Ethereum developers have stated the specification freeze for phase 1 of ethereum 2.0 may occur during the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year.
“I think we can do end of Q3!” – Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s founder, said during an ask me anything session.
Carl Beekhuizen, an ethereum researcher, said “I think it’s time to turn up the heat on Phase 1. Rough consensus has the freeze at end of Q3. Let’s make this official: Phase 1 ❄️30 September.”
Developers however were not happy with yet another hard deadline and set date. Justin Drake, another researcher, said:
“It’s more pressing to deliver the deposit contract and related deposit infrastructure by Devcon than it is to freeze phase 1.
Most implementers will be busy on phase 0 between now and Devcon anyway so freezing phase 1 has less value.”
After the specification freeze for phase 0 on June the 30th, eth2 implementers have been focusing on launching a cross client testnet which may be out before Devcon in October.
At Devcon itself they plan to launch the deposit contract, with the actual launch then sometime in January if it all goes well.
The main focus during that period therefore will be on phase zero, but Vitalik Buterin has previously suggested they could and should work on different phases at the same time.
“Phase 0 is about 1024 lines of code to specify (assuming SHA256 and BLS12-381 as primitives). I expect phases 1 and 2 to be 1024 lines of code combined (assuming WASM as primitive),” Drake said.
The relevance of phase 1 for ordinary users is that they can then transfer their eth on the Beacon chain, including to exchanges.
For devs there may be some scalability benefits in regards to storage or data availability, but phase 1 is the intermediary stage towards the launch of sharding in phase 2.
There will be 1024 shards from the get go. That means the current ethereum network is sort of multiplied by 1024 times as far as capacity is concerned.
“With 1024 shards, and 128 validators in a committee, a minimum of 131,072 validators are needed to crosslink every shard every slot.
If there are fewer validators than this, then shards are skipped to ensure the 128/committee validator number,” Beekhuizen said.
Presuming a validator is a 32 eth slot, then a minimum of about 4 million eth have to be staked, but otherwise it sounds like less shards would be populated.
It’s not clear whether a validator does necessarily need to run a node himself, but due to the penalties mechanics, it would probably be smart for each slot to have its own node.
By the sound of it, a minimum of about 130,000 nodes would be preferable, with 128 nodes in each shard, but just how many nodes there will actually be remains to be seen.
An interesting aspect is client implementation, or which type of node you run. That’s because penalties increase in severity the more people “misbehave” at the same time.
Thus if there’s a bug in one client, and that client is run by say 30% of the network, then all who are running that client may well lose the entire stake.
It may thus be advisable to run a client that isn’t much used, so explaining the many eth 2.0 implementation teams.
Ethereum 2.0 will be a completely new blockchain that initially will have nothing to do with the current Proof of Work (PoW) chain as far as the PoW chain is concerned as it won’t be aware of the Beacon, while the Beacon will be aware of the PoW chain from the beginning.
Thereafter the PoW chain will be linked with the Beacon through checkpoints finality, increasing the security of the PoW chain, thus allowing for a reduction of about 2/3rd in issuance late next year or maybe early 2021.
Asked why they took this approach of launching a completely new chain, Drake said building Eth2 on Eth1 would be a bad design decision as, among many other reasons:
“We would be constrained by the Eth1 gas limit, which would severely affect performance (e.g. 1024 shards and 32 ETH to validate would not be possible).”
Thus it sounds like it was necessary for a new chain to launch in order to get sharding with the initial transition period to begin early next year and to continue until the sharding launch in 2021.
At that point the new blockchain would be fully usable, but the transition period is to continue until eth1 is integrated into eth2, at which stage there would no longer be any PoW block rewards, only staking. So reducing new ethereum supply by 10x from current levels.