As early as 2013, Bitcoin programmers and Bitcoin magazine publisher Vitalik Buterin released the Ethereum white paper to apply blockchain technology beyond the payment field.
Ethereum is a “universal blockchain”. Like many other blockchains, it is open source, open, and has its own token: Ethylene (ETH).
The generic blockchain means there is a decentralized platform that provides a programming language in which developers can create smart contracts. Smart contracts run on every node in the network, allowing you to develop a decentralized application called DApp. These DApps retain the distinctive features of blockchain technology, which means they are tamper-proof, transparent, trustworthy and secure.
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Ethereum programming language
Solidity is Turing-complete, meaning it has all the power to develop complex use cases. In contrast, the bitcoin programming language Scrypt is Turing incomplete , so developers are limited to use cases that can be implemented. Today, Solidity is the most popular programming language on smart contracts, and every developer should consider using this language to start developing smart contracts.
Vyper is another programming language created by the Ethereum team that runs on the Ethereum Virtual Machine ("EVM"). It is designed to simplify the process of writing smart contracts while making them easier to read. One of the key differences with Solidity is that Vyper does not include some object-oriented features, which makes Vyper more secure because developers don't have more room to make mistakes or deliberately introduce errors.
Gas and ETH
Gas is a measure of the cost of executing transactions on the Ethereum network. Each time a smart contract runs a trade, it consumes a certain amount of Gas. When the transaction is running, you need to load Gas into the smart contract. The payment method for purchasing Gas is to use ETH.
Problems and challenges
The main problem facing Ethereum is scalability. The network is world-class, but currently it can only handle about 15 transactions per second, while companies like Visa can trade 45,000 transactions per second. If Ethereum wants to make a lot of transactions, then this is a problem that needs to be solved, which will allow better projects to be built on Ethereum.
Safety has always been a headache for Ethereum. Mainly because on some projects, bad development activities lead to hacking and financial losses. Ethereum needs to provide developers with the tools to increase the security of smart contracts without affecting Solidity functionality.
The price of ETH and the cost of Gas make the transaction process extremely fragile. Especially for the Ethereum verifier, when they don't get too much compensation, they now need to spend a lot of power to run the node using the workload proof consensus algorithm.
The lack of general knowledge of the public and the experience of DApp users are other issues that need to be addressed in the future, as this is the key to the widespread adoption of DApp.
The Ethereum ecosystem has been growing steadily over the past few years, although it still has many problems. Ethereum token ETH is the second largest cryptocurrency market capitalization. Solidity is the most popular open blockchain programming language and has the most outstanding developer community (this is an indicator of project health).
Ethereum has the largest number of developers to develop more useful and valuable projects on this platform. Despite these years, we have seen many excellent, mediocre and deceptive projects built in Ethereum.
In 2017, we saw a significant increase in the number of projects, mainly due to the “ICO boom” and bullish market sentiment. The reality is that only a few projects survived, and in the next few years, there were fewer surviving projects. The DApp has not been widely adopted by the public, mainly because of the lack of maturity of the platform and the overall lack of understanding of the technology. However, in the past year, many projects related to games, gambling and finance have been greatly developed and have gained a good user base.
Ethereum "four steps"
The Ethereum development program is conducted at four different stages, each of which aims to introduce more features and solve problems. Each step also includes a "sub-distribution" called "hard fork" that changes functionality in a way that is not backward compatible. The following is the original timeline of the Ethereum development phase and the intermediate hard fork:
#创世块—Frontier This is the initial development phase of Ethereum from July 30, 2015 to March 2016.
#200,000 Block — Ice Age Ice Age is a “hard fork” that introduces an exponential increase in difficulty, preparing for the transformation of Ethereum's future PoW to PoS.
#1,150,000 – Homestead Homestead is the second phase of the Ethereum, which was launched in March 2016.
#1,192,000 Blocks – DAO's sensational DAO event led to a two-part blockchain network between Ethereum and Ethereum .
