One of the highlights of the just concluded Ethereum DEVCON conference was the announcement that the Ethereum was working towards a specialized hardware for its future technology. To achieve this, the Ethereum Foundation which is responsible for the development of the ethereum blockchain and its ecosystem is partnering with blockchain data storage network Filecoin.
The Ethereum Foundation. On Thursday at the conference, Justin Drake, a researcher with the Foundation revealed plans to develop Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASICs) that will support the planned ethereum “beacon chain”.
Design of Ethereum ASIC
During his presentation, he showcased the preliminary design for the new hardware. Unlike other ASICs which are known to be optimized mining rigs to achieve greater profitability, the ethereum ASICs will be designed to play a special role as ethereum moves from the current Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm to a Proof of Stake (PoS) system.
The beacon chain which is basically the main Proof Of Stake chain and the base layer of the Sharding solution will utilize the specialized hardware. It will play a role in the “Verifiable Delay Function” which will keep the system as decentralized as possible by preventing an individual or organization from combining enough power to control the system operations.
In the proof of Stake system for Ethereum v2, the role of miners will be replaced by block validators—and anyone can join the validators through a deposit (stake) of 32 ether. The ASIC sort of shuffles these validators making it impossible for a group to come together to overtake the system.
Drake explained that the project which will involve research, development, and building about 5,000 units of these specialized devices and will cost between $20 million and $30 million. He said this cost will be split equally between the Foundation and Filecoin. He called on other blockchain projects who will be interested in funding the “open-source” project.
“Open-source ASICs haven’t really been done before so it’s all very exciting for me.”
As Smartereum reported, developers agreed to solve the scalability problem that has bedeviled the network once and for all through a new protocol known as serenity. Speaking at the Devcon Conference ethereum’s co-creator Vitalik Buterin explained the need for a new protocol. He said:
“Serenity was born as a result of the different strands of research we’ve been working on for the last four years. This includes what we’ve worked on with Casper.”
Further explaining the new protocol, Vitalik said:
“Serenity is more or less a new blockchain because it is a data structure that has no link to the Proof-of-Work chain. The PoS chain will record the block hashes of the PoW chain. So, users will be able to move from PoW to PoS.”