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Vitalik Buterin Announces Further Development of Ethereum ‘Purge’

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin recently shared details on the upcoming phases of the protocol’s simplification efforts, dubbed “The Purge.”

The initiative seeks to streamline the Ethereum protocol by minimizing historical data storage demands. This will alleviate the strain on node operators’ storage capabilities and substantially reduce the technical challenges linked with the protocol.

In essence, “The Purge” project aims to trim down Ethereum and tackle long-standing technical issues. Buterin’s announcement suggests the presence of further Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) aligned with the simplification objective.

Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin Unveils “The Purge” to Streamline Blockchain Protocol

In a recent update, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin highlighted the integration of Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP)-6780 during the Dencun hard fork. This implementation notably simplified the Ethereum protocol by streamlining the functions of the “SELFDESTRUCT” code and bolstering security measures.

A significant post-EIP-6780 alteration involves setting a maximum number of storage slots that can be modified in a single block, roughly determined by the gas limit divided by 5000. Buterin expressed confidence that upcoming EIPs would further eliminate the SELFDESTRUCT function, thereby enhancing the network’s security and efficiency.

Dubbed “The Purge” by Buterin, this initiative also encompasses extensive cleanup endeavors within the Geth Ethereum client, focusing on eliminating redundant code following the transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Recent Ethereum Improvement Proposals have additionally contributed to refining the management of empty accounts, ultimately improving overall code efficiency.

Another key objective of The Purge is to optimize data storage on the Ethereum blockchain. EIP-4444, introduced during the Dencun upgrade, introduces the concept of “blobs” for specific data storage. This innovation reduces long-term storage requirements and facilitates easier node participation. Additionally, the proposal suggests automatically removing older blocks after a designated time, further alleviating storage needs.

Buterin emphasized that The Purge would enhance Ethereum’s node decentralization by distributing historical data more effectively across the network. While not all nodes would store complete historical data, solutions like block explorers and decentralized peer-to-peer networks are being explored to ensure accessibility.

Furthermore, The Purge includes plans to evaluate and optimize precompiled Ethereum contracts and introduce a new data structure called SimpleSerialize (SSZ) to replace the current block structure. These measures simplify data usage and development processes, contributing to the overall efficiency of the Ethereum network.

Vitalik Raises Concerns Over Complex Layer 2 Scaling Solutions

On December 30, 2023, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin provided an update on the Ethereum roadmap, spotlighting significant advancements in Surge (rollup scaling) initiatives, such as EIP-4844, and notable progress in rollup technologies. He underscored the necessity for long-term enhancements in cross-rollup standards and interoperability to fortify Ethereum’s ecosystem.

However, Buterin recently expressed concerns regarding the increasingly intricate Layer 2 scaling solutions within blockchain ecosystems. Via social media, he highlighted the potential risks associated with convoluted Layer 2 networks and advocated for a more balanced approach to development.

In the blockchain community, there’s a prevalent belief that Layer 1 networks should prioritize simplicity to minimize critical bugs and attack vectors. This strategy delegates more complex functionalities to Layer 2 networks, specialized in offering scaling solutions.

Buterin emphasized the seriousness of critical bugs in Layer 2 networks, noting that while Layer 1 blockchains can swiftly recover from consensus failures, such incidents in Layer 2 could result in a permanent loss of user funds. He cautioned against the escalating complexity of Layer 2 solutions and the inherent risks they carry.

Proposing an alternative approach, Buterin suggested enhancing Layer 1 networks with sophisticated features to alleviate the pressure on Layer 2 networks, thereby enabling them to maintain a reasonable level of simplicity. By reducing complexity, the risks associated with critical bugs and security vulnerabilities could be mitigated, thereby safeguarding user funds and enhancing system reliability.

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