Ethereum 1x is going through a surge in research and development, which is expected to lead to an improvement in its usability. As the third largest blockchain, the changes could also mean that it will really above the others.
Though the developers have not yet settled the code changes that will make up the upgrade, there seem to be a number of proposals. A final proposal is scheduled to be proposed and approved by the network’s users by June 2019.
Afri Schoedon, the release manager for Parity, one of ethereum’s client, has suggested that the upgrade be released on a solo blockchain network. On the other hand, some are hoping that the blockchain will be released on existing blockchains and much earlier than the scheduled date.
As to the upgrade, specifically, some had surmised that it would be an ethereum 2.0 and ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin ahd called it “serenity.” In any event, the design and specifications of the upgrade changed and included various specifications that caused the delay. Schoedon does not expect the upgrade to even be produced by 2020.
He stated that developers began “panicking and saying, ‘Hey we really need to find intermediate solutions.’”
Schoedon added that there are some who are also designating the ideas relating to ethereum 1x as “too radical or controversial.” However, upon further discussion with the community and stakeholders, it will become clear that “none of the upgrades will be controversial in the end.”
Devcon4 is scheduled to take place this month, which will allow community members to openly discuss ethereum 1x. The conference will also allow for clarity around the process, what the upgrade will entail, and more. This type of clarity will enable the community to have a better sense where this upgrade is going. Schoedon added,
“We need to be very inclusive with everyone in the community and be very open and transparent about talking about all the ideas and discussing what might be the best approach.”
At an earlier DevCon4 conference, Dan Heyman of PegaSys discussed four various working groups that are responsible for advancing ethereum 1x. One of the groups is being led by Alexy Akhunov and the project is interested in rental storage solutions on the network. The technology may also promote the smart contract mechanisms needed to make the project as effective as possible.
However, one potential issue that may arise is that new users are interested in deploying nodes so that they can download and maintain a copy of the active blockchain state. According to Akhunov, it can take a long time for computers joining the network to download and maintain such copies.
Another potential proposal that is being discussed by developers is to move portions of smart contract data from the chain so that developers have more responsibility over data storage. This type of system is called a “stateless client” and it may be easier than rental storage. This proposal also comes with concerns. Akhunov stated,
“I have a problem with stateless clients at the moment. People think they are actually easier to implement and they are easier to implement in terms of protocol upgrades. But they will be much harder for the dapp developers to support.”
A third ethereum 1x group, called the “stimulation group” is interested analyzing “the issues that happen through the blockchain when block size grows or when latency increases.”
This type of approach is significant because of code optimizations, which have been increasing. New blocks go through the network rapidly and as they do, more transactions take place and fees may increase as well.
As for the fourth working team, it is interested in reducing how much it costs to deploy smart contracts on the network so that there is a balance on smart contract storage costs.
This would be achieved by implementing eWASM, which is a machine that processes smart contract code. This allows developers to leverage the new technology much more effectively. The technology, called “precompiles” are deployed smart contract operations that run on the network for a fixed rate.
Right now, there are only a few on the ethereum network. The higher demand for smart contract streamlining processes may change that. Akhunov stated that there is a
“limited number of people in the core development team [and] if we try to start implementing all the precompiles people are asking for, we’re never going to be able to do anything else.”
The issue with precompiles is that there are still outstanding questions regarding fair rates.
Though developers hope that at least one of these solutions will be implemented on an accelerated timeline, not one will be implemented until the community agrees. As Schoedon states, “broad consensus in the community” is necessary for concrete action to take place. And that is, of course, fair enough.