Categories: Ethereum

The Ethereum 2.0 Spec Freeze is Now Imminent

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Ethereum 2.0 developers are putting their last touches on what they call “a big milestone towards launch of phase 0” expected today.

“We will be polishing and pushing the last feature PR for freeze now,” Diederik Loerakker, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, said this Saturday.

A project keeping track of work required for the spec freeze has ticked all the boxes. Justin Drake, another eth researcher, said:

“The main purpose for a spec freeze is to see the emergence of long-lived cross-client testnets by halting master releases.

We reserve the right to do cosmetic changes (e.g. any state transition change that doesn’t affect hash_tree_root(state)) to the phase 0 spec after the freeze, especially on the dev branch.”

A number of ethereum 2.0 clients have been running on their own testnet for some time, with Nimbus and Lighthouse “acknowledging each other” in the libp2p networking stack earlier this month.

That’s a step towards the full testnet which is expected to come out by Devcon in October where the deposit contract ceremony is to be held.

The actual launch is then targeted for January 3rd 2020. Danny Ryan, an eth dev, said during an eth 2.0 implementers call that “January 3rd is a suggested date not a deadline.” Justin Drake, who came up with this very specific date, said:

“I privately surveyed 3 teams and will let them come forward if they want to. Specifically asked how likely on a scale from 1 to 10 they felt they would be production-ready by Jan 3. The responses were ‘8-9’, ‘6-10’ and ‘3’.”

Paul Hauner of Sigma Prime’s Lighthouse eth 2.0 client, which alongside Status’ Nimbus appears to be the most advanced in implementation so far, said:

“We answered 8-9 as it only includes phase 0. Considering it’s a consensus layer without any execution, we understand that ‘production’ is not being ready to run the MKR system, instead it’s being confident enough in the staking logic to start dealing with real value.”

Preston Van Loon of Prysmatic Labs said they claim 6 to 10. “Cautiously optimistic,” he said.

While Jonny Rhea of ConsenSys’ PegaSys said “I answered 3 because ‘production ready’ hasn’t been defined. Let’s say there is a 3 client testnet up by September. Do you think it is going to run perfectly for 3-4 months on the first try and then we go live on Jan 3rd? Trying to be realistic here. Also, the network spec isn’t done.”

Justin Drake said a minimum of just two clients was needed to be ready for launch, so creating a race among the many ethereum 2.0 teams as those first ready will probably get the most attention provided they’ve otherwise done a fine job.

Finally, Danny Ryan mentioned they have begun formal verification efforts for the Beacon Chain.

Countdown to Beacon Stake

Some 54 individuals participated in this call as eth 2.0 now stands inches from reaching a major milestone.

The Beacon Chain launch potentially on January the 3rd upgrades ethereum to a hybrid Proof of Stake and Proof of Work model in what has been called phase 0.

That is to be followed by the addition of storage sharding or data sharding in phase one, an intermediary phase that may too go out next year.

Full on sharding – when Maker’s DAI can run on the Proof of Stake chain – is at phase two, estimated for 2021.

That will add considerable capacity to the ethereum network, with the Proof of Work chain eventually to be discarded completely as in some years ethereum goes full Proof of Stake.

That process begins with the Beacon, which when launched on January the 3rd or around that time next year, is to reduce issuance in a halvening+ to 0.82 eth per block from the current two eth according to previous statements.

The algorithmic difficulty bomb is to kick in around that time too, necessitating a network wide upgrade.

Any delays that may be expected, therefore, are eventually to face the algorithmic increase in mining difficulty.

These are different teams from eth 1.0 and so far they’ve generally been in time.

In addition, considering there are so many implementation teams and considering usually only two or at most three clients get any traction – although here it might be different – there’s a competitive element both to be one of the first and one of the best.

So the race is on towards the beginning of a two years long upgrade that will transform ethereum and perhaps the entire blockchain space.


“We will be polishing and pushing the last […]


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