The road to Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum 2.0, Serenity, is an ambitious project that has been undergoing many years of significant changes to the current Ethereum 1.0 chain to provide the world with an easier-to-use programmable currency. In the next few years, Ethereum will undergo multiple upgrades and forks to achieve the vision described in the Ethereum white paper.

As of now, Ethereum can handle approximately 25 transactions per second. But because Ethereum's goal is to be the world's computer for the next generation of applications, this throughput is largely insufficient. Fortunately, with the introduction of Ethereum 2.0 and the emergence of some new and extensible solutions (especially shards and Casper), the throughput of the Ethereum network will be greatly improved in the coming months (and years). improvement of.

What is fragmentation?

In the case of a traditional blockchain structure, typically every node in the network must validate and process each transaction. If there are thousands of nodes in the system and each node must verify every transaction, this approach will enhance the network from malicious attacks. However, this can also cause delays and ultimately lead to inefficiencies in transaction processing. It is believed that this blockchain structure essentially limits the scalability of the first layer of the network.

Because of this, sharding stands out among many scalable solutions. Fragmentation is the process of dividing the transaction processing of the blockchain network into smaller parts, that is, apportioning to "shards". Each slice chain represents a chain in the network, and each slice chain is composed of a group of nodes (ie, verifiers). Therefore, the nodes (verifiers) are only responsible for processing and verifying transactions in their respective slice chains.

By delegating transaction verification to multiple slice chains, the number of transactions that each node needs to process is greatly reduced, ultimately enabling the entire blockchain network to achieve greater scalability without sacrificing decentralization and security .

What is Casper?

Unlike the PoW mechanism used by Bitcoin or the Ethereum 1.0 chain, the Ethereum 2.0 chain will use the PoS mechanism, the Casper mechanism, to achieve network consensus. The PoW mechanism requires users (miners) to provide computing power to protect network security, while the PoS mechanism requires users (verifiers) to provide wealth to ensure network security. In practice, Casper will require the user to pledge 32 ETH to become the network's verifier and obtain a verification reward (the reward is given to the verifier in the form of ETH).

Ethereum 2.0 development roadmap

  • Stage 0: Beacon Chain
  • Phase 1: Basic sharding
  • Phase 2: Implementing the fragmentation of EWASM
  • Stage 3 and later: Light client, cross-segment trading, super-secondary sharding, etc.
Stage 0: Beacon Chain

The first step towards the Ethereum 2.0 (Phase 0) is to migrate to a brand new blockchain, the beacon chain. The beacon chain is based on Ethereum 2.0 because it includes the original Casper/PoS implementation (not yet implemented) and some features that provide the infrastructure for future fragmentation phases.

In addition, Phase 0 does not include Smart Contract or EVM (Ethernet Virtual Machine) related features that are planned to be implemented during Phase 2. According to a previously published article by ConsenSys, the beacon volume will be primarily responsible for the following responsibilities:

  • Manage the verifiers and the ETHs they pledge;
  • Appoint block proposers and attesters for each shard during each epoch;
  • The verifier is formed by the committee to vote on the proposed block;
  • Apply consensus rules;
  • Reward and punish the verifier;
  • As an anchor point for shard registration of its status, to achieve cross-sliced ​​transactions.

More importantly, all user transactions and smart contract execution will still occur on the current PoW Ethereum 1.0 chain until Phase 2 is implemented .

Nonetheless, miners and verifiers on both the old and new chains (Ethereum 1.0 chain and beacon chain) will be rewarded before Phase 2 is achieved. Therefore, in the early stages of Ethereum 2.0, the issue rate of ETH will be higher, but eventually it will tend to 0-1% over time. That is to say, after the implementation of Phase 2 of Ethereum 2.0, the current Ethereum 1.0 chain will be deprecated, and the ETH issuance rate of the Ethereum network will drop significantly to less than 1% .

During phase 0 (beacon chain phase), users who want to become Ethereum 2.0 verifiers need to store these ETHs by storing their ETH on the current 1.0 chain in a deposit contract. And cast the same amount of ETH on the beacon chain.

In order to successfully initiate the beacon chain, the currently set threshold value will involve at least 16,384 verifiers (ie, a total of 524,288 ETHs). Once this threshold is reached, the verifier will receive an annual rate of return of approximately 11% (based on the actual pledge of ETH, the annual rate of return will be adjusted accordingly).

*Remarks: The annual rate of return will decrease as the number of ETHs plucked increases, and the current relevant values ​​have not yet been finalized.

