The long and winding road from Ethereum 2.0 to long-awaited scalability

On November 4th, the core developers of Ethereum (ETH) reached a significant milestone. In a “quick update” on the Ethereum Foundation blog, developer Danny Ryan confirmed the release of the v1.0 specifications for the long-awaited Ethereum 2.0 update, which contains the contract address of the mainnet repository. . Anyone who wants to participate as a validator in the main Ethereum 2.0 network can deposit their minimum stake of 32 ETH.

The first results were promising: 14,000 ETH (worth around 5 million US dollars) were deposited in just the first eight hours. However, the developers have set a minimum stake of 524,288 ETH from 16,384 validators as the trigger for the start of the mainnet known as the beacon chain. The goal must be reached at least seven days in advance, i.e. by November 24th. If this does not happen, the start takes place seven days after reaching the minimum employment threshold.

Can the December 1st deadline be met?

At the time of this writing, less than 20% of the total was on deposit. If the deposits are continued at the current rate, the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet will not start on December 1st, but in the first weeks of 2021.

The long and winding road from Ethereum 2.0 to long-awaited scalability
The long and winding road from Ethereum 2.0 to long-awaited scalability

Of course, the participation percentage could change. As November 24 approaches, the growing anticipation may prompt more people to deposit their ETH. Ben Edgington, the main owner of ConsenSys Quorum Protocol Engineering, who is advising the ConsenSys organization on the development of Ethereum 2.0, sees a positive outlook for the December 1st release date, according to Cointelegraph:

“I expect the pace of deposits will accelerate significantly as the deadline increases. There is little benefit in making an early deposit. I think people take their time. It’s hard to tell if there’s enough to meet the deadline exceed.” Threshold on time, but I remain optimistic. If there is a delay in the making, I hope it will be brief. “

The numbers show that the potential is there as the number of addresses at 32 ETH hit an all-time high of 126,852 in the hours following the news. This means that less than 13% of the addresses need to participate in order to meet the threshold.

On the other hand, those who participate will lock their tokens in a one-way contract until the current mainnet of ETH joins the beacon chain. When exactly this will happen nobody knows, although the current Ethereum 2.0 roadmap calls for it to be in 2021.

If the beacon chain launches on December 1st or in the following weeks, there aren’t necessarily “big bangs” to look forward to at launch. The task of the beacon chain is to secure transactions in the shard chains that will only be available later. The current Ethereum 1.0 mainnet continues to work as before.

The way to splinter

In order to, What are the next steps and when can Ethereum become fully scalable? The start of the beacon chain is referred to as phase 0 in the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap. The next significant developments are planned for 2021 and include the launch of 64 beacon chains to be carried out as part of the proof of stake validated by those who have staked their ETH. In the initial state, however, sharding chains do not support smart contracts or user accounts.

Perhaps the most important milestone for the current Ethereum 1.0 ecosystem is phase 1.5, in which the Ethereum mainnet joins the beacon chain as a shard chain. This marks the transition from Ethereum to full proof-of-stake consensus. Again, it is planned for 2021, but an exact date is not yet available.

Only when the last phase of phase 2 has been reached can the full impact of the Ethereum 2.0 update on the scalability of the network be assessed. At this point, the shardings are fully functional, supporting smart contracts and all types of transactions. However, this can take up to two years. In the roadmap, the Ethereum Foundation states: “Phase 2 is still in the research phase”, which confirms that development is not yet underway.

There is no solution to rule them all

Even if all phases of the roadmap are delivered in the next 18 months, which is a big “yes”, it will be well into 2022 for the full scalable potential of Ethereum 2.0 to become apparent. However, instead of focusing on the development of Ethereum 2.0 as a finale, it is worth taking a bird’s eye view of the evolution of the Ethereum ecosystem in the years to come.

Despite some criticism Layer 2 solutions still offer the best hope for scalability of Ethereum before the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet is fully functional. Even Vitalik Buterin himself seems to prefer other Layer 2 platforms as the current scaling solution of choice.

This year, both the Matic Network and OMG Network have unveiled Layer-2 solutions based on plasma variations that use side chains to ease the processing load on the main chain of Ethereum.

While Plasma was the scaling technology of choice for a while, this year the focus was largely on rollups, a solution also recommended by Vitalik Buterin. In addition, Aztec’s data protection protocol has made smart private contracts based on rollups without knowledge. Zero-knowledge rollups use zero-knowledge proofs to group transactions to verify their validity.

Another type of rollup called an optimistic rollup is also being developed in several projects. Optimistic rollups use game theory to avoid the need for the heavy computational load that zk rollups require. Erick De Moura, Founder and CEO of Cartesi, told Cointelegraph how he believes rollups outperform plasma-based scaling solutions:

“Rollups solve a big problem inherent in Plasma: data availability. With rollups, all transaction data is bundled or rolled up and made available on Ethereum in a way that is cheaper than it would be. For regular blockchain-based transactions. Furthermore, all the computational overhead is done outside the chain, which enables enormous increases in performance and efficiency increases in transaction costs. “

Cartesi will publish its own version of the optimistic rollup in its test network in early 2021. It will kick off with a Linux-based infrastructure that will provide a scalable version of Ethereum to developers who are used to general standards.

A scalable ecosystem

It’s worth noting that the launch of Ethereum 2.0 isn’t going to negate the development efforts of Layer 2 platforms that are currently trying to solve scalability. Instead, technologies like rollups or sidechains will continue to help Ethereum 2.0 scale beyond its renewed capacity once sharding is fully implemented.

So, Hold on tight and go on a long journey. Ethereum 2.0 may be preparing for an initial launch, but it is only the first of many steps on the long road to scalability. The constant development of Layer 2 solutions means that a lot of companies are on the go.

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