Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, has released a roadmap detailing the network’s upgrades and activities for 2024.
In a series of tweets, Buterin stated that the 2024 roadmap contained few changes from the 2023 plan and that the network is set to focus on the Merge, the Surge, the Scourge, the Verge, the Purge, and the Splurge.
Since the Merge took place in September 2022, the Ethereum network will now prioritize implementing the role of a single slot finality (SSF). While the Merge saw Ethereum transition from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to that of Proof-of-Stake (PoS), SSF will resolve the network’s current weaknesses.
The concept of SSF can make Ethereum’s consensus mechanism validate blocks more efficiently; the blocks could be proposed and finalized in the same slot, significantly reducing time-to-finality by 15 minutes. Buterin believes this is the easiest path to fixing Ethereum’s PoS issues.
Then comes the Surge with a goal of 100,000 transactions per second on rollups. The Ethereum co-founder revealed that cross-rollup standards and interop have been highlighted as areas for long-term improvements, and 2024 will see significant progress on rollup scaling both on EIP-4844 and from rollups themselves.
Ethereum is also looking to fix its centralization issues through the Scourge. Per the roadmap, the focus will be on mitigating such concerns in the network’s PoS design, especially around Maximal extractable value (MEV) and liquid staking or pooling. Buterin earlier recommended reducing the cost of running nodes to fix the challenge.
Easing Block Verifications
Furthermore, the roadmap mentioned the Verge, which could make block verification easier. Verkle trees are almost ready for inclusion, and soon, verifying blocks would only involve downloading some bytes of data, performing a few basic computations, and verifying a Succinct, Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (SNARK).
The network would explore Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) verification precompile to arrive at a fully SNARKed Ethereum.
In addition, the Purge will simplify the protocol, eliminate technical debts, and limit network participation costs, while the Splurge will fix everything else.
“‘Increase L1 gas limit’ was removed to emphasize that the limit can be raised *at any time*; no need to wait for full SNARKs esp for small increases. ‘State expiry’ has been shrunk, to reflect a general consensus that it’s a fairly low-priority and low-urgency item esp given stateless clients and PBS / execution tickets,” Buterin explained.