The Ropsten testnet merge was very successful
Danny Ryan summed up the Ropsten merger, which he thought was very successful, and said he would jump for joy if the mainnet merger was such a performance. Here is some data analysis:
~14% of validators dropped during transition
1. 9% of them – configuration issues by the Nimbus team, resolved by modifying the CLI and redeploying
2. 1.8% of them – known concurrency vulnerabilities in Nethermind, some nodes need to be restarted
3. Among them, 2.5%—3%—the web-socket problem of Nimbus-Besu, use http instead. If these problems are also found in the mainnet transition
9% of node runners have configuration issues There are two small bugs affecting a small number of stakers, which can be fixed locally (no need to deploy new code)
That said, this can be seen as a huge success.
Ethereum Foundation developer @parithosh_j also added: “We will be trying to find proposed blocks that resolve no transactions (~10-20% of blocks) in the coming days + run sync tests and discover other ways. And , because EIP 1559 is deployed on the mainnet, the problem of 0 transactions will not occur.
We won’t see the throughput reduction itself, but it will definitely be fixed in the next testnet.
Difficulty bomb postponed to mid-September
At the 140th Ethereum Core Developers Conference (ACD), developers discussed the difficulty bomb. The block time is now close to 14 seconds, and will be about 0.1 seconds longer by the end of June and about 0.5 seconds by July.
After a long discussion, the developers reached a consensus on delaying the difficulty bomb by about 2 months, and the upgrade will take place in late June. The EIP-5133 proposal at the meeting proposed a delay of 500,000 blocks, about 2.5 months, or roughly mid-August.
But according to Tim Beiko’s comments on the ethresear.ch forum yesterday under the discussion thread “Delaying Difficulty Bomb to mid August 2022”, at the regular testing meeting between the client and the test team, they finally decided to delay by 700,000 blocks , i.e. around late September, when the block time will be roughly the same as it is now (~14.5 seconds). Therefore, two weeks before mid-September, the impact of the difficulty bomb will start to become apparent (>13.5 seconds for a block, similar to the situation in early June).
Discussion thread: https://ethresear.ch/t/delaying-difficulty-bomb-to-mid-august-2022/12762/9
At the conference, Geth’s Marius flags that delaying the difficulty bomb is “5 lines of code modification” for the client, and it’s easy to implement. This is not meant to slow down the merge process.
What kind of progress do client teams need to see to be confident in the next testnet merge?
At the 140th ACD, after summarizing the Ropsten testnet, Tim Beiko asked each client team what kind of progress they need to see to be confident in the next testnet merger. The following is the answer from each client team.
Nethermind: Seeing passing all hive/kurtosis tests, solving the block proposal problem, completely solving their current parallelism problem. They want to see at least 1/2 of the testnet code basically finalized.
Erigon: Acknowledging the need to pass those tests and identifying themselves as having a lot of problems to fix. Additionally, they repeatedly emphasized their desire to fix their block-building code and resolve an issue related to returning the latest block in the merged JSON RPC.
Besu: Agree with all comments related to testing and emphasize synchronization issues.
Geth: Consistent with other teams, and it misses a JSON RPC flag for a “safe” block.
The Teku, Prysm, and Lighthouse teams were all represented at the meeting, and they seemed to be ready for the next testnet merger, and while they each had some minor issues, none of them were considered obstacles.
Next order of testnet deployment
The developers discussed the issue at the 140th ACD about the combined deployment order of the two testnets, Sepolia and Goerli.
First of all, you need to understand the difference between Goerli and Sepolia. Goerli is a large testnet with a lot of activity on which stakers can run merge transitions (with the Prater beacon chain).
Sepolia is a new testnet with only a small amount of activity and a permissioned beacon chain. Goerli can give us a lot of data in many ways, while Sepolia will have an easier transition.
At the meeting, there was no clear consensus on this order, but the consensus layer team seems to prefer to do the Sepolia merge first, then to Goerli, so that Goerli can be merged with code closer to the mainnet.
