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eth2 quick update no. 3

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eth2 quick update no. 3



Welcome to the third installment of eth2 quick update.

tldr;

  • Harden fork choice defences in response to audits
  • Introducing challenges.ethereum.org
  • Herumi grant for a super-fast BLS implementation

Fork choice defenses

This week, we hardened the defenses of the Phase 0 fork choice rule. Much of our time is spent analyzing eth2 to ensure that the system can remain stable even under adverse conditions (e.g. a large attacker, a major network outage or partition, etc). With any large engineering project, the aim is to find as many potential issues and harden against these scenarios prior to release. This is why we’ve engaged with many external teams and researchers to perform audits, economic analysis, and formal verification of eth2, but at the same time as we move toward release, we must remain vigilant and flexible to respond to unforseen attacks in production (e.g. the Shanghai DoS attacks of 2016).

Helping in this effort, a consensus researcher, Ryuya Nakamura, has analyzed eth2’s consensus algorithm (Casper FFG) and fork choice rule (LMD GHOST) to better determine how these two pieces of the protocol can in some scenarios be exploited. He has a number of excellent write-ups on ethresearch.ch discussing in detail some attack vectors and recommended solutions. Check out Decoy-flip-flop attack on LMD GHOST, Analysis of bouncing attack on FFG, and Prevention of bounding attack on FFG for some informative and fun reads.

Fortunately, the recommended solutions to the decoy-flip-flop and bouncing attacks are both simple modifications to the fork choice specification of Phase 0. The decoy-flip-flop attack is solved by only considering validator attestations from the current and previous epoch when adding attestations to the view of the fork choice. You can see the PR making this change to the spec here. The bounce attack is solved by only updating the latest justified checkpoint within the fork choice during the first k slots of an epoch. After k slots, you defer the inclusion of a new justified checkpoint into the fork choice until the next epoch boundary. You can check out this modification here.

A number of other components of the Phase 0 specification are out for audit currently. Although we don’t expect anything major, we do expect to a small number of additional post-audit suggested changes to make it to PRs in the coming months.

challenges.ethereum.org

We just released challenges.ethereum.org. This site is a single source for all of the current bounties hosted by the Ethereum Foundation and/or related to Ethereum research and development. The bounties range from finding vulnerabilities in existing Ethereum infrastructure to finding collisions in new hash functions. Something for everyone 🙂

We will continue building out EF’s bounty program in the coming months so check back for more opportunities.

Herumi BLS grant

We’ve given out a grant to Shigeo Mitsunari, the maintainer of the super-fast Herumi pairing library and BLS signature library. This grant is to bring the libraries up to spec with the new BLS standard (new hash-to-G2, constant-time signing, etc) as well as to help accomplish some more practical items for eth2 usability (Rust integration, fuzzing work, etc).

In addition to the feature component of the grant, there is also a performance component. The Herumi library is already 2-3x faster than the next best BLS option, but because signature verification is one of the main bottlenecks in eth2, any additional gains here would be excellent, enabling eth2 to run under even higher load and in more adverse scenarios. Shigeo will spend some additional time and effort further optimizing the library to ensure it runs as fast as possible 🚀.



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Ethereum

Allocation Update Q3 2022 | Ethereum Foundation Blog

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Allocation Update Q3 2022 | Ethereum Foundation Blog



