Education and Organization for Ethereum with Pooja Ranjan from Ethereum Cat HerdersApr 19, 2021
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HOST: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Unstoppable podcast. I’m your host Diana Chen and I’m here with my cohost Matthew Gould, cofounder and CEO of Unstoppable Domains and our guest Pooja Ranjan, the founder at EtherWorld and Block Action and herder-in-chief at Ethereum cat herders. Welcome, Pooja.
POOJA RANJAN: Thanks so much for being here. Thanks, Diana. Thanks for the introduction and thank you for having me here.
HOST: Of course. So we have a lot to get into, but I just want to get your background. How did you interested in crypto and blockchain in the first place?
POOJA RANJAN: Yeah. I find it very interesting. When Bitcoin was launched, I was in my own little world. I didn't know what’s going on in the world. So this all started in 2016 when I was looking to come back to work again after a very, very long family break. So while we were enjoying our youngest kid and enjoying her cute activities, my spouse was also working on building this mining machine. So it was a smart project. I remember we but just three GPU’s and tried to create a rig at home. My kids enjoyed cutting woods, drilling - - . So that was when I first learned about Ethereum and the blockchain. I loved the concept. So I did some research and started learning more and more about blockchain and Bitcoin and Ethereum of course.
HOST: That’s awesome. So back 2016 this was still relatively early days and way fewer resources back then than we have today. So how did you go about learning more about this space back then?
POOJA RANJAN: Yeah. Good question. At the time, there were very few resources available. I had to literally watch hours and hours length of video of conferences to learn about any new concept. So I started this website. My first website, EtherWorld.co, which was initially about tech articles. So what we used to do is, like, if you are spending so many hours learning about the concept, we try to write it down in simple plain English for other people to understand at least first and then get involved. Later on we started adding about different blockchains as well and some news about the projects - - . But, yes, that was my - - started that.
HOST: I was going to say then fast forward to today--there’s so many more resources today. What are your, you know, other than obviously go to EtherWorld and read about the news there. But other than that, what are some of your sources of truth or your go-to places to learn about this space whether it’s blogs or books or online publications, even Twitter personalities. Any resources you can direct people to who are just starting to learn.
POOJA RANJAN: Oh, well, actually I’m a very big fan of GitHub. If I had to look into any of the concept--anything related to especially Ethereum I usually go to the GitHub article. For ETH2, I can say for sure that most of the information that you can trust is on ETH2 GitHub. Even if there is not detailed documents, at least they have the link where you can go and find it. For Ethereum 1.0, I can say the best place to go is fellowship of Ethereum magician where people talk about all these EIPs and proposals that can actually make Ethereum network more secure or scalable and, like, all kind of discussion happens there. Other than that, I follow some people like--I’m not a big Twitter, like, follow that person kind of because I follow people at many other places. So I follow a few people. Anthony Sassal. I like his daily - - and EthHub. For ETH2, Benjamin Edgington. His newsletter is very, very cool. It’s gives complete information about whatever has happened in ETH2 for the entire week. In fact, - - also has a newsletter that covers this network part, like, ETH1 part that you can find it over there.
HOST: Got it. And so we’re going to be talking a lot of Ethereum on this--the rest of this podcast. So for people who maybe aren’t familiar with what Ethereum is or maybe they think Ethereum is the same thing as Bitcoin. It’s just a cryptocurrency that you can buy and sell. How would you explain Ethereum--what Ethereum is to somebody who is new to the space in a very simple and easy-to-understand way?
POOJA RANJAN: Yeah. I mean that’s an interesting question. I actually have explained this to somebody before. Would you mind if I shared the story here?
HOST: Sure. Go ahead.
POOJA RANJAN: So there was this elderly person who was visiting to the United States to see his daughter and I met him at a Halloween party in 2019, I guess. So we were just trying to make general conversation and he asked me about where I work, what do I do and all this stuff. Initially, I tried to be a little brief and I just responded I have a website and we talk about blockchain technology. And he was like what is this blockchain technology? And then I asked do you know Bitcoin and he said yes I know. But isn’t that a scam. And it was, like, okay. Then he said why will I give money to, you know, Bitcoin or to buy that BTC when I can buy anything else from that? So from there I - - okay fine. We have to go back to his level of understanding, try to make, you know, relationship and relay the things. And then I started mentioning about middleman. How do you feel about middleman? And how do you feel if you removed this middleman from the entire process? What are your thoughts on the corruption, you know, voting system is there and corruption thing? Do you think that it can be solved? So there are many small, small problems that we actually start living with that instead of trying to fix it because it takes too much work to get it fixed actually. And the best part was decentralization because he was visiting to the United States. So I just mentioned, you know, this blockchain technology also gives us the freedom of living anywhere we want to. We don't actually have migrate to work and this thing. And then it started making sense to him. So we had a long conversation on this while our kids were doing this - - outside. But I think the key here is to get to make the relevance, like, where is that individual from and what can he relate it with easily. Like had I started with immutability, permanence and enhanced security, it would have taken a little longer to explain to him.