If it is decided to merge Sepolia first, the timing is probably that the Sepolia beacon chain will be created on June 20, and merged on June 21 (TTD will be set on the consensus layer meeting on June 16 or ACD on June 24). Its specific configuration is as follows:
Ethereum Block Builder Specification Amendment Proposed
On the 140th ACD, the consensus layer researcher @ralexstokes proposed a modification to the Engine API, and wanted to get feedback from other developers. This modification allows the consensus layer to specify the gas limit, and this data will be added to the Engine API call Passed to the execution layer, useful to external block builders.
Background for raising this issue: After the merger, validators will control Ethereum’s gas cap, just like miners do today. This parameter is set when the block is produced as part of the execution layer. Each time you select a block, you can increase/decrease the gas cap by 1/1024, or leave it as-is.
If you assume the stakers are the block producers, it’s the stakers who transmit the gas cap they want to their execution layer, and that’s it. And when it’s not the validators who build the blocks themselves, things get complicated.
Actually, it’s about MEV. Validators who want to earn MEV fees need to run additional software to get blocks from seekers/relays. Therefore, in order for external block builders to follow the validator’s gas cap choice, it is useful to have the validator-specified gas cap explicit as part of the Engine API call. That is what this proposed modification wants to achieve.
At the meeting, everyone agreed that this call should not modify the current API, but should be another version of it. While everyone finds it useful, there are some details that will continue to be discussed in the coming weeks.
Optimism Attack Recap
On June 9, L2 scaling solution Optimism released a review of the OP attack incident. The following is the summary and follow-up progress:
In order to prepare for the OP token airdrop, the Optimism Foundation has hired a well-known liquidity market maker, Wintermute, to provide market making services, aiming to provide users with a better and smoother experience when obtaining OP tokens, and to encourage users to participate more actively. Governance of the Optimism Collective. The Optimism Foundation allocated a total of 20 million OPs to Wintermute from the Partner Fund.
The Optimism Foundation first sent two test transactions, which were confirmed by Wintermute before sending the remainder. Wintermute then discovered that they did not have access to these tokens because the address provided to Optimism was an Ethereum/L1 multisig address and they had not deployed the multisig contract on Optimism/L2. So they started some remedies, trying to deploy L1 multi-signature contracts to the same address on L2.
However, unfortunately, the attacker preemptively implemented this scheme with different initialization parameters, thus being able to control the 20 million OPs. The address subsequently sold 1 million OP.
The Wintermute team promises to monitor transaction activity at this address and buy back the tokens it sold.
On June 10, Optimism released an update saying that the hacker has returned most of the OP, and the 1 million OP it transferred to Vitalik Buterin has also been returned, while the remaining 2 million OP will be compensated by the Wintermute team.
0xPARC Foundation launches zkREPL, an online development environment for zkSNARKs
0xPARC Foundation, an organization focused on zero-knowledge technology popularization and education, recently launched zkREPL, an online development environment for zkSNARKs: https://zkrepl.dev/
DeFi Privacy Bridge Solution Aztec Connect Delays Mainnet Launch
Previously, Aztec Connect announced that the main network will be launched on June 9. However, on June 10, Aztec said that it needed to postpone the main network release of Aztec Connect due to some technical difficulties. Below is a recap of the events published by Aztec:
The Aztec rollup is very large in size because it contains encrypted transactions, Aztec proves to be over 300 kb, exceeding Geth’s 128 kb transaction size limit. And because Geth is the most widely used client on Ethereum, this makes sending large transactions especially difficult.
Our mainnet deployment plans to send large rollups through Open Ethereum due to its higher transaction size limit. However, sending large transactions on Ethereum was unsuccessful, so we switched to Flashbots (a fork of Geth that supports larger transactions). But sending transactions via Flashbots also encountered some problems: the Flashbots transaction failed because of a format error in our PR.
In the end, Aztec said it would postpone the release date and reset the timeline.
Celsius announces suspension of withdrawal, exchange and account transfer functions
On June 13, Celsius, a centralized cryptocurrency financial service platform, announced that it would stop all withdrawal, exchange, and account transfer functions on the platform, which caused heated discussions.
