A brief introduction to the evolution of Ethereum
Ethereum is an innovation at the level of human civilization, just like language and writing.
But during the development of Ethereum, it has also undergone several major changes. To understand Ethereum and participate in it, you need to understand its history and evolution.
In this article, I will sort out the evolution of Ethereum, as well as the latest roadmap.
Given that Ethereum is a very complex economic system, I only picked the main parts to illustrate (so there may be some omissions)
1) Ethereum was proposed by Vitalik Buterin in 2013, and he directly borrowed the design of Bitcoin, so decentralization and security have been in the DNA of Ethereum from the beginning (this is why I like it).
But ethereum has been very difficult to scale due to the "scalability trilemma".
There are many blockchains that want to outperform Ethereum in different directions, but their choices create more problems for them.
For example, choose a chain with high TPS (scalability + security), they usually have very large blocks and high-performance nodes, which can process more transactions per second.
But the price is decentralization, since consumer laptops can't run such high-performance nodes, they only have tens or hundreds of nodes (BSC, Solana)
Another option is decentralization + scalability, such as IBC and other multi-chain universes, but this will bring great security risks.
If the attacker chooses the weakest one of the multiple chains to attack, once the attack is successful, it will cause a series of serious chain reactions
2) For Ethereum, it would rather sacrifice a certain degree of scalability than decentralization and security.
So when Ethereum was first launched (in 2015), Vitalik Buterin started researching and planning to convert PoW to PoS.
Research at the time: https://blog.ethereum.org/2015/12/28/understanding-serenity-part-2-casper/
Compared with PoW, PoS has three advantages. The Ethereum network will be more secure and decentralized. For details, please refer to this article by Vitalik Buterin: https://vitalik.ca/general/2020/11/06/pos2020.html
Starting from the PoS consensus mechanism, Vitalik Buterin defined the earliest Ethereum roadmap.
3) The earliest roadmap is: PoW to PoS (phase 0) → data sharding (phase 1) → execution sharding (phase 2)
Ethereum not only hopes to have the highest degree of decentralization and security, but also hopes to solve the problem of execution efficiency through data/execution sharding.
According to research by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum can reach 1000-5000 TPS after phase 2 implementation.
Currently, Ethereum only has 5-15 TPS.
The improvement in execution efficiency is mainly due to the fact that execution sharding can execute transactions in parallel.
And PoS as phase 0 is not only the result of Vitalik's first research, but also because other shards need to use PoS as the base layer (beacon chain).
In this workflow, data sharding does not involve code execution, only data storage and validation (data availability). Execution sharding is used to execute code (similar to the current execution layer of layer1)
After the implementation of phase 2, there will be many execution shards to process transactions in parallel, and finally aggregated to data shards, and then aggregated to the beacon chain and the main chain (Main Chain).
At the time, there was a lot of interesting research on performing sharding, for example, Vitalik Buterin proposed a standardized intermediate language (eWASM) that would allow all programming languages to be compiled into Ethereum's intermediate language and eventually into EVM bytes code execution.
In this way, Ethereum will no longer be a "spokesman of solidity", but a rich ecosystem that can be developed in all languages.
Even each execution shard can be designed with a different VM. Finally, the state is synchronized and aggregated to the base layer (much like Rollup today).
However, due to the "merge (phase 0)" taking too long, and the design of sharding has changed many times, the most important thing is the emergence and rapid development of Rollup and other L2 (plasma, state channel), which led to the Ethereum roadmap. Another change.
Vitalik Buterin calls it "Rollup-centric Ethereum roadmap."
4) The emergence of Rollup cannot be ignored, and may be the main theme of the blockchain for a long time in the future.
Ethereum has also redesigned its own Rollup roadmap.
The first step is to complete the "merge" to achieve the merger of the consensus layer (beacon chain) and the execution layer (the current Ethereum), after which Ethereum will completely transform from PoW to PoS.
The second step is to deploy data fragmentation based on the beacon chain (PoS and fragmentation are developed in parallel, so the merger will not affect the development progress of fragmentation).
However, the data sharding here is not used for Ethereum's own execution sharding, but to better serve Rollup and further reduce the data storage cost of Rollup
For details, please refer to this article written by Vitalik Buterin: https://notes.ethereum.org/@vbuterin/data_sharding_roadmap
When the data shards are successfully deployed, Rollup can send all block data processed by itself to different shards in parallel for verification.
In theory, the number of data shards deployed can reduce the cost of Rollup (and L1 throughput).
When DAS (Data Availability Sampling) was fully introduced, data sharding was fully deployed (a whole new world!).
What concept: The current TPS of Ethereum L1 is 5-15. If all users and applications are migrated to Rollup, we can achieve 3000+ TPS.
If the deployment of data sharding is completed, theoretically we can achieve a TPS of 100,000+ (the blockchain will no longer be a toy for the small crowd).
5) What will Ethereum look like in the long run?
This is a very open question, well worth researching.
I'm as interested in this problem as I am in zero-knowledge proofs.
Because I want to see the blockchain develop into a governance system that is more advanced than the physical world, and Ethereum (or any truly secure, decentralized blockchain) will become the cornerstone of our digital life and have a strong impact on our reality. society has a direct impact.
First of all, Ethereum will be a very good base layer, providing data storage and data verification for Rollup.
Whether the user chooses to concentrate on a Rollup (the largest Rollup needs to decentralize the sequencer), or to disperse among different Rollups...