Eth2 Phase 0 Will Launch in 2020... Probably - The Daily Gwei #27

A brief history lesson on eth2 and why I believe that the first phase of eth2 will launch in 2020.

Eth2 is currently the most anticipated launch across the entire crypto ecosystem. The main features that eth2 introduces (Proof of Stake and Sharding) have been talked about since the very early days of Ethereum all the way back in 2014. Now, the first phase of eth2, Phase 0, is very close to launching with most people expecting it in 2020. Well, that was the expectation until Ethereum researcher Justin Drake made this comment in the recent eth2 AMA.

The key part of this comment is that Justin said that the earliest that he expects eth2 Phase 0 to rollout would be January 3rd, 2021. This comment sent the Ethereum community into a bit of a mess because as I mentioned, most people are expecting eth2 Phase 0 to launch in 2020. This also isn’t the first time dates have been thrown around by various people regarding eth2’s launch (not to pick on him but Justin has given dates 2 or 3 times now). Though it’s important to note that there has never been an “official” launch date given for Phase 0. All of the dates that you’ve heard of either came from individual researchers or implementers, or general media outlets. Because of this, anyone saying that eth2 is “delayed” is misinterpreting the information.

A few minutes after Justin made his above comment, Vitalik jumped in to offer his own opinion on when he thinks eth2 Phase 0 will go live. Danny Ryan (another researcher) also jumped in saying that he believes eth2 Phase 0 will go live in 2020.

There are a few explanations for why eth2 has taken so long to launch. Firstly, and arguably the cause for the longest “delay”, is that the eth2 researchers decided in June of 2018 to basically merge all of the previous years worth of work on sharding and proof of stake into what we now know today as eth2’s phased rollout plan. This merging of research and development was definitely the right decision but it unfortunately set eth2’s launch back by at least 1-2 years. The first phase of this launch, the Beacon Chain, consists of the original Proof of Stake protocol that Vitalik designed called Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (Casper FFG). Phase 1 will then bring in the 64 shards, Phase 1.5 will merge eth1 into eth2 as shard #0, and Phase 2 will bring in “state execution” aka smart contracts to the shards.

Secondly, eth2 has been architected to be a multi-client protocol (I explain the importance of that here). This means that a successful eth2 phase 0 launch would, at minimum, consist of 2 different client implementations. The latest multi-client testnet (Altona) consists of 4 different clients (Prysm, Lighthouse, Nimbus and Teku) and has been running quite smoothly over the last few weeks - this is obviously a very positive sign. It’s also worth noting that those 4 clients are all independent of the Ethereum Foundation (though they are funded in-part by grants given out by the foundation).

Lastly, the eth2 project is a massive undertaking and is the culmination of 6+ years of bleeding edge research and development. The reason it has taken so long to get right is because eth2 has very distinct design goals that the researchers and implementers did not want to compromise on. This approach led to many design iterations in order to “get it right” and simplify the overall design. As Justin Drake puts it, “we made eth2 hard for ourselves”.


So, where to from here? Well it is expected that the “official” multi-client testnet will be spun up within the next few weeks and this will (hopefully) serve as the final testnet. The current thinking is that this final testnet would run for 2-3 months and if no critical bugs or issues are found, then an actual, widely agreed upon date for the eth2 Phase 0 mainnet launch would be put forward by both the researchers and implementers.

Just to have a little fun, here’s a list of implementers, researchers, and community members that have publicly stated that they are confident that eth2 Phase 0 will launch in 2020:

Eth2 Phase 0 will launch in 2020 - I bet on it.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano

All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.

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