Ethereum 2.zero: Much less is extra … and extra is coming
On June 19, 2020, Ethereum raised its gas limit by 25% from 10 million to 12.5 million. In no less than two days, this newly found capacity was used up, causing block usage to drop back to 100%. This cat-and-mouse game between a higher gas limit and an increase in consumption occurred the last time Ethereum raised its gas limit. There is obviously real market demand for Ethereum, but gas prices are prohibitively expensive for most use cases. This is where Ethereum 2.0 comes in.
What does Ethereum 2.0 bring to the table? In short, it's a multi-year plan to improve the scalability, security, and programmability of Ethereum without compromising on decentralization. Under what Vitalik Butirin calls "rollup-centric Ethereum", Ethereum will soon be able to scale to around 3,000 transactions per second and up to 100,000 transactions per second with rollups alone – without Eth2 – once the Ethereum 2.0 phase is reached 1 is coming. through the use of sharded chains with data storage.
Connected: Use of Ethereum 2.0, explained
With gas tariffs rising this summer, sometimes exceeding 450 Gwei, it is clear that improvements in scalability cannot come soon enough. The upcoming improvements will not only lower the entry barrier for otherwise prohibitively expensive smart contracts, but also offer developers a whole range of new possibilities to combine the composite "money Legos" of Ethereum in ways that were previously unrealizable.
Another important feature of Ethereum 2.0 that is often overlooked is its improved security. The proof-of-stake offers different security guarantees than the proof-of-work. For example, if someone has the ability to carry out a 51% attack on a PoW network, they can continuously carry out those attacks even after the soft forks of the chain. Under PoS, validators are not only rewarded for being honest, but are also punished for attempting to defraud the network.
Connected: Proof-of-stake or proof-of-work, that is the question
Such a punishment in Eth2 is known as a "slash". A slash occurs when an examiner is caught who has been shown to be destructive. In this case, the examiner must get out and penalize part or all of the financial share. The end result is that an attacker cannot attack the chain without causing significant financial loss. PoW does not have an equally effective financial incentive in the protocol.
Connected: Smart contract standards: make DeFi transactions on Ethereum more secure
In addition, the Ethereum Foundation is building a dedicated security team for Eth2 to ensure the robustness and security of the upcoming upgrade. These security efforts are on top of the Eth2 special audit by Least Authority and the many others for the Eth2 customers preparing for launch. One thing is clear: security remains a top priority throughout the transition process.
Not only will the network be more difficult to attack due to negative incentives like slashes, but the network will also have the potential to become more decentralized. While most PoS chains have a small number of validators, Ethereum 2.0 is activated with at least 16,384 validators deploying their Ether (ETH). Additionally, PoW mining pools exist primarily to make income streams more consistent. However, since this is not a problem under PoS, we are less likely to have a handful of pools controlling much of the network.
Connected: The long and winding road from Ethereum 2.0 to the introduction of scalability
With this update, Eth2 clients ensure that all the benefits of Ethereum can be enjoyed on a wide variety of devices, including resource constrained devices such as older cell phones and embedded devices, not just high-performance smartphones and PCs.
Decentralization and non-censorship
Currently, many Ethereum-based services are based on Infura, a hosted Ethereum node cluster that provides scalable access to Ethereum. However, in order for the Ethereum ecosystem to be both safe and successful, Eth2 customers should make it a major long-term goal to replace all centralized elements like Infura with decentralized alternatives. This is both a matter of principle and a valuable way to strengthen the privacy and individual sovereignty of the entire Ethereum ecosystem.
As part of the Ethereum community, the foundations must be laid for a network that can support a whole range of new innovative platforms and ideas. In order to achieve broad acceptance, Ethereum must be able to be used anywhere in the world with the same speed and performance as current high-throughput networks. It must also be usable by anyone in the world, regardless of the hardware at their disposal, in a way that is resistant to censorship.
With this week's confirmation of launch on December 1st and the weekly upgrade to rollup scaling solutions, the time for Ethereum has finally come.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here are the sole rights of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.
Corey Petty is the main security manager at Status. Corey started his blockchain research around 2012 as a personal hobby while doing his PhD. Candidate in Computational Chemical Physics from Texas Tech University. He subsequently co-founded The Bitcoin Podcast Network and continues to host the flagship The Bitcoin Podcast and a more technical show, Hashing It Out. Corey left academia and entered the data science and blockchain security industries for a few years. He tried to fix weak points in ICS / SCADA networks before he made himself fit as head of security at Status, where he still works today.