Last year, during a conference, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin called his invention ‘a couple of peoples’ scrappy attempt to build the world computer.’ That’s why a new structure is needed, one that is scalable, efficient, and fast.
The developers are already working on such structure that will eventually replace the obsolete Ethereum 1.0. They simply call it Ethereum 2.0 Serenity, a new Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain split into many sub-chains called shards, each with its own individuality, all capable of communicating with each other & allow widespread adoption that could make Crypto Kitties look like a child’s play.
The implementation though will remain sequential to properly test out every new feature. To have a better idea, we present you the first three phases of the next-gen world computer Ethereum 2.0 Serenity.
Phase 0: Beacon Chain
The initial phase will involve the launch of the Beacon Chain, a revamped blockchain with PoS capabilities. That means miners with expensive and resource-intensive ASICs won’t be needed anymore. Validators will replace them and to participate in the new consensus protocol, they will have to ‘stake’ 32 ETH2.
ETH2? Indeed. What you need to know before plunging into this whole new universe is that Beacon Chain won’t mean the death of the current Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchain. Instead, both chains will run in parallel for quite some time, at least until Ethereum 2.0 Serenity upgrade is completed.
In order to become a validator, a user will have to migrate his/her ETH funds from the traditional PoW blockchain to the Beacon Chain. The PoS ethers are the ETH2. After the migration, the user won’t be able to transfer his ethers staked back to the old chain. You can read more about it here.
Phase 1: Shards
Worth noting is that the Beacon Chain will have limited capabilities at launch & won’t be capable of executing smart contracts, for example. Its main focus will be on the new PoS protocol.
Afterward, the developers will add a new layer meant to solve the scalability problem. This new ‘layer’ will introduce the concept of ‘sharding’ or splitting the main chain into 100 and later thousands of side chains, ‘islands that can do their own thing’ as Buterin explained last year, in a conference.
Again, the capabilities of the shards will be limited at first and most of the work will focus on functionality rather than scaling. The consensus protocol of such innovative system will also need to be tested properly before any other functions are actually implemented.
Phase 2: Smart Contract Capabilities
Phase 2 will include implementing the next-generation Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) called Ethereum flavored WebAssembly or eWASM. The all-new eWASM will be compatible with the new structure of the PoS blockchain & thus, will be much faster than the current EVM.
The current EVM processes transactions in sequence and all full nodes must sync and execute the code behind any smart contract. All these relate to slow speeds, more often than not, especially when the network is clogged.
eWASM will be able to run parallel transactions required with sharding, thus significantly increasing the speed a smart contract is executed on any given shard.
If the eWASM is a success, then the migration of all smart contracts from the original Ethereum blockchain can be deployed, slowly rendering the PoW chain obsolete.
Still Years Away From Ethereum 2.0 Serenity
The work is in progress but do not expect a full Ethereum 2.0 Serenity showcase anytime soon. The progress is and will continue to be slow as new features need to be tested thoroughly before any real mainnet attempt.
Thus far, there isn’t even a testnet for the Beacon Chain which the developers said it would be ready in 2019. Eight months have passed & still no sign of a Phase 0 deployment, which could mean a delay to 2020. Phase 1 and 2 that bring complexity to the new PoS blockchain will probably need even more time to be functional, therefore expect several years of waiting before actually using the next-generation world computer.
What’s your take on the Ethereum 2.0 Serenity upgrade? Will it be a success? Will we see the new PoS blockchain anytime soon? Be sure to comment below!
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