Devcon Day 1: Ethereum Roadmap, Uniswap and Plasma Demo a Layer 2 DEX

Hello defiers! Welcome to The Defiant, Japan edition. For those of you who missed it, I’m in Osaka this week for Devcon, Ethereum’s big, annual developer conference, and will be focusing on the event. Most of decentralized finance is being built on Ethereum, so what matters to Ethereum will most likely matter to DeFi.

Ethereum Devs Say State Rent is Postponed

The most important talk of the day for me was the discussion about the Ethereum roadmap, which was really an unstructured conversation about the most controversial topics around Ethereum.

The room for this session –and every other session I went to– was absolutely packed, with every chair filled, people sitting on the floor and tables, and standing along the walls. I had a hard time:

The talk, as is usual with other talks held by the Ethereum Magicians, was organized as a circle of developers and other Ethereans who passed the mic around among themselves and to members of the audience, who were also free to join the circle. Anyone was free to propose a topic and chime in.

These were some of the most interesting takeaways:

  1. State rent, or the idea that developers should pay some sort of fee or tax for storage their applications are using up in the Ethereum network, is being postponed because implementing it would change the programming paradigm and likely have unintended consequences. Instead, Alexey Akhunov is working on specifying the first viable version of a stateless client with the goal of giving the current version of Ethereum enough runway until Ethereum 2.0 is live.

    It’s crucial for Ethereum’s survival that developers and researchers find a solution for this problem. Ethereum’s network utilization is at near 100 percent and risks becoming too slow to use if it reaches full capacity. State rent was supposed to force some storage off the network.

  2. The relationship that Ethereum will have with Ethereum 2.0 still hasn’t been defined. Some options being considered is that Eth1 will be a shard in Eth2 (kind of like a branch off the main network), or that it continues to live in parallel with Eth2.

  3. Developers are considering eliminating the need for all nodes to hold complete history of Ethereum transactions. I understand this is to make it easier for more people to run Ethereum nodes.

  4. Programmatic proof of work, was also discussed. “ProgPow” is an algorithm, which would favor GPU-based over ASICs-based miners. Some developers fear ASICs mining, which require more expensive hardware, would centralize the network and increase miners’ power. The main point made about ProgPow was that there should be a facts-based discussion about it, not the personal attacks that have pushed people out of the community in the past.

Uniswap and Plasma Demo a More Scalable DEX

Uniswap and Plasma Group released a Layer 2 exchange demo and it could be a peak into a more scalable decentralized finance.

The demo, which is running on the Ethereum Ropsten testnet, is capable of about 250 transactions per second, and an “optimized, production version would be capable of ~2000 TPS,” Uniswap said.

Most DeFi projects are confirming each transaction on chain, which is slow and limits transactions per second to about 15. Layer 2 scaling solutions, like Optimistic Rollup used in this case, would allow a greater number of transactions per second.

The demo gives users play tokens to buy PIGI or UNI (I’m team piggy in case you’re wondering... unicorns always take the spotlight).

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About the author: I’m Camila Russo, a financial journalist writing a book on Ethereum with Harper Collins. I was previously at Bloomberg News in New York, Madrid and Buenos Aires covering markets. I’ve extensively covered crypto and finance, and now I’m diving into DeFi, the intersection of the two.