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eth2 quick update no. 18 Posted by Danny Ryan on October 1, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 18                                                  Posted by Danny Ryan on October 1, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

Oh you, Spadina, Finally, finality Hello and farewell 

tl;dr

  • A quick Spadina postmortem
  • New testnet: Zinken. Launchpad is live; Genesis deposits due in one week!

Spadina Postmortem

The Spadina testnet dress rehearsal launched this past Tuesday. Although Spadina is now healthy and finalizing, the launch was not as smooth sailing as it could have been. Validator participation started very low, and it took ~70 epochs (almost 8 hours) to get up to the 2/3 participation threshold needed for the chain to finalize. Since then however, the chain has actually been remarkably stable.

At first, we thought this lack of early finality was due to the fact that, since validators are only staking testnet ETH, there are no real disincentives for failing to turn on your node in time for genesis. But it soon became clear that, although this was part of the problem, there were some errors near the edge of the stack with regards to client release and configuration.

A side note on client diversity – Spadina was heavily weighted toward the Prysm client which had a critical peering issue at genesis. At this point in time there are many robust eth2 clients. If we achieve a better distribution for mainnet, single client issues, like we saw on Spadina, will have a much smaller overall impact on network health.

If the problem was just low initial participation, there wouldn’t be a need for another dress rehearsal, but since many users experienced critical issues getting their nodes up and running, we’re opting for another crack at it before the deposit contract is launched and a mainnet genesis date is set. Enter Zinken.

Announcing Zinken

Zinken is another eth2 testnet launch aimed at giving client teams a chance to iron out issues in their release process, and validators a chance to experience a smoother genesis prior to mainnet.

In the optimal case, Zinken is stable and finalizes out of the gate. However, the most important signal we’re looking for is for users to have minimal issues configuring their nodes and joining the network. A lot of this rests on the client teams putting out solid releases, but we also ask users to take this genesis seriously.

This means only making deposits for validators you intend to run, and, if at all possible, keeping an eye on the ethstaker and client team discords during the 24 hours leading up to genesis; there is always a small chance you may need to perform a last minute configuration change or node upgrade.

The important details:

  • The Zinken Launchpad is live today.
  • Genesis deposits are due by Thursday, October 8th at 12 UTC.
  • Genesis time is expected to be approximately Monday, October 12th at 12 UTC.

Note that Genesis deposits are due 4 days before launch. If you deposit after this, your validator won’t be activated immediately. Instead, you’ll be added to a queue and slowly inducted into the validator set once the chain starts finalizing.

As with Spadina, the primary goal of Zinken is to practice the genesis process. This means that, although the testnet may run for longer, client teams and ecosystem tools will only provide support for a few days.

If this is your first eth2 testnet, be sure to check out the EthStaker Discord for tips and discussion. From there, you should be able to pick a client and make your way into the client-specific Discords.

Happy testnet 🚀

eth2 quick update no. 17 Posted by Danny Ryan on September 22, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 17                                                  Posted by Danny Ryan on September 22, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

📣 Last chance to practice genesis before mainnet 📣

tl;dr

Announcing Spadina Launchpad

As of today, the Spadina Launchpad is live 🎉

If you are unfamiliar – Spadina is a rapid-fire dress-rehearsal eth2 testnet to be launched on September 29th with a 3 day end-of-life. If you’re interested in testing out your deposit and genesis chops one last time before mainnet launch, then Spadina is for you – submit deposits today! Check out the quick update from last week for more discussion on the what and why of Spadina.

If this is your first eth2 testnet, be sure to check out the EthStaker Discord for tips and discussion. From there, you should be able to pick a client and make your way into the client-specific discords.

Deposit CLI audit complete

The eth2 community is currently engaged in a wave of audits on everything from specs to cryptographic libraries to clients and command-line tools.

We’re excited to announce that Trail of Bits just completed the audit of the eth2.0-deposit-cli – a tool we expect to be widely used by hobbyist stakers in conjunction with the Launchpad. The cli development team is currently working through the 10 findings and code quality recommendations found in the report. You can follow their progress here.

In addition to this audit, there are many on-going audits of the eth2 client software. Keep your eye on this issue to keep track of the latest developments.

EIP 2982

Last week, Vitalik and I released EIP-2982: Serenity Phase 0.

Although it triggered a debate amongst the editors, the release of this EIP (✅), together with the selection of the final v1.0 mainnet parameters and the launch of the deposit contract (tbd, very soon), are some of the final remaining milestones before mainnet.

