Ethereum Project Update

Development of the Ethereum project has gone very well over the months since inception.  The core activity — development of the software platform — is on track and many developers around the world are starting to build small, exploratory distributed applications on the platform, even though we are still not yet in alpha release. The 5th installment of the proof of concept series will be released soon, though many community members download the developing source code, compile it and use... [Read More]

What If Ethereum Lived on a Treap? Or, Blockchains Charging Rent

Although truly solving blockchain scalability fundamentally, that is to say figuring out a solution to the problem that every node must process every transaction, is a very hard problem, and all suggested solutions rely on either highly advanced cryptography or intricate multi-blockchain architectures, partial solutions that provide a constant-factor improvement over the way Bitcoin does things are actually quite easy to find. In Ethereum, for example, we have the concept of a separate state tree and transaction history, allowing miners... [Read More]

On Long-Term Cryptocurrency Distribution Models

One of the challenges when creating a new cryptocurrency is figuring out what the distribution model is going to be. Who is going to receive the currency units, at what time, and what is the mechanism that decides? Despite the crucial importance of this question, there has actually been comparatively little thought into the issue compared with other aspects of currency, like consensus algorithms and feature sets. The question is particularly challenging because, just like many other problems in the... [Read More]

Long-Range Attacks: The Serious Problem With Adaptive Proof of Work

Our current proof of work design, blockchain-based proof of work, is the second iteration of our attempt to create a mining algorithm that is guaranteed to remain CPU-friendly and resistant to optimization by specialized hardware (ASICs) in the long term. Our first attempt, Dagger, tried to take the idea of memory-hard algorithms like Scrypt one step further by creating an algorithm which is memory-hard to compute, but memory-easy to verify, using directed acyclic graphs (basically, trees where each node has... [Read More]

The Xbox and Ethereum’s Dual Mandate

The Necessity to Build and Launch an Ecosystem on Genesis Day Imagine if Microsoft released the Xbox and there were no games. On the day on which the Ethereum genesis block is created, many of the elements of the ecosystem — core infrastructure, mining network, user app browser and applications — will be in place.  Granted there will be an enormous amount of development to do beyond the genesis to craft Ethereum into a sophisticated, decentralized consensus (decentcon) application platform.... [Read More]

What is Ethereum? Project, Platform, Fuel, Stack.

What is Ethereum, the Project? The Ethereum Project is an open source, community-driven effort designed to create a next-generation distributed application platform intended to be maximally flexible and powerful in the possibilities that it enables. What is Ethereum, the Platform? The Ethereum Platform combines a generalized peer-to-peer networking platform with next-generation blockchain architecture to deliver a decentralized consensus-based (decentcon), full-stack platform for developing, offering and using distributed application services.  A consumer-facing application, called the EtherBrowser, integrates the front and back... [Read More]

DAOs, DACs, DAs and More: An Incomplete Terminology Guide

One of the most popular topics in the digital consensus space (a new term for cryptocurrency 2.0 that I’m beta-testing) is the concept of decentralized autonomous entities. There are now a number of groups rapidly getting involved in the space, including Bitshares (also known as Invictus Innovations) developing “decentralized autonomous companies”, BitAngels’ David Johnston with decentralized applications, our own concept of decentralized autonomous corporations which has since transformed into the much more general and not necessarily financial “decentralized autonomous organizations”... [Read More]

Serpent upgrades: More Fun Stuff

Over the past two weeks our primary focus has been getting all of the clients updated to PoC5 compatibility, and it definitely has been a long road. Among the changes to the VM include: The new init/code mechanism: basically, when you create a contract, the code provided will execute immediately, and then the return value of that code will be what becomes the contract’s code. This allows us to have contract initialization code, but still keep to the same format... [Read More]

Decentralized Protocol Monetization and Forks

The idea of releasing a new currency as a mechanism for funding protocol development is perhaps one of the most interesting economic innovations to come out of the cryptocurrency space. In the past twenty years, we have seen a growing centralization in the protocols that underlie the internet, with the rise of proprietary chat systems and social networks like Facebook, and a large part of the reason for this trend has been the need for monetization; if Facebook was cryptographically... [Read More]

The Issuance Model in Ethereum

Ether (ETH), the cryptofuel that powers distributed applications on the Ethereum platform, will be issued at a constant annual linear rate via the block mining process. This rate is 0.3 times the total amount of ETH that will be purchased in the pre-sale. While the best metaphor for ETH is “fuel for running the contract processing engine,” for the purposes of this post, we will treat ETH purely as a currency. There are two common definitions of “inflation.”  The first... [Read More]