Ethereum: Altair Modification and Competition

Ethereum: Altair Modification and Competition


Altair is just one of the answers to the current problems faced by the Ethereum blockchain.

Congestion, the network is almost not working, prices are inflated. The demand is too great for what the network can handle. Recently, the implementation of the London update via EIP-1559 was successful. Another step towards this new ideal is Proof of Stake. Let’s look at the latest major modification of the protocol called Altair.

Recognizing the impact of proof-of-work (POW) consensus on the environment, Vitalik Buterin and the community decided that the Ethereum blockchain should use consensus proof of stake (POS). But this is done not only for cost reasons, in order to reduce costs for users. Or to improve the scalability and ability of the Ethereum network to process transactions.

There is still a long way to go to achieve this goal. Since 2019 and passing through Constantinople, Istanbul and Berlin, the blockchain has not yet reached its destination. These names are given by commands to indicate the main changes in the protocol.

By the way, the latest update called London introduced EIP-1559, the purpose of which was to reform the user fee, as well as the initial inflation of the project.

Focus on the Beacon Chain

The flagship chain (Beacon Chain) does not change the Ethereum blockchain that we use today, it will be used to coordinate the network. This project is a proof of interest in the Ethereum ecosystem. This is an important element in managing the transformation of the network, it will coordinate the actions of users who delegate tokens to staking.

It is thanks to the flagship chain that we can make the proof of stake work to become a validator. It looks like a parallel network supporting the Ethereum parent chain. Please note that she does not have the skills to execute smart contracts.

The user will be able to protect the network by becoming a validator. He will be able to verify transactions and create new blocks in the chain, for this work he will be rewarded. This should allow the network to become more stable and secure in the long term.

Altair Upgrade

This little-known update did not have the same impact on users as EIP 1559. This change was intended to solve commission problems, with the establishment of a minimum fixed transaction fee. Due to congestion and very high commissions, users had high hopes for this development. This explains the media coverage of this special EIP.

On October 27, Altair Evolution was updated to EPOCH_74240, which was the first planned update for the flagship channel. Initially, this added support for synchronization committees, which allows thin clients to disable the validator, and reduce penalties to their full cost.

And so:

  1. Integration of low-resource nodes for thin clients. They have slightly lower requirements for functionality and security.
  2. This is an update providing innovative customer support. It makes changes to the incentive model, punishes nodes that disconnect from the network through fines. It also simplifies node state management.

These penalties will encourage validators to remain active on the network, while increasing the security of the blockchain. In an article by Danny Ryan, a member of the Ethereum Foundation, it is reported that a modification of The Merge will appear soon.

Most of these updates can be implemented thanks to the work that took almost 11 months. It was a warm-up before moving on to the more complex operation of switching to Ethereum 2.0, via The Merge.


This will mean the end of Proof of Work for the Ethereum blockchain, and a complete transition to proof of stake. The current Ethereum network will merge with the Proof of Stake system, the flagship channel. This step is planned before updating the segmentation technology in the protocol.

A massive Ethereum upgrade was planned for the end of this year, so it’s not surprising that this change took longer. We can all welcome the tremendous work of the communities and developers serving this ecosystem. The Altair upgrade went smoothly, which indicates the professionalism of the teams.

Serious Attacks on the Ethereum Consensus regarding PoS

Critical updates to Ethereum 2.0 have been slow but stable. As technical problems continue to disrupt the network, which has lasted for more than two years, the researchers described in detail three scenarios showing how ETH 2.0 Proof-of-Stake (POS) could be attacked. But don’t worry, they can be prevented too.

A group of researchers previously identified three possible scenarios for compromising the concept of a new consensus mechanism. Despite this, Danny Ryan of the Ethereum Foundation is confident that the merger will not be delayed, and that corrective solutions will be deployed before the next Ethereum update.

According to Ryan, there are two simple solutions that have been proposed for choosing a fork: “activating the offer” and “synchronizing the view of the offer”.

According to an analysis by Stanford researchers, the first solution has been “refined” since April of this year. In addition, it was implemented for at least one client.

On the other hand, the second solution is being analyzed, but the researchers are very optimistic about it. For reasons of simplicity and maturity of the analysis, researchers are now working with this method to prevent all three attacks. The developers of the Ethereum Foundation are preparing to implement it before the critical phase of the transition begins.

No plug required

In a recent blog post, Ryan also assured the community that the merger of the main Ethereum network with the beacon chain is in no way postponed. In addition, the application of corrective solutions does not make significant changes, and does not require any hard fork.

“These solutions are aimed only at fork selection and therefore comply with the merge specifications written today. Under normal conditions, the choice of fork is exactly the same as today, but in the case of attack scenarios, the corrected version ensures the stability of the chain,” he explained.

In fact, Ethereum researchers and developers believe that the first proposed fix will be officially included in the agreed specifications by the end of November this year. Thus, by mid-January 2022, it will be implemented on the test networks of the merger.

So, the path is not yet complete. Updates are gradually being introduced to improve the Ethereum blockchain. And as you understand, this is not to cause dissatisfaction with users who can’t wait to discover the new Ethereum 2.0 environment, but on the contrary.

But, competitors who are called “Ethereum Killers” are also not asleep.

Solana Labs Co-Founder Says His Goal Is Not To Kill Ethereum

In recent years, the leadership of Ethereum has been under threat, due to the emergence of several competing blockchains, such as Cardano, Binance Sart Chain and Solana. The latter were awarded the title of Ethereum killers because of their ability to attract projects from the crypto space. The co-founder of Solana Labs, Raj Gokal, denies the existence of such a goal, preferring to emphasize the real ambitions of his blockchain. Why? yes, because it is impossible to achieve this goal, even if he wanted to.

In addition to speed, Solana differs from Ethereum in the extreme competitiveness of its transaction costs. Some analysts believe that the project uses this advantage to sabotage the Ether behind the scenes and promote its own token.

The co-founder of the venture capital company Placeholder, Chris Berniske, clearly hinted at Solana, whom he accuses of pursuing such a policy. “Despite the beautiful words, the war between the level 1 protocols continues. In cryptocurrency, people usually want their favorites to win. This will affect almost all communications, so don’t take what you see and hear for the truth,” he tweeted.

Responding to this, Gokal explained that the alternative proposed by Solana does not necessarily have to be related to a fight. He recalled that the goal of all projects in the crypto space should be that everyone has access to Web 3.0. “Ethereum cannot be killed. And this is already a wonderful force for good in the world, expanding the opportunities of millions of people, and creating billions of wealth. Bitcoin is obviously the same,” he said.