Phase 0 mainnet is coming soon (no “™️” necessary), and everyone involved is making their final preparations for launch🚀

eth2 quick update no. 14 🏅 testnet edition Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

All eyes on Medalla testnet – genesis in less than 24 hours 👀

tl;dr

Medalla testnet launches tomorrow 🏅

The minimum validator deposits (16k+ of them) required to kick off the Medalla testnet were met on Friday, which means the genesis of this testnet is set to happen at 1596546008 Unix time, or 8 seconds after August 4th at 1pm UTC. If you’re curious as to how that time is calculated, check out Ben Edgington’s quick genesis explainer.

eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

The launch of Medalla is a huge milestone in the development of eth2 – if Medalla proves stable, mainnet launch is next – and represents years of hardwork by countless engineers, researchers, and community members. We hope you are as excited as we are :).

Remember, the vast majority of validators on the Medalla testnet are run by you, the community. We’re relying on you to treat this as a dress rehearsal for mainnet launch – have your nodes running well in advance, keep an eye on your validator’s performance, and be on the lookout for any critical updates to your client’s software (in other words, treat your testnet validators as if they’re securing real ETH).

Client diversity 👯‍♀️

The community will be running five different clients at genesis!

A huge congratulations goes out to each of these teams. If you are running any of the above clients, make sure to thank the client team and consider dropping some ETH or DAI into their tipjars. They have more than earned it.

Don’t forget! Medalla has special POAP NFTs for running each client type at launch. Read up on the details here 🏅

ethstaker, a community resource

In addition to the extraordinary work carried out by the eth2 client teams, I’d like to highlight ethstaker – a burgeoning user-driven resource for the fledgling validator community. This community-run effort aims to provide a home to the hobbyist staking community in the form of a subreddit and discord server.

I’ve spent a little bit of time on the discord this past week, and it’s a great place to share information, ask (and answer!) technical questions, and generally just collaborate around the new and exciting eth2 staking technology. If you are staking on Medalla or are interested in getting involved, definitely check it out.

I expect ethstaker, along with the client-specific discords, to be a must for validators looking to keep up to date with all things validator-related.

mc-attack-0 attacknet launch

mc-attack-0, a new multi-client attacknet, launched today!

This new attacknet falls under the beta-1 categorization with updated rules and increased bounties – up to $15k for critical exploits.

Since the launch of the initial beta-0 attacknets, we’ve awarded for the following attacks:

  • $5000 awarded to Jonny Rhea for performing a simple DoS attack on teku-attack-0, highlighting some missing basic DoS protections in JVM-libp2p
  • 🏆💪🐿 awarded to Martin Swende for finding a critical bug in Prysm SSZ decoding, which allowed a remote attacker to crash nodes on prysm-attack-0 (no monetary award due to Martin working on security at the EF)
  • $5000 awarded to AlexSSD7 for performing an L4 DDoS on prysm-attack-0, halting finality on the 4-node network and highlighting a clock-skew that prevented nodes from mending themselves after the attack
  • $1000 awarded (honorable mention) to Jonny Rhea for taking down the discovery mechanism in lighthouse-attack-0

As always, join us in the Eth R&D discord #attacknet channel for discussions and tips to get started 🚀

eth2 quick update no. 14 🏅 testnet edition Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

All eyes on Medalla testnet – genesis in less than 24 hours 👀

tl;dr

Medalla testnet launches tomorrow 🏅

The minimum validator deposits (16k+ of them) required to kick off the Medalla testnet were met on Friday, which means the genesis of this testnet is set to happen at 1596546008 Unix time, or 8 seconds after August 4th at 1pm UTC. If you’re curious as to how that time is calculated, check out Ben Edgington’s quick genesis explainer.

eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

The launch of Medalla is a huge milestone in the development of eth2 – if Medalla proves stable, mainnet launch is next – and represents years of hardwork by countless engineers, researchers, and community members. We hope you are as excited as we are :).

Remember, the vast majority of validators on the Medalla testnet are run by you, the community. We’re relying on you to treat this as a dress rehearsal for mainnet launch – have your nodes running well in advance, keep an eye on your validator’s performance, and be on the lookout for any critical updates to your client’s software (in other words, treat your testnet validators as if they’re securing real ETH).

Client diversity 👯‍♀️

The community will be running five different clients at genesis!

