Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has shared the updated roadmap of Ethereum post the Merge. He released a diagram depicting the next six stages in a phase-wise manner. The next six milestones will be: The Merge, the Surge, The Scourge, The Verge, The Purge, and The Splurge.The Scourge is the new addition to Ethereum's scalability roadmap.
In a series of tweets on 5th November, Vitalik has revealed big changes. The Verge is the next major project post The Merge which was completed recently on 15th September. The Merge was a breakthrough as the blockchain transitioned from Proof-of-Work to a more energy- efficient Proof-of-Stake mechanism. The efforts of the Ethereum team was much appreciated by environmentalists who applauded the team for creating a technology which is much more eco-friendly. The Merge will now be followed by The Surge. Although The Scourge, the newly added upgrade, is the third technical advancement in the timeline, it will be extremely useful to combat the MEV issue that the blockchain face.
The Scourge: Solving the MEV issue
The Scuorge is the newly added upgrade in the roadmap that was earlier shared by the Ethereum Foundation. According to Vitalik, this fresh phase is included to ensure reliable and fair, credibly neutral transaction inclusion to solve MEV issues.
Miners can see all the contract code they run and the order in which transactions run is up to individual miners. MEV refers to Maximal extractable value. It is the maximum value that can be extracted from producing a block in excess of the standard block reward and gas fees by including, excluding and reordering the transactions within the blockchain. The miners used to select and order transactions by the highest gas price or transaction fees. However it is important to know that MEV issue is not exclusive to Ethereum or Proof-of-work. MEV exists on all smart contract-enabled blockchains.
Miners used this way to exploit and profit from front-running, back-running and sandwiching transactions in any block they mine. This create a problem for DeFi iusers as such activities increase the costs for executing transactions and have a higher chance of paying for a failed transaction. Popular MEV attacks include Front running, sandwich attacks, back- running, liquidations, and time- bandit attacks.
In 2019 Flash Boys 2.0 paper by a group of researchers at Cornell University suggested that this problem could not be solved even if Ethereum shifts from Proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism. But The Scourge is believed to solve the problem. It will also try to find solution to centralization and censorship risks.
The Surge will include Sharding that will help to introduce systems to make the Ethereum network more scalable. In this phase, the network is expected to conduct 100,000 transactions per second (TPS) instead of 20 TPS.The upgrade will be helpful to improve Ethereum’s scalability and capacity. Ethereum proposes EIP-4844 to improvise scaling of L2s. EIP-4844 is related to Danksharding which is linked with the iteration of the Sharding mechanism of Ethereum. This change will generate cheaper solution for L2s to post data on the Ethereum main chain.
The Verge is useful to make the network run faster and will enable stateless clients. As Vitalik quotes,'The Verge is not just about "verkle trees", it's about "verification." The Verge will introduce Verkle trees that replaced Merkle tree in 2021 in a wake to enable Ethereum 2.0. Verkle trees is a way to store state in an Ethereum node that will allow for smaller proofs needed to verify that a piece of state is included on chain. Meaning that The Verge provides a possibility for a stateless clients. This will allow users to validate and verify blocks without storing the whole blockchain history on a disk.
In this technical upgrade, Ethereum clients will be required to discard the old data and network history. Ethereum propose implementing EIP-4444 for this stage which require clients to stop serving historical headers, bodies, and receipts older than one year on the p2p layer. This will help to simplify the network over time and limit the cost of participating in the network. This stage has its own significance. The Purge will help to reduce the past data storage and the technical debt of the Ethereum protocol. It will be beneficial to bring down the hard disk requirements for node operators. The Purge is expected to help clients to remove code that deals exclusively with legacy transactions. This phase also intents to reduce bandwidth on the network so that clients be required to sync less data. Protocol will be simplified in this stage. The focus will also be on eliminating technical debt.
This is the final phase of the roadmap. This stage will ensure that the Ethereum network runs smoothly as it completes the last five major updates. Several improvements and proposals envisioned to improvise the blockchain will be included to make the network powerful and smooth for its users. Also, Ethereum's monetary policy will see a change.
Buterin has described this final stage as “the enjoyable stuff once all of the preceding phases have merged”. The Ethereum foundation has suggested EIP-1559 for this stage which will change the network's fee market mechanism.There will be a discrete base fee for transactions to be included in the next block.
As the Merge has come to existence after years of discussion and developments, other stages will take time for their implementation too. But surely, these changes will bring a long- term historically powerful impact that will revolutionise the blockchain network.
This is MEV
MEV Part 1: Front Running, Back Running & Sandwich Trading
MEV Part 2: DEX Arbitrage, Time Bandit Attacks, Uncle Bandit Attacks & NFT MEV
EIPs & Standardization Process
MEV in DeFi
Ethereum's roadmap for 2022 and beyond!
Ethereum Testnets after The Merge
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