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Leading Ethereum Researcher Vlad Zamfir to Collaborate with Casper Labs to Speed Up CBC Upgrade

If you are an Ethereum aficionado, you know that one of their lead researchers, Vlad Zamfir, has been an integral part of the blockchain team since 2014. He is now primed to collaborate with the VC-based startup Casper Labs to speed up the Casper upgrade, although Ethereum will be partially funding his research. Casper Labs has The post Leading Ethereum Researcher Vlad Zamfir to Collaborate with Casper Labs to Speed Up CBC Upgrade appeared first on CCN

Cardano’s Charles Hoskinson Taunts Ethereum Amid Constantinople Launch on Twitter

The Ethereum community is ready for the launch of its biggest upgrade in a good time now, Constantinople, which will happen tomorrow, but some people are simply not too happy with this. The CEO of IOHK and Cardano, Charles Hoskinson, seems to be one of these people. Hoskinson, which is the public face of Cardano the same way that Vitalik Buterin is the faced of Ethereum, has used the opportunity to launch some jabs at the ETH community, which is a sort of a rival of Cardano (ADA). You like apples? We got them for you — Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) January 14, 2019 According to Charles Hoskinson, ETH’s upgrade might be important, but he will not be able to do what Ethereum has been promising for years: to implement its proof of stake system. He spoke on Twitter today about it and also used the opportunity to attack the critics of the proof of stake method, which believe that it may cause some inequality among node operators. He claims that one of the main complaints that proof of stake receives is that it is less egalitarian and it makes the rich richer but, according to a paper that was co-authored by academics from Athens and the Edinburg Universities, proof of stake cryptos can be perfectly egalitarian for the parameters of the crypto world. The main reason for the jab at Ethereum is because the proof of stake is a very old promise that simply was not developed and the Casper protocol, which is supposed to make it true, will only be launched in 2020 or after. The new protocol may be important, but it will still not bring to ETH the most important change that it needs. What it is bringing, however, is more resistance against ASIC mining algorithms, which can make it more resistant against ASIC miners, which are not viewed with so much joy in the community. However, it should be noted that Hoskinson may be “throwing stones from a glass house” since Cardano is still heavily centralized even when compared to Ethereum, which has proved to be better at decentralization. The goal of the network to be more decentralized is still too far and the Shelley protocol, whose goal is to finish the decentralization process, is still far from completion. The official road map affirms that the Shelley testnet is only 20% complete and the mainnet was not even started, so it may be years before Hoskinson can actually talk about Ethereum without sounding like a hypocrite. This does not mean that Cardano is in a bad place, necessarily. The network is known for being backed by scholars with important academic credentials. In fact, most of its decisions are backed by science instead of a consensus from the “community” alone. It is still too early to know whether this will pay off or not because the network is very young still, but the expectative is that Cardano will be among the winners in the blockchain market. At the moment, ADA is up 1.3% in the last 24 hours, a lot than Ethereum, which is rising up to 9% and having a great day.
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What to Expect When ETH’s Expecting

An engineer’s guide to ETH2.0Special thanks to Nic Carter for this ridiculous image which he made in PowerPoint.What is ETH2.0?ETH2.0 is the planned replacement for Ethereum. Over the next several years, ETH2.0’s designers intend to completely subsume Ethereum’s consensus system and state altogether. With such a broad scope, we can’t say precisely what ETH2.0 will or will not include. We do have a few specs, and quite a few teams working on early implementations. At this point, the ETH2.0 designers tentatively plan to include sharding, Casper, state rent, and an eWASM VM. Initial client testing is underway, and a feature-light ETH2.0 testnet is expected to launch within three months (Q1 2019). At first, ETH2.0 will source its Ether (but not its security) from the main Ethereum chain, but designers eventually plan to invert the relationship by making ETH2.0 the main chain, and Ethereum 1.X a shard chain under its management.So what does this mean for engineers?If you’re a Solidity or Dapp developer hoping to deploy ETH2.0 smart contracts, expect a lot of changes. ETH2.0 is a complete replacement for Ethereum and will change many of the assumptions we make when writing smart contracts. Its planned multi-year phased rollout bears more resemblance to a product release cycle than an upgrade cycle. The tools and contracts we’ve written for ETH1.X will likely need to be completely redesigned and rewritten for ETH2.0. Fortunately, we have a few years to prepare the ecosystem. To help get the ball rolling, I’d like to discuss the current roadmap and cover some of the engineering ramifications.Phased RolloutCurrently, the sharding roadmap (which doubles as the ETH2.0 roadmap) has seven phases listed. Only Phase 0 has a fleshed-out specification, which receives regular updates. The Phase 1 specification is much less precise and does not seem to be under active development yet. After Phase 1 the roadmap becomes a list of goals, rather than technical document. In Phase 2, for example, the roadmap links to three times more than to github. Because anything further out looks like speculation instead of engineering, our concrete discussion is limited to Phases 0, 1, and 2, and we’ve included several rough outlines of possible directions for later phases.Phase 0 — The Beacon ChainPhase 0 introduces the “beacon chain.” ETH2.0 designers intend the beacon chain to become the hub of ETH2.0’s ecosystem, becoming the root source of security and validation for all other shards. Once deployed, the beacon chain will run proof of stake using Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (“Casper FFG”). This early iteration of the beacon chain is designed to be as simple as possible, which is why Phase 0 will not support smart contracts, accounts, asset transfers, and will not include any shards. Ether on the beacon chain will not be transferable on-chain, which means users will not be able to deposit it in exchanges.BETH: The New EtherBeacon ETH (BETH) is a new asset used solely by stakers (‘validators’) on the beacon chain. It is created via two methods: 1) as a reward for validating the beacon chain (and shards, after Phase 1), and 2) BETH can be purchased for 1 ETH by any ETH1.X user via an ETH1.X contract. The contract refers to this as a “deposit.” Engineers may notice that the contract does not have a withdrawal