Community & education Crowdsourcing Technical Ethereum Content in Taipei Nic Lin Open call for technical papers from Taipei’s Ethereum community. Community & education Crypto Economics Security Conference Berkeley Center for Responsible, Decentralized Intelligence The Crypto Economics Security Conference (CESC) bringing together researchers and practitioners to discuss the most recent developments in web3. Community & education Cryptoversidad Educational content on Ethereum blockchain fundamentals in Spanish. Community & education Cypher Plato BAM Cypher_plato Open online Spanish course teaching junior developers the basic technical knowledge and skills needed to contribute to the Ethereum ecosystem in Latin America, created by a crypto study group from Platohedro. Community & education Devcon Scholarships Ethereum Caracas Scholarships to attend and support Devcon VI for key Ethereum community members in Venezuela or Venezuelans based in Latin America. Community & education DreamDAO Explorers Program DreamDAO Support for their two-month internship program called the Dream DAO Explorers Progra, for 15 to 20 year olds seeking to be and build the future of web3 x social impact. Community & education DWeb Camp Internet Archive Five-day event with the purpose of tackling real-world challenges facing web3 and co-creating decentralized technologies of the future. Community & education Espacio Cripto Community engagement efforts encouraging Latin American builders to attend Devcon VI. Community & education ETHAnglia Meetup Meetup to raise funds for scholarships to Devcon VI and celebrate the success of ETHAnglia’s Zero to Web3 Bootcamp and scholarships. Community & education ETHBerlin³ Department of Decentralization Three-day hackathon in Berlin, Germany focusing on topics such as privacy and security, sustainability, and public goods. Community & education ETHBrno² UTXO Foundation Open community hackathon focusing on privacy and security held in Brno, Czech Republic across three days. Community & education ETH Gathering Two-day conference hosted in Barcelona, Spain with programming divided according to four clusters: security, DeFi, DAOs, and data. Community & education ETHLatam @ Quito Ethereum Ecuador Event in Quito, Ecuador covering topics such as smart contracts, decentralized wallets, and The Merge. Community & education ETHMalaysia Conference and hackathon targeted towards Southeast Asia’s web3 community organized in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia across three days. Community & education ETHMedellín One week of distributed events happening around Medellín, Colombia with a central co-working space for the community to gather and collaborate after Devcon VI. Community & education EthPanama Three-day conference and hackathon in Panama City, Panama to build a hub for regional projects and a gateway for local and international organizations to connect. Community & education ETHPlanet Support for community initiatives in China including organizing conferences and hackathons, connecting academic researchers, and encouraging open-source communities to experiment on Ethereum. Community & education ETHSafari Week-long conference and hackathon in Kilifi, Kenya to showcase innovation around the region and bridge the gap between the global and African Ethereum ecosystem. Community & education Ethereum Santiago Event organized in Santiago, Chile with talks and panel discussions on the first day and a developer bootcamp on the second day. Community & education EthereumSP Ethereum Brasil Two-day hackathon, a programming marathon where participants can learn and exchange experiences about web3-related projects. Community & education Ethereum Eje Cafetero Event Support Support for Ethereum Eje Cafetero members to attend and deliver Ethereum-related talks at FESTIC and EAM University‘s Engineer Day. Community & education Ethereum Lima Day A full day of talks about Ethereum and its applications held in Lima, Peru. Community & education Exploration of Non-Profit Organizations’ Use of Ethereum TIFF Research on current and potential future uses of Ethereum to enhance the productivity of non-profit organizations, including the possible risks and benefits of these uses. Community & education Hackers Congress Parallel Polis Congress focusing on freedom and cryptography, decentralized economics and cryptocurrencies, political art and hacking, and science and technology organized in Prague over three days. Community & education JAMHacks 6 Hackathon targeting high school students in North America that includes beginner-friendly workshops and mentors to guide first-time hackers. Community & education Kyiv Tech Summit Hackathon and conference hosted in Kyiv, Ukraine, aiming to solve tangible, on-the-ground issues to aid the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom. Community & education Merge Meetups Grants Round Grants round to fund The Merge meetups and watch parties around the globe with a focus on education. Community & education NextStep HackAlphaX Virtual, global hackathon for students aged 10 to 21 with introductory workshops and daily hacker hangouts. Community & education Node Operator Documentation Gateway.fm Documentation teaching smaller node operators running staking pools how to secure their nodes and run them efficiently. Community & education Quadratic Funding for Taiwan ZKP Hackathon ZK Playground Running one quadratic funding round for each stage of a two-stage zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs hackathon—the first round involves creating a project proposal, and the second round involves developing a proof-of-concept for the project. Community & education Retrox Fernando Almansa, Jan Ole Ernst, Jessica Pointing, Konrad Kopp, and Kyle J. Duffy Working to explore and implement a fully on-chain, open-source protocol, focused on public goods funding by developing a variety of voting logics and a highly variable platform for fund disbursement. Community & education Solidity Bootcamp Blockdemy Three-week program educating participants in Spanish on Solidity development, with the registration fee waived for 50 to 100 women. Community & education Staking Operator Documentation Kiln Technical documentation for staking operators published in the form of blogposts based on Kiln’s experience of being a node operator. Community & education web3beach Meetups Meetups in Utila, Honduras combining conservation efforts with web3 education. Community & education Web3 Lagos Conference Web3Bridge Three-day conference in Lagos, Nigeria covering topics such as The Merge, community onboarding, and Nigeria’s developer ecosystem. 