A Feast for Web3 Developers: Insights from Stanford Blockchain Week

— — Stanford Blockchain Week focuses on developers and ecological development, and the topics of discussion are focused on DeFi, public chains, and underlying technologies.

Last week, the annual Stanford Blockchain Week came to an end. Compared with the Web 3.0 events in Los Angeles and New York, the academic atmosphere in the Bay Area is very strong, and it is more inclined to developers and ecological development.

The topics of discussion focused on DeFi, public chains, underlying technologies, etc., while the topics discussed at LA Tech Week in Los Angeles revolved around creator economy, NFT, and community building. In this blockchain week, a large number of project parties and scholars from various universities were invited to expound on the thinking and direction of the future development of blockchain technology from a combination of theory and practical experience, which will benefit developers a lot. At the same time, it provides opportunities for each public chain or platform to attract ecological partners.

The blockchain week is a series of activities launched around the annual “Stanford Blockchain Conference 2022”. The main contents are as follows:

-Science and Engineering of Consensus: Scholars from various universities around the world discussed technologies related to consensus mechanisms, such as ledger consensus mechanism under dynamic availability, MEV protection under DAG (Directed Acyclic Graphs), ZK-rollups for Challenges brought by the consensus mechanism, etc.

-First Annual Defi Security Summit: Invited technical masters of major DeFi projects to talk about how to improve security and increase the difficulty of attackers.

-Stanford Blockchain Conference: Focuses on technological innovation in the blockchain ecology. This is the fifth session since 2017 (suspended in 2021 due to the epidemic). The speakers are mainly from scholars from various universities and industry leaders. V-God is the speaker of this year.

-DAO workshop: Accelerates DAO functionality by fostering collaboration between academic and industry leaders.

-MEV workshop: current discussions on issues related to the MEV protocol level and future prospects.

-Formal Reasoning about Financial Systems Workshop: Explore how financial systems and smart contracts can improve security, especially Defi and related developer tools.

-Applied ZK workshop: Brings together the zero-knowledge proof ecological team to discuss the latest progress in the zero-knowledge proof application landscape.

-A series of related after parties, including events held by BinanceChain, Coinbase, Solona, etc., which mainly provide opportunities for public chains and platforms to attract ecological partners.

During this period, Ethereum’s EDCON was held at the Chase Center (home of the Warriors) in San Francisco, and the members of the Ethereum Foundation of V God Association discussed and elaborated on the plan after the merger.

First Annual Defi Security Summit

As the first Defi Security Summit (hereinafter referred to as DSS), the performance has exceeded expectations with lots of practical stuff. The first section of the opening session came the invited protocol engineers or smart contract leaders from Maker Dao, Uniswap, Compound, and Aave — — four well-known Defi project parties, to talk about how they improve the security of smart contracts, and share the detours they have taken in the process of creating the protocol, and also the solution. Some technical experts even open the code and explain the reason why it is designed in this way.

What a treasure trove for developers!

Here is a very interesting episode. When Yuchen Lin, the chief security engineer of Trust Token, shared how to find bugs in the protocol, he talked about how they found many bugs that were not found even after they found a protocol auditor. Therefore, they adopted a “bug-implant” method: deliberately implant a certain number of bugs before submitting to the audit (of course, remember to delete them afterwards), which is the auditor that can be trusted. It’s just when he shared this experience, he did not expect that his audit was also on the scene.

Along which, the DSS follows the hot spots and the reality. Uniswap’s protocol engineer Mark Toda shared how Uniswap’s TWAP (time weighted average price) oracle should respond to increase the difficulty of manipulating the oracle after the merger of Ethereum. After merging, blocks are easier to predict. As shown in the figure below, the next block production can be predicted on the beacon chain, which makes it less difficult to manipulate prices and complete transactions by controlling more than two blocks at the same time.

Although controlling two consecutive blocks and achieving 30% price manipulation is consistent with the funds required under the previous POW, if three blocks are controlled at the same time, the required funds drop significantly.

