Vitalik Buterin answers questions on Ethereum's future

Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin answers users' questions on Ethereum's future
16 August 2017   830

It's been a tough times for Ethereum recently: a crash due to the rumours about Vitalik Buterin's fake death, a hacking scandal, Bitcoin fork resulting in the feeling of uncertainty in the whole cryptocurrency community. 

However, despite all the difficulties, Ethereum is still very much alive and even seems to be recovering:

Ethereum charts on coinmarketcap.com Ethereum on coinmarketcap.com

Now, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin answers users' questions on Ethereum's future on an online chat forum thenextweb.com. 

Buterin’s answers about Ethereum's future are largely encouraging and reinforce the justification to stay excited about what’s coming. The creator of Ethereum discussed the implementation of new programming languages that will be specific to Ethereum. Among these new coding types, Buterin named Viper, Bamboo, and LLL, while also stating that Solidity would continue to improve.  

Buterin also discussed engine compilers and new languages. When asked if he felt that more developers would be attracted to Ethereum by creating compilers for languages already used in traditional software development, like JavaScript, Buterin replied that there are several challenges:

First of all, existing c++ and other compilers tend to output code that is really not optimized for compact code size; eg. even the simplest program outputs a file that is longer than 4kb. This is ok for computers, where storage is cheap, but terrible for blockchains, where storage is expensive. So specialized compilers are required.
 

Vitalik Buterin
The creator of Ethereum

Buterin also argued that Ethereum Virtual Machine executable distributed code contract (EDCC) languages need to be designed with “a particularly strong focus on security, which is not something that most existing languages care about to the same extent.” 

Buterin’s most in-depth response came when answering a question about how updates work on Ethereum. Thus, Buterin admits that both the research that goes into an update and the hard fork that makes it possible are complex processes involving multiple steps. He describes the initial starting point of an idea, and how it gets built out by sharing it with other researchers and outside contributors. These ideas “often involve many iterations, thinking, writing, debating and sometimes formal proofs,” said Buterin.

Eventually the proposal becomes concretized into an ‘Ethereum Improvement Proposal’ (EIP), which is precise enough that it should include all of the information required for an implementer to implement the specification.
 

Vitalik Buterin
The creator of Ethereum

During the initial stage, anyone is welcome to comment on an EIP and every two weeks, Ethereum core developers have conference calls to debate the merits of these proposals. This planning stage has the highest level of scrutiny, Buterin continued: “many proposals are thrown out, modified, split or merged several times.” Buterin’s description of this stage also showcased the strength of Ethereum’s culture. “So far we have managed to agree on every EIP,” claims Buterin. 

The only time anything seriously controversial was proposed was The DAO fork, and this ended up being resolved through a series of polls and votes, followed by implementation, and ultimately a chain split.
 

Vitalik Buterin
The creator of Ethereum

The creator of Ethereum further explained that, after a proposal has been approved, tests are written, mainly in C++ and occasionally Python. Once all major implementations have passed the scripted tests, a date is picked for a hard fork on the testnet and mainnet, usually involving a gap of several weeks between the two. From there, the new client is released with the hard fork.

Buterin also mentioned that Metropolis, Ethereum’s next evolution, is currently undergoing a testing phase and should be ready in “a couple of months.” 

When asked how his initial vision has evolved since starting Ethereum, Buterin replied by saying the platform has moved beyond programmable money and now the consensus algorithm is developing. Perhaps the only thing that Buterin hadn’t counted on was “the large amount of industrial interest.” Buterin concludes: “The institutional participation in the community is certainly far higher than I expected.”    

Bank of China Filed a Patent to Scale Blockchain Systems

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process able to scale blockchain systems  
23 February 2018   102

According to a document released by China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on February 23, the application was invented by Zhao Shuxiang and first submitted on September 28 last year.

The application states that instead of letting a new block store transactions from its previous one, a data compressing system could be used to pack transactions from multiple blocks into what the patent calls a "data block."

For example, when the system receives a request to compress transactions from block 1 to 1,000, it causes a new data block to be formed and temporarily hosted on a different storage system. Then, the system will run the packed data through a hash function with a hash value. After that, the compression system will attach labels in order to identify blocks on the blockchain.

With the use of the described method, the patent claims a reduction in the amount of the data stored in new blocks as transactions mount in a blockchain while ensuring that data from all previous transactions will still be tamper-proof and traceable.

At the moment, the patent in the review process.