Vitalik Buterinthe “pap” of Ethereum, released what he thinks is a “plausible roadmap” for Eth2, outlining a future in which the smart contract platform can increase its scalability while managing to maintain high standards of reliability and censorship resistance.
He did this in a long post titled “Endgame”, trying to conceptually explain how a large blockchain, with high block frequency, large block size and thousands of transactions per second, can still be enough reliable and censorship-resistant. However, with a compromise: the centralization of block production.
The future of Ethereum towards scalability and security
According to Buterin’s vision, there are four stages (including the detailed study in the original post of the founder of Ethereum) that can make a blockchain with the above characteristics reliable and censorship-resistant:
- A second level of stakingwith low resource requirements, to perform distributed block validation
- Introduction of proof of fraud or ZK-SNARKs to allow users to directly (and inexpensively) check the validity of blocks
- Presentation on sampling availability of data to allow users to control the availability of blocks
- Add secondary transaction channels to avoid censorship
Once these steps have been completed, explains Buterin, it will be possible to obtain a chain where the production of blocks still centralized, but their validation without trust and very decentralizedand the “anti-censorship magic” (as Vitalik calls it) prevents block producers from exercising any form of censorship.
The Ethereum pap defines this solution as something “aesthetically ugly”, but which provides the basic guarantees sought:
“even if each of the main players (the block producers) are about to attack or censor, the worst they could do would be to go completely offline, in which case the chain would stop accepting transactions until that the community pools its resources and sets up an honest staking main-node.“
Buterin’s conceptual experiment then continues by considering what possibilities might materialize even assuming successful implementations of the so-called “cumulation“, i.e. solutions that allow transactions to be carried out outside the main Ethereum blockchain. With some examples (we always refer to the original post for more information) Vitalik specifies that whatever the path taken, you will always end up with a blockchain whose production of blocks is centralized, but their verification trustless and decentralized.
“While there may be many avenues for building a scalable and secure blockchain ecosystem over the long term, they all seem to be pointing to very similar futures. There is a high likelihood that block production will eventually be centralized : Effect networks within rollups, or what can happen with cross-domain MEVs push us in that direction in different ways, but what we can do is use protocol-level techniques, such as committee validation, data and circumvention channels to “regulate” this market, ensuring that winners cannot abuse their power.”
Ethereum, towards proof of stake
Despite the uncertainty over the preferred path Ethereum will take in the future, Buterin believes that the rollup-centric roadmap defined a few years ago is able to make Ethereum open to any possible epilogue and does not need to decide on the preferred path.
It will be years, however, before the path – whatever it is – can be accomplished. Some technologies are complex to implement, while other concepts are still in their infancy. But Buterin says he is optimistic that “a realistic yet bright future will emerge for scalable blockchains.”
Last August, Ethereum faced the “London” protocol update, which was tasked with starting to initiate the transition to the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which could take place within the next year. . The update also introduced a particular change, which we have already talked about in this news, which changed the commission system of the network to cause ETH to become a deflationary asset. Since the introduction of London over a million ETH have already been burned.