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The next Ethereum system-wide upgrade, Eth 2.0, will not launch in Q2 2020 as scheduled, but developers are still confident that the original network parameters will deploy in 2020.
In a particular Reddit discussion held on February 5, the Eth 2.0 team made several clarifications. The team said that the network would not launch until three clients can run testnets continuously for at least eight weeks. AMA participants included Eth 2.0 researchers Danny Ryan and Justin Drake together with Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. Drake wrote:
“I have 95% confidence we will launch in 2020.”
By description, Ethereum 2.0 appears as the next iteration of the world’s leading smart-contract blockchain. Reports suggest that it promises higher transaction throughput coupled with a new security model operating under Proof-of-Stake (PoS). Eth 2.0, often called Serenity, has been in the pipelines since Ethereum’s launch in 2015. However, it has been significantly slow to get off the ground as a result of the highly technical nature of the endeavor.
Previously, the Eth 2.0 launch was scheduled for January 2020 and then pushed to an undisclosed date in Q2 2020. Now, the developers are considering the network’s fifth anniversary, July 30, 2020, to launch the project. Ryan said:
“Phase 0 will certainly launch in 2020. Audits are out and testnets are getting stronger every week. I don’t see a reality in which Phase 0 does not launch in 2020.”
Buterin and Ryan expressed their belief that Eth 2.0 could deploy the Beacon Chain, Phase 0. The Beacon Chain acts as a general manager of Eth 2.0’s PoS system on just two stable clients. Nevertheless, the other Eth 2.0 researchers opt for a more conservative approach to this matter.
During Ethereum’s 2015 debut, the Parity client launched after Geth. That launch caused the validator set to swing disproportionately toward the latter client; an 80-20 tilt. Drake commented:
“Parity never managed to catch up with Geth”
Phase 0 and Phase 1 are 99% and 90% complete, respectively, irrespective of the launch date. Phase 1 is scheduled to link ETH holders that have staked their assets to the Beacon Chain. Hence, it will somewhat join the ribs to the backbone of the new network.
All third-party code testnets and audits remain an outstanding task, according to Eth 2.0 researcher Diederik Loerakker. The most notable testnet is the lite client capable of being run on an Android smartphone tested by Ethereum developer Nimbus on February 4.
— Nimbus (@ethnimbus) February 4, 2020
The coming months will present a significant update for Ethereum coin holders seeking to participate in the Eth 2.0 launch: staking contracts. Asset holders get rewards for pledging their coin holdings to validate and protect the PoS network. Eth 2.0 will need 32 ETH, valued approximately $6,400, to participate as a validator.
Contracts for staking Ether are currently under audit with an announcement scheduled for this spring at a major Ethereum event, according to Ryan. The team explained that the number of validators could run well into the millions. In that context, one researcher said that up to 10% of Ether’s supply could stake on Eth 2.0. Ethereum has a current market cap of $23 billion.
Now, the Eth 2.0 team continues to determine how to package the current Ethereum network, a Proof-of-Work (PoW) network, into Eth 2.0. Going by the name “Eth 1.5”, two options have been proposed: merging Eth 1.x into the Eth 2.0’s Beacon Chain “as is” or transitioning Eth 1.x into “stateless clients,” as detailed in Buterin’s December blog post.
Hence, the current Ethereum blockchain can either get trimmed into various digital receipts proving its validity of old PoW transactions or Eth 1.x can function within Eth 2.0 via interoperability bridges until the new chain is entirely built out.
According to Buterin, the former option appears to be the way the wind is blowing. But, considerable hiccups remain including the “technical viability” of stateless clients together with the “megabyte-size blocks every 13 seconds that they would entail.”