However, while his predictions touched diverse themes ranging from the world economy to human rights, two are especially notable for their optimism.
“2020 will see Ethereum move stridently beyond Phase 0 of Ethereum 2.0, onto Phase 1 and the launch of shard chains.”
In addition, while Serenity continues development, Keys believes that layer two solutions “will turbocharge Ethereum” and bring it “towards 2.0 levels of scalability at layer one.”
It has been analyzed that the recent Istanbul hard fork was the last stage in Ethereum 1.0, introducing several improvements and adjustments. Some of the core Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) that went into the upgrade were closely related to Zcash (ZEC). EIP-152 improved interoperability with the actual Zcash blockchain, while EIP-1108 made optimizations for cryptography routines leveraged by projects such as Aztec and ZEther.
Likewise, Aztec Protocol aims to introduce confidential transactions within the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain by using SNARK zero-knowledge technology, the same powering Zcash shielded transactions.
On the other hand, Matter Labs is attempting to leverage SNARKs for scalability. On a basic level, its Zk Sync technology would allow offloading of the majority of transactional computations off-chain, using a zero-knowledge proof to guarantee their correct execution.
So, finally, Plasma focuses on creating sidechains for specific use cases.
Joseph Lubin, the CEO of ConsenSys, explained:
“Plasma is this class of technologies that enable you to have less decentralized platforms sitting at layer two in the Ethereum ecosystem. They can benefit from the full trust in some cases — sometimes they benefit from partial trust — but if they’re linked in really rigorously, they can benefit from the full trust of the base trust layer, and you can get the best of both worlds.”
However, these technologies are not yet LIVE. Only Aztec looks poised to launch its cryptography engine this month, after conducting its trusted setup ceremony on January 9.
Similarly, Plasma Group, a non-profit research group, recently declared that their theoretical work on the technology is complete, but failed to indicate specific implementations underway.
Though Istanbul was the last step before the introduction of Ethereum 2.0 technology, it is not clear that when the next stages will be implemented.