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Consensus layer Data Availability Sampling Networking RFP ChainSafe Researching and designing a Data Availability Sampling (DAS) solution that will include holistic analyses and experimental results, an architecture proposal, a formal specification, and a repository containing a proof-of-concept prototype. Consensus layer Data Availability Sampling Networking RFP DataHop Designing and analyzing a scalable, secure, and efficient peer-to-peer network solution that is able to fulfil DAS requirements. Consensus layer Data Availability Sampling Networking RFP Qi Zhou Completing the prototype of DAS corrupted samples/proofs detection and simulation for matrix reconstruction. Consensus layer Formal Verification of Safety Properties of Altair Fork Choice Implementation ConsenSys R&D (Distributed Protocols Formal Verification Team) Review and formal verification of the safety of the fork choice implementation in Ethereum proof-of-stake consensus specifications to catch edge cases and bugs. Consensus layer Lodestar Consensus Client ChainSafe Continued development of the Lodestar consensus client, with a focus on light client R&D and JavaScript ecosystem tooling. Consensus layer Tse Lab Stanford Center for Blockchain Research Support to research key areas for improvement on data availability techniques for blockchains. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs BLS Website Update Improving the website of BLS wallet, a layer 2 smart contract wallet using BLS signatures and transaction aggregation to reduce gas costs. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs Enhancing MEV Resistance Designing a new commit-reveal scheme with improved proposer builder separation that will better resist maximal extractable value (MEV) and benefit users, proposers, and builders. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs Mu Methods Research for and MVP implementation of an Ethereum-native browser client wallet that utilizes Shamir’s secret sharing for social key recovery. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs Multi-Proof Aggregation of zk-SNARKs on Ethereum (MAZE) Dohoon Kim, Janmajaya Mall, and Soowon Jeong PLONK framework utilizing proof aggregation to develop applied ZK proofs without detailed knowledge about arithmetization and proving systems. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs Personae Labs Support for Personae Labs, which builds technology and products to understand how the availability of advanced cryptography in consumer devices changes the way we relate online. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs RLN Library in Rust Rasul Ibragimov Help development of a user-friendly and WASM-compatible rate limiting nullifier (RLN) library in Rust with the Vac team that allows users to generate proofs and witnesses, build provers and verifiers, and verify proofs. Build a Persistent Merkle Tree implementation for Rust. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs RSA Verification Circuit in halo2 Sora Suegami Development of an RSA verification circuit using the halo2 library, allowing developers to write circuits to verify RSA-based cryptographic schemes such as RSA signature, RSA accumulator, and verifiable delay function. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs TAZ Dapp Colleen Rose, Danilo Kim, Falco Rodenburg, Lee Poettcker, and Rich Warner Dapp enabling users to explore the possibilities of what can be built with Semaphore, designed for the Temporary Anonymous Zone Community Hub at Devcon VI. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs ZK Gadgets for ZK Eigen Trust Özgür Armanc Yigit Building, testing the edge cases of, and optimizing gadgets for ZK Eigen Trust—a reputation management algorithm for peer-to-peer networks, using the halo2 proving system and the libp2p peer-to-peer networking framework. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs Zkopru Layer 2 scaling solution for private transactions using zk-SNARK and optimistic rollups. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs zkRSA Pierre Daix-Moreux Development of a proof-of-concept for an application that will allow users to prove they hold a valid document according to an RSA signature and a public key. Cryptography & zero knowledge proofs 0xPARC Foundation Support for 0xPARC Foundation, an organization promoting application-level innovation in areas such as applied crypto R&D, open-source tools and infrastructure, and education and ecosystem development. Developer experience & tooling BuidlGuidl Support for BuidlGuidl, a developer community and series of educational initiatives focused on onboarding developers to Ethereum. Developer experience & tooling Exploit Database Domantas Pelaitis, Ivan Miragaya, Jogundas Armaitis, and Matas Povilauskas Open-source, comprehensive database of past exploits that the community can contribute to, which will also function as an educational learning tool. Developer experience & tooling solidity.tw Tai Hung Ying Series of articles written in traditional Chinese and Youtube videos on Ethereum fundamentals, Solidity, and smart contracts. Developer experience & tooling SolQL Support for SolQL to further develop their codebase with additional abstractions and tests, produce documentation, and engage in developer outreach for feedback on further functionalities. Developer experience & tooling TrueBlocks TrueBlocks local-first and lightweight index of Ethereum blockchain data. Work will tackle various improvements, such as porting their code to Go, completing an IPFS shareable index, and exploring layer 2 indexing. Developer experience & tooling Web3j Web3 Labs Continued development and maintenance of Web3j, a lightweight Java and Android library for integration with Ethereum clients. Developer experience & tooling web3swift Anton Grigorev, Petr Korolev, and Yaroslav Full-featured native iOS/macOS library that provides web3 functionality in Swift with native ABI parsing and smart contract interactions on the Ethereum network. General research Game Theory Backend for Act 20squares Toolchain for analyzing smart contract systems using compositional games theory, including a tool for decompiling EVM bytecode into the Act specification language and an open games backend for Act. An end-to-end example of MEV analysis will also be provided. Indirect funding Gitcoin GR15 DeSci Side Round Gitcoin Matching pool funding for Gitcoin’s GR15 DeSci Side Round, which focused on projects reimagining the incentives, culture, and infrastructure for research using web3 tools and technology. Indirect funding Quadratic Funding at Devcon VI clr.fund Matching pool funding for the quadratic funding round run during Devcon VI to benefit projects in the Latin American community. Layer 2 Pheasant Network Insights on the development and research challenges around optimistic bridges. Doing a deep dive into how these problems are being resolved by different projects in the space. Other European Crypto Initiative (EUCI) Support for the EUCI, which advocates for and contributes to the development of EU regulation that favors open, permissionless, decentralized applications leveraging blockchain technology.