Founded in 2017, Celsius became the first platform to offer USD collateralized cryptocurrency loans. The platform covers both 2B (company-facing) and 2C (consumer-facing) businesses, supporting functions such as savings, lending, deposits, payments, and transfers. So far, the platform holds more than 150,000 BTC assets, 750 million worth of asset insurance on the fund custody platform GK8, and has paid more than 80,000 ETH and 5,000 BTC to the community.
After Celsius announced the suspension of services, Jack Niewold, the founder of Crypto Pragmatist, gave an interpretation, which can help readers understand the whole story from a certain perspective:
First and foremost, Celsius is a centralized DeFi platform responsible for custody/management of cryptocurrencies on behalf of investors. It has gradually emerged over the past few years, guaranteeing fixed interest rates to investors and earning them benefits. In fact, Celsius provides services similar to hedge funds or asset management, which are risky and require regulation.
Its main source of income:
- Loans to institutions and individuals;
- All remaining profits are retained after performing functions on behalf of the client.
So if they advertise a 5% yield on depositing USDC, and then convert USDC into UST with a 20% yield, they can keep 15% of the yield.
Celsius is doing well in 2020 and 2021, reaching a $10 billion valuation and recently raising $400 million.
But the problem is that Celsius is managed like a high-roller or degens: Celsius admits to suffering losses in $120 million BadgerDAO hack, CoinDesk reports, without going into details of its losses .
Currently, Celsius is discontinuing service for poor investment reasons:
- Asset positions involving Terra, potentially holding up to $500 million in UST, are at risk of impending collapse;
- The asset position involves Lido and relies on a 1:1 ratio between stETH and ETH as it needs to match asset liabilities, which works in bull markets, and skews the ratio between stETH/ETH during liquidity crises and bear markets . (In fact, the relationship between the two tokens is not 1:1 anchored, and the ratio between them fluctuates with the secondary market)
- To solve the problem, Celsius may not have achieved risk isolation: take USDC as collateral and exchange it for UST to hold, take ETH and exchange it for stETH to hold, therefore, when all cryptocurrencies fall, customers will Wanting to get back his own funds has led to a shortage of funds in Celsius.
As a result, Celsius is currently facing a severe liquidity crisis, and its downward spiral of prices will become increasingly difficult to match its balance sheet, thus shutting down its services.
Now that Celsius is illiquid, where are their assets? The answer is below:
- About $400 million worth of assets are pledged on the Ethereum Beacon Chain;
- There is another 400 million assets in the Maker protocol for leverage (but Maker is close to liquidation).
And, Jack Niewold also proposed measures to solve the current Celsius dilemma:
- external funding;
- Accepted (Nexo has proposed to acquire Celsius)
Snapshot announces official partnership with StarkWare
On June 9, Snapshot officially released a tweet announcing an official partnership with StarkWare. The strategic cooperation between the two aims to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the governance DAO, as well as to ensure that users can enjoy both security and cheap fees.
Gitcoin Grants are backed by a large number of institutions
On June 10th, Gitcoin opened the 14th round of Gitcoin Grants (GR), which will last until June 23rd. Gitcoin Grants seeks to find valuable web3 projects, backed by cryptocurrency market leaders to validate and shape a better Web3 future.
Gitcoin is a platform that helps raise funds and coordinate open source code development through quadratic financing. In this round of Grants, Gitcoin welcomes donations from all types of projects, including software, tools, major infrastructure, media, and the community. At the same time, the GR14 and three different types of GR14 Hackthon are going on at the same time:
- Main round donations, totaling $1 million in matching funds;
- 13 rounds of ecosystem donations totaling over $1.1 million in matching funds;
- 3 rounds of public utility donations totaling over $1 million in matching funds.
The builder of the Gitcoin system, Azeem Khan, mentioned in a BSC news report,
We’d love to see the results of GR14’s donations so far, the number of individual contributors to the project has dwindled, and we’ve raised over $3 million to reward grantees from many great companies. Funding public goods is one of the most important things we can do in this area to foster an open Internet of the future. We are honored to have the opportunity to empower a generation of builders.
Gitcoin is committed to empowering communities and projects to build on Web3, with the support of well-known sponsors such as Coinbase, Yearn Finance, Chainlink, and Polygon.
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