function. This is because there is no way to withdraw BETH from the beacon chain in phase 0. Which is to say, once deposited in the ETH1.X validator registration contract, the ETH1.X Ether is effectively burned. Beacon chain validators watch this contract and submit deposit information to the beacon chain, which will issue new BETH to depositors. Therefore we expect new BETH to be issued on the beacon chain shortly after ETH is sent to the validator registration contract. Temporary censorship of a deposit is possible, but permanent censorship is unlikely to occur under Casper’s rules.Ether transfers on the beacon chain will not be allowed until Phase 2, and I don’t believe there will be any way to move BETH back to ETH1.X until 1.X is completely folded into the shard ecosystem. Given that Phase 0 is incomplete, and no reliable Phase 1 specification exists, it seems reasonable to assume that BETH will persist as an independent and non-transferable asset for at least two years. Once Phase 2 is complete, BETH will be transferable to and from shards; however, ETH will not be. This is unlikely to pose significant economic difficulties. In the past, pre-launch and low-feature tokens like BETH have been traded on exchanges via IOUs. For example, the HitBit and BitMEX XTZ futures markets launched during the Tezos crowdsale. If there is demand for BETH, we should expect to see a vibrant ecosystem of exchanges supporting custodial BETH trading and staking. However, demand for BETH seems questionable. BETH makes a poor investment, as the one-way peg from ETH to BETH gives BETH a price ceiling of 1 ETH. Which is to say BETH can never be worth more than ETH but can be worth less.Phase 0+ — StakingUsers may stake 32 BETH on the beacon chain to become a validator. In Phase 0, validators will manage only the beacon chain. From Phase 1 onward validators will also manage 1,024 shard chains. The beacon chain (and each shard chain) will use Casper FFG to finalize blocks. FFG is a Proof of Stake algorithm implementing stake slashing for bad behavior like chain halts and censorship. Astute readers will have noticed FFG’s cousin, Casper CBC, in the “Ethereum 3.0” section of the sharding roadmap — while a full discussion of FFG (and certainly of CBC!) is outside of the scope of this post, I’d recommend reading Vitalik’s note on hybrid PoW/FFG, his medium post on minimal slashing conditions and the FFG paper.What do stakers do?Sharding aims to split (shard) state information across nodes, without requiring any node to have a full picture of the network. Therefore no validator will validate all shards. Instead, the beacon chain will coordinate validation of all other shards, and all validators will validate the beacon chain. Each epoch (64 blocks or about 6.4 minutes), the beacon chain will shuffle the validators and assign them to a shard. A group of validators assigned to a shard is called a committee. Committees target 128 members. In Phase 0, this means every 6 minutes the beacon chain will select available validators to form a committee for the next 6 minutes. In Phase 1, the beacon chain will appoint a committee of validators for each of 1,024 shards. The precise method for this is complex. It involves a multi-phase random number generation process as well as a verifiable delay function to further frustrate attempts to manipulate the committee selection process.ETH2.0 selects committees randomly and rotates committees often because of their critical work. Committees are responsible for preserving the safety, liveness, and integrity of their shard, as well as attesting to the shard state on the beacon chain. They are the only way the beacon chain can learn the state of shards and vice versa. Selecting them randomly from the pool of all validators minimizes the chance that the committee as a whole will lie or cheat. Rotating them often aims to mitigate the harm that a bad committee can cause. In other words, it should be difficult for malicious or profit-maximizing validators to use committee selection as a tool to attack any part of the network. Moreover, should they gain control of a shard committee through chance, they will control it for no more than 64 blocks.Proof-of-Stake for engineersWhile documentation of the philosophical differences between ETH1.X’s Proof of Work and ETH2.0 Proof of Stake is an ongoing process, it is worth noting that some of the PoW/PoS feature disparity does affect engineers directly. For example, while PoW chains support stateless SPV proofs and NiPoPow-summarized tracking of remote state, PoS forbids any low-state communication. Subjectivity prevents state-light attestations. In other words, a remote state proof on Proof-of-Stake will consist of roughly the same amount of data as a PoW stateless SPV proof but requires prior validation of the entire PoS history. Stateless SPV proofs, in contrast, need no other information to validate. This means that cross-shard or cross-chain applications have reduced functionality and increased overhead in a subjective Proof of Stake environment.Phase 1 — ShardingPhase 1 aims to create consensus about the contents of shard chains, but not about their meaning. In other words, it’s a trial run for the sharding structure, rather than an attempt to use shards to scale. The beacon chain will treat shard chain blocks as simple collections of bits with no structure or meaning. Shard chains will not yet have accounts, assets, or smart contracts. Shard validators, who are randomly selected by the beacon chain for each shard at each epoch, merely come to agreement on each block’s content. It doesn’t matter what information appears in shards blocks, so long as all committees reach consensus and update the beacon chain on the shard regularly.Shard validators attest to the shard’s contents and state through a process known as crosslinking. Simply put, the committee must include verifiable information about the shard (like a Merkle root) in the beacon chain. In Phase 2 or later, crosslinking will support cross-shard communication. Once the beacon chain has received evidence of a given crosslink’s accuracy from multiple committees, the beacon chain can trust that the crosslink is a truthful representation of the shard without validating the entire shard. If committees disagree on the validity of a crosslink, clearly one committee is faulty and should be slashed. This is the root of security for all shards: misbehavior by their validators will eventually be found and punished by the beacon chain.Phase 1 doesn’t have anything particularly interesting in it. Fundamentally it’s a bootstrapping phase for crosslinking, and the symmetric mechanism by which shards reference the beacon chain. The designers seem confident that these mechanisms will work. The major open questions revolve around specification and implementation strategy. Given that Phase 0 has taken approximately over a year to reach a reasonable level of specification, I would expect Phase 1 to take a similar amount of time. Interestingly, Phase 0 implementation has happened concurrently with specification. Even