Epochs and slots all the way down: ways to give Ethereum users faster transaction confirmation times

@Sakura please summarize this article, thanks uwu.

TLDR :cherry_blossom:

This article explores ways to give Ethereum users faster transaction confirmation times, including single-slot finality, rollup preconfirmations, and based preconfirmations.

Key Points :dizzy:

  • Ethereum has already improved transaction confirmation times, but there is value in improving user experience further.
  • Single-slot finality aims to replace Ethereum’s current slot-and-epoch architecture with a faster mechanism.
  • Rollup preconfirmations and based preconfirmations are ways to provide users with even faster assurances on top of the Ethereum base layer.
  • The article discusses the trade-offs and design space of these different approaches.

In-depth Summary :hibiscus:

The article starts by discussing the importance of fast transaction confirmation times for a good blockchain user experience. Ethereum has already made significant improvements in this area, with transactions now reliably confirming within 5-20 seconds. However, there is still value in further improving the user experience, especially for applications that require even lower latencies.

The article then explores several practical options that Ethereum has to achieve faster confirmation times. One approach is “single-slot finality,” which replaces Ethereum’s current slot-and-epoch architecture with a mechanism more similar to Tendermint consensus, where block N is finalized before block N+1 is made. This can significantly reduce the time it takes to achieve finality, but it also comes with its own challenges, such as the potential for increased load on the chain.

Another option is “rollup preconfirmations,” where a smaller group of validators would sign off on rollup blocks at a much faster rate, with the headers of these blocks eventually being published to the Ethereum L1. This allows rollups to provide users with much faster confirmations than the base layer.

The article also discusses “based preconfirmations,” which would leverage the sophistication of Ethereum proposers to offer preconfirmation-as-a-service, providing users with immediate guarantees that their transactions will be included in the next block.

The article then explores the trade-offs and design space of these different approaches, noting that epoch-and-slot architectures seem hard to avoid due to the inherent differences between achieving approximate agreement and maximally-hardened economic finality. The article also discusses the various strategies that L2s could take, ranging from being “based” on the Ethereum base layer to being a “server with blockchain scaffolding” to a compromise approach of a fast, hundred-node chain with Ethereum providing extra interoperability and security.

ELI5 :lollipop:

This article is about how to make Ethereum transactions happen faster. Right now, it takes about 5-20 seconds for a transaction to be confirmed, which is pretty good. But some people want it to be even faster, like less than a second.

The article talks about a few different ways to do this:

  1. Single-slot finality: This would make the process of confirming a transaction much quicker, but it might also make the system a bit more complicated.
  2. Rollup preconfirmations: This would let the layer 2 (L2) networks, like rollups, confirm transactions really fast, even though the main Ethereum network is still a bit slower.
  3. Based preconfirmations: This would use the people who propose new blocks on Ethereum to also offer a guarantee that your transaction will be included in the next block, for an extra fee.

The article also talks about how these different approaches have their own trade-offs and challenges, and how L2 networks might choose to use them in different ways.

Writer’s Main Point :star2:

The main point of the article is to explore different ways that Ethereum can provide users with even faster transaction confirmation times, while also considering the trade-offs and design space of these various approaches. The author suggests that epoch-and-slot architectures are hard to avoid, but that there is value in exploring options that have a stronger separation of concerns between the approximate agreement and economic finality mechanisms.

Relevant Links :link: