With the successful launch of ETH 2.0 phase 0, let’s take a look at what the long-awaited upgrade has in store for users and developers alike.
On June 19th 2020, Ethereum increased its gas limit by 20% to 12 million. In no less than two days, this newfound capacity was used up, bringing the block usage right back to 100%. This cat and mouse game between the gas limit and its usage has occurred for the last three increases in a row. There is evidently a genuine market demand to do stuff on Ethereum, but the gas prices are often prohibitively expensive for most use cases. This is where ETH 2.0 comes in.
What is ETH 2.0 bringing to the table? Scaling. A lot of it. With what Vitalik Buterin refers to as a “rollup-centric Ethereum,” up to 100,000 transactions/ second (TPS) could be achieved on Ethereum 2.0, through the use of Layer 2 (L2) rollup scaling and phase 1 sharded chains with data storage. Even without any rollups, native on-chain computations could still achieve anywhere from 1000 to 5000 TPS given the completion of phase 2.
With the surges in gas fees we’ve all been seeing, which sometimes surpass even 1000 Gwei, these scalability improvements could not come soon enough. Not only will these changes significantly lower the barrier to entry to otherwise prohibitively expensive smart contracts, but it will also provide a whole new array of opportunities for developers who will be capable of creating systems that would have normally been economically infeasible.
Take Tornado.cash for instance, the Ethereum anonymizing service. The gas fees required to perform a deposit can sometimes actually exceed the actual amount that gets deposited. Put that on L2 in Ethereum 2.0, and you’ve now reduced those fees to a fraction of a penny, making privacy tools much more accessible and convenient for the end user. Scalability is the pain point for many Ethereum projects today, and we’ve got a solution in sight.
Another key feature of ETH 2.0 that often goes overlooked is its improved security. You can’t delete hardware. If someone has the means to perform a 51% attack on a Proof-of-Work (PoW) network, they can continuously perform these attacks, even after the chain soft forks. With Proof-of-Stake (PoS), the attacker could only ever attack once, making repeated disruptions infeasible for even the most well-funded adversaries.
In addition, the Ethereum Foundation is building a dedicated security team for ETH 2.0 to ensure the robustness and safety of the upcoming upgrade – not to mention the latest spec audit by Least Security, and the abundance of ongoing and completed code audits for all of the ETH 2.0 clients that are preparing for launch. Security has been one of the top priorities throughout this entire process.
Not only will it be harder to attack the network, but it will also be more decentralized. While most PoS chains have a small number of validators, ETH 2.0 will only activate once at least 16,384 validators have decided to stake their ETH. On top of that, PoW mining pools primarily exist to make income streams more consistent, but as this is not a problem for PoS, there will no longer be a handful of pools that control a majority of the network.
In the same spirit of openness and decentralization, here at Status, we are building Nimbus, an ETH 2.0 client for resource-restricted devices. If the goal truly is to be the World’s Computer, Ethereum has to be useable everywhere around the word. We believe that the largest deployment of Ethereum will be on embedded systems, and Nimbus is our way of supporting this global revolution.
Whether it be buying a CryptoKitty, earning some interest on DeFi, or buying some NTF-backed art, people should have the entire ecosystem of Ethereum accessible at the tip of their fingers. The best path forward is ensuring we have the tools to handle mass adoption, without compromising on individual sovereignty or privacy. This is what we are striving to achieve at Status.
Although Nimbus will support full and archival nodes, its primary function will be as a light client, with a focus on PoS and sharding. The client itself is written in Nim, a lightweight, fast and dependency-free programming language that is well-suited for devices with limited resources. If you have an old laptop sitting in the garage, it may be the right time to clean that dust off and get it to work.
The plan for Nimbus is not only to serve as a great ETH 2.0 client for mobile devices, but also to double as the backend for our messaging app, crypto wallet, and Web3 browser, Status. Much like many other services that are built on Ethereum, our app currently relies on Infura, a centralized API that provides information such as wallet balances and transaction information. We hope to fully replace all centralized elements of Status, and we are constantly looking for ways to strengthen the privacy and individual sovereignty of our users.