today, less than three months from testnet, the Phase 0 specification changes regularly. This implies that future ETH2.0 phases will have extremely high variance in development time. While optimists have told me six months, it is easy to see Phase 1 taking 12–18 months of development after Phase 0 enters testing.Phase 2 — Smart ContractsPhase 2 finally brings a system resembling the Ethereum we’re familiar with. With the release of Phase 2, shard chains transition from simple data containers to a structured chain state. This is when BETH will become transferable and smart contracts will be reintroduced. Each shard will manage a virtual machine based on eWASM (we’ll call it “EVM2”). We expect EVM2 to support accounts, contracts, state, and other abstractions that we’re familiar with from Solidity. However, massive behind-the-scenes changes are likely to break most existing tools. Fortunately, the eWASM team has done some groundwork for solc, truffle, and ganache. We can expect to see most familiar tools ported to support EVM2 before or during Phase 2’s testnet.State rent, a very likely inclusion for Phase 2, poses some interesting challenges to present-day Solidity engineers. Rather than being able to store code and data indefinitely, state rent would require contract developers and users to pay for EVM2 storage over time. This prevents state bloat, by ensuring that unused information falls out of the state over time. The goal is to make the user, rather than the full node, pay for the costs of state. Many different models have been suggested, with no clear winner.Interestingly, with some Ethereum upgrade plans and prominent Ethereum core devs recommending it, state rent may be the only overlap in the disparate roadmaps. Therefore I would strongly recommend planning to pay state rent on currently deployed contracts, and designing models to pass state rent to users in the future. We don’t know the precise design of state rent, but we should plan for the costs.Beyond that, we don’t know what to expect from Phase 2. It’s still in very early stages of research and includes several major unsolved problems. Given the informal specification and development process, as well as Phase 2’s expanded scope over Phase 1, it doesn’t seem reasonable to suggest that Phase 2 could launch before 2020. Which is to say, while ETH2.0 may launch this year, don’t expect ETH2.0 to support asset transfer or smart contracts until at least 2020.Phase 3 — Off-chain state storageNow, in order to talk more about smart contracts, we’ll be skipping over Phase 3 almost entirely. Phase 3 minimizes on-chain state by moving as much as possible off-chain. Rather than the chain storing the entire state, it will store some state information, and an aggregator (aggregators are short bits of data that represent long lists of data; a Merkle tree is a kind of aggregator). Users will be responsible for storing the full state off-chain. When a user wants to interact with the state, they include a proof of the current state with their transaction. That way the resource requirement of running a validating node can be much lower. Several aggregator designs with different properties and performance characteristics are known, but no approach has been selected. At this point we stop being able to leverage on-chain communication to coordinate users, so we have to plan to sync state via some other system. Events become less useful to engineers here, as the chain no longer guarantees data availability. In Phase 3 maintaining and retrieving off-chain state will become a critical design constraint for dapps.Phase 4 — Sharded ContractsHowever, one insurmountable problem remains: ETH2.0 contracts, while they will be as powerful as Ethereum contracts, are bound to a single shard and can never directly interact with contracts on another shard. This is a direct consequence of sharding. Sharding’s goal is to split state up between shards, and not require direct knowledge of other shards. It achieves scale by splitting state and minimizing the load on any validator. Direct interaction requires direct knowledge. By design, a shard does not have direct knowledge of other shards. It learns about other shards only via cross-links to the beacon chain. Therefore whenever we want to interact cross-shard, we have to wait for the beacon chain. Concretely, this means that if SafeMath is deployed on Shard A, users on Shard B will either have to wait to access it or deploy a new SafeMath on Shard B.Simple utilities like SafeMath will be deployed to each shard — 1024 SafeMaths on 1024 shards — but what about marketplaces like Maker or Compound? #DeFi’s promise of composable finance becomes challenging to keep across shard boundaries. A long delay between the opening of a CDP and the receipt of DAI can cause unacceptable financial losses. What if the market moves and the CDP is liquidated before the user ever receives DAI? In practice, this likely means that users will have accounts on every shard containing a compelling smart contract, and cross-shard composition is lost entirely. Maker and 0x can interact only if they are both deployed on the same shard, and the 0x users also have assets on that shard.Fundamental trade-offs: synchrony or scaleETH2.0 designers do not know what the cross-shard communication system will look like. From reading many proposals, it appears that there is a fundamental trade-off between immediate feedback and predictability. The nature of sharding can’t change: users must wait for cross-shard communication no matter what. However, we can couple the local and remote execution phases of the transaction on each shard tightly or loosely.A tight coupling puts the waiting first. The transaction does nothing until the shards have communicated. In contrast, we can loosely couple transactions by executing part now and part later. The transaction executes on the local shard and then executes on the remote shard after the cross-shard communication. Loose coupling presents a better face to the user. They see their transaction’s local execution immediately and know that remote execution will occur at some point in the future. Unfortunately, they cannot know the outcome of a loosely-coupled transaction’s remote phase without waiting. Tightly coupled transactions are more predictable. The user knows more about the outcome because the remote state doesn’t shift between the local and remote execution phases. However, tight coupling requires the user to wait before seeing any result.We have very little information about ETH2.0’s communication model. We know that it can’t provide cross-shard contract calls without sacrificing almost all scaling benefits. I won’t blame you if you stop reading here, as Phase 4 only has a mind map and a few vague links. A non-obvious consequence of this is that ETH2.0 will not provide significant scaling benefits to complex smart contract systems until Phase 4. Until then, contracts wishing to interact with other contracts must cohabitate a shard and are limited to the speed and scale of that shard. We expect shards to have at best