Ethereum’s Beacon Chain Upgrades To Bellatrix

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Quick Take

  • Ethereum’s Beacon Chain upgrades to Bellatrix.
  • Ingonyama releases a Cloud ZK toolkit.
  • Frax Finance launches Fraxlend.
  • Coinbase proposes to custody USDC for MakerDAO.

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Bellatrix Upgrade Now Activated

The Beacon Chain successfully activated the Bellatrix upgrade, a hard fork that adds transaction execution to the proof-of-stake chain. Bellatrix experienced a 95% network participation rate. Roughly 5% of validators either failed to upgrade, failed to run an execution layer client, or failed to correctly configure their node. Now that Bellatrix is live, the Beacon Chain is merge-ready.

Bellatrix is the first of two upgrades needed to transition Ethereum’s consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake. The second upgrade, called Paris, will merge the Beacon Chain with Ethereum. Paris will be activated when the proof-of-work chain hits a predetermined difficulty value, which is set to occur around September 14th.

Ingonyama Releases Cloud ZK Toolkit

Semiconductor company Ingonyama released Cloud ZK, an open-source tool kit for accelerating ZKP computation using multipurpose microchips on cloud services. The company says that a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is more suitable for ZKPs than an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC).

The Cloud ZK toolkit allows users to access accelerated Multiscalar Multiplication (MSM) by using an AWS EC2 F1 FPGA instance. According to Ingonyama, its accelerator can generate up to 5x more proofs per second compared to a standard CPU instance.

Frax Finance Launches Fraxlend

Fractional stablecoin protocol Frax Finance launched a native lending and borrowing market called Fraxlend. The new market allows the protocol to mint FRAX backed by over-collateralized debt. Users can borrow FRAX on money markets like Compound using any token supported by Chainlink’s data feed as collateral.

Frax Finance earns interest on the loans, which it says it can use to buy back and burn its FXS governance token. Frax governance authorized up to $5 million worth of liquidity for WETH and WBTC pairs. According to DeFi Llama, Frax Finance holds more than $1.1 billion in TVL.

Coinbase Publishes MakerDAO Proposal

Coinbase Institutional published a proposal on MakerDAO, requesting that the protocol deposit roughly $1.6 billion USDC into Coinbase Prime. The institutional custody product promises a return of 1.5% APY. The proposal comes as MakerDAO Founder Rune Christensen has voiced concerns about the protocol’s dependency on centralized and Real World Asset (RWA) collateral.

More than a third of minted DAI is currently backed by USDC collateral. The use of centralized collateral has remained a contentious issue within the MakerDAO community. The protocol’s core growth unit has been criticized for pursuing opportunities that weaken the protocol’s censorship resistance.

Polygon PLZK toolkit open source

PIL ZK, a toolkit by Polygon used to generate STARK proofs, is now open-source. Polynomial Identity Language (PIL) is the native programing language for Polygon Hermez, which is used to define the state machines in the zkEVM prover. PIL ZK is also used to define the correctness of the EVM computation verification.