Many of Ethereum’s doubters have argued the project’s forthcoming “2.0” Serenity upgrade — wherein developers are aiming sharding, Casper, and Plasma tech to bring the blockchain’s infrastructure to full maturity — is unrealistic, or in the very least isn’t arriving any time soon.
However, this week Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin once again suggested progress on Serenity is tangible and the upgrade’s fruition is closer than skeptics realize.
Buterin’s remarks came as a reply to a May 21st tweet from respected bitcoin investor and analyst Tuur Demeester, who asked “Can money buy a scientific breakthrough?” in response to the Ethereum Foundation (EF) announcement of $19 million USD in ETH 2.0 development spending on the same day.
Countering the suggestion that another scientific breakthrough was necessary for Serenity’s actualization, Buterin said the relevant preliminary research for a “full implementation” of the upgrade had been completed since last year:
“We’ve actually already had all the research breakthroughs we need for a full implementation of eth2. This has been the case for about a year now.”
We've actually already had all the research breakthroughs we need for a full implementation of eth2. This has been the case for about a year now.
— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) May 22, 2019
Alas, the Ethereum ecosystem has found itself in a period dominated by building and preparation as of late.
Earlier this month, EF researcher Justin Drake confirmed that the code specification for ETH 2.0’s “Phase Zero” — which will implement a shift to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus — is expected to be finalized by June 30th.
This month also saw Prysmatic Labs, the minds behind the “Prysm” Ethereum sharding client, release the second ETH 2.0 testnet published so far this year. The testnet allows users to trial validating via staking test ether.
Amid the preparatory period has also come an important audit. The code of the ASIC-resistant ProgPoW consensus algorithm, which has been proposed for the ETH 1.0 chain ahead of Serenity’s shift to PoS consensus, is currently in the process of being reviewed for critical bugs.
Looking Closer at the Ethereum Foundation Announcement
The EF’s May 21st announcement of its plans for the next year quickly generated buzz throughout the wider Ethereum ecosystem — not only for the plan’s content but also because influential Ethereum community stakeholders generally champion transparency and communication from the at-times insular foundation.
— Ethereum (@ethereum) May 21, 2019
Accordingly, the EF declared it would be spending $30 million altogether over the next 12 months, with $19 million of that sum going to ETH 2.0 development efforts, $8 million going to ETH 1.0 initiatives, and $3 million going to developer growth and awareness programs.
The foundation also highlighted that it wouldn’t be emphasizing in-house projects over external teams in its funding activities going forward:
“Today, it shouldn’t matter to the Foundation whether a project is ‘internal’ or ‘external.’ What matters is that we’re spending resources effectively, and that Ethereum’s goals are accomplished. This is why we are moving toward an “ecosystem level view” when allocating resources by looking at the whole picture rather than at a subset of it.”
So, as it pertains to efforts to boost the well-being of Ethereum as public infrastructure, if you build it, the EF may come happily with their purse.
2019 has been good to Ethereum so far, with its popularity and prospects trending up.
The blockchain’s daily transaction counts have spiked recently, and there’s been a fresh trading boon. Last week, Coinbase oversaw more than $900 million worth of ether trades, a new record for the cryptocurrency exchange powerhouse.
The project’s also the biggest home for decentralized finance at present. This month, the amount of outstanding DeFi loans underpinned by projects atop Ethereum crossed the $100 million milestone for the first time.
Moreover, major enterprises and institutions like “Big Four” accounting firm EY and French bank Societe Generale are increasingly pivoting to Ethereum for building out tools and products. If Ethereum proponents have their way, these organizations will be the first of many more to come.