In this post, we’ll discuss the future of Ethereum. We’ll cover some of the most talked about improvement initiatives such as Casper, Plasma, and Sharding, and explain in plain terms what it would take for a business to complete an integration with the versatile blockchain.
Let’s get started.
We’ve already discussed Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake and provided an in-depth explanation as to the distinctions between the two protocols. We’ve also mentioned that Ethereum, the second largest decentralized network, is planning to switch to the latter in the near future.
The reason the transition hasn’t happened yet is that the concept of Proof of Stake, though promising, has not been thought through entirely. There are still issues the algorithm imposes that blockchain devs have not figured out how to address, such as the risk of introducing points of centralization (supernodes, etc.)
That said, there are still people in the crypto community who are willing to sacrifice decentralization, to some extent, for the sake of speediness and scalability.
Vitalik Buterin doesn’t seem to share this sentiment.
Casper, which you’ve probably heard about as it’s been in the works forever, is just Ethereum’s take on how PoS issues should be tackled; It’s their attempt to get rid of the wasteful and costly Proof of Work gradually, without rushing the switch and spooking miners.
At first, the dev team is planning to introduce Friendly Finality Gadget (FFG) (aka Vitalik’s version of Casper) which is a hybrid system that runs on PoW but treats every 50th block on the network as a PoS checkpoint. Validators, who will have to stake deposits, will get to vote on the finality of these blocks and write them into history.
FFG is already running on a test network so it shouldn’t be long till it’s implemented completely.
Next, according to the roadmap, we’ll see the second, more radical Casper model known as CBC (Correct by Construction.) So far, the approach has been merely researched (mostly by Vlad Zamfir), so there’s no telling when the update will hit Ethereum. We don’t see it happening this year though.
The gist of Vlad’s work is not only to create a system that’s layering on top of PoW (like FFG does) but introduce a whole new way of designing consensus protocols. He’s aiming to create a system that allows to extend the local view of each node’s safety estimation and thus helps achieve the security and robustness of consensus.