A full on ethereum 2.0 multi-client testnet is now not expected until around mid-summer according to Afri Schoedon who seems to be in charge of coordinating the testnet launch.
Initially on Twitter he said after showing a video that “this is the Schlesi v0.11 ETH2 multi-client testnet genesis event,” raising eyebrows with plenty surprised.
That’s because Lighthouse has not even launched the latest version single client testnet of theirs, so few expected a sudden full on testnet, but he then publicly clarified in regards to when phase 0 might launch to say:
“There is still a long way to go. This was the first time we succeeded in starting a genesis with validators from two different clients. There are still some hiccups and ideally, we want to have a 3rd client joining the testing efforts, maybe Teku or Nimbus or Lodestar.
This testnet will survive for maybe 2 weeks if everything works well and will be reset eventually. Having long-term and more public multi-client testnets is realistic targeting June/July, so let’s carefully say that Q3 will be the time of persistent long-term beacon-chain testnets that are as close as it gets to a potential mainnet launch.”
Testnet used to be a word reserved for the final step prior to launch where you basically have an identical environment as the live one, but with fake or worthless eth instead of real ones so that if this play money is lost, no one cares.
Eth2 however has been pushed back so many times that even the testing of the genesis block in a dev environment is now a testnet.
But as we guessed already the actual testnet is unlikely now before mid-summer after eth1x upgrades to have BLS signatures hopefully this June.
Then maybe the genesis launch can make it for Devcon which is usually held in October.
At that point what would be launched is a very skeleton blockchain that does little but verify the headers of Proof of Work (PoW) blocks.
This Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain will run alongside the PoW eth1x current chain, with it continuing until after storage sharding is launched in phase 1 of eth 2.0.
The initial PoS chain has subnets which are kind of like shards were validators are sent to different subnets and from there check the PoW block headers.
In phase 1 these shards can store data, something potentially useful for dapps with phase 1.5 then being the folding of the PoW chain into the PoS one.
How exactly they plan to do that is not clear, but until that point ethereum will be running at an inflationary rate of about 5%.
Once there’s this folding, that inflationary rate is slashed to 0.22%, making it a big event from an investment perspective. Likewise the launch of PoS adds dividends or interest to eth if you want to stake it, so from an investment perspective that too changes mechanics.
Where utility is concerned, however, in as far as having the capacity to facilitate more usage, there won’t be any change until phase 2 when full sharding launches.
Estimating when that phase 2 might launch at this point is futile because there’s almost nothing to go on, but we can see from above there’s a lot of work to get there, so it might launch in four or five years time and even then probably optimistically.