A huge congratulations goes out to each of these teams. If you are running any of the above clients, make sure to thank the client team and consider dropping some ETH or DAI into their tipjars. They have more than earned it.

Don’t forget! Medalla has special POAP NFTs for running each client type at launch. Read up on the details here 🏅

ethstaker, a community resource

In addition to the extraordinary work carried out by the eth2 client teams, I’d like to highlight ethstaker – a burgeoning user-driven resource for the fledgling validator community. This community-run effort aims to provide a home to the hobbyist staking community in the form of a subreddit and discord server.

I’ve spent a little bit of time on the discord this past week, and it’s a great place to share information, ask (and answer!) technical questions, and generally just collaborate around the new and exciting eth2 staking technology. If you are staking on Medalla or are interested in getting involved, definitely check it out.

I expect ethstaker, along with the client-specific discords, to be a must for validators looking to keep up to date with all things validator-related.

mc-attack-0 attacknet launch

mc-attack-0, a new multi-client attacknet, launched today!

This new attacknet falls under the beta-1 categorization with updated rules and increased bounties – up to $15k for critical exploits.

Since the launch of the initial beta-0 attacknets, we’ve awarded for the following attacks:

  • $5000 awarded to Jonny Rhea for performing a simple DoS attack on teku-attack-0, highlighting some missing basic DoS protections in JVM-libp2p
  • 🏆💪🐿 awarded to Martin Swende for finding a critical bug in Prysm SSZ decoding, which allowed a remote attacker to crash nodes on prysm-attack-0 (no monetary award due to Martin working on security at the EF)
  • $5000 awarded to AlexSSD7 for performing an L4 DDoS on prysm-attack-0, halting finality on the 4-node network and highlighting a clock-skew that prevented nodes from mending themselves after the attack
  • $1000 awarded (honorable mention) to Jonny Rhea for taking down the discovery mechanism in lighthouse-attack-0

As always, join us in the Eth R&D discord #attacknet channel for discussions and tips to get started 🚀

Ethereum turns 5 🎂 Posted by Ethereum Foundation Team on July 30, 2020 Organizational

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Ethereum turns 5 🎂                                                  Posted by Ethereum Foundation Team on July 30, 2020                                                                                          Organizational

Five years ago today, Ethereum’s genesis block marked the official network launch.

Today, most members of the community spend their time thinking about all of the work that’s left to be done, but it’s also important to recognize on this fifth anniversary of Ethereum’s launch just how unbelievably far we have all come, what a wild adventure every twist and turn has been, and how much all of us (and the technology) have grown.

There were times when some hoped that the protocol would just run as intended, or that builders might try to launch the first applications, that users would want to try out those applications, or that someone might some day use Ethereum to create real and positive impact.

So while the focus will stay on all that’s left to do, it would have been hard five years ago to imagine all of the thinkers, doers, students, governments, enterprises and other innovators that are making real and impactful change using Ethereum today. The same is true of all of the unexpected bumps, forks, the incredible meetups/events, memes and passionate debates seen along the way; none of us around this community would be where we are today if not for those “unexpected” moments 😉.

Everyone that makes up Ethereum’s ecosystem once waited for the first contracts to come online. Today there are millions! And we’ve long since lost track of the number of applications that are now unmapped stars to us. It’s hard for the most dedicated followers to keep track of even the protocol-level innovations taking place.

In these five years, Ethereum has grown beyond any builder, team, or organization, but hopefully you’re as inspired as ever to keep working together to help Ethereum become everything that we all dream for it to be and more. 🦄

Ethereum Foundation Team

eth2 quick update no. 16 Posted by Danny Ryan on September 14, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 16                                                  Posted by Danny Ryan on September 14, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

Can’t travel these days Miss the people, not the planes Spadina, not Spain 

tl;dr

Spadina “dress rehearsal” just around the corner

We realize that both the engineers and the community could use one more public testnet launch before mainnet to run through the motions. At the same time, we want to avoid disrupting Medalla’s momentum. We’ve therefore opted for a shortlived dress rehearsal that will run in parallel to Medalla later this month. Welcome Spadina!

Spadina will be a (primarily) mainnet configuration testnet with a 3 day end-of-life (EOL). The main objective is to give us all another chance to go through one of the more difficult and risky parts of the process – deposits and genesis – before we reach mainnet. If all goes well, it should give us greater peace of mind before we jump into the real deal later this year.

