Keeping Up With Ethereum - The Daily Gwei #188

Your brief update on the state of Ethereum protocol development.

We all know that the Ethereum ecosystem is racing ahead towards eth2 but there is still a lot happening on the eth1 side with many improvements coming to the protocol over the next few months. Today’s post will give a brief overview of everything you should be keeping your eye on.

As you can see above, Ethereum’s next network upgrade/hard fork (Berlin) will be going live on mainnet on the 14th of April, 2021 (if all goes well with the testnets). Berlin includes a number of important technical upgrades for the Ethereum network which you can find here. This will be the first network upgrade for eth1 since Istanbul which went live on the 8th of December 2019 though technically eth1 had another hard fork on January 2nd 2020 in the form of Muir Glacier to diffuse the difficulty bomb.

Something to note here is that the Berlin upgrade doesn’t include the much-loved EIP-1559 but that doesn’t mean we’re going to have to wait another year to see it. It is assumed that the next Ethereum network upgrade, London, will include EIP-1559 as part of its release (pending final EIP acceptance by the AllCoreDevs). As for timing, many people are hoping that London can go live as early as July or August which would also coincide with Ethereum’s difficulty bomb going off (and obviously we need to diffuse it). Don’t quote me on that timeline though!

Overall, the eth1 protocol is moving slower than it used to and I think this is for a few reasons. Firstly, the network is now worth over $200 billion and is home to trillions of dollars in economic activity each year which means any changes to the network need to be thoroughly thought through and reviewed. Secondly, there are only a small group of people who have the necessary skills to do core protocol work and bringing new core developers up to speed takes time. Thirdly, the community is much, much larger now which means that coming to consensus on even the most popular proposals (such as EIP-1559) takes more time. The community being larger also means that core developers are under more stress and pressure to get things right which of course slows things down (I don’t blame them though - they’re the unsung heroes of Ethereum).

As for eth2, it’ll be undergoing its first hard fork around mid-2021 and you can read all about that here. The other major upgrades coming to eth2 include the introduction of data sharding, stateless clients and of course, the eth1 <> eth2 merger. You can read more about the current state of eth2 here and to keep up with everything happening in eth2 you can subscribe to Ben Edgington’s newsletter here. I do want to note here that all of the protocol work on eth1 and eth2 is happening in parallel - not sequentially - which is obviously a very good thing!

On top of all of this there are numerous other changes coming to both eth1 and eth2 over the next few months and years. Many of the changes coming to eth1 are needed in order to prepare it for the merge into eth2 and Vitalik’s roadmap chart is still the best way to get a quick overview of everything being worked on. As for how this all plays into layer 2 on Ethereum, I recommend reading this post from Vitalik as it’ll give you an excellent overview.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano

Join the Daily Gwei Ecosystem

All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.