Ethereum 2.0, the second most important cryptocurrency, is preparing for its first hard fork. A fork, as we mentioned in our previous article, is a process in which some change is made within the blockchain network of a cryptocurrency; when the changes are not very noticeable, it is called a soft fork, but when they are more relevant changes within the same structure, they are called a hard fork.
The purpose of the fork
The main purpose of this “hard fork” of Ethereum 2.0 is to be a kind of “general test” before making more in-depth changes. The announcement was made by Vitalik Buterin, who is a co-founder of Ethereum (tentatively to be called HF1). This hard fork allows developers to introduce several key updates to the recently released Ethereum 2.0 and serve as a useful test to make more in-depth changes in the future.
Changes for “light clients”
This practical change will initially serve as support for “light clients” that are nodes that would have minimal resource requirements, and that could easily run on mobile devices, which facilitates obtaining simply trusted wallets that can be verified by the chain of blocks, rather than relying on external service providers.
For more timely customer support, a special-purpose synchronization committee will be created, using groups of randomly assigned validators, to create special signatures that make it easier to determine the chain’s correct version.
Another of the improvements proposed in this fork is the corrections to the rules for choosing branches. The developers identified several instances of the protocol that could be easily compromised by reorganization attacks. Even though the problems are mild or subtle, requiring more precise timing could have allowed malicious people to exploit the network while controlling a small portion of validators. Before launch, these weaknesses were already known, but they were later discovered and could not be fixed quickly.
Also, in practical terms, the hard fork is intended to check the mechanics of leaks due to inactivity or cuts. Currently, Ethereum 2.0 stakers lose a part of their capital due to their inactivity or when trying to support a minority fork of the chain, which deserves a punishment with slashing (discount that is made when malicious actions are detected against the net).
Actions on “flight due to inactivity”
The leakage due to inactivity is considered an impediment for domestic users. It is penalized by force majeure problems, as internet connection failure or electrical failures such as blackouts. Even though the system is set to be forgiving, Vitalik mentions that the upgrade team is working to make further adjustments to the mechanism to make life easier for users with unstable connections.
These idle leaks will end gradually rather than immediately, ensuring that offline nodes will gradually lose their value until the network is well above the threshold required for security. However, some changes make the system more tolerable to honest mistakes; due to this, parameter changes are being made to introduce more severe monetary penalties for bad behavior.
When will this hard fork take place?
There is no clarity on the exact date when the first Ethereum 2.0 hard fork will occur; the development and review of some details of this proposal are still needed. Meanwhile, Ethereum developers are trying to create a nomenclature for this first hard fork (HF1) and other upcoming hard forks called HF2 and HF3.
What do you think about this topic? Do you think any other improvements could be included in this fork of Ethereum 2.0?
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