Ethereum protocol replace 1

Here comes the first Frontier patch, and it’s a big one!

Before proceeding, note that if your keys are from Go 1.0 rc or C++ 0.9.36, you should NOW regenerate all your keys. Although some releases of the pre-alpha and alpha clients are safe, it depends on the code base and version. You should assume that any keys generated in front of these clients are insecure and compromised. Note that this does not affect the presale wallets.

thawing

The thawing pull request has been merged for the Go client and the master branch has been updated. If you are still using branch version 1.0.0, please switch to master.

As for the C++ users, after the merge they can also switch to master and binaries will be made available soon. If you’d rather not update eth but still want to help unfreeze the network, you can also just restart eth with an additional parameter of –gas-floor 3141592 .

I thought I would also briefly explain how the gas limit targeting process works and why we cannot guarantee a time by which we will hit the 21,000 limit required to process a basic transaction per block.

Each miner runs a copy of geth or eth. In the release of Frontier Genesis both were set at 5k and never deviate from that number. With this update, both clients are now updated to target a 3M gas limit per block instead.

But they can’t switch to a 3M gas limit just like that because the protocol forces them to climb slowly at a certain rate. This rate is the same as the previous block limit / 1024. Now, assuming that all miners update their clients and none of them mess with the settings, we will reach 3M within 28 hours assuming a constant block time of 15 seconds including propagation . But here’s the thing – not all miners will update in time, some might forget and some might never update!

So if a winning block is mined by an upgraded miner, the block limit will be adjusted up by the intended rate, but if it is mined by a “lazy” miner who hasn’t upgraded, it will be adjusted back down (since the lazy miner still aiming for 5k).

Because of this, it takes at least 6 hours to reach a gas limit of 21,000 per block (1 trx per block) and at least 28 hours to reach 3M. In practice it will probably take much longer.

This is where the free market comes into play. Technically, even a few days ago, miners could have conspired to change the client code and make the network behave quite differently than we imagined. We only act as advisors to the community.

Default, community-chosen, Genesis block

The genesis block that we saw the community adopt is now hardcoded in the clients, and you no longer need to specify the –genesis parameter to start eth or geth. However, you can still specify a handcrafted genesis block if, for example, you want to start a private chain with a different genesis.

Troubleshooting

On the Go client side, a number of bug fixes and improvements have been merged into 1.0.1, including preparing for a Go 1.5 release.

  • Fixed crash in chain manager #1568
  • Log number fixes #1545
  • Crypto fix for go 1.5 #1536
  • Fix for eth_call and eth_estimateGas #1534
  • console send again Method Correction #1461

A full external check of the keystore and cryptography was performed on the C++ client. All measures recommended by our experts have been implemented. Numerous optimizations and security improvements have been added to the client:

  • A unique C++ client feature is Secure Secrets: all heap memory used to store your secrets is securely overwritten immediately upon completion
  • The C++ client now relies on boost::random_device, which allows cryptographically secure random number generation
  • Multiple crash and build fixes for AlethZero
  • Improvements to Alethzero, especially related to account information
  • The CLI tool ethkey can now be used in conjunction with AlethZero to inspect and sign an otherwise unsigned transaction. This allows you to have a fully air-gapped cold wallet device

Difficulty Adjustment Scheme

Many of you were wondering how we would make the move from PoW to PoS timely for Serenity. This is taken care of by the newly introduced difficulty adjustment scheme, which elegantly guarantees a hard fork point over the next 16 months.

It works like this: From block 200,000 (in about 17 days) the difficulty will increase exponentially, which will be the case only become noticeable after about a year. At this point (right around the release of the Serenity Milestone) we will see a significant increase in difficulty that will boost block resolution time.

So, a year later, the network will still be useful for about 3-4 months, but eventually it will reach a kind of “ice age”: the difficulty will just be too high for anyone to find a block. This allows us to introduce PoS, perhaps via Casper, if it proves successful.


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