Slow but steady, the Pivotal Upgrades for Ethereum 2.0 have been occurring. Although technical problems continue to plague the network (something that has been going on for more than two years), researchers now have three scenarios showing how Ethereum 2.0’s proof of-stake (PoS ) design can still be attacked. They can also be fixed, but don’t panic.
Serios Attacks on Ethereum’s PoS Design
After last week’s success in updating the 2.0 Altair Beacon Chain, Ethereum (ETH) has gotten another ATH early Wednesday morning.
Three possible scenarios for how the design of the new consensus mechanism might be compromised were identified by researchers earlier. However, Danny Ryan, Ethereum Foundation, is positive that “The Merge”, will not be delayed and that the fix will be implemented before Ethereum’s next upgrade.
Ryan says there are two simple solutions to the fork selection problem: “proposer boosting”, and “proposerview synchronization”.
The Stanford researchers have “spec’d” the solution to proposer boosting, which was formalized and analyzed since April. The fix was also implemented in at most one client.
Researchers are optimistic about the possibility of the proposer view synchronization, however, it is still in the early stages of formal analysis. Researchers are currently using this method to address all three attacks due to its simplicity and maturity. This means that the Ethereum Foundation developers will implement the fix before the transition’s decisive phase begins.
No need for a hard fork
Ryan assured the community in a blog post that Merge will be deployed on time. Ryan also stated that the Merge upgrade does not require any “hard fork” or introduce breaking changes.
This fix is specific to the fork choice, and therefore conforms with Merge specs as they are written today. Normal conditions will allow the fork choice to remain the same, but the fixed version provides chain stability in case of an attack scenario.
ETH developers and researchers believe that proposer boosting, the first suggested fix, will be formally integrated into the consensus specifications by November. It will then be available on the Merge testnets around mid-January 2022.
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