What Does the Future Hold for Ethereum?

The Ethereum network has been in the news lately due to a spectacular series of price increases that took its ether currency up to over $500 (£370). The price has now dropped back to $441 (£326), which is still a huge increase on the $8 (almost £6) value it held at the start of 2017.

With the future looking bright for ether, a lot of focus has now been put onto how the network is going to cope with increased demand from now on. Vitalik Buterin is the founder of the blockchain and he said that ethereum has a 3 to 5 year plan in place for increasing privacy and also enhancing scalability.

Buterin spoke to attendees at the Beyond Block Tapei conference a few days ago, in a talk that was titled Ethereum 2.0. He pointed out that this title doesn’t mean that there is a specific update on the way, but rather that the platform will be the subject of an ongoing series of enhancements.

He called blockchains “public ledgers” and said that they have “lots of nodes verifying data”, which can lead to privacy issues.  Buterin said that developers have looked into “many avenues” through which they could ensure greater levels of privacy for users.

The Byzantium hard fork that was carried out recently has given Ethereum a greater ability to support cryptographic algorithms that go some way towards starting to build a solution that increases privacy. Indeed, he said that question of privacy is around three quarters of the way to being solved.

How to Use Less Energy?

The Ethereum founder also said that the way that Ethereum mining uses so much energy is also on the way to bring solved. Like bitcoin, it uses a proof of work idea that uses a vast amount of energy.

Buterin said that they need a solution that means that they avoid “throwing a billion dollars into a hole every year” in the energy costs associated with mining.  He mentioned that the overall issue that they now need to solve is that of finding a way of making the Ethereum platform decentralized, scalable and secure at the same time.

There are a number of ways of potentially doing this that have been discussed but the founder thinks that sharding may be the best solution. He explained that is as being a way of creating many universes and that sending something only affects that universe. Buterin went on to say that Ethereum 3.0 could see the likes of multi-layer sharding, cross-shard communication and starks all brought into play.

Another scaling solution that has been in the news lately is the TrueBit protocol. This is due out in December and it will work by removing the limit on ethereum that restricts the numbers of computations that the overall network can achieve.

It is thought that this move could take Ethereum a step closer to becoming the true global computer that its creators aim for it to be. This would work alongside sharding to bring the platform the high level of scalability that is needed for it to keep on progressing.