The future development for Ethereum seems to have got a new phase – The Scourge – after co-founder Vitalik Buterin added it to the project’s 6-part technical roadmap on November 5. Buterin revealed the phase through a Twitter post, offering the largest update to the project since its successful completion of The Merge on September 15.
Since the shift to proof-of-stake was completed, Ethereum has been in the second phase, called the Surge, which is ideally designed to enable the network to achieve 10,000 transactions per second via the implementation of scaling solutions like the Zero-Knowledge (ZK) rollups.
In the past, the Surge was followed by three stages – the Verge, the Purge, and the Splurge – but now the Scourge has been inserted as the third stage. This roadmap was initially split into various phases by Buterin in 2018, with the slow approach meant to guarantee that the principles behind every phase were entirely developed and upheld.
Based on the newly updated roadmap, the main aim of the Scourge is to:
“Ensure reliable and credibly neutral transaction inclusion and avoid centralization and other protocol risks from MEV.”
Miner-extracted value (MEV) is described as the process where a miner can dictate how transactions are included within a block, and in what order, enabling them to front-run other participants on the network and extract value entirely at their expense.
Because of the surge in the prevalence of MEV, most now associate the Ethereum network with a higher level of centralization, which Buterin aims to rectify.
Based on the project’s co-founder, the Scourge will assist in the creation of a more “credibly neutral” consensus layer by eliminating the ability for miners to exploit transactions that happen on the network in their favor. Previously, Buterin referred to a credibly neutral mechanism as one that “does not discriminate for or against any specific people.”
Nonetheless, the full details of the Scourge have not been released, but previous posts by Buterin indicate that it might include something like a “Partial Block Auction” solution where ab block builder is just allowed to decide some of the contents of the block, decreasing their strength and level of influence.
Proposals designed to fight censorship at the consensus layer have also gotten submitted, including the Single Unifying Auctions for Value Expression (SUAVE) solution that was proposed by the Ethereum research and development firm Flashbots.
Coupled with the addition of the Scourge, an update to the Verge was also confirmed in the post by Buterin, which detailed the integration of Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge (SNARK) technology into the smart contract platform. SNARKs will introduce privacy-preserving features to the Ethereum ecosystem that concurrently enable anonymous transactions to be tracked.