a small constant factor speedup compared to ETH1.X. This means there will be little reason to migrate smart contract code or users until Phase 4 is released, potentially in the mid-2020s, as the advantage will be small. In the meantime, to better understand the trade-offs for engineers and dapp users, I’ve investigated a few proposed models and included short descriptions here. I don’t think any of these will be adopted, but I believe they are helpful for understanding the trade-offs involved. Again: everything below here is speculative.A Basic Model: Receipts and ProofsAll forms of cross-chain communication leverage the beacon chain. Because the beacon chain commits to the state of all shards, and each shard commits to the state of the beacon chain, we can use it as a hub in the shard chain ecosystem. Messages from one chain to another must in some sense transit through the beacon chain. We don’t want to send the full message, because that would require the beacon chain to process each transaction itself, negating scaling benefits entirely.Instead, whenever a user or contract on Shard A wants to interact with Shard B, we have Shard A generate a “receipt” with the message. Shard A commits to all of its receipts in its block header. The beacon chain waits for A to finalize and then commits to A’s header (including the commitment to the receipt). Shard B must wait for beacon finalization and then commit to the beacon header. Once this has happened, a new transaction can be submitted to B, including the receipt and a proof. The proof shows that the receipt was included in A, that A was included in the beacon, and that the beacon was included in B. This way the contracts on B can trust the message sent from A. If the contracts on B want to send a response back (maybe a return value, or an error), we repeat the whole process in reverse: Shard B makes a receipt that eventually finds its way back to Shard A.It’s easy to see why this process takes time. Each of the four steps of communication require waiting several minutes for finalization! Unfortunately, we can’t avoid the waiting entirely. If we want to be sure of the remote state, then we have to wait for finality at every step. The best case for round-trip communication is four finality cycles. That said, the user gets confidence after three cycles because the user can see Shard B’s receipts before Shard A can see them. With ETH2.0’s 6.4 minute epoch length users must wait 19 minutes to see the outcome and 26 minutes to get the result on-chain.Concrete Receipts: Token Migration Between ShardsERC20 tokens’ versatility has made them ubiquitous in Ethereum today. However, ETH2.0 poses some logical problems for tokens. Because a smart contract manages all token balances, and that smart contract exists only on a single shard, tokens from Shard A don’t exist at all on Shard B. However, with some clever cross-shard communication, we can deploy the same token on several shards and allow migration of tokens between shards — effectively making a two-way peg between token contracts.The scheme is pretty simple: when deploying our token (let’s call it “Cool Cross-shard Token” or “CCT”), we’ll use ERC20 with two small additions: migrateSend and migrateReceive functions. We’ll have migrateSend burn tokens, and generate a receipt. The receipt will include the number of tokens burned, and the receiving shard. We’ll have migrateReceive validate the receipt and mint the same number of CCT. Then we’ll deploy the same token contract on each shard. Now we can effectively migrate tokens between shards by calling migrateSend to burn on one, and then calling migrateReceive to mint on the other. We will need to redeploy our token contract on each shard, but that seems worth it. Migrations, being one-way, take at least two finality periods of cross-shard communication. So after we call migrateSend it will be about 10 minutes before our CCT are usable on the receiving shard.YankingReceipts are a general way of moving information across shards. We can put just about any on-chain information in a receipt. This includes entire smart contracts. Yanking is a proposal to migrate contracts across shards by including the contract’s code and storage in a receipt. The contract would be deleted (“yanked”) from Shard A and then redeployed on Shard B after the receipt makes its way over there. Once on Shard B, it can communicate directly with Shard B’s contracts and interact with Shard B’s state. It could even be yanked back to Shard A.This would allow any smart contract to communicate with any other (after the cross-shard wait time). Unfortunately, because the receipt includes the whole contract and all its storage, it can get costly to move large or popular contracts. And while the receipt is in transit, the contract is entirely unusable. It has been yanked from Shard A but hasn’t yet reached Shard B. This means that all other users are locked out of that contract until it reaches Shard B. And even then, only users already on Shard B can interact with it. As a result, yanking is most suited to small contracts with few users. It makes tightly-coupled execution possible but is far from a general solution.Shard PairingsFrom here we move to more exotic constructions. Receipts are designed to make asynchronous (loosely-coupled) communication possible. However, we may want synchronous communication as well. For that, we have to get a bit more creative. Shard pairings are a simple design that gets us tightly coupled execution with minimal fuss.Shard pairing is a simple scheme. Described in the third paragraph of this post, we shuffle shards into synchronous pairs at each height. Every time a shard is paired with another, users of either shard can make execute tightly coupled state updates across them. This means that if Shards A and B are paired at height 7, all validators of A and B must know all state of A and B, and the shards must advance together or not at all. In this model, if you need a cross-chain transaction between A and B, you would wait for A and B to be randomly paired. Vitalik describes the 100 shard case. With 1,024 shards, we expect it to take 512 blocks — about one hour — but because pairings are random, it could take much longer or much shorter. As Vitalik notes, this scales very poorly when you want to interact with multiple shards.Shard ZonesThis is a broader version of pairings. Each epoch we split shards into a few “zones” composed of multiple shards. Zones must proceed synchronously, which means that all shards in a zone update their local state together. By proceeding synchronously, zones provide free movement between shards and direct interaction with any contract in the zone, but no advantage for communication with any shard outside your zone. In addition, because zones require validators to know the state of all shards in the zone, they negate many of the scaling advantages of sharding. If a zone is composed of 16 shards, we sacrifice roughly 15/16 (=94%) of the scale advantage while gaining tight coupling of execution with only 15/1,024 (=1%) of the total