MATTHEW GOULD: I think that was great because what you did there was you basically said let’s focus on the problems that you’re actually facing, right, instead of trying to explain the technology. And I’m super guilty about this because when people ask me about crypto and blockchain, I sometimes will go immediately to the tech. I’m, like, oh, it’s this really cool tech. It was invented by this guy, and it solves this double spend problem. But I think it’s really good to focus on the problems that people may face. Like just ask yourself wouldn't it be great if I didn't have to have someone in the middle of sending money between me and you. Or wouldn't it be great if you could have complete control of your finances from your cellphone instead of having to, you know, send that money--like manage that through some sort of financial services. Or like you’re saying wouldn't it be great if I could verify that my vote was accurate that I recently sent in. And I think focusing on the problems there is definitely super helpful for people to get their heads around what they need to do next. So I love that answer. I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing. I wanted to actually kind of move along to the next thing here and I wanted to ask you about a little bit about some of the work that you’ve done. So I know that you are at--you have EtherWorld and I’m curious, you know, why did you start it. And you mentioned it a little bit earlier. You know? But what problem were you trying to solve and how did you get the idea?
POOJA RANJAN: So when we started EtherWorld as I mentioned, like, the immediate thing was at the time there were really few resources available. So I just wanted to create engagement. It’s not about--not everybody start coding and start - - things up on - - . So I tried to increase engagement. With EtherWorld I started a stipend-based internship program like on my website providing opportunities to students to learn the concept and then share it with other people I selected kids from India because it was easier for me to get, you know, associated to universities, reach out to people over there. So there are some very good blogs on the concept of blockchain wallet, public and private key, sharding, scaling on EtherWorld for bigness. And most of them are written by those grad school students. So I found that it is like--it easier for people to grasp when it is coming from somebody at their own level and writing it there in, like, simple, plain English. To, you know, increase it further, what we did is, like, we tried to provide a fair exposure of the technology and we designed some blockchain wallet that was our first project block action wallet, which was live on - - test net. And then we also did a couple of POC’s on blockchain certificates and small other projects. So these kids--they get the firsthand experience of coding as well. Like at the moment we have a blockaction.io that is again a blockchain explorer. For each new test net, like, we join multiclient test net with Witty. Like they had the series of test nets. So we joined it with Witty. And since then we have been supporting with this explorer for different test nets and they--you know? I think that when people are actually interacting, getting live into the art, that really helps in support. And when we are helping out these kids, they will one day come up and become a developer and maybe start solving the problem that never--people had never thought of. You know? So that’s my idea. Sorry.
HOST: Yeah. No, that’s awesome. So with EtherWorld then, who is the audience that you’re trying to serve the most? Is it sort of people that are brand new to the space? Is it really, you know, still students that are trying to learn about this to help them with their research and learning? Or, you know, who exactly is it that is the target audience that you’re trying to serve?
POOJA RANJAN: So at the moment I can say that, like, EtherWorld--we have recently started a section of news as well. So this news section that we started is for people who do not want to get into details, but also want to stay up to date. Right? What’s going in the market and what are the new projects that those are coming up? So that is one section. The other section is technical article that is--in fact, I can say that is the--for all the grad level students who are first looking about the blockchain for the first time--very first time. They can learn that. And we also have this internship program. So even if they want to join us and they write about it and they learn and write about it. So that is also there. Yeah. I mean, like, three basic section project information, news, and tech. So kind of like people who are trying to understand technology and students who are willing to maybe grow up as a developer.
HOST: Got it. That’s awesome. I hope to see that grow even more and more, and hopefully the masses will catch on and get to the new section and maybe graduate into the other sections as well.
POOJA RANJAN: Thank you.
HOST: And so overall what is your big vision with how EtherWorld is contributing to the overall mission of pushing blockchain forward?
POOJA RANJAN: So EtherWorld is just one project of my LLC. Right? So with this EtherWorld--I mean I hope to keep sharing information like whatever comes up, like, for Ethereum, like I’m very closely associated with Ethereum blockchain community. So whatever is going on in Ethereum I try to keep people updated, let people know what are the progresses being made, and like how we are reaching to this consensus or not. So that is one part. But other than that I would like to keep helping out to the other, you know, Ethereum projects as well. Like for ETH2 as I mentioned we have this block action. We intend to continue further with that, supporting the test net developers who actually want to test their ETH2 projects if they are developing it on the test net Piermont or maybe whatever is coming up in future I heard that Piermont could be duplicated soon. So whatever test net - - selects. So I’ll try to support them. And even for this rule up thing that is coming up, we--I mean it’s not decided yet. We are just thinking about it depending on much fund we have and how much resources we have. Maybe we will start supporting with some infrastructure tools or something like that too.
MATTHEW GOULD: So I think that you’ve got a lot on your plate from just chatting with you earlier and all the different projects that you’re involved with. But one of them that I think is your more interesting title, which is, you know, the Ethereum cat herders being the herder in chief. So I definitely think that’s the coolest title I’ve ever seen on the podcast so far. And I just have to ask you how did you end up being the herder in chief over there for Ethereum Cat Herders? And I guess maybe a first place is why don’t you tell the people what the Ethereum Cat Herders group is for because I actually think a lot of people don't know. For developers out there, you’ve probably heard of these people. But I’ll actually pass it over to you to tell us a little bit about that and how you ended up being involved with those guys.
POOJA RANJAN: So it all actually started with EtherWorld only. Like at the time they were looking for somebody to write the meeting notes for - - meeting notes. And I was, like, you know, volunteering for that. I wrote a couple of meeting notes published - - . Then after I think one or two years, they decided to come up with this formalized group where people can support with different tasks. That is, like, you know, communication, coordination, documenting notes, and all. So Ethereum Cat Herder was initially founded in 2019 by Hudson Jameson and a few other people from the Ethereum community. And the idea was just to support the development work, the whole client desk. Right? And maybe with Ethereum network upgrade as well because I think that time there was some urgent upgrade that was Peter’s blogs -- and Peter’s blog it was. And, like, we started with that, but as time passed more people joined. And now it is a complete decentralized project management group and we aim to become Ethereum support desk for the new community members. And this group has project managers, developers, and individual contributors and currently we are looking into like too many - - small meetings and we try to connect people. It’s like a cement, which is, like, closing the gaps between the client developers, the infrastructure provider, and the community at large.
MATTHEW GOULD: Got it. Yeah. And I guess for the people at home who may not know, when you run a blockchain, you have these things called clients and those are--that’s the software that people are running on their computers in order to validate the blockchain network. And then on the Ethereum side there’s a couple of major clients and you probably know--I mean I know there’s Geth or Geeth. I actually don’t know how the pronounce it. And then we have Parity and I know Prismatic Labs have a client there as well. And so I guess that’s where you guys started was helping those clients just communicate with each other and try to connect to make sure that they’re on sync on upcoming proposals.
POOJA RANJAN: That's correct. So, yeah, there are I think four major clients at the moment for Ethereum 1.0 chain that is Get, Go Ethereum. Parity is, like, now duplicated and the new name is Open Ethereum. Other than that, Nethermind and Besu. These are the four major clients. Ethereum JS is also there. That is all supporting and one more is Cyboget. But these are like--okay. They are also supporting of the upgrade and people are running client nodes on that. So, yes, the idea was, like, whatever comes up to the--all quarter meeting means all client developers meeting actually. If there is a proposal like a--any kind of improvement proposal that people would like to see on the Ethereum network to make it more secure, maybe to access the new features. So these people are making decisions and now what we need to do is, like, we need to make sure that these decisions are not only developers - - only but also what is coming from community side. So we are trying to kind of moderate these two things. Kind of building consensus and all. So, yes, moderation is one of the important things, yeah, that we are trying to do.