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Merge Data Challenge Results | Ethereum Foundation Blog

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Merge Data Challenge Results | Ethereum Foundation Blog



The Ethereum Foundation is excited to announce the winners of the Merge Data Challenge 🐼.

The challenge ran for ~9 weeks surrounding the Merge, allowing for data analysts to gather and review information both before and after the big event. Participants submitted a treasure trove of data and analysis in 45(!) different blog posts.

Enjoy combing through the many insights and, as everything is open source, feel free to open things up and extend/modify the analysis!

Prizes

Prizes are divided into three tiers, based on the overall quality, scope, extensibility, and usefulness to the community.

Gold ($30k prize) 🥇


Silver ($10k prize) 🥈


Bronze ($2.5k prize) 🥉


Looking Forward

The Merge Data Challenge produced excellent new tools, analyses, and visualizations. That said, there is ongoing work to do in monitoring and understanding Ethereum’s proof-of-stake network — especially in the Beacon Chain consensus-layer.

If you’re interested in digging deeper or productionizing the tools and techniques found in these submissions, please consider applying to the Ecosystem Support Program!



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Ropsten Shutdown Announcement | Ethereum Foundation Blog

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Ropsten Shutdown Announcement | Ethereum Foundation Blog



As previously announced, the Ropsten network has been deprecated and will be shut down in the coming weeks. Over the past few months, infrastructure providers have gradually stopped supporting the network and validator participation rates have been steadily declining.

The vast majority of remaining validator nodes will be shut down during the December 15-31, 2022 period. After this, Ropsten will no longer be supported by client, testing or infrastructure teams.

As a reminder, the next testnet to be sunset is Rinkeby. The network will be live until mid-2023 to give users and application developers the chance to migrate to either Goerli or Sepolia. That said, Rinkeby does not support The Merge, nor will it support future network upgrades. It is no longer a feature-equivalent replica of the Ethereum mainnet.

The Merge and legacy testnet deprecations have provided an opportunity for the Ethereum community to rethink its broader approach to test networks. Proposals around purpose-specific networks for stakers vs. developers, end-of-life norms for testnets and more are being discussed on Ethereum Magicians and in community calls. If you have strong opinions about the future of Ethereum testnets, now is the time to voice them!


Cover image by Micael Widell



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