The long anticipated launch of the ethereum 2.0 public testnet is not expected for at least another two weeks according to Danny Ryan, the ethereum 2.0 coordinator.
In an eth2 implementers’ update, Ryan said a new spec version is out, 0.9, but there are some changes needed that will take it to 0.9.1.
He hopes to finalize those changes this weekend, stating those are required first before any “orchestrated” testnet comes out. He said:
“There’s a lot of general intention to experiment with some multi-client behavior on different teams’ single client testnets in the coming approximate two weeks.
A more orchestrated testnet is not something that I want to do until we have what looks like a near spec freeze with these 0.9 updates coming out…
We need another two weeks to do single client testnet things and get these 0.9 updates out.”
Adrian Manning of Lighthouse, an ethereum 2.0 client, said he is working towards a public testnet, focusing on eth1 connectivity. While Ryan himself published a list of testnet tooling.
According to that list it looks like they’re nearing the final stages of launching a testnet, but one is unlikely this month.
Then there’s the deposit contract or the eth1 connectivity/bridge. That is awaiting standardization, with Justin Drake, an eth 2.0 researcher, stating there has been progress.
There’s a new hash-to-curve out, which is expected to be the production version of BLS signatures. The maintainer has agreed to work on the hash to curve implementation and the Rust integration/implementation Drake said.
All this is expected by year end, but with Christmas and the rest, January might be more likely, if not later.
The Road to Genesis Two
Once the deposit contract launches, they’re apparently reducing the minimum amount of eth required from ◊2 million to ◊500,000 for the genesis block launch.
That’s eth transferred from the current Proof of Work (PoW) chain to the Proof of Stake (PoS) Beacon chain where it can’t quite move and won’t be able to do much but validate through staking in return for a variable rate of interest depending on how much eth is staked.
In the meantime the testnet would have to test this deposit connection, if there are bugs and the like, if it all works fine, in addition to verifying the network is all good.
That is likely to take at least three months after launch, with the requirement being that at least for one month it is running as it should, without any problems.
Meaning the actual eth 2.0 genesis block launch is unlikely until at least spring, and really to be “safe” one should expect summer.
Then there’s stage 1 and 2 (sharding), which are apparently to be merged, but much is still in constant flux. The spec for them has to be finalized first, then implemented, then single-client testnets, then multi-client public testnets, then launch in… well probably at best summer 2021.
In the meantime, there’s the eth1 difficulty bomb. It’s not clear what the plan is in regards to that, but it seems like there’s no intention to reduce issuance.
An upgrade of eth1 is expected next month with some small modifications in fee/gas calculations/efficiencies, with the difficulty bomb starting to kick in late winter or early spring.
Three to six months of the difficulty bomb aren’t quite felt from an end user perspective, but block times then start moving towards one minute from the current 15 seconds.
With some small inconvenience a year of the difficulty bomb could be handled, but the current miners’ blockchain is expected to run for at least half a decade. So another delay of the difficulty bomb is arguably expected.
We say delay. There have been suggestions it could be removed completely. There’s the ProgPoW stuff that for some reason still goes on, so clarity might be reached in the next upgrade which they’ve absurdly named Berlin.
Absurdly because it says nothing about what the upgrade is. The one next month, for example, is called Istanbul when it should be called the gas upgrade.
The rent or fee upgrade should arguably be its next name if they will focus on those proposed improvements to eth1x, but it’s a bit too early to say what exactly will be in the next upgrade.
Issuance, Own Goal?
Just as it is a bit too early to say when exactly ethereum reduces its issuance. Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash are to halve it this spring, lowering new supply from circa 4% a year to less than 2%.
Around that time, eth2.0 will hopefully launch too, so getting overshadowed and perhaps considerably because its current 4% inflation will slightly increase.
That’s by only circa 0.22%, but that’s still an increase with it to be reduced, but by how much and when, is not too clear.
There have been suggestions of a 2/3rd reduction once checkpoints, but realistically we don’t think they’ll bother with checkpoints because that’s a very difficult thing to do in a decentralized way and because the easy argument would be lets focus on packaging the PoW chain into a shard.
So where issuance is concerned, we may get a repeat of the same play. Eth running at about 7% while bitcoin was at 4%. Then eth briefly at same rate. Then bitcoin at 2% while eth stays at 4% until maybe 2022.
Presumably in the meantime we’ll be told it will happen a lot faster than that, but at least for bitcoin we know for certain when it will happen, and logically you’d think it will once more front-run eth for at least one year.
However, there’s plenty to look forward to. All the halvenings and all the stakings and all the shardings as well as all the DeFi-iencing and most likely all the new blockchains as the tech revolution continues.