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Ethereum All Core Developers Consensus Call #128 Writeup

Ethereum All Core Developers Consensus Call #128 Writeup - Galaxy Research

On February 22, 2024, Ethereum developers gathered over Zoom for All Core Developers Consensus (ACDC) call #128. Chaired by Ethereum Foundation Researcher Danny Ryan, the ACDC calls are a bi-weekly meeting series where developers discuss and coordinate changes to the consensus layer (CL) of Ethereum. This week, developers agreed to start working on the Electra upgrade. For now, the three Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that developers have agreed to include in the upgrade are:

  • EIP 6110, Supply validator deposits on chain

  • EIP 7002, Execution layer triggerable exits

  • EIP 7549, Move committee index outside attestation

Separately, developers will also work on proof of concepts for EIP 7547, inclusion lists, over the next few weeks. If developers find that the code changes for EIP 7547 are easy enough to implement and test such that their inclusion in Electra would not delay the implementation of the three EIPs listed above, developers agreed to then tack on inclusion lists as the fourth EIP in Electra. Developers also reaffirmed their intention to keep Electra a “small fork,” meaning an upgrade that can be ready for activation on Ethereum mainnet sometime before the end of this year.

Dencun Launch Preparations

All Ethereum clients except the Lodestar (CL) client have released the final versions of their software for the Dencun upgrade. The Ethereum Foundation (EF) Developers Operations (DevOps) team is using these final client versions and Lodestar’s Dencun-ready candidate version for testing the upgrade on one last dedicated test network (testnet). EF DevOps Engineer Parithosh Jayanthi said that the final mainnet shadow fork, which is a type of testnet that mirrors the activity of Ethereum mainnet, for Dencun went live today on Thursday, February 22. So far, Jayanthi said that client releases appear stable and there are no issues on the network to report.

The DevOps team will conduct further tests on the shadow fork in the coming days. Assuming the team finds no major issues with the upgrade or client releases, the EF will release an official blog post announcing the mainnet date for the Dencun upgrade next Monday or Tuesday, February 26 or 27. Developers agreed on a prior call that the mainnet activation date for Dencun will be March 13, 2024. The Flashbots team also intends on sharing a new release for MEV-Boost software, which is a software that validators run to earn MEV on Ethereum, that is Dencun-ready by early next week.

Electra EIP Discussion

Danny Ryan shared a summary of Electra EIP discussions thus far. He mentioned that development work on both Peer Data Availability Sampling, PeerDAS, and enshrined proposer builder separation (ePBS) can be parallelized with preparations for Electra. Given that they are both high priority research and development initiatives that client teams have expressed interest in working on, Ryan said that teams should dedicate resources to keep working on them alongside Electra, but not necessarily for inclusion in the Electra upgrade. Both code changes require more research before developers can be confident about their readiness for implementation in Electra or an upgrade thereafter.

On the topic of inclusion lists, Ryan said that the code change was “less complex” than many developers, including himself, expected. However, there are still outstanding questions and unknowns about the code changes that he would like to see figured out before inclusion lists are included in Electra. To this end, developers agreed to work on an “inclusion list proof of concept speed run” in the next few weeks to assess its readiness more accurately for Electra.

Finally, Ryan gave an overview about his thoughts on the maximum effective balance (MaxEB) change, which is a code change that would allow validators to earn yield on balances of staked ETH higher than 32 ETH. “I think there’s a lot of agreement that [MaxEB] is very valuable and important. I think there’s enough concern around its complexity in the context of the current fork that it’s not currently being pushed actively and likely, unless it gets rekindled very soon, we put it on ice for now,” said Ryan. There was some push back from developers on these sentiments. Lighthouse’s “Dapplion” did not agree that MaxEB was a complex code change. However, for now, developers on the call agreed to move forward with a narrow scope for the Electra upgrade, only including the three EIPs that were agreed on during ACDC #126 and investigating the upgrade readiness of inclusion lists.

Issuance Curve Adjustment Proposal

EF Researcher Ansgar Dietrichs presented one other potential proposal for Electra related to staking rewards. Because of the ease through which ETH holders can stake on Ethereum through liquid staking providers like Lido, demand for staking has increased dramatically over the past few years. Over one quarter of total ETH supply is staked and this share is likely to grow higher. Dietrichs and his colleague Caspar Schwarz-Schilling argue in their proposal that a high staking ratio leads to several negative externalities for the Ethereum protocol including but not limited to increased peer to peer networking load, unnecessary dilution of ETH value, and overreliance on third-party, smart contract protocols like Lido for network security.

Essentially, the proposal explains how the current issuance schedule of ETH is higher than needed, meaning that Ethereum is overpaying for security. The proposal recommends a 30% reduction in issuance rewards. Founder of Lido Vasiliy Shapovalov expressed concerns about the proposal, saying that developers should conduct further research on how a cut to staking profitability would impact validator node operators. Dietrichs agreed that further discussion was needed on the proposal and highlighted that the nature of the change, while contentious socially, would be extremely easy to implement technically. “We just wanted to basically start the conversation here, because the technical side of this is trivial,” said Dietrichs. “I think this could be added to Electra basically up to the last moment when we still have Electra open to small change and we should definitely take the time for this decision until then. This is not something where we should rush an include or not include decision anytime soon.”

Light Client Roadmap for Electra

Nimbus developer Etan Kissling presented his thoughts on how SSZ-related EIPs for Electra fit in with light client development on Ethereum. SSZ is a serialization method used by the CL for storing and transmitting data about validator activities. There are a few EIPs authored by Kissling related to updating the serialization formats of the execution layer (EL) to SSZ for greater compatibility between the EL and CL and for supporting light client development. Light client development is an effort to build nodes that can verify the Ethereum blockchain with minimal computational resources.

In his proposal, Kissling outlines the most important data structures that could be updated with an SSZ wrapper in the Electra upgrade. Danny Ryan encouraged client teams on the call to review Kissling’s proposal and provide feedback.