December marks a month of continued progress in the Ethereum ecosystem. Research on proof of stake and sharding continues after the research team’s workshop in Singapore in November, the light client slowly keeps getting better, Whisper and Swarm keep moving forward, and discussions on protocol economics and community governance continue to mature.
First, privacy technologies on Ethereum, and particularly zk-SNARKs (or “zero knowledge proofs”), have been rapidly moving forward.
- A blog post, “zk-SNARKs in a Nutshell“, by Christian Reitwiessner
- A blog post explaining quadratic arithmetic programs, from myself
- An implementation of elliptic curve pairings, perhaps the most complex on-chain technical ingredient in zk-SNARK verification, from myself (with special thanks to Ariel and Sean from the Zcash team for their assistance)
- Experimental work in integrating a zk-SNARK precompile in C++ from Christian (also with special thanks to the Zcash team)
Vlad Zamfir has taken it upon himself to explain the history behind Casper, from his point of view:
On proof of stake from myself:
- A Proof of Stake Design Philosophy
- And while we’re at it, the Proof of Stake FAQ and Sharding FAQ continue to exist and and continue to be worked on.
Vlad has also taken it upon himself to rail against the evils of “economic abstraction” (ie. the goal of trying to create token-agnostic public economic consensus protocols):
Various discussions were had on monetary policy:
- A community-created EIP (186) proposed to decrease ETH issuance by ~3x before PoS
- Discussions on issuance in Casper in the Reddit thread for one of Vlad’s posts
Speaking of EIPs…
- Greg Colvin’s suggested modifications for adding further static analysis capability (184) as part of the move toward “EVM 1.5”
- The Ethereum Name System (launched on the Ropsten testnet in late November), saw an EIP opened (181) to support reverse resolution of Ethereum addresses
The data storage-focused “sister protocol” Swarm continues to move forward:
And from the core client development standpoint:
- Geth 1.5.5 was released, combining small but important fixes to various “bugs and annoyances”
- Jan Xie is continuing work on pyethereum to see how well it can pass through all of the denial-of-service blocks in September and October. Not always, though the good news is that there seem to be no quadratic memory issues that stop the client outright.
- Another grab bag of small but important security fixes and stability improvements from Mist 0.8.8, after an audit from Cure53
We wish the community a happy new year and look forward to more progress in January!