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

Jimmy Song Questions Buterin's Claims Regarding Ethereum's Progress

Prominent Bitcoin (BTC) developer Jimmy Song recently questioned Vitalik Buterin’s claims that the Ethereum (ETH) project made the “research breakthroughs” required in order to launch the set of upgrades associated with Ethereum 2.0.

Recently, the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on supporting the ongoing development of Ethereum, the world’s largest smart contract-enabled platform for deploying decentralized applications (dApps), revealed its plans regarding how it intends to spend the allocated $30 million to support the ETH ecosystem.

“Can Money Buy Scientific Breakthroughs?”

In response to the Foundation’s report, well-known crypto influencer Tuur Demeester stated via Twitter:

Responding to Demeester’s comments, Buterin explained that adequate research had already been carried out in order to successfully transition from Ethereum’s current proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus model to proof-of-stake (PoS). The Russian-Canadian programmer also mentioned that the blockchain network’s developers carefully drafted the specifications for the major upcoming Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.

Promising Innovation For Years, Not Delivering

However, blockchain educator Song claimed that Ethereum’s developers had been promising innovation for the past five years. The University of Michigan computer science graduate added that it would be quite challenging to implement, or code, the research and specifications for Ethereum.

In May 2018, renowned economist Dr. Nouriel Roubini, one of the most vocal critics of cryptocurrencies, also argued that Ethereum’s creators had been promising groundbreaking innovations for over five years. Expressing views somewhat similar to Bitcoin developer Song, Roubini said that Ethereum would not be able to scale effectively and that distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based systems would eventually fail.

Roubini, whose comments came during a live debate with Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, also previously accused Buterin of engaging in criminal behavior by “premining” large amounts of ETH.

$500 Million DeFi Ecosystem Built Mostly On Ethereum

However, Buterin clarified that premining was not a crime and that he never held more than 1% of ether’s overall supply at any point. He also revealed his cryptocurrency holdings (at that time) and noted that he no longer holds 1% of the cryptocurrency's circulating supply. Furthermore, he confirmed that at no point did his net worth come close to $1 billion (a claim Roubini made).

Despite the recent criticisms of Ethereum’s ongoing development, there have been a relatively large number of useful dApps launched on the smart contract platform. In fact, nearly the entire half a billion dollar decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem has been created on Ethereum’s technological infrastructure.

Notably, Uniswap, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange protocol, recently processed over $20 million in trades and contracts in the past week. This, only after being launched just six months ago.