Ethereum roadmap unveiled at DevCon3

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, talked at DevCon3 about "modest proposal" on Ethereum's future
02 November 2017   3509

The problem

At the Devcon3, the biggest Ethereum developers conference, that is now being held in Mexico, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, unveiled a "modest proposal". It's perhaps better described as a three-to-four-year roadmap for ethereum's technical development. This is reported by the Coindesk.

In the center of his vision is a long developing new Ethereum's technical feature, called "sharding". Buterin proposed what might be his most solidified strategy for the technique to date.

DevCon3
DevCon3

The roadmap is aimed at problems, that are going sold on the platform. Main goal is to solve the scalability issues for project developers. As we all know, ethereum nodes need to store everything that ever happened on the network, Vitalik noted that there's need to be solution that reduce expensive storage costs, that will only grow as system growth itself.

The amount of activity on the blockchain is orders of magnitude larger than it was just a couple of years ago. Scalability is probably problem number one [...] There’s a graveyard of systems that claim to solve the scalability problem but don't. It's a very significant and hard challenge. These are just known facts.
 

Vitalik Buterin
Co-founder, Ethereum

The solution

Vitalik Buterin belives that sharding is the "likely" solution to this issue. He is proposing a new type of sharding infrastructure that would solve both scalability and governance – ensuring the eventual system is well maintained and that it stays in check.

The proposal revealed today is for ethereum to be split into different types of shards. There will be the main shard, which would comprise today's ethereum network. Then there would be other shards, which Buterin calls other "universes".

Buterin also believes the partitioning would allow for more aggressive changes on the smaller shards, and more cautious changes on the main blockchain. 

Other universes where all this stuff we’ve been working on these last few years can be rolled out much much faster.
 

Vitalik Buterin
Co-founder, Ethereum

The future

Vitalik also told about other changes that roadmap includes. Among them:

  1. Planned upgrades to the ethereum virtual machine (EVM), the technology that today compiles smart contract code and communicates it to the network. He also talked another long-in-the-making tech project, eWASM, for running ethereum in a web browser.
  2. Another idea proposed was for so-called "stateless clients," a proposal for how clients could sync with the network more quickly.

Nevertheless, sharding looks to be the biggest change over the next three to four years. In the end, Vitalik said that development process had already begun.

Potentional Vulnerabilities Found in ETH 2.0

Least Authority have found potentional security issues in the network P2P interaction and block proposal system
26 March 2020   1011

Technology security firm Least Authority, at the request of the Ethereum Foundation, conducted an audit of the Ethereum 2.0 specifications and identified several potential vulnerabilities at once.

Least Authority said that developers need to solve problems with vulnerabilities in the network layer of peer-to-peer (P2P) interaction, as well as in the block proposal system. At the same time, the auditor noted that the specifications are "very well thought out and competent."

However, at the moment there is no large ecosystem based on PoS and using sharding in the world, so it is impossible to accurately assess the prospects for system stability.
Also, information security experts emphasized that the specifications did not pay enough attention to the description of the P2P network level and the system of records about Ethereum nodes. Vulnerability risks are also observed in the block proposal system and the messaging system between nodes.

Experts said that in the blockchains running on PoS, the choice of a new block is simple and no one can predict who will get the new block. In PoS systems, it is the block proposal system that decides whose block will fall into the blockchain, and this leads to the risk of data leakage. To solve the problem, auditors suggested using the mechanism of "Single Secret Leader Election" (SSLE).

As for the peer-to-peer exchange system, there is a danger of spam. There is no centralized node in the system that would evaluate the actions of other nodes, so a “malicious" node can spam the entire network with various messages without any special punishment. The solution to this problem may be to use special protocols for exchanging messages between nodes.