Back in 2014, the first vision of what Ethereum would come to be was presented at a small gathering in Berlin called DevCon 0.
Fast forward 4 years later, and Ethereum has become the second highest cryptocurrency by market cap, and is the most popular blockchain among developers. With 94 of the top 100 blockchain projects built on Ethereum, there’s no question of Ethereum’s dominance as a blockchain platform.
However, Ethereum has run into some trouble with regards to the scaling of their network.
In order to stay on top as the leading blockchain network for the development of smart contracts and decentralized applications, Ethereum’s blockchain needs to scale. The network must be upgraded to increase transaction speeds and lower transaction costs.
Blockchain platforms such as EOS, NEO, and Cardano have increased capabilities in comparison to Ethereum and have thus picked off some developers.
If the Ethereum foundation does not improve the scaling of the Ethereum blockchain, it may lose its spot as the top platform.
Ethereum Scaling Solutions
However, these scaling solutions have all run into roadblocks and will not be implemented soon enough.
Though Ethereum’s initial scaling solutions are taking longer than expected, the face behind Ethereum and co-founder of the project, Vitalik Buterin, has announced the next stage of its evolution: Serenity.
DevCon 4 Serenity Announcement
The announcement of the new Ethereum blockchain scaling solution called “Serenity” was revealed at DevCon 4 on October 31.
Before the announcement, Buterin said:
[Serenity] is a realization of all of these different strands of research that we’ve been spending our time on for the past four years. This includes Casper—not just hybrid Casper, 100% organic, genuine, pure Casper.
He also mentioned other scaling solutions and developments including sharding, eWASM and other improvements before announcing:
Serenity is a new blockchain in the sense of being a data structure, but has a link to the Proof-of-Work (PoW) chain. The Proof-of-Stake (PoS) chain would be aware of the block hashes of the PoW chain, you’d be able to move eth from the PoW chain to the PoS chain.
So it’s a new system, but it is a connected system and the long, long term goal is that once this new system is stable enough, then basically all of the applications on the existing blockchain can be sort of folded into a contract on one shard of the new system that would be an EVM interpreter written in eWASM.
Serenity, Further Explained
Serenity is basically the creation of a new blockchain that will be fully compatible with the existing Ethereum blockchain. Once this new blockchain has been tried and tested, all of the dapps and data from the existing blockchain will be folded onto a shard of the new chain.
The new chain will be significantly smaller in size. Instead of needing 8GB to run a full node, validators will only need under 1GB to run the node.
Another important aspect of this scaling solution is regarding confirmation times.
With Ethereum’s current model, we can see transactions sometimes taking hours to be confirmed. According to Buterin, the new model will fix this issue with one synchronous confirmation, where transactions will be included by not just one validator, but hundreds.
This could allow merchants such as coffee shops to accept Ethereum payments in under 16 seconds.
If Serenity is successful, it could help pave the way for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies, as well as better host decentralized applications and smart contracts.
However, we have heard these types of promises from Buterin before. The pressure is on for him and the Ethereum Foundation to deliver.