Ethereum Evolution: Vitalik Buterin Unveils Next Step “The Purge”


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Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), has unveiled a new protocol meant to streamline its efficiency and overall performance, known as “The Purge”. In a communication note by Buterin which he shared on X, he says the Purge is a project aimed at slimming down Ethereum and addressing technical debt to improve its overall performance and usability.

Streamlining Ethereum Protocol with EIP-6780

 One of the key developments in this ongoing endeavor is the implementation of Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 6780, which marks a crucial step in simplifying the Ethereum protocol. This is coming just days after he revealed a system that will spur better decentralization of Ethereum staking.

The EIP-6780, introduced during the Dencun hard fork is an important enhancement that focuses on streamlining the protocol by reducing the functionality of the SELFDESTRUCT opcode. The goal is to improve implementation efficiency and enhance security protocols.

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Buterin had early last month revealed a comprehensive strategy designed to strengthen Ethereum’s defenses against potential threats from quantum computers, detailing a possible recovery plan in case of a quantum emergency.

“The Purge” is to Optimize the Ethereum Network

“The Purge” initiative is part of a broader mission to declutter Ethereum’s infrastructure, alleviate technical burdens, and fortify security measures. Some of the critical modifications include reduction in Ethereum client code lines, elimination of support for pre-merge (PoW) networks, and optimization of Ethereum’s storage mechanism to reduce storage requirements for node operators.

Buterin says there are discussions on the removal or optimization of certain Ethereum precompiles which are specialized contracts used to implement complex cryptographic operations.

Although precompiles such as the elliptic curve operations are widely used, others, such as RIPEMD-160 and BLAKE2, see limited use and contribute to consensus bugs and implementation complexity. Thus, to streamline the Ethereum protocol, efforts are underway to either remove or replace these precompiles with more efficient alternatives.

Managing Blockchain Data with EIP-4444

Another crucial aspect of the simplification efforts is the management of historical blockchain data. In the new proposal, EIP-4444 will address this issue by introducing mechanisms to remove old blocks from default Ethereum nodes after a certain period.

This it is hoped will not only reduce storage requirements but allow for more optimized storage solutions, such as peer-to-peer torrent networks or dedicated archival nodes. Buterin was however silent on whether all of these will integrate Artificial Intelligence given that he had advocated for AI solutions in tackling Ethereum’s challenges.

In a nutshell, the ongoing efforts by Buterin to streamline Ethereum through initiatives like “The Purge” and the implementation of various EIPs are targeted at improving protocol efficiency, security, and usability. Experts say by simplifying the protocol, reducing technical debt, and optimizing key features, Ethereum will remain a leading platform for decentralized applications and digital asset innovation.

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