EthCC Reveals Slow Progress on Ethereum Privacy Projects

Developers at the EthCC Reveal Slow Progress on Ethereum Projects

EthCC is an Ethereum conference that aims to brainstorm the current state of development on the Ethereum platform. The conference was held in Paris at the Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), beginning on the 8th on to 10th March 2018.

The goal of the conference is for teams developing projects on the platform to get together and share their experiences and plan their next moves. EthCC aims to focus on subjects such as Scalability, Anonymity, Development tools and Governance Compliance. Many important blockchain industries influencing actors such as the Ethereum Foundation, Ledger, ConsenSys, Shapeshift, uPort, Oraclize, or Melonport are also taking part in the conference.

Privacy as a mirage

Ethereum is looking to improve its blockchain, particularly its privacy features. However, it appears that this has proven to be very hard to achieve. Moreover, testing with improved ring signature technology is ongoing. Known as RuffCT, StringCT or RTRS RingCT, this technology allows for a complete form of privacy by hiding destinations and sender addresses. Notably, there are several ways this technology can be implemented.

While developers are testing different methods, they have all come to the conclusion that these methods have shown to go over Ethereum’s processing capacity, which is becoming a hindrance to steady development. Given these issues, Jacob Eberhardt, one of the Ethereum developers, noted that there is a need to use more cryptographic variables when working with Ethereum, which would require a system-wide software upgrade.

The code used to implement privacy features and contracts, which are written using the ZoKrates programming language, is still very cumbersome to work with. Moreover, it still appears stuck in the setup phase. And this has already been seen to be slowing the adoption of zero-knowledge cryptography into businesses built on the Ethereum platform. Furthermore, some features are harder to implement in ZoKrates code, which is delaying the whole process.

Developers like Andrew Miller, who first though that there would be an increase in privacy-focused Ethereum applications, are now saying that the teams involved in the development never gave much importance to problems like scalability and privacy. Now, this is affecting the overall development for these goals, according to Miller. Moreover, development teams have been disregarding these subjects and the development progress has been stagnating, which could have serious implications for the future of the platform.

Scalability and Ongoing development

One of the most renowned developers in the Ethereum Foundation and founder of smart contract company ZK Labs, Matthew Di Ferrante, noted at the conference that there is still much to be done. Speaking to the conference audience he warned:

“If you think Ethereum isn’t scalable now, or that blockchains aren’t scalable now, the further you get the more alarming it is. Everyone likes to talk about the magic, but not many people can write the code.”

Zero-knowledge proofs, uses a feature that allows compressing information in a readable format. According to Di Ferrante, this could probably be used to enable better scaling and to reduce information on the Ethereum blockchain.

The conference is ending today, but the Agenda is still not complete. In order to discuss and study the tokenization trend, its impact and implications, the 2018 Tokensky Blockchain Conference will take place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on March 14th-15th, 2018.