ETH 2.0 Lead Dev Thinks “Schlesi” Multi-Client Update Is Slowing Down Launch

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The launch of the long-awaited ETH 2.0 update, which sees Ethereum shift from a PoW to a PoS consensus algorithm, is getting delayed because of a separate protocol, opines Danny Ryan. 

“Schlesi” Slowing it Down

Speaking at the ongoing Consensus: Distributed 2020 conference on May 13, Ryan notes development on Schlesi is hampering the swift launch of Ethereum 2.0, also called “Serenity.” 

Schlesi is important for security and interoperability. The update, headed by a dev team from Parity Technologies, is a multi-client addon that allows different open-source projects to share code, work, and tackle security issues collaboratively. 

Schlesi’s testnet was launched in April 2020, and so far, it’s working seamlessly. Seven open-source projects, including Ethereum’s Trinity, Parity, Prysm, and Nimbus, are implementing their native testnet versions and testing Schlesi’s scalability and interoperability. 

Prysm has opened over 400 nodes on its single-client testnet. Ryan adds another tester, Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse, is the most “performant” client the project has seen in terms of speed, scalability, and security. 

However, Ryan says the massive amount of work on, and ensuring Schlesi fits into with 2.0’s code, is causing delays. 

He adds:

“The multi-client paradigm brings in the additional complexity to get things to the mainnet. If we had one client, maybe we would be in mainnet already.”

Having a multi-client tool is important for ETH 2.0, and even a significant feature. But to make that possible, the Schlesi team has reportedly taken a “specification-first” approach towards the framework – meaning first the entire protocol will be designed, and then individual implementation shall be tested. 

Massive Work

Ryan states a multi-client approach helps the network operate as normal in times of critical events. This means if a critical bug is present in a single client and it “goes down,” other clients – representing a majority – will continue to secure and process transactions through would presumably not be affected. 

The above is a valid concern. Parity and Geth, both working on the testnet, have experienced severe bugs and downtime previously, but the mainnet was “able to stay” up due to Ethereum’s unique protocol. 

Such an amount of work and implementation, however, takes a lot of time. 

Meanwhile, the ETH 2.0 team continues to push back launch. The update was earlier rumored for a July date, but Schlesi’s Afri Shroeden shot down any such possibilities. 

For now, the Schlesi will be tested for “many months” under various conditions before any talks of a mainnet can be started.

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