56

Due to advances in blockchain research, it was shown that significantly lower block times were possible and perhaps beneficial given the current connectivity of the internet. One of the potential risks of a low block time is a higher rate of orphaned blocks (competing blocks that do not make it into the main chain). To counter this, a GHOST protocol is used ...


53

The PoW algorithm used in Frontier and Homestead is called Ethash, and it was created specifically for Ethereum. The primary reason for constructing a new proof of work function instead of using an existing one was to attack the problem of mining centralisation, where a small group of hardware companies or mining operations acquire a disproportionately ...


17

This is referred to as a "Nothing up my sleeve number" which is common practice for security / cryptography based software. From Wikipedia: In cryptography, nothing up my sleeve numbers are any numbers which, by their construction, are above suspicion of hidden properties. They are used in creating cryptographic functions such as hashes and ciphers. ...


17

Although your calculation is mostly correct, it did not take into consideration the network's capability to slowly increase the block gas limit. If a block becomes full with transactions, miners are allowed to bump the limit of the next block by a certain amount (for details please see Yellow paper, page 6, equations 40-42 + surrounding context). Based on ...


12

You can mine ether using your computers graphics card(s) (GPU) as long as it has enough memory to hold and access the DAG efficiently. To be efficient and competitive you should select a card with high total memory bandwidth. You could technically also mine with your CPU, but the current difficulty on the main net is so high that you wouldn't mine ether in ...


11

The primary reason Frontier is not "safe" is because: In short, we’re doing everything possible to make Frontier a safe place to test Ethereum with real value, but we are also strongly discouraging people from using Ether on the Frontier network which they are unwilling to lose. Source Frontier is intended largely for people who are writing and ...


8

The PoW algorithm used at the moment is the Ethash algorithm. In this wiki you can find the description of the algorithm and here you can see what was the design rationale behind Ethash.


8

A hardfork is a change in the protocol that is not backwards compatible, ie transactions from nodes running the older software will not be considered valid. With a soft fork nodes running an older version of the software could still publish valid transactions, they will just not have the latest and greatest features.


6

I'm the author of the ethereumjs-testrpc, and did much of the work on Ethersim during its early days, evidenced by this commit, the following commits and this unmerged PR. Ethersim was started by Iuri Mathias as an alternative to eth-testrpc, also written primarily by me, adapted from a script by Stephan George. eth-testrpc was the first ever testrpc ...


6

The issue here is there are a bunch of repositories called EtherSim and TestRPC, many of them now deprecated. When you say EtherSim and TestRPC currently you are likely referring to either one of these two repositories: https://github.com/ethereumjs/testrpc - by the guy behind Truffle, Tim https://github.com/iurimatias/EtherSim - by the guy behind Embark, ...


6

Ethereum is fundamentally limited by single threaded performance of a CPU. Discussion over GAS costs/etc is misleading because the maximum GAS that an individual node can process is limited and there is relatively little room to optimize execution. Early test networks reached 25 tx/second. With optimizations they may be able to reach 50 tx/second. In ...


5

You will need at least a 2GB RAM on your GPU to actually mine. CPU will be extremely hard to make any money unless you use a pool. Here's some resources: https://www.cryptocompare.com/mining/guides/how-to-mine-ethereum/ https://forum.ethereum.org/categories/mining


5

A hardfork is a situation where by consensus the ethereum peers agree to change the blockchain protocol spec as of a certain block number. The Homestead release has been hardcoded into the current ethereum clients to occur at block number 1,150,000. Nodes need to be upgraded to the latest release in order to continue functioning correctly after the ...


5

You're correct, this is no longer the case: Many of the planned Frontier gotchas (which included a chain reset at Homestead, limiting mining rewards to 10%, and centralized checkpointing) were deemed unnecessary. source I'm not exactly sure why they thought this was necessary, but I think the idea was that if major changes to the EVM needed to be ...


5

Currently Ethereum Frontier is still undergoing massive changes, and there are a lot of bugs and features left unimplemented. For example, scalability is a concern and there is the possibility of changing that via the consensus algorithm (see Casper). Also Solidity is still being fully implemented and not fully there as of yet. Point being, it works, ...


5

In addition to the answer explaining nothing up my sleeve number of pi million, it's worth to add that the gas limit is not set in stone. As the yellow paper equations describe the gas limit can adjust with every block plusminus 1/1024 which is around 0.09%. In case of a very high network utilization, the network could adjust the gas limit by a factor of ...


4

https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Ethash and https://github.com/ethereum/wiki/wiki/Ethash-Design-Rationale Basically - ASIC resistance was a concern.


3

The short and precise definition is provided by BIP 123: Hard Forks In a hard fork, structures that were invalid under the old rules become valid under the new rules. Soft Forks In a soft fork, some structures that were valid under the old rules are no longer valid under the new rules. Structures that were invalid under the old rules ...


3

You can begin here on the Ethereum wiki. Reading the code can also be very helpful.


1

Infura is unlikely to be the bottleneck - they are pretty optimised for scale and throughput of transactions. Assuming your transaction is being broadcast (which should mean it shows as Pending in etherscan.io) then this comes down largely to gas prices. Gas prices have been very high in the last 24 hours and there have been lots of backed up transactions -...


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