Ethereum 2.0 makes significant progress with formal verification of deposit contract

By February 5, 2020 Ethereum
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  • With the completion of the formal verification of the bytecode for the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract, the Ethereum Foundation has taken another important step towards the launch of Phase 0.
  • In addition, various optimizations have been achieved on the ETH 2.0 Beacon Chain, enabling a large number of over 300,000 validators in the network.

Danny Ryan, the coordinator of Ethereum 2.0 has published an update on the development of Ethereum 2.0. In a blog post by the Ethereum Foundation, Ryan announced that another major step has been taken towards the launch of ETH 2.0. The Ethereum Foundation has completed the formal verification (FV) of the Ethereum 2.0 deposit smart contract bytecode.

Ethereum 2.0 is taking shape

As Ryan explained, this is a significant milestone that brings the launch of Phase 0 in mainnet closer. The bytecode is a low-level code that runs on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and takes the code written in Solidity and converts it into bytecode for the EVM.

In addition, according to Ryan, the last month was all about optimization. One focus was on the Beacon Chain, which is the core of Ethereum 2.0. To synchronize any shard, a client must synchronize the Beacon Chain. It is the principal reference chain, which is responsible for the synchronization of the shards.

For better scaling, the ETH 2.0 blockchain is divided into shards so that not every node has to store the complete blockchain. The shards processes a subset of all transactions, but each shard still has to synchronize with the main blockchain in order to remain synchronized with every other shard. The Beacon Chain is crucial in this respect, as it may require as few resources as possible, even with a high number of over 300,000 validators, Ryan said.

To this end, much of the effort of the Eth2 client teams has been spent on optimizations in the area of reducing resource requirements. As Ryan further explained, the Lighthouse test network is currently running smoothly with 100,000 validators:

A goal of each progressive Lighthouse testnet is to ensure that thousands of validators can easily run on a small VPS provisioned with 2 CPUS and 8GB of RAM. Initial tests with 100k validators saw clients use a consistent 8GB of RAM, but after a few days of optimizations Paul was able to reduce this to a steady 2.5GB with some ideas to get it even lower soon. Lighthouse also made 70% gains in the hashing of state which along with BLS signature verification is proving to be the main computational bottleneck in eth2 clients.

The Prysm test network, another implementation is also running successfully with 35,000 validation nodes:

A couple of weeks ago the current Prysm testnet celebrated their 100,000th slot with over 28k validators validating. Today, the testnet passed slot 180k and has over 35k active validators.

Launch dates and phase 2 are still open

Despite the progress made, a launch date for Ethereum 2.0 (Phase 0) is still not known. In the crypto-community it is assumed that about three months on a multi-client test network are necessary before phase 0 can be activated in the mainnet. Symbolically, July 30 would certainly be a good date for the launch of ETH 2.0, exactly five years after the launch of Ethereum 1.0.

In contrast to Phase 0 and Phase 1, as Ryan explained, the design of Phase 2 remains an “open field” for research and development. Quilt (ConsenSys) and eWASM (Ethereum Foundation) have spent much of last year’s efforts to explore and better define this wide open design space in parallel to the ongoing work on specifying and building Phase 0 and 1.

In addition, the newly formed TXRX team of ConsenSys will invest part of its research efforts in Phase 2. TXRX’s initial focus, however, will be on a better understanding of the complexity of cross shard transactions and on researching and prototyping possible ways of integrating Eth1 into Eth2.

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Last Updated on 5 February, 2020

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