the blockchain and creates new blocks. Instead of miners, “validators” who lock at least 32 ETH into the new proof of participation system will be selected using a pseudo-random algorithm. Danny Ryan, who has been coordinating ETH2's efforts, told Decrypt that the EIP-3675 is just one of many items to be taken off the list. “We are ensuring that the basic specs are in place so that, after fork London and Altair, the engineering process can move quickly,” he said. London and Altair refer to the next two updates of the current network. London, scheduled for the 4th of August, has the long-awaited EIP-1559, which will reduce the supply of ETH. Altair, scheduled for before October, tunes the Ethereum 2.0 network, which is currently running but not fully functional. Whether or not the EIP-3675 draft is completed quickly, developers face a tough deadline. This is because of what is known as the “difficulty bomb”, code built into the blockchain in 2015 that increases the difficulty level of mining new blocks. The intention was to put some pressure on developers to get ETH2 completed quickly. EIP-3554, a code change that will be implemented with the London update, gives developers some breathing room. If the merger isn't ready by then, developers will still have to update the network. And it probably won't. Beiko wrote last week that the possibility of a December merger would only happen “in the most optimistic scenario”. As Ryan said, there is still “a lot to do”. *Translated and republished with permission from Decrypt.co
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