Ethereum 2.0 is ready: the Genesis block of the beacon chain appears
Ethereum’s proof-of-stake transition takes another step toward completion.
After literally years in the making, the genesis block of the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain has finally seen the light of day.
Repeatedly delayed scalability and security upgrade to the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, it very confidently took its first breath as planned, just after 12pm UTC on December 1. The launch was uneventful and immediately reached the participation rate required to finalize the blockchain.
Vitalik Buterin joked that the first block did not include any meaningful messages “about some giant leaps for humanity or whatever.”
The biggest change is the introduction of a proof-of-stake consensus on the network, which previously had been based solely on the same proof-of-work consensus as Bitcoin.
PoS aims to provide a more energy efficient method of protecting the network by requiring validators to block Ether (ETH) in a participation contract, rather than solving cryptographic puzzles using computing power.
The planned launch date was confirmed just a week ago, as the seven-day countdown could only start once a total of 524,288 Ether had been deposited into the participation contract.
After a painfully slow start, the stakes total was reached with just a few hours to spare to hit the anticipated December 1 target.
The transition to PoS paves the way for planned future upgrades such as sharding to improve scalability.
The currently staked ETH is likely to lock up until Phase 1.5 of the Ethereum 2.0 launch, currently planned for late 2021 or early 2022. This will see the merger of the current Ethereum mainnet with the new beacon chain and system of fragmentation.
Anticipation for the Eth2 launch has been building throughout 2020 and has been reflected in the price of Ether, which started the year at just $ 130 but is currently climbing to over $ 600.
The launch will be especially welcomed by those in the decentralized financial community. The DeFi explosion during 2020 saw a huge increase in traffic and gas fees on the Ethereum network
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