The launch of Ethereum (ETH) 2.0 may be delayed after developers reschedule the evidence-of-stake algorithm upgrade of the June 2020 network, as reported by Cointelegraph on May 15. Taking into account all the factors surrounding the highly anticipated launch, the statements made by the development team can be imposed as an almost official promise. Or, as the devs themselves say, "cautiously" optimistic, which means the critical update is not yet in sight.
The main reason for the note of this cautious optimism is the presence of multiple bugs in the system that the Ethereum team aims to repair, while other platforms successfully launch their proof-of-stake networks. Why does it take so long for Ethereum to implement its final upgrade phase before it becomes truly scalable, and can this delay mean that Ethereum 2.0 loses the scalability game?
Thinking with bugs
Ethereum's true scalability constantly faces obstacles along the way to becoming a fully-fledged and viable system that can take the market to a whole new range with its unrestricted product offering. However, bug fixing has apparently slowed the progress of the development to race other projects to launch and incorporate Ethereum.
The launch of Ethereum 2.0 was initially scheduled for January 2020, but the phase of finding and repairing dome capabilities is a long and arduous process for any project, and it is not always possible to evaluate the time needed for this tasks. Routines such as security audits, fuzzing, detecting and fixing bugs can take months or even end, because the code itself is an infinite stream that can never be perfected.
It is more complicated to plan and execute a large volume of technical work on a blockchain when it comes to new technologies such as sharding, according to Rongjian Lan, chief technology officer at blockchain startup Harmony. He told Cointelegraph:
“The coordination and consistency of data between shards requires extremely careful protocol design to make the home system secure and stable. There are also significantly more corner cases to consider that do not exist in a non-sharded blockchain, mostly thanks to new elements such as crosslinks, cross-shard transactions and resharding. Eth 2.0 should build all of these on top of the Eth 1.0 legacy, which does not have additional compatibility issues in & # 39; brings an image. "
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Since it is the clients who are not responsible for storing their data on a blockchain and validating blocks, it is important that they are fully synchronized. Most of the seven individual clients currently developed for Ethereum 2.0 are working on optimizing Schlesi – the first Ethereum 2.0 multi-client testing network that simulates the core network environment. Following successful trials from Silesia, Ethereum developers decided to move forward with the launch of a more formal testing network, with several clients scheduled for June 2020.
More user paradigm
There are currently seven ETH 2.0 client implementations available: The Ethereum Foundation Trinity, Prysm Labs Prysmatic, Sigma Prime Lighthouse, Status Nimbus, Lodestar ChainSafe, Teku PegaSys and Cortex Nethermind.
The so-called "first specification" approach was adopted by the development team to create the basis on which each customer will be able to operate. The amount of work was tremendous, because the approach first predicted the completion of the parent design of the protocol, followed by the implementation process itself. This "multi-client paradigm" causes delays, as human resources don't seem to be sufficient to ensure optimal development, according to project leader Danny Ryan.
The fact is that having multiple clients is critical to maintaining a high level of network security, and the development team seems unwilling to compromise security for optimal startup timing. Even if that means breaking some promises and postpone the launch.
In an effort to polish the system, the bug-bounty program offers hunters anywhere from $ 1,000 to $ 20,000 for critical errors that can break the chain. The bounty program runs parallel to the control of & # 39; s Phase 0 specification, which is continued to ensure that the network can proceed to the next stage of its development in preparation for launch.
Complex structure and management problems
Apart from the bugs, there are also management issues that further push the launch date due to human factors. The Ethereum blockchain may seem like one entity, but it is, in fact, run by several development and administration teams. Some of them have been taken over by independent organizations.
To shed some light on how the high network works, it is necessary to understand that several teams (dual clients), work on sharding, others are engaged in conducting security audits and some are working on Casper PoS. On the one hand, this division of labor would allow an efficient delegation, but on & # 39; on the other hand, it also complicates systematic development on a larger scale, and imposes smaller tasks on the background. The lack of good management and synchronization among the teams could therefore contribute to the regular delays.
The management process becomes more difficult as more people, organizations and software participate in the development of the platform. Lane Rettig, one of & # 39; s self-identified core developers, noted the need for both technical and social scalability, adding that "the coordination problem is getting worse." As with technical scalability, social scalability must also come under good management to ensure smooth and streamlined operations.
Possible distributions within the parent structure may also lead to high staff turnover, further delaying the development process due to longer onboarding. "We don't have enough people to actually help us about these things," explained Jameson Hudson of & # 39; the Ethereum Foundation, referring to the lack of blockchain developers who & # 39; re working on & # 39; most technological tasks at a Devcon4 conference.
Given the challenges facing the development team, it is essential that the test network remains fully operational for at least two months to be responsible for the official launch. Currently, two clients are working on the Schlesi network – Sigma Prime Lighthouse and Prysm Prismatic Labs. The Teku and Nimbus clients have also synchronized with Schlesi and will soon launch their validators on the test network.
Competitors who don't win the race
While Ethereum developers are fixing bugs, the price for the first-running PoS consensus may well be grabbed by their competitors.
There are several major projects closer to the finish – EOS, Harmony (ONE), Zilliqa (ZIL), Tezos (XTZ), Cosmos (ATOM), Algorand (ALGO) and Qtum (QTUM) – all with life-threatening and operational products whether working on pure PoS or delegated PoS.
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The successful operating networks launched through these projects demonstrate their ability to achieve in one year what years needed for Ethereum. For example, Harmony Valley & # 39; s Harmony recently launched its strike, becoming the first foreclosed PoS blockchain that failed to implement two technologies at the same time. Remarkably, these technologies are yet to be implemented on the main network by the Ethereum developers.
On May 19, the Harmony team announced that it had upgraded its mainnet, which currently supports hundreds of nodes in multiple tents. The developers claim that they succeeded in infringing Ethereum not only in terms of sharding and strike, but also through network performance, reaching a $ 0.000001 transaction fee on the maine net and 118,000 transactions per second on testnet.
With new solutions that are rapidly emerging in the blockchain market, Ethereum continues to be the pioneer and key participant in & # 39; e development of sharding and strike technologies. Given the hundreds of thousands of transactions that are made every day on the network, the release of an upgrade as significant as Ethereum 2.0 – focused on using blockchain smoothly and securely – may just be the lesser evil.