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Ethereum Foundation distributes $2 million in grants to accelerate “imminent” ETH 2.0 launch
The Ethereum Foundation announced grants worth more than $2 million aimed at bolstering the development of Serenity, Ethereum’s long-awaited—but apparently “imminent”—scaling upgrade, ETH2.
Approaching Serenity: Announcing Ethereum Foundation and Co-Funded Grants!https://t.co/ImJ3MrHre3
— Ethereum (@ethereum) August 26, 2019
The Switzerland-based nonprofit said Monday it co-led the grants with blockchain thinktank Protocol Labs and Ethereum-focused “venture production studio” ConsenSys, distributing over $2 million in funding. The funds are to be used for projects that aid the “imminent” launch of Serenity’s entirely separate proof-of-stake blockchain, the “Beacon Chain.”
Over the last few months, seven recipients scooped up $2.46 million in grants. Key ecosystem startups including Sigma Prime, Status, and Prysmatic Labs, received the grants, with the Ethereum Foundation emphasizing that these companies are “currently tasked with delivering long-standing multi-client testnets” for Serenity.
The full list of recipients are as follows:
- Harmony: $189,000 for Beacon Chain development
- Prysmatic Labs: $725,000 for Prysm client development
- Sigma Prime: $485,000 for Lighthouse client development
- Status: $500,000 for Nimbus client, $150,000 for nim-libp2p
- Whiteblock: $184,000 for ETH2.0 network testing and testnet support
- Dmitry Khovratovich: $10,000 for report on Legendre Polynomials and Functions
- Chainsafe: $217,500 for ETH2.0 ‘Lodestar’ light client development
Vitalik Buterin: Ethereum “almost full”
The deployment of ETH2.0 has been anticipated as a must for Ethereum to retain its position as the dominant smart contract platform. For investors, ETH2.0 is the salvation needed for Ether to hang on to its yearslong status as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Even with its rapidly institutionalizing investor base, ETH has posted dismal performance against its Bitcoin pair, losing 54.6 percent against BTC over the last year.
That said, Ethereum does boast impressive usage statistics and still leads as the dominant smart contract platform. However, the protocol is still hindered by scalability issues, characterized by its 15 transactions per second throughput. Compared to centralized databases which can handle thousands of transactions per second this is a glacial speed.
In the past, this limitation caused transaction fees and confirmation times to skyrocket during periods of heavy usage, impeding the platform from realizing its supposed potential as a “world computer” with millions of users.
Last week, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin suggested the network was stretched to its utmost limit, telling The Star Ethereum was “almost full,” effectively prohibiting large entities from joining.
“Scalability is a big bottleneck because the Ethereum blockchain is almost full. If you’re a bigger organization, the calculus is that if we join, it will not only be more full but we will be competing with everyone for transaction space. It’s already expensive and it will be even five times more expensive because of us. There is pressure keeping people from joining, but improvements in scalability can do a lot in improving that.”
ETH2.0 could help the network support the millions of transactions per second it needs via second-layer solutions, including Sharding and Plasma, said Buterin. Such improvements could make Ethereum a solution for resource-intensive decentralized applications, such as Microsoft’s proposal for Ethereum-based machine-learning, further cementing its usage among enterprise users.
Even with Ethereum’s shortcomings, the protocol still accumulated the most robust enterprise user base to date amongst smart contract platforms. Some corporate giants utilizing Ethereum include MetLife, Ubisoft, JPMorgan, and IBM.