Vitalik Buterin sets milestones on the way from Ethereum to the “world computer”

Vitalik Buterin has set the next Ethereum milestones for 2017 and 2018. According to his paper “Opportunities and Challenges for Private and Consortium Blockchains”, Ethereum 3.0 will be released with “unlimited” scalability at the end of 2018.

The success of Ethereum brought smart contracts into focus

The Ethereum platform has generated a lot of buzz lately, especially following the crowdfunding by The DAO – or the decentralized Autonomous Organization – and the subsequent price increase for the platform’s currency, Ether, from less than a dollar to $ 15 in six months.

A reasonable level of clarity has also been achieved in the differences between Ethereum and the Bitcoin platform. This understanding, while still falling, has allowed the world’s two leading cryptocurrency platforms to maintain their operational focus on specialized areas of interest. It also provided enthusiasts with a clear overview to help them make the best investment decisions.

Ethereum has been valued more for the popularity it brought to smart contracts, the programming of which made it a fundamental tenet of the power of blockchain.

Future Ethereum Milestones

Despite the rave, the comparison with Bitcoin and the great expectation of the optimistic ETH ecosystem, the currently expected future milestones of the Ethereum projects are still set between 2017 and 2018, according to Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, in his paper ‘Chances and Challenges for Private and Consortium Blockchains, published by the R3 Consortium. ‘

  • Metropolis: Release of the Mist Browser, expected summer / autumn 2016
  • Serenity (‘Ethereum 1.5’): Publication of the Proof of Stake (Casper) version of the blockchain, including Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) 101 and 105. Expected in early 2017.
  • WebAssembly release (‘Ethereum 1.75’): faster virtual machine. Probably 2017.
  • Ethereum 2.0 (not yet named): first scalability version. Probably at the end of 2017.
  • Ethereum 3.0 (not yet named): ‘unlimited’ scalability version. Probably at the end of 2018.

If you can orientate yourself on these milestones, nothing has happened in the ETH ecosystem.

From the blockchain smartphone to the world computer

As Buterin says, Ethereum’s vision is to be “the world computer,” a platform where public economic consensus meets the abstraction power of a stateful Turing-complete virtual machine. It is supposed to be a platform that enables developers to create applications that easily benefit from the decentralization and security properties of blockchains without having to create a new blockchain for each new application. This is different from previous protocols, which are viewed as single-function tools like calculators.

He writes:

“… Ethereum is the blockchain smartphone: a universal platform on which you can simply create everything you want to build as an ‘app’ and Ethereum users can immediately benefit from it without having to download new special software.”

All blockchains have an idea of ​​a story and an idea of ​​a state transition rule, both of which must provide positive answers for every transaction to be considered valid and included in a block. With Ethereum, however, the design is a little more complicated as the state can be described as the set of all accounts, with each account being either an external account (EOA) or a contract.

Contract codes saved

As an EOA, the state simply stores the balance of the account in ether and a sequence number is used to prevent re-transaction attacks. On the other hand, it stores the code of the contract and its storage in a key-value database.

“In simple terms, instead of enforcing a specific set of rules for a specific application, Ethereum allows users to write programs that specify the rules they want, upload the programs to the blockchain, and the blockchain will interpret the rules for them” , he writes.

This could possibly explain why the contract mechanism was used on the public Ethereum blockchain. It has been used in a variety of ways, including as databases to keep track of assets backed by the issuer, as “smart contracts” like financial contracts, fiduciary and multi-party protocols like auctions, and as “software libraries”. This allows code to be written once and published on the blockchain and then used by others.

Questions to Buterin

He stated, “The fundamental technical advantages of blockchains, including reliability, security, auditability and decentralization, are now well understood, but less understood are the specific areas in which these advantages shine …”

How and when should the aspect be understood? And what is likely to change when understanding is established?

He also stated that “… machine …”

That sounds like a platform that is supposed to accommodate hundreds of millions of users. As such, it begs the question of whether it would be likely to increase the user access fee in the future in order to reduce the level of security concerns that may arise. Why?

While we wait

In the meantime, it is wise to focus on the issues involved and how they will affect the Ethereum Project while waiting for new features to be revealed.

With approximately $ 168 million poured into its creation by 10,000 investors, The DAO’s success is still being monitored as a test case.

With hints that it’s a mess, what becomes of The DAO is likely to look back on Ethereum just as it did its ICO about two months ago, unless DAO investors – as well as the ETH ecosystem – realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

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