Scaling Ethereum: Four Developer Working Groups Formed to Work on Ethereum

Ethereum’s developers have been working on many different approaches which could potentially help scale the smart contract and decentralized application (DApp) development platform.

At present, the platform’s development team is considering moving forward with Ethereum 1x - which is a proposed upgrade that may be able to improve the performance of Ethereum’s network more quickly than the other blockchain scalability solutions.

According to the latest discussions and conversations between Ethereum’s developers at DevCon4, the planned upgrades may go into effect by June 2019. However, any future changes made will first have be approved by the Ethereum community members.

Ethereum 1x May Be Launched On Separate Blockchain

Afri Schoedon, the release manager at Parity Technologies (the developer of one of the main Ethereum clients), said that the Ethereum 1x upgrade may be tested using a separate blockchain platform.

Currently, there are many Ethereum community members who would prefer that the Ethereum 1x software update be activated on the main Ethereum blockchain itself. These members, who are mostly developers, also want the Ethereum 1x update to be performed sooner than June 2019.

Notably, Schoedon told Coindesk that the DApp platform’s developers now think that the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade will have to be postponed until 2020. Schoedeon noted: 

[The Ethereum development team] started panicking and saying, ‘Hey we really need to find intermediate solutions’.

According to the Berlin-based software programmer is what created a sense of urgency among Ethereum developers - as they now appear to be looking for more near-term scalability and performance improvement solutions. In order to further coordinate the ongoing efforts to scale Ethereum, there will be an open discussion held today at 14:00 UTC.

Commenting on the need to be cooperative and also openly discussing the different approaches recommended for future Ethereum upgrades, Shoedon said:

We need to to be very sensible about how we do this. 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.

Curbing The Growth Of The "Ethereum State"

According to discussions held DevCon4, there are four different working groups that are involved in the ongoing developments related to Ethereum 1x. Alexey Akhunov, an Ethereum core developer, is in charge of one of these groups and has been trying to introduce storage rent to the Ethereum network.

Storage rent is a mechanism that helps to curb the growth of the “Ethereum state” - which refers the collective state of all active applications (on Ethereum) and all the user accounts running on its blockchain network.

Curbing the growth of the Ethereum state is imperative because its network has become overcrowded - which has made it difficult for new users to join the platform. Some members of the Ethereum community have recommended that users be charged a fee if they want to store smart contract data on the the network’s blockchain. This could help slow down the large amount of data that is being added to the Ethereum blockchain.

Code Optimization Could Increase Speed Of Block Propagation

Other Ethereum community members have suggested that a certain portion of smart contract data be processed off of the main chain. There’s also an Ethereum 1x-focused working group that is considering archiving old blockchain data - which may no longer be needed.

A third group of Ethereum developers, known as “the simulation group”, have been “analyzing the issues that happen through the blockchain when block size grows or when the latency increases,” Akhunov noted. This may be quite useful - as it could help developers perform code optimizations that might significantly increase the speed of block propagation on the Ethereum network.

If blocks can be relayed more quickly, then Ethereum miners may be able to help process a larger number of transactions per block - which could earn them more in transaction fees, Akhunov explained.

The fourth Ethereum 1x working group is looking for ways to decrease the costs associated with issuing smart contracts. Proponents of this idea believe that it may help balance out an expected increase in costs for storing smart contracts on Ethereum’s network