Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has set an outline for what he termed the roadmap for ETH 2.0, the much-anticipated upgrade to the Ethereum network that promises a “more scalable, more secure, and more sustainable Ethereum”.
Buterin recently posted a new blog post, published 6 December, titled “Endgame“, that talks about how the world’s largest smart contract platform can improve scale while meeting high standards for trustlessness and censorship resistance. In other words, he has put forward a hypothetical idea of a “big blockchain” that is trustless and censorship-resistant but indefinitely accompanies some of the common trade-offs such as scalability and centralization when it comes to blocking production.
Let’s dive into the technicalities and discuss the ‘Endgame’!
Endgame for ETH 2.0: What It Is?
Ethereum 2.0, also known as Serenity, became one of the most anticipated network upgrades after Ethereum pushed its earlier December 2020 release date into 2021.
Vitalik Buterin has laid out his perception for a “plausible roadmap” for Eth2 in which he proposed a thought experiment on how the average large blockchain, characterized by very high block frequency, huge block size, and thousands of transactions per second may still be deemed adequately trustless and censorship-resistant. The clear trade-off for this level of flexibility is the centralized production of blocks. Buterin’s ideas, as stated in the blog post, do not deal with the issue of centralization, but they do provide a road map for execution.
Buterin intended “a second tier of staking, with low resource requirements,” to carry out distributed block validation;
“introduce either fraud-proof or ZK-SNARKS to let users directly (and cheaply) check block validity” directly; and “introduce data availability sampling to let users check block availability [and] add secondary transaction channels to prevent censorship.”
To achieve the second tier of staking, Buterin proposes transactions get split into (100) buckets, with a Merkle or Verkle tree root following each bucket. As these “tree root” processes allow for large-scale data verification by someone who only has the tree’s root, the idea is to increase proof efficiency, thus scalability.
With these updates, “We get a chain where block production is still centralized, but block validation is trustless and highly decentralized, and specialized anti-censorship magic prevents the block producers from censoring,” Buterin explained.
An important thing to note here is, which Buterin also explains in the blog, that despite the implementation of so-called “rollups,” which are layer-two solutions that process transactions outside of the main Ethereum chain, block generation will remain centralized. According to him, the advantage of Ethereum’s rollup-centric roadmap is that it is accessible to all futures.
When is ETH 2.0 Coming?
Since November 2020, when the protocol initially started its long journey to proof-of-stake, excitement has been growing around it.
The long-awaited London hard fork, which puts ETH on track to become a deflationary asset, took place in August of this year. EIP-1559, which intends to improve the network’s fee market, was introduced through the hard fork. According to data, approximately 1 million ETH has already been burned after the implementation of EIP-1559.
There are two major stages left for the completion of the move to Ethereum 2.0. These two stages are:
- the Merge and
- the introduction of Shard Chains into the network
The Merge is when the Ethereum mainnet finally “merges” with the Beacon Chain – which is already live, signaling the end of the proof of work on the network.
The introduction of Shard chains in the network will enable Ethereum to scale more efficiently by expanding its capacity to process transactions and store data. This final part will be rolled out in multiple stages with more features added over time.
The Merge and the addition of Shard chains are both scheduled to take place in 2022. Until then let’s just wait for Serenity to drop!
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