network.EncumbrancesA non-obvious property of cross-shard (and cross-chain) communication is that users reach confidence in a message faster than the chains involved. Alice, sending 5 BETH from Shard A to Shard B knows that it will arrive as soon as she sends it. Bob, seeing the send knows that the BETH will reach Shard B as soon as the send is finalized on Shard A. Shard B and its contracts, however, must wait several minutes for the beacon chain to reach finality on Shard A’s finalization. This implies that a sophisticated optimistic wallet can accept and spend funds on Shard B as soon as they are spent on Shard A. In other words, Bob will take an enforceable IOU from Alice’s wallet on Shard B, because Bob has a high degree of confidence that Alice has already sent enough ETH to cover it. If enough users of Shard B are willing to observe Shard A and accept standardized IOUs, then Shard A ETH may be spendable on Shard B very quickly after being sent. However, this scheme becomes exceptionally complex when applied to smart contracts, as state is never fungible, and IOUs for state are impossible, so it does not suit general interaction. This means we should regard encumbrances as a UX improvement within loose coupling. It allows loose coupling to simulate tight coupling with fast execution for some transactions.Divorcing consensus and stateOne of the more complex and intellectually-stimulating possibilities is that the consensus process will be divorced from the state update process. Today, Ethereum miners and full nodes accept blocks only after performing all state updates contained in the block. That doesn’t have to be the case. Instead, they could accept blocks but update state later. In this case, rather than achieving consensus on the state of the system as we do in Ethereum, we would reach consensus on the total history (or “total order”) of all transactions across all shards. Doing this means each shard can add blocks quickly without knowing the state of any other shard, which is how sharding generates scaling advantages. However, the transaction’s effect on the state of the shard and the network as a whole will not be known until all shards have finalized. In other words, the finalization of state lags behind the finalization of shard contents.From a user’s perspective: we would submit transactions immediately, and we know that they are included, but we must wait to be certain of the outcome of that transaction. As shards finalize, we get progressively more information about state, but cannot be entirely sure until all shards have reached finality. Similar to encumbrances, users may in some cases be certain of the outcome of a transaction in advance of the chain and act accordingly.Conclusion & Engineering DirectionETH2.0 will be a completely different system from Ethereum. They will both exist in parallel for years and have widely different feature sets. For the near future, expect a one-way peg from ETH to BETH. If you run an exchange or custody service, consider how you can support BETH custodial trading and staking for your users before it is transferable on-chain. For the longer term, consider how your smart contracts will adapt to shards with and without cross-shard communication. Above all, keep tabs on the research and development process. ETH2.0 is a complex and evolving system. All dapp engineers need a clear understanding of ETH2.0 plans and progress.James Prestwich (@_prestwich) is an engineer and curry enthusiast. He is the founder of Summa, a leading provider of on-chain and cross-chain financial services.Learn more at, or contact us at to Expect When ETH’s Expecting was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Upgrade Shade: Cardano Founder Appears To Taunt Ethereum

As the Ethereum community prepares for a network-wide upgrade tomorrow night, not everyone is celebrating. Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK and the public face of the Cardano community, seems to have taken the fork as an opportunity to flaunt something the larger dApp platform has not yet been able to achieve: a workable implementation of proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus. The point was made in a tweet this morning, which included the abstract of an IOHK paper on staking, titled “Cryptocurrency Egalitarianism: A Qualitative Approach.” It appears to be a targeted barb at Cardano’s critics, who have suggested that staking systems promote wealth inequality among node operators.   You like apples? We got them for you — Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) January 14, 2019   “A core criticism of proof-of-stake….revolves around it being less egalitarian by making the rich richer,” according to the paper’s abstract, which was co-authored by academics from the universities of Athens and Edinburgh. “We show that stake-based cryptocurrencies….can be perfectly egalitarian, perhaps contradicting folklore belief.” If the meaning of these lines were not clear enough, Hoskinson elaborated in a later tweet: “PoS > PoW.” This isn’t the first time the IOHK founder has made subtle jabs at the Ethereum protocol and its zigzag journey away from Proof-of-Work (PoW). Tomorrow’s Constantinople fork introduces a new ASIC-resistant mining algorithm and increases Ethereum’s efficiency. It may lay the foundations for the transition to PoS, but the Casper protocol will not be fully implemented until sometime in 2020. But Hoskinson may be throwing his stones from a glass house. ADA, the cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain, has a market capitalization smaller than one-twelfth that of Ethereum, and the blockchain is still heavily centralized.  In fact, Cardano’s goal of becoming a fully decentralized network is still far away. The Shelley protocol, which aims to fully decentralize the blockchain, is not fully complete. According to the roadmap, the Shelley testnet is around 20% complete. This means the network only really exists on a few trusted nodes, making it potentially vulnerable to malicious attacks.  Cardano Shows Off Its Degrees Schoolyard taunts aside, IOHK has been burnishing its academic credentials. Unlike most other blockchain systems, Cardano leans heavily on scholarship and peer review to justify the foundations of its blockchain protocol.  That commitment appears to be paying off, and IOHK’s research appears to provide formal proofs for the assumptions underlying the Cardano blockchain. IOHK has been “publishing paper after paper,” as Hoskinson recently told CryptoSlate.  A recent paper on sidechains, a crucial element for inter-blockchain protocols, has been accepted to the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, thereby placing IOHK research on a world academic stage. ADA prices rose 1.34% in the 24 hours prior to publication, only slightly less than Ethereum’s rise in the run-up to the oncoming hard fork.   The author has investments in digital assets, including Ethereum and ADA, which are mentioned in this article.      The post Upgrade Shade: Cardano Founder Appears To Taunt Ethereum appeared first on Crypto Briefing.

