All Research & Development posts:

Validated, staking on eth2: #4 - Keys 🔑

Special thanks to Sacha Yves Saint-Leger & Danny Ryan for their review. At the core of every Proof of Stake system is a signature scheme. Signatures are used to verify the identity of each validator allowing their actions, both good and bad, to be attributed to them. We can verify honesty by looking at a validator’s signed messages and we can prove malice by showing messages that violate the rules of consensus. In fact, in eth2, the identity of a... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 11

We’ve all been pretty busy with all the things! I’ll try to keep these posts rolling out, but in the meantime, be sure to checkout Ben Edgington’s What’s New in Eth2 to get your fix. Tune into Ethereal Virtual Summit this Thursday and Friday! It’s full of excellent eth2 content and it’s 100% FREE. Thank you to all the organizers for their hard work in making the switch to online. I’m super excited :) tl;dr Doubling rewards for Phase 0... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: A Primer for the Witness Specification

Since a lot of us have a bit more time on our hands, I thought now might be a good opportunity to proceed with something perhaps a little bit boring and tedious, but nevertheless quite fundamental to the Stateless Ethereum effort: understanding the formal Witness Specification. Like the captain of the Battleship in StarCraft, we’re going to take it slow. The witness spec is not a particularly complicated concept, but it is very deep. That depth is a little daunting,... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: The Updated Stateless Tech Tree

The Updated Stateless Ethereum Tech Tree Apologies for the delay in releasing this post; there have been some unavoidable distractions in my life recently, as I’m sure there have been in yours. I hope that you are making the best of your circumstances, whatever they may be, and implore you to turn your empathy up to eleven for the next few months, and to help your community’s at-risk people in whatever capacity you can :pray:. With that said, let’s talk... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 10

Have some fun announcements for y’all this week :) Other than the items below, client teams continue to move toward production. More on that next week! tl;dr Least Authority Phase 0 audit complete Phase 0 Pre-Launch Bounty Program 🐛 Unification of eth1+eth2 communications in the Eth R&D discord server [Read More]

Validated, staking on eth2: #3 - Sharding Consensus

Special thanks to Sacha Yves Saint-Leger & Joseph Schweitzer for review. Sharding is one of the many improvements that eth2 has over eth1. The term was borrowed from database research where a shard means a piece of a larger whole. In the context of databases and eth2, sharding means breaking up the storage and computation of the whole system into shards, processing the shards separately, and combining the results as needed. Specifically, eth2 implements many shard chains, where each shard... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 9

Strange times. I hope you are all well and continue to take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. We’re a bit overdue on a quick update. My apologies. I’ll keep them coming at a regular clip after this one. Eth2 is looking good – Phase 0 is stable, client teams are crushing it, and some promising research was published for our stateless future. tl;dr v0.11.0 released as a stable target for multi-client testnets Release of Combining GHOST and... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: Stateless Summit Summary

The Stateless Ethereum Summit It’d be a fools errand to try and provide a representative or objective summary immediately following this week in Paris – I and everyone else whom were present shall be spending the coming weeks refining our takeaways, and adjusting for the year ahead. But for you, dear reader, who felt the Paris FOMO and have been eagerly awaiting an update, I will provide my personal and incomplete collection of high-level insights, decisions, and results of the... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: The State(lessness) of the Union

The next Stateless Ethereum research call is coming up in less than a week! The telegram chat now has hundreds of messages to catch up on, and only a small portion of the topics discussed have made it into the ethresearch forums. This post is just a quick primer and general update; we’ll re-cap most issues under discussion currently, and set the stage for call #4 as well as the 1.x researcher’s summit following EthCC. This post assumes a higher-than-average... [Read More]

Validated, staking on eth2: #2 - Two ghosts in a trench coat

Special thanks to Sacha Yves Saint-Leger & Danny Ryan for review. In this installment, we’ll discuss the consensus mechanisms behind eth2. Eth2 has a novel approach to deciding which block is the head of the chain, along with which blocks are and are not a part of the chain. By using a hybrid between the two mechanisms, eth2 aims to have a consensus which, in addition to being rapid and safe when the network is behaving normally, remains safe even... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 8

Keep it coming tldr; Audit and formal verification of deposit contract bytecode completed by Runtime Verification The word of the month is “optimization” Ongoing Phase 2 research driven by Quilt and eWASM. Welcome TXRX to the table Whiteblock releases gossipsub testing results Stacked spring! Conferences, hackathons, bounties, and more [Read More]

Solidity 0.6.x features: try/catch statement

The try/catch syntax introduced in 0.6.0 is arguably the biggest leap in error handling capabilities in Solidity, since reason strings for revert and require were released in v0.4.22. Both try and catch have been reserved keywords since v0.5.9 and now we can use them to handle failures in external function calls without rolling back the complete transaction (state changes in the called function are still rolled back, but the ones in the calling function are not). We are moving one... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: The Stateless Ethereum Tech Tree

I started to write a post that detailed a “roadmap” for Ethereum 1.x research and the path to stateless Ethereum, and realized that it’s not actually a roadmap at all —— at least not in the sense we’re used to seeing from something like a product or company. The 1.x team, although working toward a common goal, is an eclectic collection of developers and researchers independently tackling intricately related topics. Consequently, there is no “official” roadmap to speak of. It’s... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 7

