Danny Ryan gives an update on Ethereum 2.0 progress

  • Ethereum Core developer, Danny Ryan, shared a detailed update on the overall progress of Ethereum 2.0 phase 0. 
  • Ryan calls on Ethereum users to test multiple clients.

In a publication addressed to the Ethereum community, the Ethereum Core developer Danny Ryan gave an update about the current progress from Ethereum 2.0. Ryan is the project coordinator of Eth2 and has had to respond on multiple occasions and platforms about this update, but believes that a more detailed release was needed to communicate the full picture.

Ryan begins his posts by clarifying some points that have been discussed, but which he feels need to be highlighted. First, he said that the Ethereum 2.0 is an answer to a question that has taken years to answer:

Given a certain amount of capital backing a crypto-economic system, can we improve security and throughput while still allowing consumer hardware to participate in consensus and follow the chain?

In that sense, Ethereum 2.0 is the project that will materialize the answer and the solution to that question by making a transition from a consensus protocol from Proof-of-Work to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) using shards. Ryan explains that this transition will be done in phases starting with phase 0, the Beacon Chain.

State of the clients and Ethereum 2.0 testnets

Designed to be the center of phase 0, the Beacon Chain is the blockchain of the Ethereum 2.0 Proof of Stake. In February Ryan confirmed that one of the components of the Beacon Chain, the Deposit Contracts, was successfully verified by the company Runtime Verification. This allowed progress to be made towards the release of further requirements of the upgrade for the launch of phase 0.

Originally scheduled for the end of July, Phase 0 is to complete the recently launched “Topaz” and “Schlesi” testnets. In addition, the final specifications must be implemented at the client level and a coordinated testnet must be launched, as stated by Afri Schoeden. Ryan emphasized the complexity of phase 0:

Phase 0 is all about coming to consensus with hundreds of thousands of consensus entities (validators), distributed across thousands of nodes around the world.

Due to the technical requirements of distributing subsets of validators across shards in phase 1+, we need to be able to handle a huge amount of validators. Much of the engineering complexity stems from this requirement.

On the status of the clients, Ryan said they have become sophisticated pieces of software in the last two years and are capable of handling the distributed consensus of hundreds of thousands of validators on thousands of nodes. Ryan said they are close to completing the testnet of the clients, but that the last stretch will be long. That’s why the Ethereum 2.0 coordinator made the following request to users:

I ask you during this period before launch, to get out of your comfort zone and try multiple clients. (…) To be absolutely clear – if there is more than one viable and secure client, it is your duty to run minority client software to promote a healthy distribution of client software on the network.

Ryan also outlines that they are running public tests every two weeks for client developers to work on bugs, optimizations, and more.  Ryan also invited the community to participate and said that the most recent one was led by Schoeden and is called Witti testnet which uses version 0.11 spec. The teams will start using version 0.12 spec soon:

After we have 2-3 clients reliably kicking off successful v0.12 nets and running at high load, we’ll do a more public testnet where you will run most of the nodes and validators. The intention here is to create a long-standing multi-client testnet that mimics mainnet as much as possible (where users can reliably practice running nodes and test anything else they want).

Ryan also revealed some details about the next phases of Ethereum 2.0. Ryan said that after phase 0 and 1, there will be phase 1.5 which is the integration of Ethereum mainnet into the new eth2 consensus mechanism as a shard (existing as one of the many shards created in Phase 1). Then phase 2 will be the addition of state and execution on more shards than just the original Ethereum shard.

Ethereum 2.0 is designed to handle a minimum of 16,000 validators and, from there, gradually increase this number over the years. This way, the Ethereum network will have an increase in scalability and performance that will leave behind the congestion problems it faces today.

About Author

Reynaldo Marquez has closely followed the growth of Bitcoin and blockchain technology since 2016. He has since worked as a columnist on crypto coins covering advances, falls and rises in the market, bifurcations and developments. He believes that crypto coins and blockchain technology will have a great positive impact on people's lives.

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