Should you participate in Spadina?

If you want to try the latest and greatest iteration of the Lauchpad, get your hands dirty with key generation and management, and check if you can setup your favorite client from scratch once more, then yes! You should most certainly participate.

If you’ve already participated in multiple testnets, are a whiz at managing keys and multiple clients from the commandline, and regularly write custom systemd configs and monitoring tools in your sleep, then I’ll leave that up to you 🙂

Note that Spadina has a 3-day end-of-life. Although the testnet might remain live for some amount of time after this, client teams, block explorers, and other key infrastructure providers will not be providing support for Spadina for longer than 3 days.

Medalla Data Competition

Last week, the EF announced the Medalla Data Challenge in an effort to get more people involved in eth2 analysis and tooling while simultaneously expanding the knowledge base, educational resources, and general understanding of eth2 and its networks.

Check out the announcement here and start crunching some data for a chance to win up to $15k!

RFP for audit of blst BLS12-381 signature library

The Ethereum Foundation and Protocol Labs are funding an audit for the super fast blst BLS12-381 signature library.

Due to huge performance gains, the blst library (pronounced “blast”), built by Supranational, is quickly becoming the default signature library for eth2 clients. In order to ensure the library meets the standard required for mainnet, we’re seeking an auditor to perform a comprehensive audit of both the low level, optimized code as well as the various language bindings.

Check out the RFP here. Proposals are due September 18th.

Beyond this audit, formal verification of blst’s field, curve, and bulk signature operations is in progress. This work is expected to be completed by early 2021 🚀

Q2 Allocation Update Posted by Ecosystem Support Program Team on September 8, 2020 Ecosystem Support Program

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Q2 Allocation Update                                                  Posted by Ecosystem Support Program Team on September 8, 2020                                                                                          Ecosystem Support Program

Hello again! We’re back to share the grants that went out over the second quarter of 2020 – but first, some ESP updates from the last few months:

We’re writing about grants today, but grants are not the only kind of support ESP can offer! We recently published a blog post featuring some amazing teams that you won’t find on the list below, since they received support other than the traditional grants highlighted here.

Meanwhile, the community has put on some awesome virtual events that really are the next best thing to the in-person gatherings that we’ve all been missing – and in some ways, even better. Through some of these events the ESP team has had the opportunity to connect with hackers and attendees all over the world; check out recordings of our presentations at ETHGlobal’s HackMoney and HackFS, Gitcoin’s Protect Privacy, and ETHPlanet’s EDCON.

Last but not least, we added a “pinboard” to our Wishlist page, where you can find some specific challenges posed by the eth2 team. If you want to make a unique contribution to eth2, this is a great place to start!

And now, without further ado, here’s our list of grant recipients in Q2:

Category Recipient Description More Info
Community and Education Akomba Education Initiative On-chain certification framework, and development of modular learning resources and accredited courses using this framework. akomba.com/
Community and Education Couger Educational initiative creating working groups and corporate meetups/workshops to discuss and develop open standards and proofs of concept.  
Community and Education FOSS Responders Event organized by Open Software Foundation to help connect open source projects and teams affected by COVID-19 with funding opportunities in various open source ecosystems. fossresponders.com
Cryptography and ZKP STARK-related explorations Research and development on Distaff, a zero-knowledge virtual machine written in Rust which automatically generates a STARK-based proofs of execution, including progress toward Turing-completeness. github.com/GuildOfWeavers/distaff
Cryptography and ZKP zk-SUMMER Program for students to learn about and build on Ethereum, with zero knowledge proofs as a key focus area.  
Cryptography and ZKP Hubble Optimistic rollup hub which enables creation of optimistic rollup chains within the same interface, removing the need to ever “exit” the ecosystem by allowing users to move between chains instantly and at negligible cost once they have entered the rollup space. The goal of Hubble is to allow the creation of any rollup chain simply by writing a solidity function. thehubbleproject.github.io/docs/
Cryptography and ZKP Peek-A-Book Private order matching system that allows users to advertise trading orders without leaking the amount or price.  
Cryptography and ZKP UniRep Private and nonrepudiable reputation system which uses zero knowledge proofs and Ethereum contracts.  
Cryptography and ZKP zkzkrollup Improving Fawkes-Crypto to support a PLONK-based recursive solution for cheaper Layer 1 verification. github.com/zeropoolnetwork/fawkes-crypto
Cryptography and ZKP Analysis of Arithmetization-Oriented Ciphers Research to optimize the advanced cryptographic protocols that make use of symmetric ciphers.  
Cryptography and ZKP MACI User Interface Web-based user interface for Minimal Anti-Collusion Infrastructure.  
Developer Experience Meson: A Mixnet To Rule Them All Research into network level privacy based on Katzenpost, including decentralising the public key infrastructure, incentives, and dynamic tuning of mixnet parameters. https://github.com/hashcloak/Meson
Developer Experience SWARM Research and development on Swarm, a decentralized storage solution. https://swarm.ethereum.org/
Developer Experience ChainSafe Grant to ChainSafe for maintenance and improvements on the Web3JS library. github.com/ethereum/web3.js/, chainsafe.io/
Ethereum 1.0 OpenEthereum Maintenance on the OpenEthereum client and repository.  
Ethereum 1.0/Ethereum 2.0 DataHop Large-scale simulation of the proposed DiscV5 service discovery protocol for eth2 in order to evaluate and improve performance and provide Sybil resistance. datahop.network
Ethereum 2.0 RSA MPC review Audit of the RSA MPC (multi-party computation) paper and code by the KZen team. eprint.iacr.org/2020/374.pdf, github.com/ligeroinc/LigeroRSA, Diogenes Octopus Playing Red Team for Eth2
Ethereum 2.0 Schlesi An initiative to create a number of multi-client eth2 testnets in preparation for mainnet. This work led to the current Medalla testnet, composed of 20k+ validators and 600+ nodes with the majority run by the community github.com/goerli/medalla
Ethereum 2.0 BSC Eth2 Network Evaluation Collaboration between a professor and master’s student to evaluate libp2p gossipsub simulations using the Barcelona Super Computer (BSC), investigate ways of hardening gossip networks against attacks, and develop a monitoring tool. bsc.es
Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Fuzz Continued maintenance and infrastructure upgrades by Sigma Prime on Beacon Fuzz, a differential fuzzer for finding crash-causing and consensus bugs in eth2 clients. github.com/sigp/beacon-fuzz
Ethereum 2.0 Lighthouse Continued development of Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse staking client, written in Rust, for the Ethereum 2.0 network. github.com/sigp/lighthouse
Ethereum 2.0 Prysm Client Continued development of Prysmatic Labs’s Prysm staking client for the Ethereum 2.0 network written in Go. github.com/prysmaticlabs/prysm
Third Party Funding UNICEF Cryptofund Cryptocurrency-denominated investment fund targeting startups that use blockchain technology for social impact. unicef.org/innovation/blockchain
Third Party Funding CLR.FUND Open quadratic funding protocol using Minimal Anti-Collusion Infrastructure (MACI). clr.fund
Layer 2 Perun Go-based implementation of state channels hub and node client. perun.network
Layer 2 Fuel Labs Research and development of optimistic rollup for building scalable, permissionless, trust-minimized rollup. fuel.sh/
Layer 2 Unified State Channels Continued work on getting State Channels production-ready, including launch of Web3Torrent, a demo app which uses state channels to enable micropayments for torrented data. statechannels.org/
User Experience Gas Station Network Productionizing GSN2, testnet dapp integrations, and educational materials. opengsn.org/

Total Q2 allocations: $3,884,000

This list represents non-recurring funding from across the EF, including grants via our public inquiry process, delegated domain allocations and third-party funding (types B, C and D as defined in the EF Spring Update). As always, it’s a privilege to work with these amazing projects and so many more.


Keep up with future ESP news by following us on Twitter @ef_esp or signing up for our newsletter. And as always, we’d love to chat about how we might be able to support you in your own work – just get in touch at esp.ethereum.foundation/en/project!

eth2 quick update no. 14 🏅 testnet edition Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

All eyes on Medalla testnet – genesis in less than 24 hours 👀

tl;dr

Medalla testnet launches tomorrow 🏅

The minimum validator deposits (16k+ of them) required to kick off the Medalla testnet were met on Friday, which means the genesis of this testnet is set to happen at 1596546008 Unix time, or 8 seconds after August 4th at 1pm UTC. If you’re curious as to how that time is calculated, check out Ben Edgington’s quick genesis explainer.

eth2 quick update no. 14                                             🏅 testnet edition                                                                 Posted by Danny Ryan on August 3, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

The launch of Medalla is a huge milestone in the development of eth2 – if Medalla proves stable, mainnet launch is next – and represents years of hardwork by countless engineers, researchers, and community members. We hope you are as excited as we are :).

