Vitalik Buterin suggests faster transition to Ethereum 2.0

  • The inventor of Ethereum has submitted a new proposal which could speed up the transition to Ethereum 2.0.
  • The proposal requires a minor refactoring of the Ethereum code.

Vitalik Buterin, the inventor and co-founder of Ethereum, submitted a new proposal for the transition from Ethereum 1.0 to Ethereum 2.0 (“Serenity”) on December 23. This is intended to accelerate the transition from the Proof of Work to the Proof of Stake. In the past, Ethereum has often been criticized because deadlines for hard forks have been postponed. The transition to Ethereum 2.0, Phase 0 was also scheduled for the end of 2019, but is now planned for early/mid 2020.

Buterin’s new proposal should probably be considered with this in mind. In the post, Buterin writes that an accelerated timetable for the transition from Ethereum 1.0 to Ethereum 2.0 could be created by a new type of ETH validators, which he calls “Eth1-friendly validators”.

According to the current timetable, the transition to Ethereum 2.0 should take place in six phases. Phase 0 marks the start of the Beacon Chain, which will manage the Casper Proof of Stake protocol. Once this phase is activated, there will be two parallel Ethereum blockchains, Eth1, the old Proof of Work (PoW) blockchain, and Eth2, the new Beacon Chain.

In this phase, users will be able to migrate their ETH from Eth1 to Eth2, and to use validators and thus participate in staking. According to the current roadmap, however, no interoperability between the two blockchains is planned.

Ethereum’s transaction costs could increase by 5-10%

According to Buterin, the new proposal means less effort in restructuring the code. Buterin’s idea would also introduce stateless clients, a technology that does not store any information during the execution of transactions:

This is an alternative proposal for eth1 <-> eth2 merging that achieves the goal of getting rid of the PoW chain and moving everything onto the beacon chain on an accelerated schedule. Specifically, it requires stateless clients, but NOT stateless miners and NOT webassembly, and so requires much less rearchitecting to accomplish.

According to Buterin’s suggestion, Eth2 validators who wish to participate in Eth1 could register as “eth1-friendly validators”. These special validators would have to maintain an eth1 full node in addition to their Eth2 node. Buterin explained:

Validators that want to participate in the eth1 system can register themselves as eth1-friendly validators, and would be expected to maintain an eth1 full node in addition to their beacon node. The eth1 full node would download all blocks on shard 0 and maintain an updated full eth1 state.

Vitalik also says that transaction costs on the Ethereum blockchain could increase by 5-10%. According to Ethereum’s co-founder, calling a smart contract would require an additional 1-2 gas per byte of code, while a simple transaction would be 5-10% more expensive.

This would actually be not that punitive to average applications, though many apps would need to rearchitect themselves to use fewer full-sized contracts. There would be some exceptional applications that become considerably less viable. A simple ERC20 transaction (including DAI) would maybe become at most ~5-10% more expensive.

Buterin’s proposal was supported by Ethereum Core developers Danny Ryan and ConsenSys researcher Will Villanueva. However, whether it will be implemented needs to be discussed further.

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About Author

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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