Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, proposed a new approach to add features in the Ethereum blockchain called “minimal viable enshrinement.”
Minimal viable enshrinement involves enshrining specific functionalities in blockchain to simplify implementation without imposing strict rules.
For example, instead of enshrining a full liquid staking system, the protocol could enshrine a specific piece that solves the key challenges. This will help to implement the functionality in an easy way, without complexing things.
Inspired by the Unix philosophy, Buterin argues that this approach is necessary because blockchains are unique social systems.
He believes that enshrinement can help prevent centralization risks that arise when complexity is pushed to external layers.
Buterin explains that excessive enshrinement can compromise the protocol’s trust and governance. He also suggests that de-enshrinement may also be necessary for rarely used features, ensuring backward compatibility and a lighter protocol. This would help in keeping ethereum blockchain compatible with older versions.
In the blog post Buterin also discussed the challenges of verifying Ethereum-like blocks within ZK-SNARKs. He conceptualizes whether Ethereum can introduce “verify EVM execution in ZK” as a protocol feature.
He argues that this would allow Ethereum’s social consensus to handle exceptional situations as it would make things smoother. It could also reduce the need for additional governance in the rollup ecosystem.