Years of waiting and announcements for the activation of the new Ethereum 2.0 are bearing fruit today with the arrival of the Beacon Chain network. This Tuesday is the first step in a long journey that will move the consensus type from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS).
Step 0 so-called Ethereum 2.0 or “Serenity” will serve to store and manage the registry of all authentication nodes. The launch date was confirmed last week after the completion of 100% of the ethers (ETH) required for activation.
In total, the corresponding smart contract required a minimum of 524,288 ETH. The figure was exceeded and at the time of publishing this article the total amount of money already committed was 879,800 ETH. To become a validator in the new Ethereum 2.0 the operator must transmit 32 ETH and stay connected to avoid penalties. From the above, it can be concluded that there are already about 27,500 validation nodes.
After activation and creation of the genesis block in the Beacon Chain, a curious event occurred. The proposer of the first block, after the genesis, left a message that read: “Mr F was here” (Mr. F was here). What happened was he said by developer Vitalik Buterin, who was ironic about the spread of the message.
The Beacon Chain will work alongside the current Ethereum blockchain to ensure no information disruption. The tests and evaluations were conducted on the Medalla network, a project developed by the Ethereum Foundation, ConsenSys and Deep Work Studio.
Consensus chains of the shard en Ethereum 2.0
Ethereum 2.0 will have two major differences from the current network. The first is the change in its consensus mechanism that will go from computing power and electrical energy (PoW) to one based on software and capital.
This change is based on ETH validators and deposits. That is, it starts from the fact that when committing money in a smart contract, you have access to the transaction validation software, which is why it’s called Proof of Stake (PoS).
The more validators, the more reliable and efficient the network operation will be. Each participant will perform functions for checking, settling transactions and generating new blocks, which will lead to incentives to keep the computers running the authentication software.
The second difference is the so-called shard chains as a point for the scalability of the project. Today the system operates on a single chain consisting of consecutive blocks, which ConsenSys developers say is “extremely secure and makes information easy to verify.” However, the ability to process transactions quickly would be limited.
With shard chains, the Ethereum blockchain is “split” by distributing the information processing among thousands of nodes. The new system would allow transactions are processed in parallel and not consecutively. The developers illustrate the technique by saying that each shard chain is like adding another lane to a highway on Ethereum, which would currently have only one track. The shard chains would be developed in phase 1 of the project.
Shard chains will increase network capacity by extending it to 64 blockchain. Over time, the Beacon Chain will also be tasked with randomly validating shard chains. That is, working “groups” would be formed to speed up the process and, as it is random, the possibility of internal attacks is reduced.
“The main improvement in phase 1 is the integration of the shard chains. Shard chains are a scalable mechanism whereby the Ethereum blockchain is ‘split’ into 64 different chains, allowing for the parallel processing, storage and handling of information, ”Consensys explained on its website.
Ethereum 2.0 and its roadmap
According to the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap, planning consists of three phases: phase 0 starting today, phase 1 to be implemented sometime next year, and phase 2 which will go live in 2022.
Although the Beacon Chain will work alongside the existing main network, it will be separate. However, the developers note that they will eventually be connected as the the plan is to ‘prune a mainnet to a test stack system which is controlled by the Lighting Chain.
Ethereum currently supports 14 transactions per second, a capacity recently restricted by DeFi’s growth. With the new version of the network, up to 100,000 operations per second could be processed, as previously reiterated by Ethereum programmer and co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
At the center of all the developments are companies and enterprises developing clients for Ethereum 2.0. There are currently at least five programs for the new version of the network, and these include: Prysm, Teku, Nimbus, Lodestar and Lighthouse, according to a report released by CriptoNoticias in September.
It must be emphasized that the Beacon Chain will be just the first step of what Ethereum 2.0 will be. The network does not currently handle smart accounts or contracts, but anyone can join as a verifier, which would encourage devolution.