Ethereum All Core Developers Execution Call #173 Writeup
On October 26, Ethereum developers gathered over Zoom for All Core Developers Execution (ACDE) Call #173. Chaired by the Ethereum Foundation’s Protocol Support Lead Tim Beiko, the ACDE calls are a bi-weekly meeting series where developers discuss and coordinate changes to the execution layer (EL) of Ethereum. This week, developers discussed:
The launch of Devnet-10
Blob latency analysis by the Teku (CL) client team
Next steps for Dencun testing
Layer-2 rollup standardization efforts
EIP 7523, empty accounts deprecation.
Developers launched Devnet-10 on Monday, October 23 to test the Cancun/Deneb (Dencun) upgrade. The devnet was created with 330,000 active validators to trigger a change to the validator churn limit. The mechanics of the validator churn limit change as outlined in EIP 7514 worked as intended on Devnet-10. Barnabas Busa, a DevOps Engineer for the Ethereum Foundation, mentioned a few bugs were discovered in the Prysm and Teku (CL) clients after the launch of Devnet-10. These issues (detailed here) have since been resolved. Developers have also tested the full MEV workflow on Devnet-10 with the Lodestar (CL) client. Busa mentioned that a few issues were discovered in the MEV-Boost validator and relay implementations. Developers are in the process of testing the MEV workflow on other CL clients.
Blob Latency Analysis
Enrico Del Fante, a developer for the Teku CL client, shared new analysis about blob latency on Devnet-10. Del Fante said that his findings confirmed trends identified by Gajinder Singh, a software developer who maintains the Lodestar and EthereumJS clients, on Devnet-9 that were shared on last week’s ACD call. Fante encouraged every CL client team to double check the level of parallelism in their client between block and blob gossiping on the peer-to-peer layer. Developers also agreed that more analysis and testing should be done on blob propagation for forthcoming testnet launches. However, before conducting the same sort of analysis on a public Ethereum testnet like Goerli, client releases should be stabilized on devnets first, said “Potuz”, a pseudonymous developer for the Prysm (CL) client.
In addition to stable client releases, Terence Tsao, also a developer for the Prysm (CL) client, said that more testing should be done on the MEV builder and relay before moving on to public testnet launches for Dencun. Busa noted that due to the size of Devnet-10 and the costs to keep the developer-focused testnet up and running, developers planned on shutting down Devnet-10 by Monday, October 30. In its place, however, Busa said that developers could spin-up an 11th devnet supported by a smaller number of validators. Potuz was in favor of spinning up another devnet after Devnet-10.
Next Steps for Dencun Testing
In addition to the launch of Devnet-11, developers agreed to launch a shadow fork of the Goerli testnet. As background, shadow forks are a type of developer-focused test network created by forking a live network with a small number of nodes. More information about shadow forks written by Tim Beiko can be found here.
Ideally, Devnet-11 will feature testing for the MEV workflow across all CL clients, as well as testing for at least one rollup implementation, most likely Optimism’s rollup implementation for EIP 4844, and stable client releases. If all three things can be achieved on Devnet-11, developers agreed to move forward with a launch of Dencun on Goerli thereafter.
Developers then discussed the timing for the launch of Devnet-11, the Goerli shadow fork, and Dencun activation on Goerli. Parithosh Jayanthi, a DevOps engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, said that his team could launch the shadow fork of Goerli early next week in advance of next week’s ACD call. Busa suggested a target activation date for Dencun on Goerli for Thursday, November 9th. However, this date was quickly shot down by Potuz as too ambitious given the number of “deep” changes still being pushed to the Prysm client software. Busa said that targeting an activation date for Dencun on Goerli the week thereafter would also be unwise given the Ethereum developer conference, Devconnect, that will take place from November 13-17.
Based on the discussion, it was clear to developers that the Dencun upgrade would not be activated on Goerli until late November at the earliest. Historically, testnet activations for Ethereum upgrades have been spaced two weeks apart. Dencun activation on Goerli in late November, say Wednesday, November 22, would mean that the following two testnet upgrades, on Sepolia and Holesky, occur in early and mid-December, respectively. This timeline assumes that no major bugs are discovered between the testnet activations. Even the most ideal timeline would place the mainnet activation of Dencun sometime during the holiday season in late December, noted Tim Beiko. Most likely, developers will push the mainnet activation for the Dencun upgrade out to early 2024.
KZG Ceremony Verification and Layer-2 Standardization
Then, Carl Beekhuizen, a Researcher from the Etheruem Foundation, gave two quick updates about his work on formatting the output for the KZG ceremony and the start of a monthly call series between Layer-2 rollup developers.
With regard to the KZG ceremony for EIP 4844, Beekhuizen noted that the final outputs from the ceremony had all been formatted. He encouraged individuals who contributed to the ceremony to verify that their outputs had been properly recorded by either visiting the ceremony website or running this command line interface verification tool. For background on the EIP 4844 KZG ceremony, read this Galaxy Research report.
Second, Beekhuizen highlighted that he hosted the first “Rollcall”, a dedicated call between Layer-2 rollup teams to discuss norms and standards for rollup development, on Wednesday, October 18. These calls will continue to occur monthly moving forward. The participants on the Layer-2 call discussed potential changes to the EVM and an API to interface between Ethereum mainnet and rollups. There will also be a in-person gathering of Layer-2 rollup teams at Devconnect next month. For more details on the in-person Rollcall meeting, read this Ethereum Magicians thread.
EIP 7523, Empty Account Deprecation
Finally, Danno Ferrin of Swirlds Labs, the development team behind Hedera Hashgraph, raised questions about EIP 7523, which proposes prohibiting the state of any Ethereum test network, post-Merge, from containing empty accounts. Empty accounts no longer exist on Ethereum mainnet and prohibiting them explicitly from any Ethereum testnet with a post-Merge environment is meant to reduce technical debt caused by these types of deprecated accounts. Besu (EL) developer Justin Florentine was in favor of the EIP. Ethereum Foundation researcher Dankrad Feist questioned whether the EIP would impact the implementation of Verkle trees in any way. Beiko encouraged developers to continue discussing the EIP and any potential compatibility issues with other code changes in the dedicated Ethereum Magicians thread for EIP 7523, which can be found here.