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After years of development, the genesis block of Ethereum 2.0’s Beacon Chain has finally been produced, marking the beginning of the project’s Phase 0.

The Beacon Chain, which went live a little after 12:00 UTC today, will be the backbone of the Ethereum 2.0 network, which will replace Ethereum’s old Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus with a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm. Shortly after the launch, which went without any hiccups, Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, commented on the message contained in the genesis block. He tweeted:

The biggest change to come to Ethereum with this scalability and security upgrade is the introduction of PoS to the network, which will require validators to lock their ETH into a staking contract. The new consensus mechanism will also allow the network to undergo other planned upgrades, such as sharding, which will enable the network to compete with PayPal and Visa in terms of processing speed.

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While the staking contract for ETH 2.0 has been live since 4 November, the launch date of the Beacon Chain was only confirmed a week ago, when the contract finally reached the required 524,288 ETH. According to the project’s website, there are currently 881,728 ETH deposited to the contract, which are likely to remain locked until 2022 when Phase 2 is expected to rollout and merge the current network with the new Beacon Chain and sharding system.

Even before it was launched, Ethereum 2.0 already had the support of some of the largest crypto exchanges. Just a day before the first block was discovered, Coinbase outlined its plans for supporting ETH 2.0 staking, trading and conversion services, starting in early 2021.

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