MATTHEW GOULD: Well, I would say it’s critical. Right? We have--I haven't checked recently but I think--I believe Ethereum is a $100 billion plus blockchain if not $200 billion now. And this is all being coordinated by all of these developers working on different open-source clients for people to verify this. And, you know, if any of these clients are a bug that’s a major problem for everyone. And so just organizing the communication among those people, make sure that they have a place where they can go if they talk about problems. The Ethereum Cat Herders group--it’s basically like a place for all the developers who are working on Ethereum hang out in order to know what’s going on in the space, you know, on the tech side, to get the latest news. Right? And then I know that there’s the Eth Magicians, which is part--you know--through the Ethereum Foundation. There’s a lot of people in there talking about these proposals. But I think it's great that you guys are making it easier for all these developers to get together. And these are really the developers who are building the core infrastructure for the protocols to make sure that they can communicate well so we don't have mistakes. I mean there’s a lot of money on the line here and everyone is pretty invested. And I know it’s tough on those guys too. So I actually just want to give a shoutout to everyone working on these clients. You guys are doing an amazing job and this is not just on Ethereum but also Bitcoin--across the cryptocurrency ecosystem--the people working on these. And then specific to Ethereum, everyone working on Geth and then Open Ethereum and Nethermind and Besu and -- and the other ones. Those are great works and we’ve very happy--it’s important to have more than one too, which I think people miss because if you just have one, one different--one different way to verify the blockchain, if that one has a but that’s a real problem. But if you have six, you know, it’s much more likely that, you know, it’s harder to get them all synced but then I think it’s also a lot safer. Something you mentioned, which I think the people at home are not aware of is you talked about improvement proposals. And so this--most blockchains out there have an improvement proposal process and it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a way for people to suggest, hey, here’s a way where we could potentially make the blockchain better. And Ethereum has the EIP, which is the Ethereum Improvement Proposal and different blockchains have their own system. But if you don't mind just talking us through real quick--I’d actually like to know, you know, who writes and submits EIPs. It’s kind of like what’s the life of an improvement proposal. Where do these come from? It’s really a community effort. Isn’t it?
POOJA RANJAN: That's correct and thank you for asking this question. This is one of my favorite topics. So I have spent over two years--like when I got associated with Ethereum Cat Herders I got an opportunity to work with these proposal authors, EIP - - and I hook up with these things like very closely. So in simple terms, I can say that EIPs--those are the building blocks of Ethereum team. They decide what will go on the main chain, like, what feature can be added, what security we can provide, and all this stuff. So EIP and--it is like Ethereum Improvement Proposal as it is explained. There are basically three different kind of proposals--EIPs--meta, standard, and informational. So meta standard is, like, meta one that is the biggest one at the moment. We have just one meta that is called EIP One. So EIP one is a kind of holy document where everything is listed. Like as you were asking, who can write a proposal and how to write a proposal. All this detailed information is mentioned there in - - . So anyone can write a proposal. If you have an idea, you can go ahead and write a proposal. You’re looking for some guidelines, EIP One is the guideline for that. Next comes the standards. So standard is further divided into four sections, core, ERC, interface, and networking. Core proposals are the proposals are the proposals, which actually undergo any kind of upgrade. So network upgrade is when we ask people to upgrade their client node because we are adding certain features to Ethereum chain. So those proposals are decided--I mean those proposals are proposed with the help of these core proposals and are decided by the client developers and the community consensus and then it undergoes an in-network upgrade. ERC--I think many people are aware of ERC 22 - - . You can create that. ERC simply means Ethereum Request Chain. So it’s like any kind of, you know, cryptocurrency people tried to make a token. So they take a proposed ERC and they propose the standard like something - - . And there are something related to interface and networking as well like if they have to work API’s there are certain proposals which are upcoming for, you know, future upgrades. Those are really important. And the third--the last bigger category was information. So that’s as explained it's like--it’s not mandate. People can follow it, not follow it, but that is available for information if you are looking for it. And like, you know, these EIP--as I mention it is my favorite topics. So I would like to speak a little more. So what it did is, like, you know, there are very, very few information available about proposal because this is mostly done by the highly technical people. They come up with some proposals and they write it down and, and like this is processing. Not many people are aware of, like, what all proposals are available. What features are already standardized? What--how can we make use of that? So we started this EIP education program. It’s not a program. It’s basically a web series on EIP--what we can say is, like, you know, okay, educate about EIPs. So we call author of a proposal, ask them to provide an overview of the proposal, and that’s how, you know, there are some question/answer - - but that’s how we are trying to give more exposure to proposals which are coming up in the upgrade.