Since 2019, Phase 0 has made significant progress. On May 7, the Prysmatic Labs team released a public test network for the beacon chain, Sapphire, on Goerli, which allows users to pledge 2.3 ETH (test tokens) into a verifier in this test network and receive a reward for participation. For more information, please refer to Unitimes' previous article " 800+ Certifier Node! What does the release of the Ethereum 2.0 test network mean? ".

At the end of June this year, during the Ethereum Developers Conference Call, it was announced that the mortgage contract will be deployed to the current Ethereum 1.0 chain during the DevCon 5 conference in October this year, and the birth date of the beacon chain creation block will be set at January 3, 2020.

In early July, Ethereum researcher Danny Ryan announced that the Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 code specification was frozen according to previous plans, marking that the specification will be for implementers to go to the beacon chain multi-client test network for ongoing formal verification. , fuzzy testing and audit work provide a stable goal. On July 5, Ethereum researcher Justin Drake said that the ETH increase rate is expected to decrease by a factor of 10 in the next two years.

Phase 1: Basic sharding (EVM not implemented)

After the implementation of the beacon chain (expected January 2020), Phase 1 will introduce a basic slice structure. Overall, this phase combined with the beacon chain will greatly improve the throughput of the network, which will be an important milestone for the expansion of Ethereum.

However, since this phase is only a basic sharding implementation, state execution (ie, smart contract functionality) is not implemented. The beacon chain will be primarily responsible for ensuring the validity and consistency of the data in the shard by executing BLOBs (Binary Large Objects).

In addition to implementing a basic slice structure, Phase 1 will also introduce crosslinks.

Cross-linking allows the status of each shard to be recorded and finalized on the beacon chain. Ultimately, cross-linking will serve as the basis for cross-sliced ​​transactions in later stages.

Regarding the implementation of cross-linking, according to the current Ethereum 2.0 specification, the beacon chain will be able to support 1024 stripchains, each of which consists of 128 full nodes (the total number of all nodes will be 131,072). Therefore, according to current regulations, we can assume that the total number of ETHs pledged during Phase 1 will be approximately 4.19 million (approximately 3.38% of the total supply of ETH in 2025).

* It should be noted that as the Ethereum 2.0 specification will be adjusted accordingly for further research and testing, some of the data and details used in this article will likely be obsolete throughout the Serenity implementation.

Phase 2: Implementing the fragmentation of EWASM

Stage 2 will be when Ethereum 2.0 is truly mature. This phase will introduce functions such as account balance and smart contract execution in the network. The biggest improvement brought by Phase 2 is the integration of eWASM (the next generation Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) based on WebAssembly).

eWASM will enable faster code execution and enhance the developer experience. The main attraction of eWASM is to enable developers to write smart contracts using C, C++, Rust, Go, and to access existing WASM developer tools.

If you are interested in eWASM, you can go to this GitHub link [1] for more information.

Another interesting development in Phase 2 is the possibility of introducing a state rent. The state rent will allow the Ethereum network to charge storage fees and require users to pay eWASM for this "service". In the early discussions of the Ethereum community, this was a controversial realization, and the author wanted to say that state rents were only possible to some extent in the development of Serenity.

Phase 3 and beyond: Light client, cross-segment transaction, super-secondary segmentation, etc.

Unfortunately, the situation after Phase 2 is largely speculative because there is little fixed information about these phases. But the official Ethereum Sharding FAQ provides a high-level overview of Phases 3-6. These phases will add some features to help the original expected Ethereum scalability. Some of these implementations include:

  • Cross-segment transaction
  • Light client
  • Super quadratic fragmentation
  • Tight coupling

If you want to learn more about Phase 3 and beyond, you can delve deeper into existing documentation and discussions with this GitHub link [2] and this ethresear.ch link [3].

Who is building Ethereum 2.0?

As many of the rules that change the rules of the game are coming, there is no doubt that the developers of Ethereum 2.0 are made up of top talent. The following image shows the eight team information being researched and developed for Ethereum 2.0:

Conclusion

Serenity is a technically ambitious roadmap for delivering a truly world-class computer. If the Ethereum community can successfully deliver this high-profile network, then for smart developers, investors and users, this smart contract platform that carries scarce assets and expands capacity will be very attractive.

Related Links:

  • [1]: https://github.com/ewasm/
  • [2]: https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Sharding-FAQ
  • [3]: https://ethresear.ch/c/sharding

Author | Lucas Campbell

Compile | Jhonny

[The copyright of the article belongs to the original author, and its content and opinions do not represent the Unitimes position. Translating articles only to disseminate more valuable information]