#2,463,00 Blocks – Another difficult task for Tangerine Whistle is to change the heavy-duty Gas calculations for some "input/output" operations (first-class inventory: "input/output", ie I/O, refers to data in information processing The system communicates with the outside world) and clears the status of DoS attacks previously launched due to low Gas charges (first class note: DoS attack is a denial of service attack).
#2,675,000 — Spurious Dragon This hard fork solves the malicious vectors (vectors) of the DoS attack and another state clearing. In addition, replay attack protection mechanisms are provided (first-class resilience: Replay Attacks, also known as replay attacks, replay attacks, to deceive the system by fraudulently repeating or delaying normal data transmission).
#4,370,000 – Metropolis Byzantium, opening the metropolitan phase The Metropolis is the third phase of Ethereum development, which was launched in October 2017. Among them, the Metropolis Byzantium is the first of the two hard forks of the Ethereum metropolitan stage.
#7,280,000 — The Constantinople Constantinople is the second hard fork in the metropolitan phase, completed in February 2019. This hard fork also includes other changes that address the security issue code-named Petersburg.
#9,056,000 — Istanbul Istanbul is another hard fork that is scheduled to be activated on December 4, 2019. It will include more security fixes and incentives to move from proof of work to proof of equity. This opens the quiet phase of the Ethereum.
Ethereum 2.0 route and design goals
Serenity is the final stage of the development of Ethereum. It will introduce Ethereum 2.0 , the new Ethereum blockchain, which will eventually integrate the equity certificate, the new Ethereum virtual machine and so on. There has been a lot of discussion about when Serenity will be launched. This huge phase will be divided into different sub-phases. The following is the road map for the Serenity phase:
- Stage 0: Beacon Chain (first quarter of 2020)
- Phase 1: Segmentation Chain (2021)
- Stage 2: eWASM (New Ethereum Virtual Machine) (2021)
- Phase 3: Continuous Improvement (2022)
In fact, Ethereum 2.0 is a term that describes all the updates of Serenity, which will make Ethereum more scalable, faster and better. As Ethereum researcher Danny Ryan said, the main design goals of Ethereum 2.0 are:
- Resiliency: The network remains active even if many nodes are offline.
- Security: Encryption and design techniques are used to allow verifiers to participate in large amounts of time and per unit time.
- Simplicity: Minimize complexity even at the expense of efficiency.
- Long cycle: Makes the component quantum safe, or can be easily replaced with a quantum safety counterpart when available. This will mean preparing for a network that will have full access to quantum computing in the future.
- Decentralization: Allows typical consumer notebooks with O(C) resources to handle O(1) sharding (including any system level verification, such as beacon chains). This will allow more low-end devices to participate as certifiers in the network.
To learn how to implement all of this, learn more about each of the Serenity phases.
Ethereum 2.0 phased details
Stage 0: Beacon Chain
The beacon chain will be a separate blockchain separate from the Ethereum main blockchain. The new chain will have a Proof of Interest (PoS) consensus algorithm and will run in parallel with the main PoW Ethereum blockchain. Initially, the blockchain is created for simplicity and will not support smart contracts or accounts.
At the time of this writing, Ethereum is using the Workload Proof (PoW) consensus algorithm, which is very similar to the algorithm used by Bitcoin. The name of the algorithm in Ethereum is called Ethash. On the beacon chain, we will see a new PoS algorithm called Casper. In the past few years, Casper has been postponed several times in place of Ethash, so interventions must be taken to ease the difficulty of the bomb and delay its forced abandonment of the PoW. Now, we finally have a beacon chain.
- PoS short description
Under the PoS consensus, the blockchain tracks a set of certifiers, and anyone who holds the blockchain base cryptocurrency (in this case Ether) can lock their Ethereum as a deposit by sending a specific type of transaction. Become a certifier. The verifier takes turns to make recommendations and vote for the next valid block. The vouchers' voting weight depends on their margin size (bet). If most of the certifiers reject the block of their deposit, the certifier may lose their deposit. Conversely, for each block that most people accept, the verifier will receive a small amount of reward in proportion to their shares. Therefore, PoS forces the verifier to act honestly and follow the rules of consensus through rewards and penalties.
