Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of the second largest blockchain Ethereum, has introduced a new category of milestone to the technical roadmap of the blockchain. This addition is targeted at improving censorship resistance and decentralization of the network.
This new development was announced to the public by Buterin through a Twitter post where he introduced a section called “the Scourge” which he added to the existing give segments. The Scourge which is the new addition to the roadmap is accompanied by other previously-known roadmaps: the merge, the Surge, the Verge, the Purge and the Splurge. The Scourge which is the new inclusion has been inserted in between the surge and the verge.
The Ethereum blockchain has outlined in its roadmap the various milestones that will direct the course of the blockchain. Among these are The Merge and the Surge. The Scourge has now been inserted as the next milestone on the roadmap taking place before the Verge, which ought to be the next.
Aim of the Scourge
According to the blockchain’s roadmap, the Scourge aims to “ensure reliable and credibly neutral transaction inclusion and to avoid centralization and other protocol risks from MEV.” The move to establish a “credibly neutral transaction” stems out of the ill-actions of miners who have been exploiting transactions on the Ethereum network to their favour. This “credibly neutral” mechanism will check the excesses of these miners as Buterin had opined that it “does not discriminate for or against any specific people.”
Miner Extractable Value (MEV) is one of the challenges plaguing the Ethereum blockchain. This occurs when miners front-run other participants in the network by selecting the transactions that should be placed in a block and the order in which the transactions will be placed. Consequently, miners are then able to duplicate all winning deals from the memory pool and execute their transactions at the expense of arbitrage seekers or traders trying to make profits. This problem has made the Ethereum blockchain appear centralized, having a higher degree of censorship. The Scourge in its functionality will solve these problems and foster the decentralization of the Blockchain.
Although the full details of the Scourge are yet to be disclosed, Buterin has proposed a “Partial Block Auction” where a block builder has limited control over the contents of the block. Other proposals have been put in place to combat censorship at the consensus layer. An example of this is Ethereum research and development company Flashbots’ Single Unifying Auctions for Value Expression (SUAVE) solution.
This decision by Ethereum can be said to be influenced by the present nature of the blockchain space. The blockchain space is a very competitive one and each blockchain strives for relevance and dominance. The Ethereum blockchain has been dominating the blockchain space. This dominance has also been met with various competitors. One of the competitors that have been tagged as “Ethereum’s killer” is Solana. Competing with Solana again is Aptos. Another blockchain which is in its testnet stage is ZKSync. This battle for dominance goes on and on.
The germination of different blockchains in the space serves as a check to existing blockchains putting them on their toes. This competition explains the urgency of inserting “The Scourge” as the next on the roadmap. The Scourge could have been scheduled to be the next on the roadmap after the Splurge but there is the need for Ethereum to act immediately and address the problem plaguing the blockchain before another blockchain leverages that lag and overthrow its dominance. Hence the urgency.