Remember, the vast majority of validators on the Medalla testnet are run by you, the community. We’re relying on you to treat this as a dress rehearsal for mainnet launch – have your nodes running well in advance, keep an eye on your validator’s performance, and be on the lookout for any critical updates to your client’s software (in other words, treat your testnet validators as if they’re securing real ETH).

Client diversity 👯‍♀️

The community will be running five different clients at genesis!

A huge congratulations goes out to each of these teams. If you are running any of the above clients, make sure to thank the client team and consider dropping some ETH or DAI into their tipjars. They have more than earned it.

Don’t forget! Medalla has special POAP NFTs for running each client type at launch. Read up on the details here 🏅

ethstaker, a community resource

In addition to the extraordinary work carried out by the eth2 client teams, I’d like to highlight ethstaker – a burgeoning user-driven resource for the fledgling validator community. This community-run effort aims to provide a home to the hobbyist staking community in the form of a subreddit and discord server.

I’ve spent a little bit of time on the discord this past week, and it’s a great place to share information, ask (and answer!) technical questions, and generally just collaborate around the new and exciting eth2 staking technology. If you are staking on Medalla or are interested in getting involved, definitely check it out.

I expect ethstaker, along with the client-specific discords, to be a must for validators looking to keep up to date with all things validator-related.

mc-attack-0 attacknet launch

mc-attack-0, a new multi-client attacknet, launched today!

This new attacknet falls under the beta-1 categorization with updated rules and increased bounties – up to $15k for critical exploits.

Since the launch of the initial beta-0 attacknets, we’ve awarded for the following attacks:

  • $5000 awarded to Jonny Rhea for performing a simple DoS attack on teku-attack-0, highlighting some missing basic DoS protections in JVM-libp2p
  • 🏆💪🐿 awarded to Martin Swende for finding a critical bug in Prysm SSZ decoding, which allowed a remote attacker to crash nodes on prysm-attack-0 (no monetary award due to Martin working on security at the EF)
  • $5000 awarded to AlexSSD7 for performing an L4 DDoS on prysm-attack-0, halting finality on the 4-node network and highlighting a clock-skew that prevented nodes from mending themselves after the attack
  • $1000 awarded (honorable mention) to Jonny Rhea for taking down the discovery mechanism in lighthouse-attack-0

As always, join us in the Eth R&D discord #attacknet channel for discussions and tips to get started 🚀

Ethereum turns 5 🎂 Posted by Ethereum Foundation Team on July 30, 2020 Organizational

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Ethereum turns 5 🎂                                                  Posted by Ethereum Foundation Team on July 30, 2020                                                                                          Organizational

Five years ago today, Ethereum’s genesis block marked the official network launch.

Today, most members of the community spend their time thinking about all of the work that’s left to be done, but it’s also important to recognize on this fifth anniversary of Ethereum’s launch just how unbelievably far we have all come, what a wild adventure every twist and turn has been, and how much all of us (and the technology) have grown.

There were times when some hoped that the protocol would just run as intended, or that builders might try to launch the first applications, that users would want to try out those applications, or that someone might some day use Ethereum to create real and positive impact.

So while the focus will stay on all that’s left to do, it would have been hard five years ago to imagine all of the thinkers, doers, students, governments, enterprises and other innovators that are making real and impactful change using Ethereum today. The same is true of all of the unexpected bumps, forks, the incredible meetups/events, memes and passionate debates seen along the way; none of us around this community would be where we are today if not for those “unexpected” moments 😉.

Everyone that makes up Ethereum’s ecosystem once waited for the first contracts to come online. Today there are millions! And we’ve long since lost track of the number of applications that are now unmapped stars to us. It’s hard for the most dedicated followers to keep track of even the protocol-level innovations taking place.

In these five years, Ethereum has grown beyond any builder, team, or organization, but hopefully you’re as inspired as ever to keep working together to help Ethereum become everything that we all dream for it to be and more. 🦄

Ethereum Foundation Team

eth2 quick update no. 15 Posted by Danny Ryan on September 1, 2020 Research & Development

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eth2 quick update no. 15                                                  Posted by Danny Ryan on September 1, 2020                                                                                          Research & Development

Farmer minds his crops

An optimistic outlook

The fields are aflame

tl;dr

  • Medalla chugging along smoothly
  • Client diversity is a must
  • eth1+eth2 (Phase 1.5 aka The Merge) end-to-end demo
  • Testing and audits continue as we approach Phase 0 launch

Medalla looking good (after some fun)

A quiet testnet is a suspicious testnet.

