This Istanbul fork is a system upgrade of the Ethereum network that focuses on privacy and scalability improvements, among other code changes. It is also known as the prelude to the forthcoming multi-phase major upgrade, Serenity.
Decentralized Finance (DeFi) refers to financial tools built on top of blockchains, consisting of smart contracts, protocols, decentralized applications (DApps).
On a macro scale, an important benefit for blockchain explorers is the fact that it allows the users to see the movement of tokens in a transparently decentralized manner. Paypal does not have such public data available for its users to audit.
A consensus mechanism allows the agreement of the data stored in a blockchain and is distributedly processed among thousands or millions of mobile devices and computers.
Phase 2 is when the functionality of Serenity comes together. A new virtual machine called eWASM will be introduced, allowing shard chains to become fully-functional transaction chains that can scale the Ethereum blockchain drastically.
Delegated Proof of Stake (DPoS) is a consensus mechanism that involves user-voted “delegates” and “witnesses” that validate transactions of a blockchain network. It is a hybrid form of proof of stake (PoS), invented to surmount the scaling issues of traditional blockchains. DPoS is analogous to a democratic government in a blockchain, where users are freely…
PoS requires little energy, therefore, it’s not harmful for the environment and is not costly to maintain.
The idea is that if we could build a payment layer on top of Bitcoin, we could potentially scale its capacity exponentially as opposed to other on-chain solutions, without compromising its decentralization.
Blockchains are meant to be used by different parties that do not trust each other but want to transact with one another, without the need for middlemen.