Ethereum Foundation: What is Phase 0 of Ethereum 2.0?

Author | Carl Beekhuizen

Compilation | Jhonny & Tessa

Editor's Note: The original title was "Ethereum Foundation: Participating in Eth2 Staking (Part 0)"

With the launch of the beacon chain, Eth2 is also getting closer and closer to the foregone conclusion. It is time to synchronize with the community about the internal operation of Eth2 and the specific requirements, incentive mechanism and experience of becoming a verifier. This article will provide a high-level overview of Eth2, which will form the basis of a series of Ethereum articles related to validators.

Eth2's research work has been going on for a long time, and related work has improved significantly in the past few years. The sharding and proof-of-stake (PoS) work that was originally managed separately through smart contracts has been transformed into a highly interconnected design, which has significantly improved efficiency, scalability, and security .

Eth2 stages

While some components of Eth2 have become more interconnected, other components have been split into several phases to better manage all aspects of Eth2. At the time of writing, Phase 0 is about to start, and developers are already finalizing the client software. At the same time, the specifications for Phase 1 have been completed, and R & D for Phase 2 is also actively underway.

  • Phase 0 is related to the beacon chain, which is the core of Eth2. It manages the coordination of validators and shards. The beacon chain is the source of truth, and all other aspects of Eth2 start here.
  • Phase 1 builds on this and allows data to be put into shards. The complexity of implementing this component is much smaller than the other components because stage 0 already does most of the basic work for sharding.
  • Phase 2 will add execution functions to Eth2, basically upgrading Eth2 from a powerful database to a fully decentralized computing platform.

What is Phase 0?

As mentioned earlier, the beacon chain tracks the verifier set and the shard chain. In practice, this means that if you track what happens on the beacon chain (periodically), you know enough information to verify anything that happened in Eth2. Trust through authentication.

In order for the PoS system to function properly, it is necessary to reach consensus on what are the validators and the collateral situation of each validator, so as to know how much their voting weight is, and to reward and / or proportionally according to their behavior and / Or punish. The beacon chain also manages the shard part in Eth2 , that is, the beacon chain is also responsible for assigning validators to the shards and tracking the current status of each shard.

Part of the difference between Eth2 and other PoS systems is the absolute number of validators participating in the Eth2 protocol . Unlike the case of dozens, hundreds, or thousands of participating validators in other PoS systems, Eth2 has expanded to hundreds of thousands or even millions of validators. This degree of decentralization is possible thanks to an intermediate consensus reached by a group of validators called committees.

In essence, the beacon chain assigns verifiers to various committees based on a certain randomness, and the committee will be responsible for evaluating which are (and which are not) part of the beacon and shard chain (note: that is, voting on the block Verification) . After that, the votes of each committee will be aggregated into an attestation in an encrypted manner , which means that verifying all votes of each committee is only slightly more cumbersome than checking a single vote. Therefore, the validity of the beacon chain can be checked by considering only a few aggregated signatures to evaluate the votes of many validators .

The beacon chain will also track the Eth1 chain and the collateral on it , so that new validators can join the Eth2 system by sending 32 ETH to the deposit contract deployed on the Eth1 chain. The beacon chain votes on the Eth1 chain (that is, the beacon chain verifies the mortgage of the Staking participants on the Eth1 chain), and the result is that Eth2 will sometime in the future, and the block can belong to the Eth1 authority Part of the chain (the so-called longest chain) provides economic guarantees, thereby enhancing the security of the Eth1 chain.

Node vs. Client

Eth2 distinguishes beacon nodes and validator clients , and the verifier will need both the beacon node and the validator client to perform their duties (that is, to perform voting verification).

The beacon node (that is, the node) is responsible for maintaining the beacon chain and managing which shards the user or verifier needs to manage.

The validator client (ie client) is responsible for handling the logic of a single validator. That is, the client understands the current state of the beacon chain by communicating with the beacon node, and proposes or validates the block when appropriate, and finally requests the beacon node to send this information to other beacon nodes.

"If you don't run a validator client, the beacon node contains all the information you need for trustless interaction with Eth2, just like a full node in Eth1."

Here are some of the many reasons that support this distinction between beacon nodes and validator clients:

  • Each validator requires a collateral of 32 ETH to activate, so any user who wants to collateral over 32 ETH will need to run multiple validator instances. Distinguishing the beacon node from the verifier client will allow this part of the user to run only one beacon node and multiple verifier clients connected to the node, which can reduce the user's computing, memory, and storage Claim.
  • Separate the validator client as a separate module, so that the client will likely be more secure because the client will be easier to write, reason, and audit smaller code modules.
  • For users who are particularly worried about redundancy, they can actually run multiple nodes in parallel, which can reduce the probability that the verifier is offline.
  • Since the verifier client can only interact with other parts of the Eth2 network through a beacon node, and even then it needs to pass a restricted API, so the attacker's attack surface is greatly reduced.
  • For users who want to interact with Eth2 but do not want to be validators, they only need to run a beacon node to run their access to the beacon chain and all the shard chains they want to access.

design concept

  • Protocols above everything else : Although we need to acknowledge that everything has its trade-offs, the security and viability of protocols is higher than other design requirements.
  • Have the highest hopes and plan for the worst : Eth2's hypothesis is that the verifier is lazy, accepts bribes, and tries to attack the system unless they can be motivated not to do so. In addition, Eth2 assumes that the network is not completely reliable and that catastrophic events may force a large number of validators offline. For these reasons, Eth2 should be capable of surviving World War III.
  • Minimal feasible complexity : Wherever possible, Eth2 has been simplified because it will make it easier to understand, explain to others, easier to review, easier to write bug-free clients, and generally easier to avoid marginalization.
  • Maximum decentralization : PoS protocols generally compromise on the number of validators, and Eth2 was designed to expand the number of validators to millions, while encouraging these validators to work independently of each other.
  • Prepare for the unexpected : All components on Eth2 are quantum-resistant computers, or they can turn into quantum-resistant computers when the quantum catastrophe arrives.
  • Civil by the people : Eth2 must be able to run on a laptop. The lower the threshold for participation, the more people are involved, which helps to bring a higher level of decentralization.

to sum up

Now that you have a basic understanding of Eth2, in subsequent articles in this series, we will introduce more details and discuss why Eth2 works.

The copyright of the article belongs to the original author. Its content and opinions do not represent the position of Unitimes, nor does it constitute any investment opinion or suggestion.