Another function of Phase 1 is the introduction of ETH2. A new asset for the verifier on the new beacon chain. This new ETH2 will be created as a reward for verifying transactions on the beacon chain, or it can be purchased with ETH1. Initially, there was no way to extract ETH2 from the beacon chain. If someone wants to be the certifier of the new chain, they will need at least 32 ETH to mortgage the original chain. Stage 1: Fragmentation chain
Sharding is a scalability technique that always allows parallel transactions. This is designed to help extend the transaction by dividing the network into multiple pieces, allowing the network to process transactions at the same time.
As Vitalik Buterin himself explains the fragment:
- “Imagine that Ethereum has split into thousands of islands. Each island can do its own thing. Each island has its own unique function, and everyone on the island (ie accounts) can interact with each other and can Feel free to enjoy all of its features. If they want to get in touch with other islands, they must use some kind of agreement."
Fragments will be introduced in the beacon chain and will initially have 100 fragments. The certifier will verify the transaction through its own shards, and in the first phase, they will not approve any smart contracts, accounts or assets.
Although sharding will bring more scalability, there are some issues to consider. The validator needs to verify that the transaction pool is small, which makes 51% of the attacks easier because they only need 51% of the computing power (or shares) of the fragment they are in, not the entire network.
This technique can also lead to higher concentration because a small set of verification procedures can be used to verify each slice. How to perform this phase will be very interesting because it still requires comprehensive testing to ensure that all certifiers are randomly selected to avoid concentration and any risky attacks.
Phase 2: eWASM (New Ethereum Virtual Machine)
- What is an EVM?
Ethereum is a decentralized network that acts as a "supercomputer." All nodes on the system need to run smart contracts to perform the final transaction on the blockchain. The Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) allows these smart contracts to be executed.
EVM is at the heart of the Ethereum network and is where smart contract deployment and execution are handled. Think of it as a globally dispersed computer with millions of executable objects, each with its own permanent data store.
Technically, it is a stack-based virtual machine that executes bytecode (machine language instructions). Smart contracts are written in "advanced" languages such as Solidity and compiled into bytecode for execution on the EVM.
One of the main problems with current EVM is that it processes transactions in order. With the changes in PoS and Sharding, transactions need to be processed in parallel, and current EVMs are not suitable for such operations.
The new EVM, called eWASM, represents Ethereum WebAssembly (WebAssembly is an open standard that defines a portable binary code format for executables). This new architecture for EVM will provide better performance and will likely support smart contracts, accounts, status, etc. on the new blockchain. The current state of eWASM development is still in its infancy and is scheduled for release in 2021. Phase 3: Continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is a codename that contains all the future changes, fixes and improvements, and everything that comes with it in the previous phases. Unfortunately, there is not much information at this stage as it was originally planned to begin in 2022. Subsequent upgrades will include: light client state agreements, backbone security coupling, and super-quadratic or exponential sharding. If Ethereum 2.0 goes well, “Ethereum 3.0” will become the next new continent.
Does Ethereum 2.0 mean cryptocurrency?
One of the most important things about understanding Ethereum 2.0 is that it won't change overnight. The initial release plan was carried out in four phases, but no one said that development is over, otherwise there will be no delays or changes along the way. As with all software, there is no final version; there is always room for improvement and correction.
Ethereum is one of the most important projects in the field of encryption and is the project on which many other projects depend. It has received strong support from development communities and businesses. In the future of Ethereum, there are a lot of funds invested by many parties, so the pressure is great. If the team manages to meet its intended goals, we will have a fully scalable, universal blockchain that will be closer to the original Ethereum market goal, the "world's supercomputer . " And it is also possible to show the world the "blockchain dream." This will attract more developers and investors to continue to create great projects on top of the general blockchain.
People who have been paying attention to Ethereum 2.0 for such a long time are actually paying attention to how Ethereum 1.0 migrated to 2.0, and this will eventually have an impact on the cryptocurrency field. Only time can lead us to witness everything.
This article is from Medium, the original author Sheinix, and the translation is provided by First.VIP_Maggie. Please reprint the information at the end of the article, thank you for reading.