Prominent ETH network developers came together for the Ethereum Core Devs Meeting #40 on Friday, June 15, to discuss important updates to the blockchain. Two new updates, Casper, and sharding, which could have been added separately, may now be bundled in a mega update. A proposal during the meeting suggests that Casper, which could have been released as a smart contract, should be added on a shard sidechain.

A Big Update Awaits ETH

Sharding was announced by Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin in April this year. This method could help in increasing the number of transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. It is possible to manipulate the information nodes store by creating a distributed registry, each holding a small share of the information. Elements inside each shard can share information with each other to increase the number of transactions while keeping data secure.

Casper FFG, on the other hand, is a proof of stake (PoS)-based system first published in October 2017. The finality method is used as an overlay on an existing proof of work (PoW) blockchain, which could help solve “open questions of economic finality through validator deposits and crypto-economic incentives.”

An Ethereum document describes the new upgrade:

“Unlike the earlier version, which heavily relied on the existing Ethereum PoW chain as a central chain, this spec uses as its base a full proof of stake chain based on a RANDAO beacon, attestations and the Casper FFG mechanism, with a relatively simple tie to the main PoW chain, including block referencing and one-way deposits.”

Delayed Casper Update

Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) #1011 introduced a Hybrid Casper FFG, which could help in solving crypto mining issues by creating a new consensus system. The network would initially combine PoW with PoS and eventually move to the new PoS systems. This proposal significantly reduced block rewards for miners, which went down to 0.6 ETH from 3 ETH. At the same time, participating in the staking became more viable as the required deposit was decided at 32 ETH instead of 1,500 ETH.

Proof of work and proof of stake concept. Source:
Proof of work and proof of stake concept. Source:

Buterin talked about the update that could “basically scale up” the blockchain to its “theoretical maximum.” Talking about the new upgrade, he also said:

“The Casper component is somewhat more separate from the main chain. That means it can be developed less intrusively in some ways, it can be developed as a separate chain and can have its own rules.”

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