Welcome to Part 2 of the Ether 2.0 journey.
As promised, in this post I'm going to cover the basics on the Beacon Chain aspect of the Ethereum 2.0 upgrade/roadmap.
On December 1, 2020 the Ethereum Beacon Chain was brought into this world, and represents the first in a number of important milestones that are likely to forever impact and influence the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
- The beacon chain doesn't change anything about the Ethereum we use today.
- It will coordinate the network.
- It introduces proof-of-stake to the Ethereum ecosystem.
- You might know this as "Phase 0" on technical roadmaps.
The primary key features that are important to understand, are that today's Ethereum continues as it has, unaffected by the introduction of the Beacon Chain. But simultaneously, the Beacon Chain will be the important hub at which the new network will be coordinated and integrated until all future aspects of 2.0 are in effect. The Beacon Chain introduces PoS, or "proof of stake" to the Ethereum system.
In its current state as PoW, or "proof of work", Ether is mined. Once under 2.0, Ether will be validated by those who are also staking ETH. This is said to have a profound affect on Ether's sustainability, while improving scale and security.
The Beacon Chain's primary role in the new protocol is to introduce staking into the system. This has been added and was successful. This in turn, means that the Shard Chains to follow, hopefully in 2022, will connect to the Eth2 staking mechanism introduced in the Beacon Chain.
The Ethereum data pages reference this document to further elaborate on the Beacon Chain's role in establishing Eth2 and how it is to first link the current version with that to follow, to allow them to coincide for more than a year until the pathway is complete, and then to dock and hand off the old protocol to the new.
How does the new Processor of the Ether system differ from the current PoW process?
First, the staker establishes their official 'membership' as such by staking 32 Eth and receiving their validation as a smart contract. At first the validation process will exist on two parallel chains, until Eth2 is complete, at which point it will all shift to the new chain.
Second, the purpose of the Beacon is not to store transactions like we think of blockchain in its present form. The Beacon is only there to store the record of validators, being the digital receipt of those who stakes 32 Eth for validation. The result of this feature is labeled an attestation, simply meaning it is the hash that verifies the staking has occurred. It is in essence, the primary guarantee that a stake is a stake.
One might say, "there's a lot at stake"... sorry... not sorry.
In the final format, the idea of mining will shift into a relationship between two types of nodes, where the Beacon Node will essentially take a similar role to mining, and a separate set of lighter-weight duty nodes will be responsible for the constant upkeep and update of record reference to the posts to the network, and continuously re-staking Eth from the validators. These will be called Validator nodes.
The Beacon is the central point of communication for all other elements of the system to connect and communicate. The fact that it is in place, and it is ready to accept the oncoming shard arrivals is a strong sign that, though there is still a mountain of programming theory to enter into fact, the Ethereum teams are all progressing in the proper direction and it is a scientific undertaking not for the heart-faint.
Next, I'll discuss the Shard Chains and their role in Ethereum 2.0.
For now, Crypto Gordon Freeman, defender of stakers, Ethereos to Ethereum... out.