Welcome to the first eth2 quick update of 2020! This is going to be an exciting year. tldr; Release of v0.10.0 spec as stable target for multi-client testnets and security reviews @paulhauner and @sigp_io team hard at work building Lighthouse Relaunch of Prysm testnet, now with aggregators and mainnet configuration A new proposal for an expedited merging of eth1+eth2 (aka Phase 1.5) [Read More]

Validated, staking on eth2: #1 - Incentives

Thanks to Joseph Schweitzer and Danny Ryan for review. Welcome back! Having discussed eth2’s design philosophy last time, today’s focus is on eth2’s incentives through the lens of that philosophy. More specifically, we look at the incentives effecting eth2 and how they are realised in the form of rewards, penalties, and slashings. We then walk through how and why validators are incentivised to remain online, why you won’t be slashed for going offline, and more. Let’s dig in. [Read More]

Update on the Vyper Compiler

The idea behind the Vyper Project was to develop something that was designed at the language level to naturally exhibit a high degree of safety. The project was originally authored by Vitalik as a proof-of-concept replacement for Serpent, its predecessor, but shortly after its creation Vyper found itself without a dedicated maintainer. Luckily, there were enthusiastic community members that took up the torch and continued development of the project, and we (the EF Python Team) became re-involved in the project... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: The State of Stateless Ethereum

In the last edition of The 1.x files, we did a quick re-cap of where the Eth 1.x research initiative came from, what’s at stake, and what some possible solutions are. We ended with the concept of stateless ethereum, and left a more detailed examination of the stateless client for this post. Stateless is the new direction of Eth 1.x research, so we’re going to do a pretty deep dive and get a real sense of the challenges and possibilities... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 6

Welcome to this week’s eth2 quick update! A handful of new eth2 testnets have come online and last week I had them all running on my laptop. There is still plenty of work to be done, but this is getting real :). tldr; Announcing comprehensive Phase 0 spec audit by Least Authority Sigma Prime launched public Lighthouse testnet with 16k+ validators and mainnet spec configuration, pushing the envelope on eth2 scale Nimbus integrates native nim-libp2p to be launched in testnet... [Read More]

The 1.x Files: a fast-sync

ETH 1.x: a fast sync The new direction of ETH 1.x research has begun proper, with a focus on moving the current Ethereum chain towards the ‘stateless client’ paradigm, with the eventual target being a smooth transition into an Eth 2.0 Execution Environment. The next call will be focused on collecting and organizing research topics and planning a more structured roadmap. The call is open for anyone to attend, and is scheduled for December 17th at 16:00 UTC – if... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 5

Welcome to this week’s eth2 quick update! tldr; Parity’s Shasper joins Prysmatic’s Sapphire testnet (the first public eth2 multi-client testnet)! Multiple eth2 block explorers launch – Bitfly’s and Etherscan First eth2 networking call to tackle all the networkings – Ben’s notes and Mamy’s notes First eth2 phase2 community call to rally the effort Fix to ensure fork choice head state matches FFG finality info Presentation, specification, and implementation of the new BLS standards [Read More]

Validated: Staking on eth2 #0

Thanks to Danny and Joe for review. As the launch of the beacon chain grows nearer and eth2 becomes ever more final, the time has come to fast-sync the community with the latest on the inner workings of eth2 and on the concrete requirements, incentives and experience of being a validator. This article will provide a high-level overview of eth2 which will form the basis for a series on all aspects of eth2 relevant to validators. eth2 has been in... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 4

Welcome to the fourth installment of eth2 quick update. There are a lot of moving pieces to talk about this week. Other than the heroic eth2 client development going on, these are the highlights: tldr; Grant to Sigma Prime for eth2 differential fuzzing Light Client Task Force is formed Some notes on the uni-directional bridge between eth1 and eth2 [Read More]

Eth2 at ETHWaterloo: Prizes for Eth2 education, tooling, and research

For the first time ever, the Ethereum Foundation will be sponsoring a range of hacker prizes related to Eth2 at a major hackathon. With Eth2 development proceeding rapidly, there are now many discrete areas of work that a team of motivated hackers can complete over a weekend. The bounties below include useful educational tools for Eth2 development, necessary tooling, and valuable research. Members of Eth2 teams will be available remotely during the hackathon to answer questions from hackers and provide... [Read More]

eth2 quick update no. 2

Welcome to the second installment of eth2 quick update. tldr; Spec release of v0.9.0 -- Tonkatsu to ensure Phase 0 development can continue unimpeded. Work continues in ironing out the details of the modified Phase 1 proposal. Quiet client development focused on eth1 -> eth2 infrastructure, general hardening for production, and optimizations. [Read More]

eth2 quick update

Although the internet has been more quiet than usual, we’ve been super busy hacking away on eth2! Between Devcon5 and keeping our heads down to work, it seems we’ve left the community in the dark on a couple of items. Here’s a quick update to fill in the gaps. [Read More]

Bootstrapping a Decentralized Autonomous Corporation, Part 3: Identity Corp

In the first two parts of this series, we talked about what the basic workings of a decentralized autonomous corporation might look like, and what kinds of challenges it might need to deal with to be effective. However, there is still one question that we have not answered: what might such corporations be useful for? Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik once suggested that one application migh be a sort of decentralized Dropbox, where users can upload their files to a resilient... [Read More]