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Developers Rally Around Ethereum 1x, A new Roadmap for faster scaling

An influx of research and development is forming around 1x ethereum, a proposed update that aims to improve the usability of the third blockchain in the world more quickly.

While the exact changes to the code that will require updating have yet to be resolved, active discussions suggest that a myriad of different proposals could be activated by June 2019, in case a final proposal is finally formulated, proposed and endorsed by users of the ethereum network.

Still the plan, reported for the first time by CoinDesk last week, is in its early stages of development.

In fact, there was also an advice by Afri Schoedon, responsible for the release for the client Parity ethereum, to release the update on its separate blockchain network. However, there are many voices that contend for the 1x etereum should be activated on the existing blockchain – and soon.

Originally designed to be a complement to an update called ethereum 2.0 – the creator of ethere Vitalik Buterin referred to it recently with an old name "Serenity" – the roadmap for this update changed in June to include new design specifications that are You are designed to delay activation.

As explained to CoinDesk by Schoedon, developers are now more confident that ethereum 2.0 will not go into production before the year 2020. According to Schoedon, developers "started to panic and saying," Hey, we really have need to find intermediate solutions & # 39; " – create the impulse for new ideas that can be implemented in the short term.

And even if the ideas for ethereum 1x could "sound too radical or controversial" for now, Schoedon said that the goal is to discuss all the ideas in an inclusive way with community stakeholders in such a way that "none of the updates will be controversial at the end ".

With plans for 1x ethereum initially discussed during in-person meetings at an ethereum developer conference, Devcon4, at the beginning of this month, some community members were unhappy with the lack of public involvement. However, the controversy has been shelved for now with the creation of public forums to openly discuss 1x ethereum.

Furthermore, it is expected that the meetings to coordinate efforts on this proposed update will proceed according to the Chatham House Rules, which means that public disclosure of the content of the discussions should exclude the attribution of speakers.

With the intention of encouraging open discussion among developers, the first of these meetings will take place tomorrow at 14:00 UTC.

"We have to be very sensitive about how we do it," Schoedon told CoinDesk, adding:

"We have to be very inclusive with all the members of the community and be very open and transparent in talking about all the ideas and discussing what could be the best approach".

A great state

According to the minutes of previous DevCon4 meetings, published by Dan Heyman, program director of the ethereum blockchain PegaSys development group, there are currently four different working groups charged with advancing the 1x ethereum.

One of these groups, led by the chief developer of ethereum, Alexey Akhunov, is leading the effort to introduce the rent on the ethereum platform. Storage renting is a mechanism discussed by developers in detail in March. Its purpose is to curb the growth of the ethereal "state", otherwise understood as all applications and active accounts operating on the blockchain network.

Given the rapid acceleration of decentralized applications (dapps) based on ethereum through smart contracts – self-deployed code lines – it also increases the amount of data stored on the blockchain to support these contracts.

This presents a problem for new users who wish to participate in the network by distributing software called nodes that download and maintain a complete copy of the active blockchain status.

The bigger the state, as Akhunov told CoinDesk, the longer it takes for the new computers that join the ethereum network to download these copies and keep them.

In addition to this, Schoedon has estimated the size of the blockchain ethereum data currently sitting at around 125 gigabytes, with the network's active operating status of around 10 gigabytes.

"It's growing at a pace that we're probably considering 200 or 300 gigabytes of data in the chain by the end of next year and a huge state," said Schoedon.

As such, the proposal to charge a fee to users who are storing smart contractual data on the blockchain is intended to mitigate the speed with which the blockchain ethereum is currently growing and thus ensure the accessibility of the network for all users. , at least in the short term. term.

However, this is not the only proposal currently discussed among developers. An alternative proposal suggests moving some portions of intelligent off-line contract data. This would effectively push the responsibility for storing data to developers at all times.

The mechanism – called "stateless client" – to facilitate data from the off-line intelligent contract would be simpler to implement than storage rents, Akhunov grants.

Still, there are concerns with this proposal as it relates to the way POC developers share and update off-line data.

"I have a problem with stateless customers at the moment, people think they are actually easier to implement and are easier to implement in terms of protocol updates," said Akhunov. "But they will be much harder to support for developers like this."

Hand in hand

In addition to leasing storage, another group focused on 1x is exploring proposals to store old information stored on the blockchain in an attempt to alleviate the pressures of a growing state.

But outside of the ethereum data storage mechanisms, a third team of developers – called the "simulation group" – aims to "analyze problems that occur through blockchain when block sizes increase or latency increases ", said Akhunov.

This is particularly relevant because of the optimization of the code that has increased the propagation speed of the block on ethereum at this time. As new blocks are routed across the network more quickly, it is also expected that the ethereum miners will be able to add more transactions per block and collect more transaction fees.

Akhunov said that the studies suggest exactly how much the maximum amount of transaction fees collected by miners – called "gas limit" – are few and far between.

"There are only a few studies that have been done to analyze how the blocks propagate through the network and what happens if the gas limit increases," said Akhunov.

Some of the ongoing development efforts in ethereum 1x focus on execution simulations to test higher gas limits, as it is a key area of ​​research around the broader progress towards mitigating downsizing pressures faced today by the network.

Therefore, ethereum 1x – outside of addressing problems related to the size of the blockchain state – should also provide for improvements in transaction throughput on ethereum. In fact, the two issues go hand in hand in the context of supporting increased network activity.

According to Akhunov, ethereum 1x is a "set" of different proposals that are effective only if deployed together.

He told CoinDesk:

"We want to solve these problems together and not just one thing: it has to be solved as a whole rather than one thing at a time."

Out of the box

The dovetail nature of the groups also covers the fourth working group, which is examining the reduction in the cost of the distribution of smart contracts. The idea is that such efforts could lead to solutions to offset a potential increase in storage costs of smart contracts with proposals such as renting.

Presenting a first implementation of eWASM, a new virtual machine that processes the intelligent contract code, the developers of ethereum aim to exploit the new technology and create more easily the so-called "precompiled".

The precompiled are commonly implemented intelligent contract operations that are optimized to run natively on ethereum at fixed costs or gas costs. And as Akhunov explains, at the moment there are only a handful created on the ethereum network.

But the demand is high because there is more to simplify the development of smart contracts.

With "a limited number of people in the main development team", Akhunov admits that "if we try to start the implementation of all the precompilts that people ask, we will never be able to do anything else".

One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to developing precompiled is to decide what the cost of gas should be for a particular smart operation.

Normally, developers create formulas to measure the energy and time needed for the precompiled for execution. But using the eWASM engine, this evaluation process is performed automatically.

As Akhunov pointed out:

"The eWASM engine will do something called measurement, it will measure the operation and load exactly how much gas is consumed by the operation."

By predicting the precompiled construction process to get much "easier" for ethereum developers through technology, Akhunov also added that, once fully tested, "the plan is to open eWASM for all developers of smart contracts".

In fact, the long-term goal is to eliminate the need to create precompiled all together. Among other advantages for developers of smart contracts, the eWASM engine as reported above should perform all the intelligent contract operations at speed and efficiency of the native network.

However, until that future is realized, etheruem 1x is designed to support the ethereum network with what Parity developer Afri Schoedon calls "out of the box" solutions.

And while all these solutions are designed to be activated on "a very accelerated timeline", Schoedon emphasizes that, for its part, no concrete action will be taken until a "broad consensus in the community" is reached.

Image through CoinDesk archives

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