Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s inventor, said 2018 “will be the year of action,” with a number of projects the team has been working on turning “into real, live working code.”
In a statement to TechCrunch Buterin suggested tech aspects they have been working on for the past four years might be sufficiently mature to go into live production this year. Buterin says:
“2017 really has been the year where hype in crypto, including financial hype and social hype in general has far exceeded the reality of what existing blockchain systems can offer.
There is a lot of attention, and a lot of eager expectation, but as far as reality goes the practical usability of blockchains has in some cases even regressed due to rising transaction fees.
I expect 2018, at least within the Ethereum space that I’m best able to speak about, will be the year of action. It will be the year where all of the ideas around scalability, Plasma, proof-of-stake, and privacy that we have painstakingly worked on and refined over the last four years are finally going to turn into real, live working code that you can play around in a highly mature form in some cases on testnets, and in some key cases even on the public mainnet. Everyone in the Ethereum space recognizes that the world is watching, and we are ready to deliver.”
The stupendous growth of ethereum this year, with its network now handling more than a million transactions a day, has at times exceeded capacity. Making scalability the number one focus.
Buterin seems to suggest proof of stake is or will be in a highly mature form this year. Casper is already on testnet and might potentially go live by summer. It should aid to some extent in increasing capacity by lowering orphan rates and confirmation times.
Plasma also seems to be nearing ready status going by Buterin singling it out. The blockchain within blockchain second layer sidechains like, Lightning Network hybrid of sorts, could increase capacity to thousands or even millions of transactions per second.
It would however still need on-chain scaling to function smoothly with it fully achieved by Sharding. That’s not mentioned by Buterin and considering this was a written statement it is probably intentional.
That’s because sharding is not really expected this year, but might hopefully mature in 2019 and even go into live production then or in 2020.
Once all of the above are implemented then ethereum should be able to handle Visa levels or higher transaction volumes, allowing all the dapps and smart contract uses to hit the market. At which point blockchain tech might be ready for its full potential.