Ethereum 2.0, the Ethereum network’s transition from the existing Proof-of-Work consensus to Proof-of-Stake, is an extremely complex process. Currently, Ethereum is leveraging a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanism. The network is run by high-powered servers, referred to as nodes, compete to solve extremely complex mathematical puzzles in order to validate transactions and approve new blocks.
Due to the difficulty involved in the process, the servers have a remarkably high rate of electricity consumption and higher running costs. Eth 2.0 tackles these problems by implementing a PoS based consensus. While the entire process is quite lengthy, it looks like Ethereum is making rapid progress as recent reports have revealed that Eth 2.0 might be closer than we imagine.
A step closer to 2.0
In a blog post by the Ethereum foundation, Danny Ryan, the coordinator of Ethereum 2.0 announced that the formal verification (FV) of the Ethereum 2.0 deposit smart contract bytecode has been released. This is a huge milestone for the 2.0 journey as this is another step towards the launch of the Phase 0 inside mainnet.
According to Ryan, the primary focus over the last month has been on Beacon Chain, the spine that backs Eth 2.0. In order to synchronize any shard, a client must synchronize the Beacon Chain as it is the principal reference chain that is responsible for the synchronization of the shards.
The ETH 2.0 blockchain is separated into shards to distribute the load. The shards process a subset of all transactions, but each shard still has to synchronize with the main blockchain in order to remain synchronized with every other shard. The Beacon Chain requires as few resources as possible, even with a high number of over 300,000 validators, Ryan said.
Ryan further explained the Lighthouse test network is currently running smoothly with 100,000 validators:
“Initial tests with 100k validators saw clients use a consistent 8GB of RAM, but after a few days of optimizations, Paul was able to reduce this to a steady 2.5GB with some ideas to get it even lower soon. Lighthouse also made 70% gains in the hashing of state which along with BLS signature verification is proving to be the main computational bottleneck in eth2 clients.”
The Prysm test network is also running successfully with 35,000 validation nodes. The blog further reads:
“A couple of weeks ago the current Prysm testnet celebrated their 100,000th slot with over 28k validators validating. Today, the testnet passed slot 180k and has over 35k active validators.”
Launch date unknown
Despite all the progress made, Eth 2.0 launch date is still unknown. Many believe that at least three months on a multi-client test network is necessary before phase 0 is activated. Phase 2 continues to be an “open field” for development. Quilt (ConsenSys) and eWASM (Ethereum Foundation) have been exploring this wide-open design space in parallel to the on-going work on specifying and building Phase 0 and 1.
The World computer state might be a long way, but the enhancements that have been made so far are still keeping Ethereum ahead of the pack while on the road to Ethereum 2.0. However, ConsenSys Co-founder Andrew Keys had predicted 2020 will be the year of significant advancement. He said:
“2020 will see Ethereum move stridently beyond Phase 0 of Ethereum 2.0, onto Phase 1 and the launch of shard chains.”