To this end, Mark proposed a method of replacing the mean with the median. In this case, if you want to control and complete the transaction, you need to master half of the blocks, that is, 73 blocks, and the difficulty will be greatly increased.

EDCON Ethereum Developer Community Conference

The theme of this EDCON is “Ethereum — a New Era”. Although the audience was full of enthusiasm for the merger, it was more about discussing Ethereum’s plans for expansion, security, and ecological collaboration in 2023, that is, the plan after the merger. There has not been much discussion about whether to merge, when to merge, and how to merge, which everyone is very interested in.

The opening shows the traditional arts of Ethereum, the most interesting of which is the appearance of V-God. Who would have thought that this dinosaur is V-God?

At the scene, the advantages of the merger were discussed.

Firstly, energy saving. Deploying the beacon chain to the main network, both mergers, can greatly reduce energy consumption.

Secondly, security. The argument is that Ethereum was designed as a mechanism to enforce “cryptoeconomic security”, where economic incentives are programmed into the base layer to guide user behavior. When miners turn into stakers, electricity costs other than hardware costs approach zero, and Ethereum validators are no longer inclined to sell ETH to pay for operating expenses.

The finale of the conference is, of course, V-God’s speech on planning after the merger. He believes that reducing costs can be achieved through capacity expansion — optimizing Layer 2 networks through data roll-up, and compressing data — reducing data capacity through encryption and compression algorithms.

We also agree that data aggregation will be an effective scaling solution for Ethereum. The current cost of the first-tier network is so high that users are reluctant to use it, which also provides opportunities for alternative networks. Layer 2 network fees, such as Optimism and Arbitrum, are 3 to 8 times lower than the Ethereum base layer, while ZK-rollup can be 40 to 100 times lower than the base layer. Even so, these fees are too expensive for many users. Buterin’s vision and solution for scaling rollups is data sharding, which will add about 16 MB of dedicated data space blocks to the chain that rollups can use.

Stanford Blockchain Conference, 2022

The conference focuses on technological innovation in the blockchain ecosystem, bringing together researchers and practitioners working in the field. Discussion of how to improve the security and scalability of blockchain deployments from the perspectives of cryptography, decentralized protocols, formal methods, and empirical analysis, while promoting engagement in blockchain protocol development, cryptography, distributed systems, security collaboration between practitioners and researchers in computing, cryptoeconomics, and economic risk analysis.

Since 2017, it has been held for 5 times, and it will be suspended in 2021 due to the epidemic. Judging from the exchanges at the venue, many of them were blockchain developers, and the venue was full. Most of the speakers are scholars, which are closer to academic exchanges.

The three-day SBC covered consensus mechanism, Defi, economic model, zero-knowledge proof, cryptography, payment, SNARK (Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge) and cross-chain bridge. Among them, Buterin also delivered a speech called “51% Attack Recovery”.

After Parties

Due to the Stanford Blockchain Conference, a large number of project parties and investors have been gathered near Silicon Valley. Taking this opportunity, some platforms and public chains have arranged rich exchange parties. Although they are called “party”, they are more of an industry exchange meeting and publicity meeting, which is very different from the pure party carnival of LA Tech Week.

Web3 Re-connect Social: Hosted by Coinbase, Silicon Valley Ethereum, Bitcoin Exchange and incubator Plug-and-Play, the Coinbase Ecology Leader also introduced the Coinbase Ecosystem in detail and how to join.

Hanahaus ZK-rollup meetup: Hanahaus is a well-known startup cafe in Silicon Valley that brings together a large number of developers, such as cryptography experts from Aptos.

Trilemma: Solana, Aptos, and Sui | 3 Super Fast Chains ONE Giant Web3 Event: Solana joined hands with new market darlings Aptos and Sui to hold a meeting, during which Sam Blackshear, the creator of move language, discussed the application and features of move language. The speeches were mainly from developers.

The Stanford Blockchain Week is rich in content and compact in arrangement. It is a very good interactive platform for developers, project parties and investors.

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See you next time!

(The above information is not intended as investment advice, this article only represents personal opinion)


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