MATTHEW GOULD: Well, we’ll definitely dive into some specific EIPs here. So don't worry. We're going to make sure we walk through a couple of these so people at home can hear what’s coming up here. But before we get into the specifics, I’d actually kind of like to step up back to the top, maybe at a higher level. What are some of the problems that people are submitting EIPs for? Like I have some ideas. Like I know there’s problems with UX. Right? And then we have problems for scaling. And so I’m just kind of curious--just--we’ll dig into some specific ones like we’re going to talk about, um, a couple of EIP 1559, and a couple other ones here a little bit later. But for the problem side because we’re just trying to frame this for people at home--what are some ones that you’re seeing or that you think are interesting to mention?
POOJA RANJAN: So I can mention a couple of proposals, which are proposed for, you know, London upgrade. London is the next upgrade that is after Berlin. We are expecting--Berlin is expected in April. Yeah. Middle of April. I think 14th April hopefully it will deploy on the main net. After that we are expecting another upgrade and the proposals that we have received so far--obviously 1559 is the one that is going in there. There is another issue that is not--it’s not actually an issue but we see it quite often. It’s the difficulty bomb - - staff. So there’s another proposal on that. Other than that, certain proposals for, like, a BLS signature which can be helpful for Ethereum 2 project as well, like, making a relationship between 1 and 2. Some proposals that came recently was about transaction. You know? Transaction for math. What--how we can make it like universal kind of. So there is one interesting proposal coming up. EIP 207 for native sponsor transaction. So these are the core proposals but other than that we also see some proposals around ERCs. Those are related to maybe kind of UIS eventually UI improvement of wallet and recently we also found another proposal, which was for exchanges. Like exchanges has issues of high gas. Right? So they have to do it for their individual users. They have to manage accounts and they intentionally add a lot of gas so that they’re transaction gets accepted. So that is created a high gas in the entire network. So this person--he talked about this proposal and I think he mentioned that by utilizing--I mean my implementing that proposal we can--if not solve at least mitigate at a certain level. So there are quite a lot of interesting proposals that we are seeing here.
MATTHEW GOULD: Okay. So I’m going to try to summarize that at home on what the problems that people are trying to solve and then we’ll dive into each one of those that mentioned in particular. So one of them is, like, high gas cost because exchanges want to make sure that the user always gets their money when they set up the transaction. So they just put in the highest gas fee possible to go through. And that properly maps over to EIP 1559 because if you had like a standard price for things. Then you wouldn't have to submit a really high gas price. You could just submit the average to get that go through. Another one that you talked about was UX. So people at home who have tokens--so I’ve you’ve ever played with tokens on the Ethereum blockchain or you have an NFT, you know, these are ERC standards for, like, ERC 20 for tokens or ERC 721. So it sounds like there’s some action there on the improvement proposals to come up with some more standards that could be useful. So I’m excited to kind of hear what those could be. We have another one that’s kind of inside basement. It’s the difficulty bomb. So for people who don’t know about blockchains, the developers put in a piece of code on the blockchain that makes the blockchain become very, very hard to do the next transactions at a certain point in time. And the reason why they do that is to--it’s basically like setting a goal for the blockchain to make an update. Right? And so the developers on Ethereum in particularly made this difficulty bomb thing because they wanted to ensure that they wouldn't get lazy. And so like every year they have a difficulty bomb. So if they don’t make an improvement by that year, then they have to make an improvement here to move the difficulty bomb off. So that’s pretty interesting too. And then you actually were saying there’s a couple of designs there that could potentially help UX on the user side. So let’s dive in and let’s talk about 1559 just real briefly at a high level and then--we won't go deep because we’re going to have Tim on here in the not-too-distant future. And then we’ll touch on a couple--then we’ll touch on the Berlin upgrade--the network upgrade that you said - - and then we’ll talk about London. So EIP 1559 actually--is that Berlin or is that London?
POOJA RANJAN: That’s London.
MATTHEW GOULD: Okay. So let’s talk about Berlin first because I think that one is coming up first. So another thing that people may not know is that blockchains update all the time. So we have a network upgrade that’s going to happen here I think in the next month and it’s called Berlin. That’s the name of the upgrade. These seem to be named after cities. And first of all I guess tell us how the upgrade process works. I’m sure people would be very interested at home because all the clients that we talked about earlier--and there’s like five of them--they all have to update on these upgrades. So what’s that like on the coordination side for the Ethereum Cat Herders for Berlin that’s coming up here and you can let us know about when that is happening and kind of some of the improvements we can see there.
