On Dec. 2, shortly after the long-awaited release of Ethereum 2.0, platform founder Vitalik Buterin announced an updated roadmap. At first glance, it does not differ much from the previous version from March.
However, it brought some clarity on current progress and further stages, giving grounds for estimating how soon a full-fledged transition to proof-of-stake and the launch of sharding can be expected. Just a spoiler: The full implementation of Ethereum 2.0 will not be coming soon.
Formally Ethereum 2.0, but not yet
Dec. 1 marked a pivotal event for the entire crypto industry as the first block of the new Ethereum network was generated, the one developers had been preparing to see through for the past few years. Ethereum 2.0 is expected to become a super-fast, reliable version of the previous blockchain, all thanks to so-called sharding and the transition to the PoS consensus algorithm.
In fact, the update that came out under the name Ethereum 2.0 is not entirely what its namesake claims to be, and the Beacon Chain, its first phase, is actually Phase 0. The Beacon Chain is needed exclusively for the development and testing of innovations that, if successful, will be introduced into the main Ethereum 2.0 network.
Thus, the second upgrade is more fundamental, as the platform will finally let go of proof-of-work and will be fully supported by the stakers. Simply put, Phase 0 — aka the Beacon Chain — lays a basis for implementing staking and sharding in the next upgrade, or as figuratively explained by the Ethereum team, serves as “a new engine” of the future spacecraft.
Even though Ethereum formally switched to version 2.0, the network still depends on the computing power of miners. The developers also launched PoS in parallel to gradually recruiting the stakers necessary to ensure the stable operation of the network. Praneeth Srikanti, investment principle at ConsenSys Ventures, discussed with Cointelegraph the structure and functionality of the Beacon Chain:
“The new beacon chain runs on Casper POS for itself and the shard chains — and would ultimately be managing validators, choosing a block proposer for each shard and organizing validator groups (in the form of committees) for voting on the proposed blocks and managing consensus rules.”
Srikanti added that the PoS mechanism is already live on the Beacon Chain and that it requires attestations for shard blocks and PoS votes for the Beacon Chain blocks. The network is now ready enough for users to join and become validators. To do so, they need to have 32 Ether (ETH) in their accounts, locked for transfer and exchange until the network fully transitions to new characteristics.
The rewards that validators receive for supporting the new blockchain will also be locked until the release of the next phase, meaning that stakers will probably be able to access their funds no earlier than 2021 or 2022. Commenting on how the changes in the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap can affect stakers, Jay Hao, CEO…