Ethereum Metropolis is upon us! After a lot of deliberations and updates, the time has finally arrived for the next big jump. There is a lot of buzz going on right now and for good reason. The last time Ethereum did a network shift i.e. from Frontier to Homestead, the price jumped more than 100% from $12 to $30.
Ethereum is being upgraded and it won’t be the last time. Ethereum was not designed to be just a mode of currency. It was designed to be a platform for decentralized applications. However, before it can do so, it needs to go through various stages of growth. With each stage, Ethereum gets better by incorporating more and more properties making its system more robust and seamless.
The complete launch process of Ethereum was divided into 4 phases. This was done to make sure that various phases got their own developmental time and that every stage was developed as efficiently and optimally as possible.
The 4 phases are as follows:
- Frontier: This was what everyone got when Ethereum was first launched.
- Homestead: The stage that we are on as of writing.
- Metropolis: The upcoming phase.
- Serenity: The final stage.
Metropolis is the 3rd phase of the 4-phase process and there are a lot of interesting features that are coming as and when it gets implemented. Here are some of the main ones which are going to have plenty of repercussions.
Here are the Top Features of Metropolis:
- Zk-Snarks Implementation: “Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge”. Zk-Snarks is based on zero knowledge proof. Ethereum has been closely working with Z-Cash (Zero Cash Cryptocurrency) team for implementing this.
- Proof of Stake partial implementation: To implement “proof of stake” Ethereum is going to use the Casper consensus algorithm. In the beginning, it is going to be a hybrid style system where the majority of the transactions will still be done the proof of work style while every 100th transaction is going to be proof of stake. This gives huge mining and security advantages.
- Focus to improve the flexibility and robustness of smart contracts: Metropolis is beefing up the “revert” function to help the contracts go back to the previous state without eating up all the gas. The unused gas will be refunded to the contract creator. Along with the revert function, Metropolis is introducing the “returndata” opcode which will enable contracts to return variable sized values.
- Account Abstraction: As part of abstraction, Ethereum is planning to blur the line between its two accounts. Ethereum, as of writing at least, has two accounts. One is the external account, the one controlled by keys that most users are aware of i.e. wallet accounts. Then you also have the contract account aka the smart contract code in the blockchain. The idea is to essentially allow users to define their external accounts in the form of a smart contract.
Because of the Ethereum-Ethereum Classic and the Bitcoin-Bitcoin Cash hardforks, people have started to assume that all hard forks are bound to cause chain splits. That is simply not the case.
The reason why those forks split the chain was that the changes proposed (the ethereum hardfork and the Segwit activation) were so controversial that not everyone was not liking it. One group maintained the old chain and another group went to maintain the new chain.
However, these upgrades have been unanimously agreed upon for a long time. Everybody knew that this was going to happen. This hardfork is not the result of an emergency, this hardfork is the result of an upgrade, which is why there won’t be any community split and there won’t be a new coin.
The only bone of contention could be the proof-of-stake hardfork, however, the miners are not going to gain much by remaining on the old chain since, as the difficulty time-bomb will make mining near impossible.
This article of mine was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dawn-ethereum-metropolis-us-mouli-srini/
“Inspiration from Blockgeeks article”