POOJA RANJAN: All right. So, Berlin, is a name--of course - - this upgrade is named after Berlin. But let me give you a little bit of history of that. So what happened, like, people were always thinking about new name for upgrades. Then we decided that wherever we have done Devcon. So start from Devcon--whatever city or county we are touching that. So we will start naming upgrades based on the devcon city. So it stated with Devcon zero, Berlin, and then London, then Shanghai and then we are planning to move accordingly. So in Berlin we are, we are targeting to introduce four proposals. Yeah. I think four. Yes. That is going to include EIP 2565, which is the mod EXP gas cost. It is about some - - about the gas cost price. So it is basically an implement of EIP 198, which was originally introduced to pre-compile for a modular expo - - . Then we are introducing EIP 2718. That is putting into EIP 1559 as well because that is a tied transaction - - like it’s going to introduce a new transaction type that is developed to be--to enable easier support for multiple transaction types. Like, you know, with this interaction of 1559 then we want 1559 type of transaction and then we have legacy transaction to support all kind of - - you had this type transaction - - . Other than that, we have two more proposals, EIP 2929 and EIP 2930. 2930 is to support EIP 2929 that is gas cost increase for state access up codes and 2930 is simply to provide optional access list in case of any EIP 2929 breaks any of the contracts. So that is there. All these proposals are on - - test net as of now. Like yesterday only on March 10th of--they are there and so far they are doing good. There’s no problem with the - - test net so far. We are expecting it to be on different test net, like, go really -- and we also planning to have it on -- and others. The detailed block number and the dates that it’s published on the Ethereum Foundation blog. So, yeah, that’s all about Berlin.
MATTHEW GOULD: Yeah. It’s quite a lot. And these things happen what--would you say ever six months or so? Maybe six to nine months, they have an update or sometimes quicker.
POOJA RANJAN: Generally--okay, fine. So let me put - - this way. So what happens--our last upgrade was in 2020 January. So it’s coming after a very long gap. Stanwell was -- in December 2019 and Muir Glacier was in January 2020. When Stanwell was being decided, there were some issues that were surfacing. So we came up with this EIPIP group that was, like, EIP Improvement Process group. We started thinking about how we can streamline the process of network upgrade. So we made some changes. Right? We started - - the important parameters to be considered for an upgrade. There were different kind of proposals. One was EIP-centric model. Another was train and flight model. So we started experimenting with that and finally I think in Q4 I have published a blog on network upgrade. What does the current model look like? So we are trying to come to, you know, a shorter window of upgrade although this is like quite long.
MATTHEW GOULD: Yeah.
POOJA RANJAN: - - three to five, five months. That should be - - .
MATTHEW GOULD: Wow. That’s a huge improvement and it sounds like--so for the most--the next update for Ethereum is not very contentious. Like you’re saying it’s already up on Ropsten. We expect this happen in the next 30 to 60 says and it’s some basically cleanup here that we just have to do make sure that we don’t have problem as more and more people start coming onto Ethereum. And then I guess the one afterwards--so the London proposal probably goes out July. We’ll see when it gets in. So that’s much quicker. Right? So April, May, June, July--so it’s like four months. That one actually has a couple things in here that are a little bit hotter. So we have the--I think London is going to have an update for 1559, which is going to kind of cap gas costs and then also burn the fee for miners. And then the difficulty bomb is going to be pushed back. I was wondering what other proposals are coming up on London that we could potentially see in the London fork this July.
POOJA RANJAN: So there are quite a few proposals in line, like as you mentioned two. Those have been, like, CFI-approved. CFI means considered for inclusion. That’s a step that we have introduced with this new network upgrade process. So a first step is to propose it for CFI proposal. Next is approval and then people start working on it. Then it goes to developers test net. Like many people have heard about Yolo. We started with Yolo version one, version two, and version three was the final one before we started putting it to the public test net for Berlin.
MATTHEW GOULD: And then I guess my next question would be--one of the things that people have been talking about is potentially removing refunds. Is that on the blockchain for--and for people who don’t know, there’s a way to get a refund on your blockchain transaction here and people have been taking advantage of this in my opinion to create different ways of paying cheaper gas. They’re using gas tokens. So removal of refunds. Is that possible that that could up here in July or any other interesting ones that you think are worth mentioning for the potential July 4th?
