Year-end inventory | A complete overview of the coolest blockchain technology in 2019

The balance in 2019 is already insufficient, and the development of blockchain technology is so fast. After this year, do you know what happened in this world?

Can't remember? It ’s okay, let ’s take a moment to review them together. These objects are Bitcoin, Ethereum, cross-chain technology, privacy technology, and alliance chain (not mentioned, you can add it yourself σ ゚ ∀ ゚) σ) .

I. Bitcoin Technology Progress in 2019

In 2019, Bitcoin's biggest technological advances are Lightning Network , Stratum V2 , Schnorr Signature ( MuSig ), Erlay, and Miniscript . Of course, the emergence of new technologies such as Shamir Backup and PayJoin is also very meaningful.

BTC

Due to the limited space, this article only covers a few technical examples that are less relevant (see this article for Lightning Network):

1, 1, Stratum V2

In the eyes of many people, the mining of PoW cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin has shown a centralized trend, which is mainly due to the current working methods of mining pools, because mining pools have privileges that ordinary miners do not have (distribute rewards, What transactions are packaged, including version bits), their operators can review certain transactions, or choose to prevent the upgrade of certain protocols, and these privileges are more harmful than good for the network.

The BetterHash replacement mining protocol proposed by Bitcoin Core developer Matt Corallo returns the power that originally belonged to the mining pool to the miners to achieve decentralization of mining. The Stratum proposed by Slush Pool and Matt Corallo and others The V2 mining protocol is improved on the basis of BetterHash. Last month, the specification of Stratum V2 was officially announced: https://stratumprotocol.org/, which is important for the entire PoW blockchain industry Both have great reference significance.

1,2 Schnorr Signature (MuSig)

In 2018, cryptographers Gregory Maxwell, Pieter Wuille, etc. of blockchain protocol company Blockstream proposed a Schnorr signature scheme called MuSig, which can replace the ECDSA signature algorithm currently used by Bitcoin (vignette: Schnorr signature The inventor, Claus Schnorr, originally applied for a patent for it and it did not expire until 2008).

After using the MuSig (Schnorr Signature) scheme, Bitcoin can be extended to support fixed-size multi-signature and threshold signatures, as well as "no script script". In addition, Schnorr signatures have a batch verification feature that makes their verification speed faster than ECDSA Signing is much faster.

In addition, according to Andrew Poelstra, the head of research at Blockstream, told Babbitt that after applying Schnorr signature, Bitcoin can be expanded by 10% -20% . In addition, using a combination of Schnorr signature + Taproot + scriptless script will make the output of Bitcoin difficult. Being distinguished, thereby greatly improving the privacy characteristics of Bitcoin.

It can be said that the Schnorr signature conference will be the next key deployment technology of Bitcoin. As of now, the BIP signed by Schnorr is still in the draft stage, and it is currently updated by Pieter Wuille;

1, 3 Erlay

In June of this year, Babbitt reported that Pieter Wuille, Gregory Maxwell and others proposed a relay protocol called Erlay . In short, Erlay can not only make the Bitcoin network more secure, but also reduce 84% of the node's bandwidth consumption makes the operating cost of Bitcoin nodes lower. In contrast, bitcoin currently uses BTCFlood relay protocol, resulting in low network connectivity.

In September of this year, Pieter Wuille and another developer Gleb Naumenko officially wrote Erlay as BIP: 330 , which is currently in the draft stage.

1, 4 Miniscript

Due to the existence of the Bitcoin Script language, today Bitcoin can implement some simpler transaction functions as well as various multi-signature, atomic swap, and lightning network transactions. However, the functions of Script (script) are not only these, but Because its complexity limits its applications.

Miniscript, proposed by Andrew Poelstra and Pieter Wuille, is a language that expresses Bitcoin Script in a structured way. Just like the beginning of its name, Mini is a simplified version of the Script language.

When Bitcoin uses the Miniscript language, related programming will become easier, and application types will increase.

So far, the Miniscript language has not entered the formal application stage, but Blockstream has used this language internally .

Second, Ethereum technology progress

eth

2.1 Virtual Machine Ewasm

The current virtual machine used by Ethereum is EVM, and in the following, whether it is Ethereum 1.0 or Ethereum 2.0, they will use Webassembly (WASM) type virtual machines maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which we call Ewasm .

Compared to EVM, WASM does not have high-level instructions. It supports 32 / 64-bit operations and supports more languages ​​(such as C ++, Rust, GO, etc.) . In theory, it can also improve Web performance and power consumption.

