Future Ethereum – Metropolis, Serenity, Raiden

The Metropolis (Ethereum 3.0) hardfork upgrade is scheduled for late September. It will be the first upgrade since Homestead (Ethereum 2.0) from early 2016.

Innovations are known for Metropolis:

Anonymity – “Zero Knowledge Proofs” (zk-snarks) will allow the Ethereum Blockchain to perform anonymous transactions on a higher level in the future.

This is like Zcash. Ethereum chief developer Buterin and Wilcox work together on Zcash’s anonymity.

Metropolis upgrade provides easier programming for programmers.

* Smartcontracts should also be simplified.
* Gas is to be adjusted when a transaction is executed, to settle the bill and thus save costs.

Masking – “Account Abstraction”

A kind of masking can now be used to “determine” the address to which you have a private key.
Through this type of assignment, security enthusiasts get additional security for their accounts.

This will provide protection against attacks by quantum computers.

Difficulty bomb is delayed

Difficulty-Bomb is actually delayed and will be part of the 2nd Hardfork of Metropolis.
The Difficulty Bomb should cause an expanding difficulty in Ethereum’s mining.
It is an intermediate step for the gradual replacement from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake.
This is the so called Ethereum “Ice Age”.

But for the next Metropolis HF in September 2017 this should be delayed to the 2nd part and replaced by a simple Block Reward reducement from 5 to 3 ether per block.

The Difficulty Bomb was growing exponential. It was expected the blocktime would reach 30 seconds per block this summer.
This will mean the supply of new eth and the network capacity would be halved. In the next month and years the difficulty will increase faster and faster until it become impossbile for the miners to find a block.
Then Ethereum would freeze…!

Metropolis pushes back the difficulty ramp.

Serenity after Metropolis

Serenity will follow and bring the breakthrough to the mainstream, according to Ethereum’s Roadmap.

Serenity is the last phase and has one key principle – to switch the ethereum network from proof of work to proof of stake – essentially reducing the power consumption of the ethereum network.

PoW = “Proof of Work” means miners are in competition for the block rewards while they are proving their computers are calculating compute cycles.
PoS = “Proof of Stake” means the miners use invested ether to simulate the actual mining process to compete for the block reward

Raiden for faster Ethereum

Raiden – Currently Ethereum can process a max of 15 transactions per second, Bitcoin can do about 7. Visa handles 40,000 transactions per second.

Raiden is a technology that leverages off-chain state networks to extend Ethereum with some nice properties for asset transfers:

Scalable: it scales linearly with the number of participants (1,000,000+ transfers per second possible)
Fast: Transfers are confirmed and final within the fraction of a second
Confidential: Single transfers don’t show up in the global shared ledger
Interoperable: Works with any token that follows Ethereum’s standardized token API
Low Fees: Transaction fees can be 7 orders of magnitude lower than on the blockchain
Micro-payments: Low transaction fees allow to efficiently transfer tiny values

Raiden Etherium Technology
The technology enabling this is similar to the proposed Bitcoin Lightning Network.
The basic idea is to switch from a model where all transactions hit the shared ledger on the blockchain (which is the bottleneck) to a model where users can privately exchange messages which sign the transfer of value.
Raiden uses a network of p2p payment channels and deposits in Ethereum to preserve the guarantees expected from a blockchain system.
Raiden is implemented as an extension to Ethereum. A Raiden node runs alongside an Ethereum node and communicates with other Raiden nodes to facilitate transfers and with the Ethereum blockchain to manage deposits. It offers a simple API which makes it easy to use Raiden in DApps.

Applications

Micropayments for content distribution: Alternative to Paywalls, Ads and Subscriptions. (Figure a decentralized youtube where the creators of a video are paid for every second watched)

Decentralized M2M markets: especially in IoT where tiny chunks of bandwidth, storage, cpu time, energy, sensor data, etc. can be traded.
Frictionless Token Systems: Game Tokens, Reward Tokens, Private Currencies
API Access: Accessing and monetizing APIs on a per use basis is at the core of the upcoming Machine-to-Machine economy
Fast Decentralized Exchanges

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