Celo, which is ditching its standalone blockchain in favor of a new “layer-2” network atop Ethereum, had originally signaled plans to rely on Optimism’s OP Stack, a similar customizable kit to Polygon’s but using Optimism’s “optimistic” technology.
Developers of the Ethereum blockchain say there was a misconfiguration in the genesis files of the test network, and now they plan to try again in about two weeks.
The debut of the testing system – designed to be twice as big as the main network so developers can simulate massive scaling, comes a year after Ethereum completed its historic “Merge” shift to a “proof-of-stake” model from the original “proof-of-work” setup that Bitcoin uses.
Goerli and Sepolia are operated by a smaller subset of “validators” than the main Ethereum chain, and some developers think these smaller validator sets pose a problem: “We don’t want to hit a scaling issue that could happen first on mainnet,” Parithosh Jayanthi, a devops engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit focused on Ethereum research and development, told CoinDesk. “We want to catch [scaling issues] on testnet, which means we have to have a testnet that’s bigger” than the main Ethereum chain.
The plan, “Alchemy Scale Tier,” comes amidst a brutal retrenchment for the crypto industry which has sliced budgets for developers who want to continue building applications for blockchains. The plan will consist of two options that let developers choose how much they want to commit to the platform, both financially and computationally.
Currently, the most common type of blockchain accounts, known as Externally Owned Accounts (EOA), have limited recovery options; if a user loses their private key, their crypto holdings are lost forever. EOA accounts also can’t attach information that could be read by other smart contracts, and transaction fees cannot be paid by other parties as well on an EOA, meaning the user is in charge of providing fees for gas.
With the public launch, users will be able to choose from 34 Snaps, each providing various features such as clearer transaction insights, interoperability with non-EVM blockchains, and notifications that keep users informed on decentralized applications in their MetaMask accounts.
“In many cases, privacy and regulatory compliance are perceived as incompatible,” the authors wrote. “This paper suggests that this does not necessarily have to be the case, if the privacy-enhancing protocol enables its users to prove certain properties regarding the origin of their funds.”
“For us, to have this scalable future, rollup-to-rollup communication is really important,” said Vaibhav Chellani, the co-founder of Socket. “I think the scaling future, and the multi- or cross-chain future are the same thing.”
The new feature “Arbitrum Stylus” will make it easy to write smart contracts using computer languages compatible with the WebAssembly or WASM standard – seen as far more common than the Ethereum Virtual Machine or EVM standard that many blockchain developers currently use.
In response to the frustration, StarkWare announced that the upgrade has been re-enabled, allowing users to regain access to their funds. The team added that it might take a day for the funds from these wallets to reappear, due to technicalities.
The Chain Development Kit (CDK) will allow developers to build their own customizable chains, and connect to each other through a ZK-powered bridge to form a “Value Layer.”
The U.S. crypto exchange’s ‘Base Neutrality Principles’ are a series of guidelines aimed at maintaining a decentralized and neutral blockchain, according to a blog post.
Many Ethereum aficionados have predicted that the most promising layer-2 blockchains would be built not using the OP Stack’s “optimistic rollup” technology – favored by the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase – but with a different setup known as “ZK rollups,” reliant on “zero-knowledge” cryptography.
Starkware, the company behind the Ethereum layer 2 blockchain StarkNet, said in a press release that they will be open-sourcing their cryptographic software tool, STARK Prover, which has been renamed as Stone, on Aug. 31.
The ZK rollup is built on Polygon Supernets, a program designed to make it easier for developers to spin up new application-specific blockchains.
Blockchain projects frequently release their code under open-source software licenses, meaning outside developers are allowed to read, copy, and even (in some cases) contribute to a company’s original codebase. However, community norms – and most open-source licenses – generally require that third-party developers acknowledge when they’ve used code that originated elsewhere.
The issue was first identified on Aug. 2. Crypto developers monitor payments glitches on major platforms partly because a key premise of the blockchain industry is to build infrastructure that improves on the current options.
“Since we announced Base, our mission has been clear and consistent: bring the next billion users and next million builders on chain,” Jesse Pollak, the creator of Base and head of protocols at Coinbase, said in a press release sent to CoinDesk. “Today, we’re thrilled to announce our next step in that journey.”
On July 30, over 6,000 ETH ($11M worth) in so-called Maximal Extractable Value rewards were paid out to Ethereum validators, the most ever for a single day.
Buterin argues first that scanning one’s iris could potentially release more information than intended. For instance, if someone else scans a World ID holder’s iris, they can run it against the Worldcoin database to determine – at the very least – whether that person is in the system. In addition, Buterin says World IDs won’t be readily accessible to everyone, since getting ahold of an “Orb” device can be difficult.
StarkWare, the company behind the Ethereum layer-2 network Starknet, disclosed that it’s working on a set of software tools that will make it easier for developers to spin up their own customized layer-2 chains, paving the way for “appchains” that are optimized for specific applications.
Gnosis Card, which uses the Visa payment system, will be a debit card directly connected to a user’s on-chain account, built on the Gnosis Pay decentralized payment network, according to Gnosis. Users’ wallets – in this case Safe wallets – will act like a bank account, and every Gnosis Card will be connected to the user’s Safe account.
Ethereum is suddenly becoming so crowded with new “layer 2” networks – separate blockchains that sit atop the main network and specialize in fast and cheap transactions – that experts are trying to figure out how to handle the growing number of transactional details.
