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Vitalik Buterin’s ‘Degen Communism’ and his vision for reducing Ethereum technical debt

Vitalik Buterin's 'Degen Communism' and his vision for reducing Ethereum technical debt

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin spent April Fools’ Day writing both serious and playful content across the Ethereum website and his personal blog. Across the two posts, he advocated protocol simplifications and efficiency improvements while exploring thought-provoking ideas about the future of political and economic systems in an increasingly digital world.

In his more serious post, Buterin detailed the latest hard fork, Dencun, which introduced a series of protocol simplifications as part of the section of the Ethereum roadmap called “The Purge.” This effort aims to streamline Ethereum’s codebase, reduce technical debt, and enhance the platform’s overall performance. Notable changes include the reduction of the SELFDESTRUCT opcode’s functionality, the introduction of a limited storage window for blobs, and the potential removal of rarely used precompiles.

These simplifications are expected to make Ethereum client development and infrastructure building more straightforward, paving the way for increased decentralization and efficiency. Buterin highlighted other examples of “purging” efforts, such as the Geth client dropping support for pre-merge Proof-of-Work networks and an EIP eliminating the need to handle “empty accounts.” Additionally, the Dencun hard fork introduced an 18-day storage window for blobs, significantly reducing the storage requirements for Ethereum nodes.

Another area targeted for simplification is precompiles, which are Ethereum contracts implemented directly by clients. As Buterin noted, precompiles like RIPEMD-160, Identity, BLAKE2, and MODEXP have rarely been used to source consensus bugs and challenges for new EVM implementations. The Ethereum community is considering either removing these precompiles entirely or replacing them with equivalent EVM code.

EIP-4444, which removes the requirement for every Ethereum node to store all historical blocks indefinitely, is set to significantly increase the network’s node…

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