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Istanbul Network Upgrade Goes Live as Layer 2 Scaling Ramps Up


Ethereum Price: $150.11
Ethereum Price (BTC): 0.020021BTC
Market Cap: $16.34B
ETH Network Dominance*: 67.96%
7 Day Candle**: $149.29 / $152.88 / $143.35 / $150.11

Last week saw the successful launch of Ethereum’s latest network upgrade, Instanbul, which implemented six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) and brought the blockchain one step closer to better scalability and privacy.

A couple of the stand-out EIPs, #2028 and #1108, have created significant efficiencies for Layer 2 solutions by reducing gas costs for a number of EVM computations. CEO of Circle, Jeremy Allaire, is hopeful that these upgrades, which have improved the economics for Layer 2 technologies like ZK Sync, could soon help to support upwards of 3,000 transactions per second on Ethereum.

Circle, who partnered with Coinbase to launch the ERC-20 stablecoin, USDC in October 2018, may see their token capable of competing with the throughput of Visa in a few short years.

A full list with details of the six EIPs can be found in this post from the Ethereum Cat Herders.

ZK Sync is just one of many Layer 2 scaling solutions under development on Ethereum today. Plasma Group, who have created the “Optimistic Virtual Machine” (OVM), recently launched a demo in partnership with DeFi start-up, Uniswap, to showcase the cost (or lack thereof) and speed of their Layer 2 technology. This solution uses “Optimistic Rollups” to maintain the security of the Ethereum base layer but with many times more throughput (~2000 transactions per second).

Ernst & Young (EY) were also at it again with their open source Nightfall project. Paul Brody, the firm’s Global Blockchain Leader, announced an update to Nightfall that has reduced the cost of a batched private transaction on public Ethereum to 24 cents. This is a mammoth improvement on the several dollars a private transaction had cost earlier in the year and has been significantly aided by the Istanbul network upgrade.

While Ethereum 1.x development continues at a rapid pace, ETH 2.0 is making further strides towards mainnet. One major development last week was in the release of Etherscan’s testnet Beacon Chain explorer.

The explorer, which is connected to the Prysmatic Labs ETH 2.0 testnet client, allows users to get insight into the Beacon Chain’s activity. This includes data such as the number of active/inactive validators and the amount of ETH staked.

Staking, which forms the basis for Ethereum’s new consensus mechanism, is expected to go live in the first half of 2020 under “Phase 0” of ETH 2.0.

As the year draws to an end, predictions for 2020 are now beginning to emerge. Ethereum-powerhouse, Consensys, published a 3,000 word reflection of the year gone by along with some thoughts on the year ahead, providing a fantastic summary of the emerging and ever-expanding DeFi space.

Next week we will feature our Ethereum predictions for 2020 as well as a look back at our expectations for 2019 and how wrong or right they may have been.

– Nick, Owner

* calculated as: (ETH Market Cap / Ethereum Network Market Cap)
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