POOJA RANJAN: Uh, yeah. I think that is very much up. We could not decide in the last all caller meeting although it was proposed. We have a proposal listed for that. - - had recently added a proposal for that particular gas refund thing. Let me just quickly check the number. The number is 3298. Yeah. That is the removal of refunds proposal. So we are basically trying to remove--as you mentioned, you know, gas token. They provide some kind of refund. So it is possible if it is like--because it is fairly new. It has been written in like ten days - - . So it depends upon the client teams how they would analyze this. Like if it is possible to actually implement all those codes and get it integrated and then only it can be approved. So there has to be some discussion on this. But other than that, there are few proposals which are ready, like, which were ready at the time of Berlin. But we could not include it yet. That is--one of those are VLS1. So VLS--I think it is EIP 2537. So that is again a very, you know, helpful proposal. People are looking for that. It’s basically a pre-compile for VLS12, 3 and one - - operations. So it’s going to help a lot in some of the applications there. And there is one more proposal that is native sponsored transaction. That is EIP 3074. So that’s also--have a lot of use cases and one of the use cases that we do not actually need to pay in Eth for the gas fees. How we can pay it with the EIC20 tokens or something else. So there are quite a few proposals, some of which we expect to be hearing in the next - - meeting. I think it’s not this Friday--the coming Friday. Yeah.
MATTHEW GOULD: Well, I will just shout out to Vitalik there for writing the proposal on getting rid of the gas token essentially by getting rid of this--refunds for storage space. I am 100 percent in agreement with him. And I’m glad that he put that out there because I think it’s actually been pushing gas prices up. Now that’s one man’s opinion. I’m sure other people will weigh in on that. But I was glad to see that come from the top on that side. So very interesting. And it’s also pretty interesting to see that Vitalik is still actively involved in these Ethereum improvement proposals five, six, years on. Like he’s still in here checking out. So very cool. Thank you for the summary on what’s coming up in Berlin and London in the next few months. It sounds like we’re going to have a lot of action on Ethereum over the next six months.
POOJA RANJAN: Yes, definitely. We are going to see a lot of proposals, a lot of improvements, and there are something going on the mod side as well, like, consensus layer and application there - - when we are planning to ship the algorithm from proof of work to proof of a stake. So there are quite a few proposals lined up, which are also going to, you know, kind of mix these two chains together and, you know, so much--I mean although we don't see mods like in this year. We are expecting it next year. But people have started talking about to make it earlier--sooner rather than later. So let’s see. I hope there would be few - - coming in.
HOST: Well, I’m excited to see what happens too. Sorry for the just lurking and sitting back here. I was just taking it all in and learning. And I can obviously tell how passionate you are about all of this. And it’s crazy to think that this is actually your part-time work. And you’re actually involved in a lot of other projects as well. So I want to hear about some of the other projects that you’ve worked on. You mention block action earlier and you’ve also been involved in some hackathons and get coin and things like that. So talk about some of the other projects that you’ve worked on outside of Ethereum Cat Herders.
POOJA RANJAN: So, yeah, block action is one of the project--the side project it was though because we just started to, again, educate people about Ethereum 2.0. It started when we--when Ethereum was not--Ethereum 2.0 was not on the main net and they were looking for difficult option. The mighty client test net was their first experiment and we wanted to support that. So we gathered a team of two developers and we came up with this explorer so that--what--whatever is being tested, at least there should be a background. I mean where people can go and check the relevance of data and how it is coming up. So that’s how block action started--this version of that. And, yeah, we hope to continue support with that. Other than that, I am engaged with evens and I go out, do talk about all these stuff, like the network upgrade, the process improvement that happens in Ethereum. Recently, like in - - 2021 we spoke about what are the past, present and future that we see for the Ethereum network upgrade, especially for Ethereum 1.0. And, yeah, I was happy. I got an opportunity to even--just the final hackathon of - - . That was like one of my best experience there. I met a few people like I saw a--I want to make a special mention of this lady. I’m sorry I forgot her name. But she was somewhere from Denver. She was a commissioner and I saw her interest in blockchain that was quite impressive. I can’t believe that somebody was not actually from the blockchain space knows this much about blockchain and her questions, her suggestions were too good. So it’s a good exposure for me to learn more about go see around. Briefly, I was also involved with marketing - - . I was helping out with operations there. So, yeah, I’ve been--I keep on looking or projects around and try to figure out a way how, again, support, help, whatever is possible.
HOST: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I am also curious to hear what you think is going to happen in the next year in the space that’s really exciting. We obviously dove into some of the specifics about some of the interesting EIPs to look out for in the next. But give us sort of the big picture of--where do you see us at the end of 2020 or maybe in March of the next year? Where do you see us being with Ethereum?