The whole point of these layer 2 networks in the first place is to reduce congestion. So one way to accomplish that is to reduce the number of times that data needs to be downloaded from the main network.
Enter what’s known as the “data availability problem” – how to prove that the records of the transactional details exist, and are available if needed, without actually downloading them – using cryptography and advanced mathematics.
Top developers of Ethereum have proposed their own plans for handling the data, known as EIP-4844 or colloquially “proto-danksharding.” Such measures are expected to significantly scale the blockchain and introduce “blobs” for data, which helps the blockchain to process that data more efficiently, and on the cheap.
But there’s also a new breed of players – Celestia and Avail are seen as two of the leaders in the space – trying to develop alternate solutions for data availability, arguing that the fullest implementation of Ethereum’s own proposed solution, known as danksharding, might still be years away.
Analogy to Google photo upload
According to Alchemy, a blockchain infrastructure startup, the data availability layer “is a system that stores and provides consensus on the availability of blockchain data.” Its goal is to help reduce the data load from a mainnet blockchain, and therefore lower transaction fees for users of layer 2s, also known as rollups.
Data availability layers, like Celestia and Avail, are betting that they are going to become more integral to layer 2s, as users and developers look for space for their data (on Ethereum).
“Data availability is a solution to the problem of needing to make data available for anyone on the internet to download,” Nick White, the COO of Celestia Labs, said in a tweet.
Understanding data availability – sometimes shorthanded to DA – and how it works can get quite technical, but let’s give it a shot:
An analogy that the team at Avail – originally conceived as a special project within the Ethereum scaling solution Polygon, but spun out earlier this year – likes to make is to a user who uploaded a photo to Google, and then wants to make sure the photo is actually there. The user queries Google, which responds with a fragment of the photo; the exercise is the confirmation; the user doesn’t need to download the photo, just to make sure it’s there.
The idea is that just having a separate blockchain to handle the task of proving that the data exists, and is available if needed, is, in and of itself, a major task that needs to be handled in the interaction between a layer 2 network and the main Ethereum blockchain.
“Celestia and DA layers will be the security and scaling backbone of the entire blockchain ecosystem,” White told CoinDesk. “They will provide the raw input for running all decentralized applications, namely secure, trust-minimized blockspace.”
Proto-danksharding, then danksharding
Ethereum developers have explored other ways in which they can address the issue of data on the blockchain. Concepts like sharding, which splits the blockchain into smaller pieces, allows for more space to process transactions and therefore lower gas fees.
Proto-danksharding, or EIP-4844, is the first prototype for this concept that will go live as early as the end of this year during the Dencun upgrade.
Still, layer 2s need to have that access to data now, and so data availability layers see themselves as a crucial element in helping rollups to succeed.
“The reality is that rollups are now acknowledged to be the best way to do execution,” said Anurag Arjun, the co-founder of Avail, which will provide data availability to layer 2s. “Avail is really a base layer that only focuses on what is important to rollups, which is data availability.”
Some developers behind layer 2s feel that while data availability layers currently play an important role, having data available from a layer 1 is unmatched.
“Your L1 data, fundamentally from just an architectural perspective, is going to be supreme. There’s never going to be better data,” Karl Floersch CEO of OP Labs, the main developer of the layer-2 blockchain Optimism, told CoinDesk. “That doesn’t mean, though, that all DA providers are not useful. They are useful because they can augment it and there’s a second class of data availability that you can use. They’re not a replacement for L1 data, they can just help assist it.”
Alex Gluchowski, CEO of Matter Labs, the company spearheading the zkSync era rollup, says proto-danksharding is the preferred way of scaling, given that it inherits the underlying security from the Ethereum blockchain.
“The preferred option for our users, if you can afford it, will probably be proto-danksharding,” Gluchowski said. “If at some point we will see the prices rising up again, then there will be a large section of users who will prefer data availability solutions.”
Gluchowski doesn’t think that data availability solutions will disappear once proto-danksharding is live.
“But it doesn’t mean that the existing players will remain,” he said.
According to Floersch, “No one data availability provider should take the whole alt-DA marketplace.”
“There should be a lot of different solutions, different trade offs, different teams,” he said.
The upgrade went live following a community vote that overwhelmingly agreed to deploy it to mainnet.
The management changes come as Polygon, which runs two of the most closely watched networks for scaling Ethereum transactions, is in the midst of a rebrand to the next chapter of its corporate development, known as “Polygon 2.0.”
The move represents a step forward in Avail’s plan to help secondary networks in the Ethereum ecosystem to speed up their processing – by giving them an alternate way to store the data, and verify its existence and availability, besides storing it on the main blockchain.
Quantum Leap went live on the testnet on Wednesday. If the Starknet community approves of the code change in a governance vote, the upgrade will be deployed to Starknet’s mainnet around July 13, according to a press release from StarkWare, the company behind Starknet.
“Unified liquidity is the key to everything in Polygon 2.0,” said Brendan Farmer, the co-founder of Polygon in a press release. “We need to support unlimited scalability, but the entire Polygon 2.0 ecosystem must still feel like using a single chain. The validity of cross-chain transactions is guaranteed by ZK proofs posted to Ethereum, but we want bridging to feel seamless. We can’t make users wait for a chain to generate a proof or settle on Ethereum.”
Cryptographic proofs, like storage proofs, can be quite large and complex for computers to verify, making them difficult for space-constrained blockchain networks to handle. Previously, “what really made storage proofs economically unfeasible, is the fact that all the computation had to happen on the blockchain,” said Kacper Koziol, co-founder of Herodotus.