An article to understand the Altair upgrade of the Ethereum beacon chain

September 27 news, Ethernet Square beacon chain will be the first hard Epoch74240 bifurcation upgrade Altair, time is October 27. Prior to this, the Ethereum 2.0 testnet Pyrmont conducted the Altair hard fork on August 19. Altair is a relatively small update to the beacon chain of Ethereum. One of the important new features is the “Light Client Synchronization Committee”. The validators in this committee will be regularly incentivized to provide block header information to light clients.

In this article, we will synthesize the news of the Altair hard fork to help readers understand this upgrade.

According to the summary of the data, this upgrade includes:

1. Introduced a synchronization committee for the light client function;

2. The verifier reward/punishment rules have been improved, and the total reward has been changed to prove that the delay penalty measures are more severe.

The following are the details:

After the Altair upgrade is completed, the basic rewards will undergo some changes. The basic reward is the basic reward unit allocated per epoch. Previously, when performing the four validator responsibilities (source voting, target voting, head voting, and instant inclusion), the validator could get at most one complete basic reward. The Altair upgrade redefines the basic rewards. But the maximum issuance remains the same as before, but the validator reward is not a multiple of the basic reward, but a part of the basic reward for each responsibility.

So there will be a new reward weight.


For example, the proposer’s reward has increased fourfold. “Delay” (delay) rewards are basically completely cancelled. The other proof rewards (head, source, and target) have modified different reward time requirements:

The correct head vote, only included in the next slot will be rewarded;

The correct source vote, only included in 5 slots will be rewarded;

The correct target vote will be rewarded only if it is included in 32 slots;

This cleverly rewards instant proof in a logical way. In particular, head voting can help the network reach a consensus on the blockchain head only when it is received quickly.

Target voting is useful for the network. As long as it is included in an epoch (32 slots), the verifier will be rewarded for voting for the correct target.

The source vote itself does not actually help the blockchain reach a consensus (but only the proof of the correct source vote can be included). Therefore, if the proof is included in 5 slots, you can get rewards for source voting.

Finally, the weight of the proof reward has changed. The source and head rewards are reduced from 16/64 to 14/64, and the target reward is increased from 16/64 to 26/64. This rebalancing reflects that correct target voting is the most important part of the proof. As long as the network can reach a consensus on the goal in each epoch, the blockchain can still be finalized.

The last change in the reward plan is the addition of new rewards for participating in the synchronization committee, which is a mechanism by which light clients can synchronize with the network. The so-called synchronization committee is a group of 512 verifiers that sign each beacon chain head. Like the block proposal, the members of the synchronization committee are randomly selected validators, and each synchronization committee has a period of 256 epochs.

According to calculation:

1. 321 simultaneous committees will be elected every year;

2. A validator set with 200,000 validators. On average, each validator will be assigned to a synchronization committee 0.82 times per year;

If the proof is not included in the earliest possible slot, then the verifier will be deemed to have not participated in part or all of the proof, resulting in delayed penalties.

Before Altair is upgraded, the delayed proof may also be rewarded for source, target, and head voting. According to Altair’s rules, such head voting will be considered incorrect and will be punished. Therefore, the maximum available reward for the proof of a slot late is reduced to 48%. If the certification is too late to receive the source reward (that is, the delay exceeds 5 slots), the total reward under the Altair upgrade is at most zero (and may be negative overall).

In short, under the Altair upgrade, the penalty for delayed certification is much more severe.


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