"Ethereum is not going in a clear direction," says leading developer
Péter Szilágyi, team leader at the Ethereum Foundation and developer of this network, expressed his doubts about the direction of the blockchain and the constant changes it has undergone on social networks. "It's not going in a clear direction," he assured and highlighted the complexity of the protocol as one of its main handicaps.
Although Ethereum is reaching The Merge in a good way, the direction that the advances of this blockchain are pursuing is not very clear, according to what this developer expressed on his Twitter profile, where he accumulates more than 47,000 followers. The Merge phase refers to the merger, an instance in which the network will begin the transition to the new Ethereum 2.0 version. "Tangentially, Ethereum is achieving results, but it is also gaining difficulty like there is no tomorrow," he wrote in a thread on the social network. Therefore, Szilágyi says, "if the protocol doesn't simplify a bit, it will not make it."
In this specialist's vision, complexity is an aspect that is often not taken into account because it is someone else who "pays the price" for it and not the person who creates it. By "paying the price," he means time, money, and effort. In the case of Ethereum, the expert said that researchers imagine elegant things but are very difficult for developers to put into practice. The latter, whom Szilagyi has also defended in other tweets, must "juggle" these ideas and manipulate them very carefully to expand the network. This, he says, may not be possible forever, and there may come "a tipping point" from which there is no return.
Where does the complexity of Ethereum that Szilágyi talks about come from?
The Ethereum network has a tool called Ethereum Improvement Proposal, Ethereum Improvement Proposal, or simply EIP. These are ideas evaluated in the community to change something in the blockchain to improve its operation or add new features to it. In Szilágyi's view, never in the history of Ethereum has an EIP been intended to reduce the complexity of the protocol, but quite the opposite. Even though each proposal claims to "have everything solved," significant changes only add more difficulty to the network, and their implementation demands an excellent effort for miners.
This has reached a point where no one can have a complete picture of the system. "That's bad," he argues and could lead to a point where no one would be able to fix eventual network failures. So what does he propose in the face of this scenario? "I don't know what the solution is, but I think that we should stop adding functionality and start sacrificing some, even at the cost of breaking things." He also added that "there are fewer and fewer people who know how to and want to join a broken network, and every change brings us closer to that."
Ethereum, between what it was and what it's becoming
Szilágyi's views align with an aspect of the Ethereum network that can be seen in its historical evolution: it tends to change a lot without a fixed course. This can be seen, for example, in its monetary issuance. Since the birth of the network, this parameter had no limit, i.e., an unlimited number of ethers (ETH), the Ethereum token, could be issued. Although this issuance is still complete, since the introduction of EIP-1559, which establishes the burning of a percentage of the fees paid on each transaction, Ethereum is sought to be deflationary. As ether is a decreasing asset, its value would be expected to rise as long as demand is maintained over time.
This could take years to be the case, as the point should be reached where tokens burned are more than permits issued. For example, in mid-2021, when the London update that introduced EIP-1559 was activated, almost ten times more ETH was being issued than burned. On the other hand, Ethereum also plans to change its consensus algorithm, i.e., how transactions are validated. With Ethereum 2.0, now expected by the end of 2022, the network will switch from a model with Proof of Work or proof of work - in other words, mining - to Proof of Stake or proof of stake.
Finally, one can also point to several other protocol changes and updates that have resulted in significant changes to the network, such as altered miner commissions and rewards and improvements to boost network security. While these alterations may have improved Ethereum in several ways, they contribute to the complexity theory that Szilágyi is warning about before it is too late.