At present, the Ewasm R & D team has turned to the research of Eth 2.0, and the design of Eth 2.0 is stateless (stored off-chain). In the second phase (phase 2), related smart contracts will be in the form of execution environment (EE) The Scout specification is the minimum interface for the execution environment (EE). Currently, there are three ways to implement the Scout specification:

  1. Scout written in Rust, designed for rapid prototyping and collaboration;
  2. Scout.ts written in Typescript for rapid prototyping and browser support;
  3. ScoutOne written in C ++, designed for performance and production use, can be embedded in Eth 2.0 clients;

More details can be found here: https://www.8btc.com/article/525281

Casper FFG and Casper CBC

We know that Ethereum 2.0 will use the PoS consensus mechanism, and its initial use is the Casper FFG consensus mechanism proposed by Vitalik Buterin and Virgil Griffith in 2017.

This consensus mechanism is relatively easy to implement, and Casper CBC has a relatively better theory (and is more difficult to implement).

In addition, Casper will also be applied with sharding technology. According to current planning, the number of shards when Ethereum 2.0 Phase 1 was launched has been reduced from 1024 to 64.

As of now, the BIP of Casper FFG has not been officially completed, and relevant parameters have not been determined.

Two, three hard fork updates of the Ethereum 1.0 network

In the past 2019, Ethereum has undergone two hard fork upgrades. The first Constantinople upgrade occurred at a block height of 70,000, which includes five improvement proposals (EIP 145, EIP 1052, EIP 1283, EIP 1014, EIP 1234), and the biggest controversy in this upgrade is that EIP 1234 reduced the Ethereum block reward from 3 ETH to 2 ETH (with the removal of the second difficulty bomb).

The Istanbul upgrade at block height 9069000 includes 6 improvement proposals (EIP-152, EIP-1108, EIP-1344, EIP-1884, EIP-2028, EIP-2200). The biggest impact of this upgrade, It is to make the throughput of the layer 2 solution based on SNARKs and STARKs greatly improved. For example, the ZK Sync and ZK Rollup solutions, which have received much attention recently, can be upgraded to thousands of TPS.

The next hard fork update (codename: Muir Glacier) at a block height of 9200000 is to remove the difficulty bomb that is triggered again and restore the block interval time of Ethereum to the normal level of 14.3 seconds.

According to the plan, this will also be the last difficulty bomb removal plan of Ethereum.

Progress in mainstream privacy technologies

Among the problems involved in the current public chain, privacy is generally considered the top priority, and related technical solutions are constantly emerging, from the ring signatures originally used by Monroe to the zk-SNARKs used by Zcash, and then The development of MimbleWimble, the privacy solution adopted by Grin, can be said to change with each passing day.

So what are the characteristics of these representative solutions?

ZK

Among the privacy guarantees, MimbleWimble is the weakest, but the biggest feature of this protocol is actually not anonymity, but simplicity and scalability.

Although zk-SNARKs is a very effective and fast zero-knowledge proof, its disadvantage is that it requires trusted settings. In contrast, its "cousin" zk-STARKs does not require trusted settings, but the proof size is very large .

The very cool Bulletproofs (bullet proofs), although they have the advantage of not requiring credible settings and a small proof size, are relatively slow to verify, so they are not suitable for complex transactions.

(Trailer: This week's weekly review, we will introduce two new zero-knowledge proof algorithms, including Virgo)

Fourth, the progress of mainstream cross-chain technology

Although cross-chain technology has already appeared, such as the lightning network atomic swap, etc., the market demand for cross-chain is actually not high so far, but because the blockchain information island problem does exist and must be solved, Cosmos IBC And the progress of the Polkadot mainnet, there will still be many people who will pay attention.

KL

As of now, the specifications of Cosmos IBC are still under development and are expected to be launched next year.

Polkadot is in the Kusama testnet stage, and the official mainnet will need to be launched next year.

V. Technical Progress of Mainstream Alliance Chains

Above, we talked about a lot of public chain technology progress. However, what is really recognized by the country and large companies is actually the alliance chain technology, and the currently used alliance chain code libraries in the market include Hyperledger fabric, R3-corda, FISCO BCOS and Quorum.

LML

Among them, Hyperledger Fabric, which has been used the most, has recently released the v2.0 Beta version, which is getting closer and closer to its official v2.0 version.

In v2.0, Fabric will introduce decentralized governance of chaincode and use a new chaincode life cycle.

The full update can be found here: https://hyperledger-fabric.readthedocs.io/en/latest/whatsnew.html

Quorum can be regarded as the private chain version of Ethereum, but because it is maintained by JP Morgan Chase, it has a greater influence.

FISCO BCOS is an alliance chain technology platform maintained by domestic technology and financial institutions such as Huawei, Tencent and Weizhong Bank. It has been updated to v2.1.0 and is also the most influential open source alliance chain platform in China.

Six, look forward to 2020

In the coming 2020, the public chain and alliance chain technologies will usher in a new round of explosion, and some of the technologies mentioned in this article will gradually expand their influence.

The public chain's privacy issues will gradually be resolved, and cross-chains will still be in the exploration stage. Bitcoin will become more decentralized and related functions will gradually increase. Ethereum will usher in a worthy everyone's attention Experiments, and more cooperation between alliance chains.