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& # 039; A modest proposal & # 039;: Vitalik unveils a multi-year vision for Ethereum

What are you doing after creating a multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency?

A skinny 23-year-old hacker in a green "Doge" t-shirt gave us an answer today. At the flagship conference of the Ethereum, Devcon, the project's creator, Vitalik Buterin, revealed that he was quietly working on a new long-term plan for the future of the blockchain network. What he called a "modest proposal", it is perhaps best described as a roadmap of three to four years for the technical development of the ethereum.

Especially at the heart of the vision is a long technical change to the ethereum called "sharding", and although still planned to be included in the protocol plans, today Buterin proposed which could be his most solidified strategy for the technique so far.

As such, the roadmap suggests problems to be solved on the platform and the focus on scalability for project developers. Since the ethereum nodes need to store everything that has happened on the network, Buterin pointed to the need for solutions that reduce the costly storage costs that could increase exponentially as the system takes over. 39; expansion.

This is a topic that has long been a priority for the developer because Buterin has recently released new research to alleviate this problem.

Still, the speech was evidence of his insistence on finding solutions, and his efforts to galvanize ethereum developers more broadly to think about the effort.

"The amount of activity on the blockchain is greater than it was a few years ago," he said, pointing to daily transaction rates and the more than 20,000 nodes now making part of the network.

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With this, he suggested that the eteum comes up against its limitations.

Buterin told the crowd:

"Scalability is probably the number one problem […] There is a cemetery of systems that claim to solve the problem of scalability but it's not a very challenging important and difficult.
These are only known facts. "

High Level Details

And Buterin believes that sharding is the "likely" solution to this problem.

A way of partitioning data into subsets that is inspired by traditional databases, the idea being that each node will only have to store a small piece of the network total. Yet the vision is that the underlying mathematics would make the system accountable, and if they need it, the nodes could rely on other nodes for the data.

How to do this in practice, and safely – without the nodes sending other false information to other nodes – is another issue that the researchers have studied.

But Buterin proposes a new type of fragmentation infrastructure that would solve both scalability and governance – ensuring that the eventual system is well maintained and that it remains in check.

The proposition revealed today is that the ethereum is divided into different types of shrapnel. There will be the main fragment, which would include the current ethereal network. Then there would be other fragments, which Buterin calls other "universes".

However, Buterin thinks that partitioning would allow more aggressive changes on smaller fragments, and more cautious changes on the main blockchain. In this way, ethereum always has the stability of the platform, while the developers still have room to test new changes and to experiment and move quickly on other fragments.

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Or as Buterin says:

" From other universes where all these things we have worked on in recent years can be deployed much more quickly."

With impatience

Buterin's roadmap also includes other changes, even though they were less prominent in his speech.

This includes planned upgrades of the ethereum virtual machine (EVM), the technology that now compiles the smart contract code and communicates it to the network. He also addressed another long-time technology project, eWASM, for the ethereum run in a web browser, which suggests the need to ensure this system given that the EVM has has also been implemented in other blockchain projects.

Another proposed idea was about the so-called "stateless customers," a proposal about how customers could synchronize faster with the network.

"You will hear more and more about this idea," he said. He invited developers to contribute to the effort, much of whose research is hosted on GitHub.

But, overall, fragmentation seems to be the biggest change over the next three to four years, and Buterin concluded by adding that development work is already underway in these exploratory areas.

Notably, he suggested that the work could be longer than widely thought.

Buterin concluded:

"Basically, we are inches away from a proof of concept in python."

Picture of Vitalik Buterin via Rachel Rose O 'Leary

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