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What is the roadmap for Ethereum?
With the successful shipping of the Ethereum Merge upgrade in September 2022 to Ethereum Shanghai and Ethereum Cancun-Deneb Upgrade, which took place earlier this year- the Ethereum ecosystem is continually evolving to build it into a decentralized world computer. It has undergone a complete overhaul, moving from Proof of Work consensus to eco-friendly Proof of Stake and a step towards implementing the proto-danksharding technique.
Ethereum Roadmap is a strategic plan showcased by Vitalik Buterin to overcome all those critical issues- high gas, slow finality, centralization, and scalability- to make Ethereum the backbone of the decentralized world. That’s because, over the past years, an array of blockchain and layer-2 solutions have emerged in the market, which are trying to beat Ethereum in technology and adoption rate. So, to gain and retain its market share, Ethereum’s team has devised a plan to future-proof the blockchain.
Why does Ethereum need a roadmap?
Ethereum’s roadmap outlines specific improvements, details and expected outcomes that will be laid to the protocol to achieve exceptional user experience security, drop down the gas fees, and ready it for future generations. Ethereum’s strength lies in adaptability to new concepts from research that help it tackle emerging issues and stay on par with the tech forefront.
As a decentralized network, these upgrades are a reflection of all those Eth enthusiasts, researchers and developers- who craft ideas in response to newly discovered vulnerabilities and community discussions. Once the idea matures- it’s supported by the community and project developer team, it takes off to upgrade the Ethereum chain.
There is no precise timeline and outline for the Ethereum development roadmap- it is designed to cover both nearing and future plans, and the time factor of upgrade implementation will be according to urgency and external needs. Now, let’s take a look at Vitalik’s master plan to 1000x the Ethereum.
Additional Read: How to Buy Ethereum in India?
What are the 5 stages of Ethereum?
A quick recap to the roadmap
2022: The Merge
Ethereum went through a Merge phase in September 2022, which joined the Ethereum mainnet with Beacon Chain, retiring Proof of Work consensus and activating the Proof of Stake-based chain. In the next course of the roadmap, developers initiated the Shanghai Capella upgrade that went live on April 12, 2023, enabling ETH withdrawals for stakers from deposit smart contracts via EIP-4895.
This upgrade did not make Ethereum faster in throughput, but it resolved some major issues and laid the ground for subsequent upgrades. The move from energy-intensive Proof of Work to Proof of Stake reduced the power consumption of Ethereum by a staggering ~99.95%.
Withdrawal of ETH in the Shapella upgrade was made to reduce high gas fees during network high time to assist Ethereum developers.
2023: The Surge
The Next phase of the roadmap, “The Surge,” aims to enhance the scalability and decentralization of the Ethereum network. It involves the implementation of EIP-4844, also known as Proto Danksharding, which is set to enable a new transaction format through “data blobs” that can be transparently integrated into nodes and their operations.
Ethereum’s sharding technique splits transactions into various smaller batches, scaling the network horizontally, which is comparatively easier than improving a single machine. For instance, it’s more efficient for 20 validators to validate five batches of 20 transactions each rather than having 100 validators validate 1,00 transactions individually. EIP-4844 also lays the groundwork for transactions based on Roll-up technology and tools that simplify the development of zero-knowledge scaling solutions. By the end of this phase, the Ethereum network’s scalability will increase from 15 TPS to 100,000 TPS and beyond.
The Scourge phase aims to achieve transaction neutrality, decentralization, and address MEV issues. MEV- Maximum Extractable Value is the maximum value that can be gained from manipulating the inclusion and order of transactions in a block production beyond the standard block reward and gas fees.
This approach encompasses implementing PBS (Proposer Builder Separation); that is, the construction and proposal of blocks in a blockchain should be assigned to distinct entities. PBS provides a solution to censorship and acts as a deterrent against MEV attacks on Ethereum.
The Verge phase also aims for scalability of the Ethereum network- this time with a system for storing Ethereum’s state. After going through all the previously mentioned phases- Ethereum’s overall scalability will be wild. So, as more users join the network and more applications are deployed, Ethereum nodes will need more data storage and processing power.
The Verge introduces light clients that will use more viable techniques to handle Ethereum’s growth and attract more people to join. It will also replace the current Merkel tree data structure- which becomes less efficient as Ethereum grows, with new Verkle trees that are more efficient in data storage. Apart from this, The Verge will also use better technology like SNARKs and STARKs. These upgrades and the shift to Verkle trees will make Ethereum’s data storage more efficient- improving decentralization and adoption to new users.
Next on the roadmap is the ‘Purge’ phase, as its name- aims to trim down historical data storage on the Ethereum network through EIP-4444. The validators will be required to store only one year’s worth of blockchain history instead of the entire history- this doesn’t erase the old data; validator nodes won’t need to handle it actively.
Additionally, EIP-4444 targets to offset unnecessary or bloated features from the Ethereum Virtual Machine– to simplify the protocol, minimize technical complexities, and reduce the costs associated with participating in the network by clearing out old historical data. The main goal is to tackle network congestion and boost the speed of processing transactions.
The Splurge phase is Ethereum’s Endgame, which is set to take care of all the pending problems in the network. This will be solely dedicated to research, development, and fixing issues to ensure proper implementation and working of earlier steps. It has some desirable developments and interesting advancements for the ecosystem, like decreasing the impact of MEV by dividing the proposer and builder roles during block production.
Another is ERC-4337, which removes account abstraction to make interactions with Ethereum more flexible. Other implementations include EIP-3074 and improving the efficiency of validation proofs that will contribute to refining Ethereum’s functionality and expand capabilities.
What Is Danksharding?
Danksharding is a blockchain scaling method that will be implemented during the Ethereum Cancun-Deneb upgrade, most probably by the end of 2023, taking Ethereum’s scalability to the next level. It’s basically a sharding technique that breaks down the Ethereum blockchain into smaller sections called “blobs” to enhance data storage capacity and reduce network gas fees. This division methodology enables transactions and smart contracts to be processed simultaneously, which results in better scalability and overall efficiency.
How do the upgrades affect the Ethereum price?
As the phases mentioned in the roadmap of Ethereum go live one by one, it is expected to boost the scalability and growth of the network. These upgrades aim to level up user experience so as more participants are on board and developers build on the network- it will flood on-chain liquidity, creating new earning opportunities for investors and users. However, if things go the other way, it can pressure Ethereum development and ETH prices. Thus, there is no definite direction where ETH prices will move in future, so investors and traders are advised to do their own research, keep track of upcoming developments, market news, and always apply risk management strategies while investing in the crypto market.
Read More: ETH Price Prediction
What is the future of Ethereum?
Ethereum’s roadmap is a rough outline of Vitalik and Ethereum community ideas for past and future implementations to address scalability and fee-related concerns of the network. With the completion of each phase, Ethereum is poised to become one of the most efficient, cost-effective, and prominent platforms for blockchain applications.
However, as these upgrades will occur, there will be new challenges and problems to overcome- which can delay the expected timeline of the roadmap. Nevertheless, the Ethereum team is currently aiming to carry the entire roadmap by 2025, with the most anticipated Dencun Upgrade expected by this year’s end.
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