The most recent Ethereum All Core Developers meeting has provided some initial dates for the upcoming main net hard fork, Dencun, outlining the upgrade schedule.
Subject to the absence of any significant problems, Ethereum developers are considering the following dates for the forking of Ethereum’s public testnets:
- Goerli: January 17th
- Sepolia: January 30th
- Holesky: February 7th
In the future, Goerli will no longer be part of the testing regimen, as the network is scheduled to be deprecated.
They also talked about the upcoming Prague/Electra upgrade, which has yet to be given a nickname. The Ethereum community is currently deliberating between two options: dedicating their efforts towards a significant core feature that would require a year of work or, alternatively, organizing the upgrade around several more minor improvements that could be implemented by late 2024.
Expect to see several improvements in 2024 following the Dencun incident. While a decision is still pending, here are some updates to look forward to in the new year.
This is the most significant among Dencun EIPs, which garnered a lot of media attention in 2023.
According to Eli Ben-Sasson, co-founder of StarkWare, the upgrade is expected to lower the expenses associated with data availability across all layer-2s, as reported by Blockworks. “Starknet eagerly awaits this development to provide users with more affordable options.”
Based on Lucas Henning, the chief technology officer of Web3 wallet developer Suku, this year is witnessing significant advancements for Ethereum.
“EIP-4844 is a significant improvement,” Henning explained to Blockworks, highlighting its potential to reduce gas fees for rollups significantly.”
An Account’s Abstraction Becomes Useful
Henning is also considering enhancements that make use of account abstraction, specifically ERC-4337 and its extension, ERC-6900.
ERCs are a specific type of EIP that concentrates on defining token standards in the Ethereum ecosystem. They establish guidelines for token implementations to guarantee compatibility. In contrast to certain EIPs that alter the core protocol, ERCs generally do not necessitate a hard fork.
ERC-4337 was launched in March, and according to Henning, the idea of account abstraction will have a crucial impact as the most important alterations for the end-user.
According to him, the introduction of account abstraction will completely transform our understanding and usage of wallets. It will make gasless transactions the norm and ensure secure social logins become the standard, ultimately reshaping the Ethereum user experience.
In the past, Ethereum has been known to have two different kinds of accounts: externally owned accounts (EOAs) that are managed by private keys and contract accounts that are managed by their code. Account abstraction blurs the line between accounts and smart contracts, enabling users to create accounts that function similarly to smart contracts.
It has the potential to improve user experience and bolster security measures, enabling the implementation of intricate account logic, such as multi-sig wallets or social recovery of lost keys.
ERC-6900 introduced a groundbreaking notion known as “delegated transactions.” This protocol, which also did not necessitate modifications to Ethereum’s mainnet consensus, enables users to entrust the capability of sending transactions on their behalf. This can be useful, for example, when granting a single approval for a series of actions in order to streamline the process and minimize inconvenience.
EIP-1153 (Transient Storage Opcodes)
This proposition, a component of Dencun, seeks to implement a fresh approach to managing temporary or fleeting storage while executing smart contracts.
Conventional storage operations on Ethereum are long-lasting and require gas. For temporary data that only needs to last up to a single transaction, there may be more efficient choices than this one.
EIP-1153 introduces an opcode, also known as an operational code, which enables smart contracts to utilize transient storage. This type of storage is designed to be completely cleared at the conclusion of transaction execution.
The Uniswap team advocated for the inclusion of 1153, hoping to have it integrated into Shapella. However, they faced challenges in garnering sufficient support to achieve consensus among the core developers. The upgrade is anticipated to have a substantial impact on bolstering the capabilities and effectiveness of Uniswap’s forthcoming v4 protocol.
Through the implementation of temporary storage, EIP-1153 has the potential to decrease the expenses related to data storage while executing contracts, granting developers greater freedom in crafting intelligent contracts.
By decreasing the load on long-term storage and minimizing excessive data, EIP-1153 has the potential to enhance the scalability of the Ethereum network.
EIP-4788 (Beacon Block Root Commits)
Think of Ethereum as a sprawling library divided into two primary sections. The first section is the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), which serves as a reading room where individuals can access and execute smart contracts. The second section is the Beacon Chain, which functions as the library’s catalog system and is responsible for maintaining a record of all the books and their respective locations. It also facilitates consensus and coordination within the Ethereum network.
Prior to EIP-4788, these two sections operated with a certain degree of autonomy. The EVM section needs more direct access to the latest catalog and must rely on indirect methods to comprehend the activities in the Beacon Chain section.
EIP-4788 suggests including a “Beacon Block Root” in every EVM block, which serves as a condensed representation or hash tree root of the parent block.
It’s similar to transitioning from an obsolete card filing system in a library, which is inefficient and occasionally inaccurate, to a system that has a live, precise, and direct connection to the central library database.
In this contemporary library, whenever a fresh book is included, relocated, or taken out (the Beacon Chain updates), the readers (EVM) receive prompt and precise information. Readers can have confidence in the up-to-date information they receive, and the library operations, such as carrying out intelligent contracts, are better synchronized with the overall catalog system, specifically the state of the consensus layer.
This entire process occurs in a manner that minimizes the need for trust, removing the reliance on external sources or entities to supply this information. As a result, it decreases the likelihood of any potential failures or tampering.
This modification brings significant advantages to liquid staking protocols like Lido, bridges based on smart contracts, and solutions for restocking. It enables these protocols to directly access vital information, such as validator balances and states, from the consensus layer, thereby improving their security and operational efficiency.
EIP-4788 introduces a protocol-level oracle that transmits Ethereum’s consensus state across the mainnet.
Misha Komarov, the visionary behind Nil Foundation, is implementing a zkOracle for Lido and has described it as “undoubtedly beneficial.”
According to the source, the application logic currently relies on the consensus layer state root, which is being verified by Casper FFG proof through zkLLVM. This verification is then passed on to the execution layer within the zkOracle design.
EIP-5656 (MCOPY Opcode)
The EVM functions by utilizing a collection of opcodes that govern a wide range of operations.
EIP-5656 presents a fresh opcode known as MCOPY, aiming to enhance the efficiency of data copying in memory while executing smart contracts.
When it comes to the present EVM structure, duplicating extensive data segments can prove to be ineffective and expensive with the utilization of current opcodes. MCOPY provides a streamlined approach that is anticipated to lower the gas fees linked to these transactions while enhancing overall performance.
With improved memory operations, the execution of contracts becomes faster, giving developers a more comprehensive range of tools to enhance their smart contracts. This is especially beneficial when working with extensive data structures or intricate operations that require memory manipulation.
EIP-6780 (Restrict SELFDESTRUCT)
Within Ethereum, the SELFDESTRUCT opcode grants an intelligent contract the ability to remove itself from the blockchain.
Upon execution, the code and storage of the contract are eliminated from the state, and any remaining ether is transferred to a designated address.
Nevertheless, this functionality has given rise to various challenges, such as the intricacies involved in managing states and the possibility of security risks.
Through the implementation of SELFDESTRUCT limitations, Ethereum can enhance its ability to regulate state size, resulting in a blockchain that is more reliable and consistent.
Ensuring the network’s long-term scalability and maintenance is of utmost importance, as it will streamline future Ethereum upgrades.