Amid all the hype about ETH 2.0, there are a few reasons that developers may be feeling concerned. The project already has a long-range development timeline, with the full implementation still likely to be more than two years away. Even then, after the many delays to date, nothing seems certain.
In the meantime, second layer solutions are being touted as a fix for Ethereum’s well-documented scalability platforms. Early in June, Vitalik Buterin tweeted that layer 2 solutions have “basically succeeded,” only for people involved with projects that are using the platforms to contradict his assertion.
Could the ETH 2.0 Transition Risk Ethereum’s Decentralization?
Vitalik Buterin can hardly be blamed for wanting to promote some success for Ethereum. Still, from a developer perspective, it’s far from reassuring to hear that the short-term solution to Ethereum’s scalability isn’t yet working as it should be, while the long-term solution is nowhere near ready for implementation.
Now, the latest news seems to be that even if Ethereum’s core developers could implement ETH 2.0 faster, there are other challenges to overcome. Recent reports explain how the transition will affect miners. It seems to be a real possibility that some may choose to abandon Ethereum for other networks, before the move to proof-of-stake that will render their role and mining hardware redundant. Doing so would give them an opportunity to get ahead of others on a different network.
One developer even argues that there may not be enough funds to successfully launch staking, putting both the setup of ETH 2.0 and the end of the ETH 1.0 life cycle at risk. With a decrease in participating miners or stakers, decentralization, and thus network security, become compromised.
Furthermore, with a lack of clarity over how the transition will be managed, many dApp developers, including Ethereum’s buzzing DeFi platforms, aren’t clear how it will impact them.
So overall, this uncertainty is likely to leave many developers feeling uncomfortable. Along with having to cope with long-running scalability issues, if security becomes a threat too, they could start to lose users.
Blockchain Bridges – Leveraging Interoperability for a Secure Scaling Solution
So if second layers aren’t yet where they need to be, ETH 2.0 is far away and looks like it could be a risky proposition from a security perspective, is there any light on the horizon? One solution for Ethereum dApp developers wanting to offset their risk, while accessing true scalability, is to use a blockchain bridge.
Blockchain bridges leverage interoperability to allow developers to access the benefits of other platforms. Syscoin launched its own version of a bridge earlier this year, connecting Ethereum to its network that offers high throughput with low transaction fees.
Syscoin has been around for years now, having launched its ICO all the way back in 2014. Unlike Ethereum, the platform has been through several iterations. Currently on version four, the most recent update launched the Z-DAG layer, which stands for zero-confirmation directed acyclic graph. The Z-DAG operates on top of Syscoin’s proof-of-work layer to provide near-instant settlement.
It’s also an interactive protocol, offering transaction security that’s probabilistic across time. So low-value transactions could benefit from an instant settlement of 99.9% assurance against a double-spend. However, higher-value transactions could wait a few seconds longer to achieve a 99.9999% assurance. Z-DAG performance has been independently proven to achieve 60,000 transactions per second.
The Syscoin Bridge allows any Ethereum developer to send their token into the Syscoin ecosystem for processing. Token’s supply is kept constant via a two-way mint-and-burn mechanism. Mint-and-burn proofs are pooled into superblocks, which are validated by Bridge Agents, who are incentivized to keep the Syscoin Bridge functioning smoothly with shares of transaction fees as a reward. In this way, the Syscoin Bridge is genuinely decentralized.
What Does This Mean for DApp Developers?
Developers opting to use the Syscoin Bridge could use it as a way of offsetting any potential security risks of the ETH 2.0 upgrade. All dApp transactions using the bridge would be confirmed using an interactive protocol where the developers or users can even select their own level of transaction security. Furthermore, Syscoin is merge-mined with Bitcoin, providing the security assurance of true decentralization.
Using the bridge also means developers can tap into scalability now rather than waiting for the ETH 2.0 upgrade to happen. Furthermore, they can access all these scalability and security benefits without having to abandon Ethereum and all the interoperability with other Ethereum-based dApps that it offers.
Overall, the latest news about ETH 2.0 seems to indicate that there’s more work to be done to secure Ethereum than was initially perceived. Ultimately, this could mean that further delays become likely. Thankfully, bridges provide a long-term, workable solutions for developers looking for scalability with an assurance of security, and uninterrupted service no matter what happens with Ethereum’s future development.