Roadmap Change at Ethereum — Sharding and Casper at the Same Time?

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As announced yesterday in the Ethereum Core Devs Meeting # 40, the development team behind Ethereum is considering merging two groundbreaking blockchain upgrades — Sharding and Casper.

At the meeting, Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, said that the originally planned order of upgrades could be changed according to the roadmap to enable Casper and Sharding to upgrade at the same time. This is due to new insights and advances in Sharding research.

While Casper will go from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake to change the consensus algorithm, sharding should be the key to scaling the Ethereum network to handle a massive number of transactions. Originally, Casper was to be realized as a smart contract. However, the new proposal presented at the Core Devs Meeting now foresees Casper being implemented on a shard or on a sidechain.

Sharding

The idea of ​​Sharding is to divide the Ethereum Blockchain into innumerable segments (English: shards), which are able to process transactions faster and more effectively. Currently, every node in the network stores all the information. Although this has the advantage that the security is extremely high, because a manipulation is very difficult.

However, this has a big disadvantage that the scalability is severely limited. This is where Sharding comes in. Ethereum Sharding Solution provides that all information in the network is divided into so-called shards. This means that certain nodes only need to process certain shards, but each shard still has access to the information of the others. This would significantly increase the scalability.

Casper

A Treatise on Casper FFG was first introduced in October 2017 published than a proof of Stake-based system was introduced by Vitalik Buterin and Virgil Griffith. At the end of April 2018, the Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1011, better known as Hybrid Casper FFG (short for Friendly Finality Gadget), was the first discussion basis for the major upgrade to Github.

Casper establishes a hybrid Proof of Work / Proof of Stake consensus model for the Ethereum Network, transitioning from the energy-intensive, proof-of-work mining process to the environmentally friendly proof-of-stake consensus. In the long term, the Ethereum Blockchain will be completely converted to Proof of Stake.

The Ethereum Core developers seemed impressed by the idea of ​​putting Sharding and Casper together. According to the bookmaker, the combination would have some advantages:

The development of one system will be much more groundbreaking on the way to what we expect to become the final sharing system.

In addition, Buterin further stated:

The Casper component is slightly more separated from the main chain. This means that in a sense it can be developed more independently and can have its own rules. There is a much clearer separation between these systems.

Vitalik Buterin continues to assume that the implementation of Casper on a shard or possibly on a sidechain could drastically reduce the required costs for securing the blockchain. According to Buterin’s latest estimate, the costs of participating in the staking process would drop from 1,500 ETH to 32 ETH.

If the idea prevails, it would probably mean that the next Hard Fork, Constantinople, will not have any changes related to Casper.

The full Core Devs Meeting # 40:

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