News and Highlights from Ethereum’s 5th Annual DevCon

Ethereum’s annual DevCon is one of the biggest events in the blockchain calendar! Held this week in Osaka, Japan, the conference brings together some of the best minds in the sector to discuss all the latest Ethereum news and developments. Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that several developers from SmartDec were also in attendance. Here, we round up a few key highlights and talking points from the event.

One Million Developers

One big mission emerged from this week – to get one million developers building on Ethereum before the next DevCon in 2020! ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin kickstarted the quest, setting up a website that helps to introduce developers to their “a-ha” moment when they realize the potential of decentralized technologies. A team of developers has accepted the challenge and is working on a dApp to help incentivize newcomers to share their own “a-ha” moments.

Ethereum: The Next Iteration

The hottest topic of discussion that dominated the event was around the long-awaited Ethereum core update, variously dubbed Serenity and Eth 2.0. What’s now clear is that the upgrade will be far more comprehensive than just some improvements to the existing Ethereum infrastructure. Instead, it will be more like a new platform. The first phase is expected to launch this winter and will also entail the creation of a new ETH token.

However, the current Ethereum blockchain will continue to operate in its existing state, with all ongoing development activities continuing uninterrupted.

It’s worth highlighting that the first rollout of Eth 2.0 is called Phase 0 and will only be the first iteration of the upgraded platform. The word from DevCon was that we could expect full development of the new Ethereum platform to take around two years.

Therefore, we can expect more information about migration options from the Ethereum core developer team in due course.

Community Reactions

Perhaps understandably, there’s been a mixed response to the Eth 2.0 news. Ethereum’s detractors have gleefully pointed out that the platform was never scalable, to begin with. This is hardly new information, given that Ethereum’s developers have been open about these challenges – and the steps they’re taking to address them – for years now.

However, the Ethereum community, including Digitex and SmartDec, are unperturbed. Our CEO Adam has already gone on the record stating that Digitex will never be “finished” – we will always seek to grow and develop for the benefit of our users.

Ethereum is no different. It will always have to iterate and evolve if it’s going to stay ahead of the competition. These latest updates are just the next stage of that journey.

Blockchain is still a relatively new technology, and Ethereum was the first of its kind. Despite a slew of competitors entering the market, Ethereum is still ahead on every measure that matters, including the number of devs and the number of dApps. After all, what’s the point in having a super-fast blockchain if nobody’s using it?

Furthermore, the markets have also reacted with optimism to the news of the upgrade, given the price of ETH increased this week.

Plasma Development Continues

Perhaps the strongest indicator that work on Eth 1.0 continues to make headway is that DevCon also featured a Plasma showcase. As longtime Digitex supporters will know, Plasma is a scaling protocol for Ethereum, which is developed on the Eth 1.0 version. It’s also one of the solutions that we are looking at with SmartDec in order to offer non-custodial accounts so that users don’t have to trust the exchange with their funds.

At DevCon, the Plasma research group launched a working demonstration of a proof-of-concept they’ve been developing called Optimistic Rollup. Without getting too technical, it’s a variant of Plasma that has a built-in mechanism for resolving disputed transactions by sending them to the main Ethereum chain. The proof-of-concept was developed in partnership with Uniswap.

Some other projects that are using Plasma include OmiseGo and Matic Network.

Ethereum dApps Continue to Grow and Evolve

Several of the bigger players in the Ethereum ecosystem took the opportunity of using DevCon to announce upgrades and new features. ChainLink announced it would be launching seven new price oracle networks on the Ethereum mainnet. This enables developers to bring off-chain price data into on-chain applications.

Augur’s co-founder also announced a raft of updates, including off-chain trading on its prediction markets.

That rounds up the main highlights from a discussion-packed week in Osaka! We’re excited to see all the new developments emerging from the core developers and from other projects building on Ethereum. As the community and the platform continue to expand, we’re proud that we’ve chosen to build Digitex’s unique zero-fee trading platform on the most popular blockchain in the industry.

Featured image: SmartDec’s Alexander Seleznev talks about the ERC20 Testsuite at Ethereum DevCon.

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