Examining Lighthouse, a Future-Minded Ethereum 2.0 Client

Examining Lighthouse, a Future-Minded Ethereum 2.0 Client

Sydney-based cybersecurity and blockchain techniks Sigma Prime have announced their team and opened the curtains on Lighthouse, a new Rust-based Ethereum 2.0 client. Still in progress, the end-user software marks another few steps forward toward the scaling possibilities of Casper and sharding.  

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SigP Opens a Beacon

In their inaugural public post, the Sigma Prime (SigP) team declared their existence and announced their work on Lighthouse, an Ethereum client written in Rust based upon the Ethereum community’s recently forged “shasper” chain 2.0 specification.

The in-progress, now v2.1 Ethereum spec. The march toward sharding and Casper continues. 

Based out of Sydney, Australia, SigP first came together on the heels of Devcon 2 in 2016. Their work has since run the gammut, as of late contributing cybersecurity services to the Ethereum Foundation, honing in on Casper research, and building out Lighthouse.

“The Ethereum 2.0 spec captured our attention and we were confident that we could apply our resources to the project to help realise it,” SigP’s Paul Hauner explained.

Afterward, the team began trying to wrap their heads around Beacon Chain tech by porting its proof of concept to Rust, which is when Lighthouse was catalyzed. Hauner noted:

“At some point, we realised that we had the beginnings of a fully-fledged client on our hands and building that client out would provide great benefit to the ecosystem and greatly expand the skill set of our team. We decided to go ahead with the client build and renamed the repo to “Lighthouse,’ figuring that a seaside lighthouse would be a “rusty beacon” of sorts. The project was born.”

Change Is Good

SigP’s roundabout path to Lighthouse has been echoed by their winding work within Lighthouse. The aforementioned Hauner said the team has had to go back to the drawing board in major ways before, and they’re “completely fine with this”:

“In the early days of Lighthouse we saw an overhaul of the spec which invalidated most of our Rust code. We’re completely fine with this and we expect this from a research project — we prefer to see depreciation instead of stubborn persistence. This highlights a core ethos of the Lighthouse project: we see Ethereum as a protocol, not a collection of products. We do not aim to ship our product as fast as possible, instead we aim to contribute to the establishment of a secure, decentralised and efficient protocol. Lighthouse must always prioritise the protocol over itself.”

In the meantime, the SigP team will continue developing the new open-source spec, and they anticipate new “benchmarks on Beacon Chain block validation” in short order accordingly.

With a similar eye to the future, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin gave the project a signal boost yesterday.

What’s Coming Is Taking Shape Now

The Lighthouse announcement comes after Mobile Ethereum OS project Status announced their own sharding client, Nimbus, last month.

Nimbus is not written in Rust like Lighthouse, however, but rather in Nim, a lightweight programming language optimal for resource-restricted devices.

And more Ethereum 2.0 clients are surely coming. The Ethereum Foundation also said in August that its “Wave 4” of grants would be focused, at least in part, on shasper implementations.

What’s your take? Are you impressed or frustrated with the march of Ethereum’s Casper/sharding tech? Let us know in the comments below. 

Images via Pixabay, Ethereum.org

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