Ethereum [ETH] Constantinople hard fork countdown begins: 2 more days left

Ethereum [ETH], the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap and the leading smart contract platform, is nearing the Constantinople hard fork. The hard fork is scheduled to take place around January 16, 2019, at block #7080000. This upgrade has been the most awaited one by the community as it would kick start the other major upgrades in the pipeline such as Casper and Sharding. The hard fork was initially scheduled to take place in end-2018 but was called off by the Ethereum development team because of issues encountered during the Ropsten Testnet hard fork, which resulted in a three-way fork. In the post mortem report, Lane Rettig, a core developer of Ethereum, stated that there were problems with the limitations of Parity in comparison to Geth and that they had encountered a consensus bug in the Parity implementation of Ethereum. The next Testnet fork was scheduled to take place on January 9, 2019, on the Rinkeby Testnet. Post the Testnet, Peter Szilagyi, a core developer of Ethereum Foundation, announced that the Testnet fork was successful, stating that there was a clean split. Currently, there are approximately two days left for the network upgrade. The upgrade proposed the implementation of five Ethereum Improvement Protocols’. EIP 145: Bitwise shifting instructions in EVM Written by: Alex Beregszaszi, and Paweł Bylica Effectively cuts the costs of certain activities on chain because native functionality added to the protocol. EIP 1014: Skinny Create2 Written by: Vitalik Buterin Allows interaction with addresses that do not exist on the chain yet. EIP 1052: EXTCODEHASH opcode Written by Nick Johnson and Paweł Bylica Will ensure the return of keccak256 hash of a contract’s code. Decreases the cost of certain activities on the network. EIP 1283: Net gas metering for SSTORE without dirty maps Written by Wei Tang Enables new usages for contract storage and reduces gas cost for SStore. EIP 1234: Constantinople Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Adjustment Written by Afri Schoedon Reduces block reward from 3 ETH per block to 2 ETH per block [aka The Thirdening]. Delays difficulty bomb for another 12 months. EIP 1234 is considered as the most important implementation. According to the Consensus report, this would result in the reduction of the total supply of new ETH from 20,300 ETH per day to 13,400 ETH per day. This, in turn, means that the total number of new coins per year would fall from 7.4 million to 4.9 million. Additionally, Post the hard fork, the inflation rate would drop from 7.7% to 4.8%. Ethereum inflation rate drop | Source: ConsenSys AusIV, a Redditor said: “I think it’s also worth noting that, if there were no hard fork, the difficulty bomb would start reducing issuance in the future. It would stay 3 ETH / block, but the difficulty bomb would mean less frequent blocks, so the issuance over time would start to drop.” Blockstatsy, another Redditor said: “Can’t wait. Kinda want to see how this plays out after Jan 16” The post Ethereum [ETH] Constantinople hard fork countdown begins: 2 more days left appeared first on AMBCrypto.

Ethereum Constantinople Fork | What You Need to Know

If you’ve been following along with Ethereum’s progress you’ll know that the worlds second most popular blockchain will soon be transitioning from proof of work to proof of stake. The final outcome will be a protocol known as Casper. To guide that process, network-wide updates are consistently taking place. Ethereum has four major upgrades planned as part of its roadmap and they can be tracked as follows. Frontier went live in July 2015. Homestead, in March of 2016. Metropolis is currently being implemented with codename Constantinople as its second step. The last one to arrive on the scene will be Serenity. Ethereum team lead Péter Szilágyi anticipates the hard fork to take place on block #7080000 around the 16th of January. #Ethereum Constantinople mainnet hard fork scheduled for block #7080000, estimated around the 16th of January, 2019! — Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) December 7, 2018 Ethereum Improvement Proposals As part of Ethereum’s improvement process, proposals are regularly suggested by the core developers. These will improve the overall functionality of the blockchain as Ethereum moves ever closer to Casper. The community has approved the following five EIP’s for the Constantinople upgrade. Each EIP links to the technical details if that’s up your alley. EIP 145 – Bitwise shifting instructions in EVM   Introduces native bitwise shifting in the Ethereum Virtual Machine. This will allow developers to make some operations more efficient thereby saving on gas fees. EIP 1014 – Skinny CREATE2  This will allow users to interact with addresses that haven’t been created yet on the blockchain. This deals with state channels which will allow Ethereum to better scale in the future. EIP 1052 – EXTCODEHASH opcode  Allows smart contracts to check the code of other smart contracts more efficiently (ie. less processing power). Again, the network will require less gas to perform these checks. EIP 1234 – Constantinople Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Adjustment  Ok, this is the big one. EIP 1234 proposes a delay to the difficulty bomb for approximately 12 months. Sounds cool but what is a difficulty bomb? Currently, the developers have built increased mining difficulty into the Ethereum algorithm to force miners to eventually switch over from proof of work to proof of stake. That’s a problem because Casper isn’t ready yet and users still need the security of the miners in the meantime. The other more controversial change is a reduction in mining rewards from three Ether per block down to two. That’s a pretty substantial loss in mining profits and investors will be keeping a close eye on how this will affect hash rates and the overall security of the network going forward. EIP 1283 – Net gas metering for SSTORE without dirty maps  Another efficiency upgrade allowing several actions to be taken on each transaction similar to how EOS currently implements multi-level transactions. How Do You Get on to the New Blockchain? Major upgrades result in hard forks of the Ethereum blockchain. That process splits the chain in two which has caused some issues in the past. Fortunately, the community has reached consensus on this one and everyone will be moving to the new chain. If you’re simply a coin holder then you don’t need to do anything. Exchanges, services, and node providers should be doing this on your behalf so the effect will be minimal for most users. Be aware though that some of these services may pause deposits and withdrawals of Ether during the changeover. If, on the other hand, you’re running an Ethereum node you’ll need to update to the latest software.  Onwards and Upwards Ethereum continues to improve with each update. The Constantinople fork is not particularly groundbreaking though is making good strides towards improving the overall efficiency of the network. If you’re a miner, you’ll want to upgrade as soon as changes go live. May the fork be with you! The post Ethereum Constantinople Fork | What You Need to Know appeared first on CoinCentral.
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BAT Outperforms Bitcoin, XRP On New Brave Browser “Rewards” Feature

Brave Browser Announces BAT “Rewards” Feature On Tuesday, Brave Browser, a crypto-friendly internet application headed by the founder of Mozilla Firefox, Brendan Eich, made a surprising announcement, seemingly aiming to start of 2019 with a proverbial bang. Via a company release, conveyed through its in-house blog, the Brave and Basic Attention Token (BAT) team, which consists of Eich, coupled with an array of fintech, Silicon Valley, and crypto veterans, revealed that it would be previewing “opt-in ads in [the] desktop browser developer channel.” While this feature sounds nebulous, there’s more to this integration than meets the eye. In fact, as broken down in a PC Magazine feature article, this new advertising model will allow common Joes and Jills to earn crypto, in the form of BAT, and potentially other rewards in the feature. This new offering, dubbed Brave Rewards, will siphon 70% of earned ad revenue to users who agree to view advertisements. The remaining 30% will be paid to Brave’s war chest — a likely controversial play, but one necessary for the blockchain project’s long-term survival. Rewards will be available via Brave’s developer/test browser edition. It wasn’t exactly divulged when the innovative feature would hit the publics’ desktops, but the following GIF is how the feature will work: Looking outwards, the Brave team revealed that they expect opted-in users to earn upwards of $60 to $70 a year in the near future, with their preliminary projections predicting that $224 a year could be earned by 2020 through Brave’s in-house ecosystem. While this sounds great — an effective free $224/year for viewing ads — like all things too good to be true, there’s a catch. At the time of writing, Brave has announced support for BAT token withdrawal, as the company wants Rewards’ users to reward their favorite content creators, whether it be large new portals or Youtubers. After this feature goes live successfully, Brave intends to activate “publisher-integrated ads,” which will allow content creators to feature “private ads” on content creators’ pages through the startup’s systems. The company subsequently explained its Brave Ads offering and its applications/benefits from a top-down perspective, writing: With Brave Ads, we are reforming an online advertising system which has become invasive and unusable. Users have turned to ad blockers to reclaim their privacy from ads that track them and sometimes even infect them, and publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to earn ad revenue to sustain quality content with intermediaries that collect huge fees. It is important to reiterate that at this time, this newfangled feature is technically in its beta phase. Due to this positive news, the popular altcoin, which recently gained the support of industry powerhouse Coinbase, has posted a respectable price gain. At the time of writing, BAT is currently valued at $0.125 apiece, posting a 3% in the past 24 hours. The crypto, currently the 36th in this market’s standings, is currently outperforming Bitcoin (BTC) by 2.7%, and Ethereum (ETH) by 2.4%. Crypto Lulls: Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP Post Barely Any Movement In the same vein of cryptocurrency prices, the broader market has posted close-to-zero movement in the past 24 hours. Per data from Coin Price Watch, BTC has found itself at $3,645 — a mere 0.58% gain over the past day. Other leading crypto assets have also posted slight gains, but have still underperformed BAT. XRP, the go-to asset for fintech upstart Ripple, is up 1.27%, as it sits just shy of the $0.33 price level at $0.3296. ETH, which recently tumbled due to the delayed Constantinople fork, has found itself up by 2%, regaining a portion of the losses incurred yesterday. While the market is trending slightly positive, some analysts expect that BTC is ready to dive. Speaking to MarketWatch, Jani Ziedens of Cracked Market claimed that BTC, if truly oversold, should be posting monumental gains right now, rather than finding itself in an extended lull. So, Ziedens added that this “lethargic base” indicates that demand is limited, “incredibly weak” even, and as such, lower crypto bottoms may be inbound. BAT Title Image Courtesy of via Flickr The post BAT Outperforms Bitcoin, XRP On New Brave Browser “Rewards” Feature appeared first on Ethereum World News.
