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One of the world's biggest blockchains is testing a new way to approve transactions. The move has been many years in the making but doesn't. We gather data on the Ethereum network by running the official Ethereum Though the propagation delay distribution peaks at around 20ms, prunes and. The Ethereum Merge is the joining of Ethereum's proof-of-stake (PoS) slowing the inflationary growth of Ether.3 After years of delays. TOP 30 CRYPTOCURRENCY 2022
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Nodes participating in consensus can then download the block's data and re-execute the transactions to confirm their validity. Without nodes verifying transactions, block proposers could get away with inserting malicious transactions in blocks. The data availability problem We can encapsulate the data availability problem into the question: "how do we verify that the data for a newly produced block is available?
This data being available is crucial as the security of Ethereum assumes that full nodes have access to block data. If a block producer proposes a block without all the data being available, it could reach finality whilst containing invalid transactions. Even if the block is valid, the block's data not being fully available to validate has negative implications for users and the functionality of the network.
The data availability problem is also relevant when discussing scaling solutions , such as rollups. These protocols increase throughput by executing transactions off Ethereum Mainnet. However, for them to derive security from Ethereum, they must post transaction data on Mainnet, allowing anyone to verify the correctness of computations performed off the main chain.
Data availability and light clients Although the classic notion of data availability concerned the visibility of transaction data to validating nodes, newer research has focused on verifying data availability with light clients. A light client is an Ethereum node that only syncs to the latest block header and requests other information from full nodes. As they don't download blocks, light clients cannot validate transactions or help secure Ethereum.
However, work is underway to ensure light clients can prove data availability without needing to download blocks. If light clients can verify the availability of a block, they can contribute to Ethereum's security by alerting other nodes to a block's unavailability. A related area of research is focused on mechanisms for making data provably available in a stateless Ethereum.
The stateless client concept is a proposed version of Ethereum, where validating nodes don't have to store state data before verifying blocks. Statelessness is expected to improve the security, scalability, and long-term sustainability of Ethereum. With lower hardware requirements for validating nodes, more validators can join the network and secure it against malicious actors.
Data availability vs. Data availability is the ability of nodes to download transaction data for a block while it is being proposed for addition to the chain. In other words, data availability is relevant when a block is yet to pass consensus. Data retrievability is the ability of nodes to retrieve historical information from the blockchain.
A blockchain's history is made up of ancient blocks and receipts that store information about past events. While historical blockchain data may be necessary for archiving purposes, nodes can validate the chain and process transactions without it. The core Ethereum protocol is primarily concerned with data availability, not data retrievability. Ethereum will not store data for every transaction it has processed forever, as doing so increases storage requirements for full nodes, negatively impacting Ethereum's decentralization.
Fortunately, data retrievability is a much easier problem to solve than data availability. The ability to retrieve historical blockchain data only needs one honest node to store it for it to be retrievable. Furthermore, some entities, such as blockchain explorers, have incentives to store archival data and make it available to others on request. Why is data availability important? This gives malicious block proposers leeway to subvert protocol rules and advance invalid state transitions on the Ethereum network.
Therefore, the rules around data availability ensure full nodes can validate blocks and prevent the chain from getting corrupted. Due to the constraints of the monolithic blockchain architecture, data availability is critical to achieving decentralized scalability. Data availability and layer 2 scaling Layer 2 scaling solutions , such as rollups , scale network throughput and latency by processing transactions off Ethereum's main execution layer.
Off-chain transactions are compressed and posted on Ethereum in batches—thousands of transactions could happen off-chain, but Ethereum needs to process one on-chain transaction associated with each batch submission. This reduces congestion on the base layer and reduces fees for users, while ensuring faster transactions. However, for Ethereum to guarantee the security of rollups, it needs a mechanism for verifying the validity of off-chain transactions. This is where data availability comes into the picture.
Optimistic rollups post compressed transaction data to Ethereum as calldata. This allows anyone to verify the state of the rollup and also provides guarantees of transaction validity. If a transaction is invalid, a verifier can use the available transaction data to construct a fraud proof to challenge it. Zero-knowledge ZK rollups don't need to post transaction data since zero-knowledge validity proofs guarantee the correctness of state transitions.
However, we cannot guarantee the functionality of the ZK-rollup or interact with it without access to its state data. Also, they cannot perform state updates using information contained in a newly added block. Types of data availability systems in blockchains On-chain data availability The standard solution to solving data availability is to force block producers to publish all transaction data on-chain and have validating nodes download it.
On-chain data availability is a feature of "monolithic blockchains" that manage data availability, transaction execution, and consensus, on a single layer. By storing state data redundantly across the network, the Ethereum protocol ensures that nodes have access to data necessary to reproduce transactions, verify state updates, and flag invalid state transitions.
However, on-chain data availability places bottlenecks on scalability. Monolithic blockchains often have slow processing speeds as nodes must download every block and replay the same transactions. It also requires full nodes to store increasing amounts of state—a trend that could affect decentralization. Off-chain data availability Off-chain data availability systems move data storage off the blockchain: block producers don't publish transaction data on-chain, but provide a cryptographic commitment to prove the availability of the data.
This is a method used by modular blockchains , where the chain manages some tasks, such as transaction execution and consensus, and offloads others e. Many scaling solutions adopt a modular approach by separating data availability from consensus and execution, as this is considered the ideal way to scale blockchains without increasing node requirements.
For example, validiums and plasma use off-chain storage to reduce the amount of data posted on-chain. While off-chain data availability improves efficiency, it has negative implications for decentralization, security, and trustlessness. For example, participants in validiums and plasma chains must trust block producers not to include invalid transactions in proposed blocks.
Block producers can act maliciously ie. Due to the problems associated with off-chain storage, some scaling solutions store transaction data on the parent blockchain, like Ethereum. Optimistic rollups and ZK-rollups, for example, don't store transaction data, but use Ethereum Mainnet as a data availability layer. Leveraging existing data providers can expedite development, produce more accurate results, and reduce ongoing maintenance efforts. This will enable a team to concentrate on the core functionality their project is trying to provide.
Prerequisites You should understand the basic concept of Block Explorers in order to better understand using them in the data analytics context. In addition, familiarize yourself with the concept of an index to understand the benefits they add to a system design. Block explorers Many Block Explorers offer RESTful API gateways that will provide developers visibility into real-time data on blocks, transactions, miners, accounts, and other on-chain activity.
Developers can then process and transform this data to give their users unique insights and interactions with the blockchain. For example, Etherscan provides execution and consensus data for every 12s slot. The Graph The Graph Network is a decentralized indexing protocol for organizing blockchain data. Instead of building and managing off-chain and centralized data stores to aggregate on-chain data, with The Graph, developers can build serverless applications that run entirely on public infrastructure.
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