Vitalik Buterin Shares Plans to Improve Ethereum’s Decentralization

In this post:

  • Vitalik Buterin outlines improvements for Ethereum, focusing on decentralization and permissionlessness during an interop event in Kenya.
  • Buterin advocates for “inclusion lists” that compel the inclusion of specific transactions in blocks to diminish builder power in MEV scenarios.
  • Plans to make nodes operable on minimal hardware, potentially enabling node operation on smartphones, are underway.

The highly-respected creator of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, has revealed a comprehensive plan to improve the decentralization and permissionlessness of the network.

He detailed these strategies during an Ethereum developer interop in Kenya, explaining to us some significant upcoming improvements like PeerDAS, the Verkle tree transition, and decentralized historical data storage under EIP 4444.

These developments promise to enhance the experience not just for node operators but also for L1 and L2 users.

Ethereum Will Tackle MEV Issues

Buterin’s discourse began with a focus on the broader technical capacities that have recently been enhanced within the Ethereum ecosystem.

Related: Why Is Ethereum Still Performing Badly?

He responded to concerns from Geth core developer Peter Szilagyi about the current direction of the Ethereum project, which Buterin believes are not as dire as suggested. Instead, he proposed realistic adjustments to the current roadmap to address these issues.

Central to Buterin’s argument is the ongoing issue of Miner Extractable Value (MEV). Historically, Ethereum blocks were generated by miners using straightforward algorithms.

However, as complex strategies exploiting transaction ordering within blocks emerged, the fairness of block production diminished.

To address the rising concerns around MEV, Ethereum has considered both minimizing MEV through protocols like encrypted mempools and quarantining MEV by separating block proposers from transaction selectors via an auction protocol known as proposer/builder separation (PBS).

Source: Vitalik Buterin

Buterin suggests further minimizing the power of builders in MEV scenarios by using inclusion lists. These lists ensure that certain transactions must be included in blocks, thus preventing the possibility of excluding transactions strategically.

He advocates for a massive reduction of the builders’ influence, envisioning a scenario where builders are more restricted while maintaining their functionality.

Ethereum will Enhance Liquid Staking

The next segment of Buterin’s plan addresses the challenges and future of Ethereum staking.

Despite the growth in staking solutions provided by entities like Lido and RocketPool, the majority of Ethereum staking is still not solo due to the 32 ETH minimum and the technical challenges associated.

Buterin’s goal is to foster a stronger solo staking ecosystem, which he believes is critical to maintaining Ethereum’s decentralization.

Also Read: U.S. Indicts Brothers for Attack on Ethereum Trading Bots

He pointed out several initiatives aimed at reducing the technical and financial barriers to solo staking, including the implementation of Verkle trees and EIP-4444.

There is a Need to Reduce Node Requirements

These technologies could drastically reduce the data storage requirements for nodes, thereby simplifying the staking process and enhancing the viability of Ethereum light clients.

Source: Vitalik Buterin

Buterin also touched on the importance of accessible node operation within the Ethereum network. The ultimate aim is to enable nodes to run on minimal hardware, potentially as low as a smartphone, through improvements like Type 1 ZK-EVMs that allow users to verify blockchain operations without performing the heavy lifting of EVM computation.

This vision, often referred to as “The Verge,” aims to decentralize the responsibility of maintaining the state and providing proofs away from large, centralized actors.

I think it is actually true that 2021-era Ethereum thought became too comfortable with offloading responsibilities to a small number of large-scale actors, as long as some kind of market mechanism or zero knowledge proof system existed to force the centralized actors to behave honestly.

Vitalik Buterin

Despite these advancements, Buterin remains cautious about the risks of centralization through dependency on a limited number of data providers.

He advocates for the storage of historical blockchain data within a decentralized peer-to-peer network, significantly reducing the reliance on major actors like exchanges and block explorers.

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