POOJA RANJAN: So I think I have spoken a lot on the network upgrade side. But if I can give you a little, you know, kind of roadmap of what we can expect from Ethereum’s side. We are definitely going for a Berlin upgrade in April and then July and August--that would be for London timing. After that, threatened could be one more upgrade that is not decided yet. But if that happens that would be Shanghai somewhere around 2021 or maybe December 2021 or January 2022. That is my best guess. And that would also include some interesting proposals like Merkle tree and EIP 2935 and many more requirement that would be needed for the merge. So merge is basically when we are trying to shift from proof of work to proof of stake. And currently we like to refer it as two different layers. The consensus layer that Ethereum 2.0 that is going to be the brain of the chain and the application layer, which is like Ethereum 1.0 as of now, but it will be reference - - application there. And the merge is expected--if not very soon, we can expect it somewhere in Q1 or something like that. At the most, maybe in the summer of 2022. But I feel like there are quite a few interesting things lined up, and I’m really excited about it.
HOST: That’s awesome. And then I’m also curious to hear what do you have in store for EtherWorld in the remainder of 2021?
POOJA RANJAN: EtherWorld--I mean I feel guilty about it. As we mentioned it doesn’t sound like a parttime job. So, yeah, I had--spending more time over there. So I’m looking for more people to join in and maybe when, you know, when the speed or this summer vacation kind of comes up - - more - - show up. They want to get some--spend their time doing some good works, some learning work. So I hope that we will continue providing good information, good piece of article, and also I’m planning to start some YouTube channel. Now more of writing is done, but something needs to be done on the video side because video explanation I believe is, like, very easy way to comprehend anything. Right? So I’m hoping to start something in video section as well--explanation or something like that.
MATTHEW GOULD: Awesome. Well, thanks again for coming here and spending time with us today and just talking about all of these really deep topics about how the process works for blockchains and the developer community to get together and actually work on them, which is essentially a lot of the work that you do over the Ethereum Cat Herders. And then I just want--a couple questions here at the end. How can people support the developer community? Because I know there may be some people out there listening to this and they’re, like, oh man, I really, you know, I want to support some of these people and help them on their projects. Is there a place for people to find information around where they could potentially help support some of these developers or some of these clients that are going out? Ways that they could help contribute to--because I know a lot of people in this space are very exciting about what’s happening and they would love to be able to help however they can.
POOJA RANJAN: Right. As I mentioned, at Ethereum Cat Herders--we are trying to become the Ethereum support desk. Right? So we have recently started this support channel for people to join in and what we do is, like, we try to redirect them to their group that they are looking for. So they can always - - and the question and we have a lot of people over there--a lot of developers, EIP editors who can actually guide on some information that they are looking for and that is one way we can say that. And other than that we have this newsletter coming out every weekend that we provide the information of what - - looking for, any developers or something like that.
MATTHEW GOULD: Perfect.
POOJA RANJAN: So, yeah, there are multiple ways - - .
MATTHEW GOULD: Perfect. All right. So for developers at home, you know, they’re looking for help and then for other people just go into the community and they can direct you to where they could be helpful. And then, you know, Unstoppable Domains is going to take a look. Maybe there’s some EIPs we can put together for Ethereum as well in this next year to try to help move the ecosystem forward. So I guess as a final thing, where can people find you online? Where would you direct people to go and look for you? What’s the, what’s the easiest place for them to connect with you and the work that you’re doing? So if they want to follow up after this podcast, they can.
POOJA RANJAN: Right. So if you would like to learn more about Ethereum and EIPs, join ECH’s card, subscribe to the ECH YouTube channel, and follow the playlist -- . If you are a data developer and working on Ethereum 2.0 test net working on some project, that could be there. You can visit to blockaction.io and get some general information about that. If you want to stay updated with news and tech thing, Etherworld is there for--to follow me, you can always follow my work on Twitter and Medium. I generally make some posts. So my Twitter handle is PoojaRanjan19, same as for Medium. So yeah.
HOST: Awesome. Well, thank you so much Pooja for being here. I really enjoy the conversation. I learned so much. I feel like I just took a backseat today and let the two of you talk it out. But I’ve learned so much and I can’t wait to dive deeper into some of these EIPs and check out what’s coming up in the future as well. So thanks again for being here. Thank you listeners for tuning in. Thank you Matt for cohosting with me as always and we’ll be back again soon with another episode of The Unstoppable Podcast.
POOJA RANJAN: Thank you so much.