Ethereum (ETH) 2.0 release may be delayed again after developers postponed updating the network’s proof-of-stake algorithm for June 2020, Cointelegraph reported on May 15. Given all of the factors associated with the long-awaited release, the development team’s statements can be interpreted as an almost official promise. Or, as the developers say, “carefully” optimistic, which means that the critical update is not yet in sight.
The main reason for pointing out this cautious optimism is the presence of several bugs in the system that the Ethereum team wants to fix when other platforms successfully launch their proof-of-stake networks. Why is it taking Ethereum so long to implement its final update phase before it is really scalable, and this delay can mean that Ethereum 2.0 loses the scalability race?
The true scalability of Ethereum is constantly faced with obstacles on the way to a complete and functional system that, with its unlimited product range, can exceed the market in a completely new scope. However, the fix has apparently slowed development progress as other projects compete to start staking and outperform Ethereum.
Ethereum 2.0 was originally scheduled for release in January 2020. However, the phase of finding and fixing code vulnerabilities is a long and tedious process for every project, and it is not always possible to assess the time required for these tasks. Routines such as security checks, deletion, detection and correction of errors can take months or even endless because the code itself is an infinite sequence that can never be refined.
According to Rongjian Lan, chief technology officer at blockchain startup Harmony, planning and performing a large amount of technical work on a blockchain is more complicated when it comes to new technologies like sharding. He said to Cointelegraph:
“The coordination and consistency of data between fragments requires a very careful protocol design so that the entire system is secure and stable. There are also many more corner cases to consider that are not present in an unfragmented blockchain, mainly thanks to new elements such as networking, cross-fragment transactions and reorganization. Eth 2.0 must build all of this on the Eth 1.0 legacy, which brings additional compatibility problems to the image. “
Since clients are responsible for storing the data in a blockchain and checking the blocks, it is important that they are fully synchronized. Most of the seven individual clients currently being developed for Ethereum 2.0 are working to optimize Schlesi, the first multi-client Ethereum 2.0 test network that simulates the core network environment. After the successful tests by Schlesi, the developers of Ethereum decided to set up a more formal test network, in which several customers are planned for June 2020.
Seven ETH 2.0 client implementations are currently available: The Ethereum Foundation Trinity, Prysm Labs Prysmatic, Sigma Prime Lighthouse, Status Nimbus, Lodestar ChainSafe, Teku PegaSys and Cortex Nethermind.
The development team followed the so-called “First Specification” approach to create the basis on which every customer can operate. The workload was enormous, since the approach initially involves the completion of the entire protocol design, followed by the actual implementation process. This “multi-tenancy paradigm” leads to delays because human resources, according to project manager Danny Ryan, are insufficient to ensure optimal development.
The fact is that multiple clients are critical to maintaining a high level of network security and the development team is apparently unwilling to compromise security for an optimal startup time. Even if that means breaking some promises and move the start.
To speed up the polishing of the system, the bug bounty program offers “hunters” from $ 1,000 to $ 20,000 for critical bugs that can break the chain. The reward program runs in parallel with the phase 0 specification audit, which is carried out to ensure that the network can move on to the next stage of development in preparation for the launch.
Complex structural and management problems
In addition to the bugs, there are also management issues that postpone the release date due to human factors. The Ethereum blockchain may seem like a single entity, but it is run by multiple development and management teams. Some of them were acquired by independent organizations.
To shed some light on how the entire network works, you need to understand that multiple teams (called clients) work on sharding, do other security checks, and some work on Casper PoS. On the one hand, this approach to the distribution of work would enable an efficient delegation, on the other hand it would also complicate systematic development on a larger scale and omit the smallest tasks. A lack of adequate management and timing between teams could therefore lead to regular delays.
According to Ankitt Gaur, founder and CEO of the Koinfox trading platform, which implements its broker protocol for the PoS blockchain, the networks that work with the PoS consensus algorithm are more complex than the test blockchains of work in terms of the management process. He explained to Cointelegraph:
“The delay at Ethereum is the result of more than one aspect. From the beginning, Ethereum had several customers who had to communicate with each other. This becomes more complicated when the stakeout process begins because all the testers have to communicate with each other. “
The management process is becoming increasingly difficult as more people, organizations and software are involved in the development of the platform. Lane Rettig, one of the key developers identified by himself, noted that both technical and social scalability is required, adding that “the coordination problem is becoming increasingly difficult”. As with technical scalability, social scalability must ensure smooth and agile operations if properly managed.
Possible divisions within the entire structure can also lead to high fluctuation and further slow down the development process due to the long entry. “We don’t have enough people to help us with these things,” said Jameson Hudson of the Ethereum Foundation, referring to the lack of blockchain developers working on the more technological tasks at the Devcon4 conference.
Given the challenges for the development team, it is important that the test network remains fully functional for at least two months to be responsible for the official launch. Two customers are currently working on the Schlesi network: Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse and Prysmatic Labs Prysm. Teku and Nimbus customers have also synchronized with Schlesi and will shortly launch their validators in the test network.
Participants win the race
While the developers at Ethereum fix bugs, the award for the first PoS consensus can be claimed by competitors.
There are several major projects approaching the finish line: EOS, Harmony (ONE), Zilliqa (ZIL), Tezos (XTZ), Cosmos (ATOM), Algorand (ALGO) and Qtum (QTUM), all with viable products and operations that works in pure PoS or delegated PoS.
The successful operational networks created by these projects demonstrate their ability to achieve what Ethereum needs in a year. For example, Silicon Valley Harmony recently launched its stake, making it the first fragmented PoS blockchain to successfully implement two technologies simultaneously. In particular, these technologies must still be implemented by Ethereum developers in the core network.
On May 19, the Harmony team reported that they updated their core network, which currently supports hundreds of nodes in multiple blocks. The developers claim that they managed to outperform Ethereum not only in terms of fragmentation and stakeout, but also through network performance and achieved a transaction processing fee of $ 0.000001 on the core network and 118,000 transactions per second on the network. Testing.
With new solutions rapidly emerging on the blockchain market, Ethereum remains the pioneer and primary responsible for the development of fragmentation and stakeout technologies. Given the hundreds of thousands of transactions that occur on the network every day, postponing such an important update as Ethereum 2.0, which aims to make the use of blockchain smooth and secure, can simply be the lesser evil.
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