Taylor’s Summer Update (ethereum )



  • Projects

    Mist

    Ethereum wallet has been refined significantly over the last several months expanding support to arbitrary contract interaction via the “custom contracts” tab. This is a massive improvement over sending transactions on the command line, as was often required in Frontier. With several new team members doing work with the Ethereum Foundation, new versions of Mist are now rolling out and will incorporate improvements to Geth and Eth as they are integrated. If you’re using an old version, update to Mist 0.8.0 for the latest goodies.


    Remix

    After all the hard work spent reorganizing the C++ codebase, the CPP team
    has shifted gears from Mix to Remix, as the IDE now targets the web. Remix has
    hit it first alpha, and published with a demo online. Check out its repository
    at https://github.com/ethereum/remix
    for more info. In general, EVM IDEs aren’t yet popular, so this could be a
    major step forward in approachability, like the online Solidity compiler
    has been. New security tools, such as EVMDIS as expected to be
    released to the community. Work is also being done so that formal verification
    can detect recursive call patterns. More details can be found in Christian’s C++
    DEV Update
    .


    ENS




    Not an official project, but closely
    related to many projects, Nick Johnson has started work on the Ethereum Name
    Service. The encompasses smart contract-based resolvers with standard API. The
    specification supports delegation by name component (separated by “.”) and
    multiple types of records. It’s possible to build gateways to plug-in to
    existing systems, like DNS. Currently, a draft specification with a reference implementation is available
    in solidity
    and discussion is ongoing on Gitter. This
    could have large implications for general usability of many services on
    Ethereum network from wallet aliases to friendly Swarm node names.


    Protocols

    Light client

    Something to watch closely is light-client functionality entering public
    testing phase
    . Zsolt has been working on this code for months and the team
    looks poised to merge it into the main repo soon. The new code decreases chain
    sync time to under 30 mins from genesis block and under a minute when used
    week-to-week. This builds on top of work that Peter did for the fast sync
    functionality that is now the default in Mist (--fast). More work is being done to improve log/receipt
    retrieval, and several iterations to the protocol is expected over time, so
    this is not the last you’ll hear about LES!




    Swarm

    Swarm is also being vigorously tested as PoC2 demonstrating economically
    self sustaining storage and distribution layers. Viktor, Dani, and Aaron have
    been working hard to ensure the code is as bug-free as possible before
    launching it on testnet. Nick has developed a simulation script for network and
    communication verification which will go a long way towards this effort. One of
    the exciting features of their work is the accounting & incentive systems
    allowing for long-term storage and retrieval of data. If you want to know more,
    the Swarm team has been featured in several YouTube videos which
    explains how everything works.





    Though called many other names, this enables a vision for decentralized
    storage where you own your own data. Currently, while there are a few
    blockchain-based apps, full availability of Swarm will allow for those
    blockchain-backed apps to become full DApps and run 100% decentralized inside
    Mist.


    IPFS & Raiden

    On a collaborative note, continued discussion between the IPFS and Ethereum
    teams may allow them to share a protocol in the future, allowing both
    ecosystems to benefit from their respective network effects. Further, work
    going towards Raiden and Swarm turned out to be complementary as solutions were
    working towards solving similar problems. I’m told that the Raiden Network can
    be used as a payment channel for the Swarm incentive system, which would help
    address some privacy and scalability concerns while also multiplying their own
    efforts. Knowing that they are reinforcing makes me even more excited for
    what’s in store for the future!

    Wrap-up

    Devcon2 is right around the corner, with sessions scheduled for September
    19, 20, 21 during the Global Blockchain Summit in Shanghai, China. Ethereum
    Foundation’s information website is now online at ethereumfoundation.org/devcon
    and more information about the Summit can be found at blockchainweek2016.org. Despite
    having a larger venue, space will still be limited, so register now!

    I hope 2016 will prove to be a pivotal year for blockchains. UI/UX is
    improving rapidly over what was available just a couple years ago and with
    solutions like Radian for state/payment-channels, some of the privacy and
    scalability problems of blockchains are eased. Combined with research
    advancements targeted for Serenity, we are on pace to overcome many of the
    obstacles Vitalik once listed as hard problems.



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