If you’ve followed Medalla at all in the past few weeks, you’ll be very aware of the major 5-day incident that occured on Friday, August 14th. Check out Prysm’s post-mortem for details on the technicals and timeline, and Ben’s recent blog posts ([1][2]) for a high-level analysis. Client teams worked through the weekend following the incident, deploying sync and peering patches to resolve the highly fragmented network.

While the incident induced incredible stressors on the testnet, it gave all clients a chance to harden themselves against some of the wildest of scenarios. I can honestly say that client software is much more robust following this incident. I’ll actually sleep a little bit better now leading up to eth2 mainnet launch.

Since the incident, Medalla has chugged along quite smoothly: now with 39k active validators and another 12k in the activation queue (that’s 12 days worth)!

Client diversity is a must

While there are many [excellent, viable, robust, usable, etc] eth2 clients under active development, the network is currently dominated by a single client – Prysm.

There is good historical reason for this – Prysm has prioritized early testnets, community engagement, and usability for well over a year now. Kudos to the Prysmatic team. Community building is simultaneously incredibly difficult as well as crucial to our industry and open source at large.

That said, the incident on Medalla was significantly amplified by the failure of the dominant Prysm client, and as we move toward mainnet, we, as a community, must consciously seek to remedy this. As someone who has tried all the eth2 clients on Medalla, I can tell you first-hand that most clients are robust and well documented, and all client teams are actively engaged on discord and github to help you work through any issues you may run into.

Protect yourself

Client diversity not only makes the eth2 consensus more robust, but also helps protect you in extreme scenarios: due to the anti-correlation incentives found in eth2, the more your negative behaviour is correlated with that of others, the more you more you stand lose.

For example, suppose 60% of the network goes offline for multiple days due an outage in client-A, but client-B and client-C remain stable and online. Although the chain will continue to be built by B and C, the chain will not finalize due to the >33% outage. If you run client-A, you stand to lose an increasing amount each epoch that the finality outage continues (we call this an “inactivity leak”). Whereas if you run client-B or C, your balance is protected since you remain online. [Note – an inacivity leak is much worse than normal offline penalties.]

Suppose that instead a minority client-B (with 20% of the network) experiences a critical error causing a client wide outage. In this case, the chain can continue to finalize (since 80% of the network are still participating). There is no “inactivity leak” incurred by the offline validators, only normal penalties. So those running client-B, only receive minor penalties compared to the first scenario above.

Clients making it easy to swap

In addition to the community efforts to try new clients, client teams are working hard to ensure that switching clients is both easy and safe. With the addition of a few cross-client standards, you’ll soon be able to hop from one client to another with minimal downtime and no risk of accidental slashing.

Such standards, which prevent client lock-in, are a critical component to a robust eth2 network. Ease of changing software will enable the community to more quickly resolve issues (like the Medalla incident) if/when a single client fails.

eth1+eth2 end-to-end demo

One of the primary goals of eth2 is to reach Phase 1.5 (aka The Merge), at which point the existing Ethereum chain’s consensus will be integrated into eth2. From there on, the chain we know and love will be built by proof-of-stake validators instead of the current energy hungry proof-of-work consensus.

The transition to Phase 1.5 is designed to be as seamless as possible to existing users and applications. Eth1 clients remain the work horses for state, transactions, and execution. By leaving the vast majority of this user layer untouched, Ethereum will be able to leverage existing tools and APIs to power transactions and dapps, just like they do today.

To this end, Mikhail (TXRX) and Guillaume (geth) recently released an end-to-end demo of a multi-sharded beacon chain (with an eth1 chain as one of those shards). In the video of the demo released, Mikhail sends a number of transactions to the eth1 shard chain using an unmodified metamask wallet.

You can check out and play with a dockerized version of the eth1+eth2 demo, or if you prefer to go a bit deeper, you can build and run from source.

Continued testing and audits, eyeballing Phase 0 mainnet

Business as usual on this front.

Client teams are working their asses off, auditors are digging into every nook and cranny, and preparations are being made for mainnet launch 🚀

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