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Cryptopia Hacker Moves Stolen Crypto to Binance; Community Alerts CZ and Funds Are Frozen

It is clear that hackers gave themselves a place to stay in the cryptocurrency industry, which was only made more evident by a recent security breach that happened over the last few days. Cryptopia, a leading exchange in New Zealand, announced a breach that ended in a major theft on January 14th. However, unlike the unfortunate tale that many other exchanges succumb to, that is not the end of the story. The official statement notes that Cryptopia has placed itself into a maintenance mode, helping them to protect their accounts until the regulatory authorities of New Zealand provide other details. Both the High Tech Crimes Unit and the local police are pursuing investigative efforts, though they have commented that “a significant value of cryptocurrency may be involved.” At this point, the actual amount has not been released, and no substantial details have been provided. Still, that has not stopped local news portal Radionz from reporting that the loss is close to $3.6 million. A Twitter user, ShaftedTangu, seems to know where these digital assets are going. On the posts, the user said, Hey @cz_binance Binance has stolen tokens from Topia hitting it sir. Can you lock it down? — I Dream Of Alts (@ShaftedTangu) January 16, 2019 Through a string of additional tweets, the user continued to track the funds, as he mentioned wallet address 0x9007a0421145b06a0345d55a8c0f0327f62a2224. In another tweet, he claimed, “Currently the 0x900 wallet contains around $10 mil USD of tokens, large amounts are $PRL $2mil, $CENNZ $1.168 mil, $Denacoin $2.73 mil, $MSP $0.99 mil” Luckily, just under four hours after the original tweet, CZ Binance replied. The reply said, Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don't understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It's a high risk maneuver for them. — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 16, 2019 With such a nonchalant type of reply, it is quite a victory for Cryptopia and Binance that the funds could be frozen at all. However, the victory has not been won yet, considering there is no indication of exactly who performed the hack in the first place. Cryptopia has remained silent, though they posted to their own Twitter profile, saying, “We cannot comment as this matter is now in the hands of the appropriate authorities. We will update you as soon as we can.” As a result of these issues, Zhao posted that users should keep their holdings on exchanges, rather than a hardware wallet. However, his post caused an onslaught of negative replies, with some saying that his post implied that self-storage is substantially riskier than storing on a seemingly “reputable” exchange. Zhao later retracted, saying that he was not advising investors to store funds on exchanges. In the first half of 2018 last year, there was over $731 million lost in thefts involving exchange hacks. However, none have reached the severity experienced by the 2014 Mt. Gox hack.
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Binance Freezes ‘Some of the Funds’ Stolen in Cryptopia Hack

Some of the stolen cryptocurrency from yesterday’s Cryptopia hack has been sent to Binance, which has confirmed already freezing some of the funds.  Binance Freezing Funds Stolen from Cryptopia Twitter account @ShaftedTangu has alleged that some funds stolen as a result of Cryptopia’s hack have been siphoned through Binance. The amounts sent to Binance in question include roughly $7,500 in Metal (MTL) 00, $6,750 in KyberNetwork coin (KNC) 00, $7,181 OmiseGO tokens (OMG) 00, and $8,724 in EnjinCoin (ENJ) 00. All of it totals around $30,000. Changpeng Zhao, CEO at Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by means of traded volumes, has confirmed the allegations, reassuring that they’ve already frozen some of the funds. Zhao commented: Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don’t understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It’s a high-risk maneuver for them. Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don't understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It's a high risk maneuver for them. — CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 16, 2019 Bitcoinist reported yesterday that Cryptopia’s security has been breached, resulting in ‘significant losses’. Police in New Zealand also confirmed. Binance Caught in the Fire Zhao’s tweet caused a reaction in crypto Twitter’s community as one user (@Crypto_Bitlord) expressed his bewilderment that Zhao referred to “social media” as a means of reporting rather than Binance’s own surveillance systems. I’m genuinely shocked stolen funds from @Cryptopia_NZ have easily passed through @binance UNDETECTED until social media flagged them. This raises some big questions. How is that possible with modern blockchain analysis? — Sir Bitlord (@Crypto_Bitlord) January 16, 2019 On the matter, Binance’s CEO said: It’s quite easy to generate a brand new address. We (and no one) recognize every transaction out there. We already have very in-depth and detailed blockchain analysis. Yet, the question remains – if a regular Twitter user has been able to detect the transaction in question, how, and more importantly – why did Binance miss it? Perhaps the better question, as posed by @Crypto_Bitlord is: So you are saying criminals can steal funds and just create a brand new address to send to before binance? In the meantime, Binance announced today the launch of their Binance Jersey fiat exchange. The platform is aimed at traders from Europe and it offers BTC/GBP, ETH/GBP, BTC/EUR, and ETH/EUR trading pairs. What do you think of Binance missing the transactions in question? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below! Images courtesy of Shutterstock The post Binance Freezes ‘Some of the Funds’ Stolen in Cryptopia Hack appeared first on
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