The Future of Ethereum Purge Revealed by Vitalik Buterin

Ethereum co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, has shared the next steps for protocol simplification and reducing the load on node resources in a recent update known as Purge. This stage in the Ethereum transition involves removing old and excessive network history to simplify the network over time. By reducing historical data storage, the Purge also lowers the hard disk requirements for node operators and the overall technical debt of the Ethereum protocol.

Buterin’s report highlighted the introduction of the Ethereum Improvement Protocol (EIP)-6780 during the Dencun hard fork. This protocol simplified the Ethereum protocol by eliminating most of the functions of the “SELFDESTRUCT” code and adding new security guarantees. A new EIP is expected to completely eliminate SELFDESTRUCT in the future. This simplification has reduced the complexity of the protocol and improved its security.

The Purge is set to introduce history expiration through EIP-4444, which limits the amount of historical data stored in nodes. With this update, node operators will have the option to prune historical blocks that are over a year old. Historical data will only be necessary when a peer needs to synchronize with the chain’s head or when specifically requested. Therefore, fully synchronized nodes will not require historical data that is more than 365 days old. Buterin believes that EIP-4444 can significantly increase Ethereum’s node decentralization.

Buterin also mentioned that Geth, the Go implementation of Ethereum, has deleted thousands of lines of code by dropping support for pre-merge (PoW) networks. This change is expected to reduce node data bandwidth to 50 GB with an 18-day storage window for blobs. Buterin discussed the need to purge precompile Ethereum contracts. These contracts are used to implement complex forms of cryptography that cannot be executed within the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). They have become less in demand and have been a source of consensus bugs and difficulties for new EVM implementations.

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