Photo Credit: Facebook/ Vitalik Buterin
Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has set an outline for what he believes to be 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's new blog post, titled "Endgame", talks about how the world's largest smart contract platform can improve scale while meeting high standards for trustlessness and censorship resistance. The first of many phases of the ETH 2.0 update also known as the Altair Beacon Chain upgrade, took place on October 27 this year.
In his post, Buterin presents an experiment reflecting on how the average large blockchain — defined by very high block frequency, high block size, and thousands of transactions per second — can still be considered sufficiently reliable and resistant to censorship.
The clear trade-off for this level of flexibility is the centralised production of blocks. Buterin's ideas, as stated in the blog post, do not delve into the issue of centralisation, but aims to provide a road map for execution.
Buterin intends "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”.
With the recent updates, "We get a chain where block production is still centralised, but block validation is trustless and highly decentralised, and specialised anti-censorship magic prevents the block producers from censoring," Buterin adds in the post.
Buterin says 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 centralised.
"No single rollup succeeds at holding anywhere close to the majority of Ethereum activity. Instead, they all top out at a few hundred transactions per second,” he explained. Although rollups seem to have the potential to contribute to distributed block production, decentralisation may not be sustainable due to the possibility of cross-domain maximum exhaustible revenue, or MEV. MEV refers to the maximum amount of value that may be received through block production over and above standard block incentives and gas fees.
Despite the network's approach to scalability, the Ethereum co-founder says that there is a strong possibility that block production would become centralised. According to him, the advantage of Ethereum's rollup-centric roadmap is that it is accessible to all futures.
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