Quick Tour of Ethereum 2.0 Update (7): Phase 1.5 Means Ethereum Says Goodbye to PoW

Welcome to the first Ethereum 2.0 update series in 2020! This year will be an exciting year.

Long story short:

  1. The Foundation released the v0.10.0 specification to provide a basis for multi-client testnets and security review goals;
  2. @paulhauner and @sigp_io team are working hard to build Lighthouse;
  3. Restart the Prysm testnet and now have aggregators and mainnet configuration;
  4. New proposal for accelerated merger of Ethereum 1.0 + Ethereum 2.0 (also known as stage 1.5 );

4 (Picture from: ethereum.org)

I. Release the v0.10.0 specification to provide the basis for multi-client testnets and security review goals

Last week, the Ethereum 2.0 development team released the v0.10.0 (404 Not Found) specification, which details the integration of IETF BLS, the simpler ETH 1.0 cache, etc., but what does it mean for Ethereum 2.0?

v0.10.0 is the latest version of the Phase 0 specification introduced. For a period of time, new specification changes disrupted the development cycle of the Ethereum 2.0 client team and delayed the upcoming testnet. With the release of v0.10.0, we are now entering a steady development pace.

New and updated resources

With the release of v0.10.0, our goals have once again become stable, whether it be client testnets, or third-party audits and security reviews.

To that end, we have recently updated some getting started resources (and created some new ones). If you want to better understand the specification of Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0, you must check these out!

  1. Phase 0 (Phase 0) latest version of popular science ;
  2. Reasonable design of Ethereum 2.0 ;
  3. Phase 0 (Phase 0) design description ;
  4. Validator life cycle documentation ;
  5. Optimize the standard state transition and SSZ diagram ;
  6. Discussion on authentication gossip and aggregation strategy ;

Ongoing audit work

The Least Authority team started a security review on Monday and they are currently conducting an in-depth investigation.

Another exciting news is that the new EF team (Robust Incentive Group RIG) is leading the audit and formalization of Phase 0 cryptoeconomics.

The RIG team has built a cadCAD environment to simulate the eth2 economic model and explore various attacks: including timing attacks, the potential impact of cartels of different sizes, and more!

You can see the core of their work in the form of easy-to-understand python notes.

What's next?

Although the information provided in this article is still very limited, I promise to explore more details in future updates.

While auditing, the client will be coded to access v0.10.0, integrate the new BLS standard, and enable some stable test networks to run. Once the initial stability of v0.10.0 is achieved, multi-client activity will begin.

Regarding this activity, I first expected to perform a small number of multi-client tests on most single-client testnets. I mean, I want to see some clients join the previous single-client test network (as a few nodes) to test the initial interoperability.

Once we have completed these tests, we will coordinate a shared genesis with 2 or more clients. I hope there will be some confusion at this stage, and then we can learn a lot. Ambiguity in the specification may become apparent. We may even find that something that was previously considered good will be broken, and audits on large testnets will be different.

Once the audit results are completed in February, we expect a wave of revisions to the Phase 0 specifications. The extent of these changes and their possible impact on client development and timelines remain to be determined. In any case, the audited version v0.11.0 will be released in early March .

If the changes are small, the client will integrate the changes, patch the test network, and move on. For deeper changes, integration may take longer, which requires additional testing and a full restart of the existing network. After enough time has passed on a stable v0.11.x version, the final v1.0.0 version will be accessed for mainnet release: the exact length of time will depend on the degree of change .

This is a summary of the development work in the next few months, and we will keep you updated as we learn more new details.

Optimized Lighthouse

Although Sigma Prime has been quiet since closing its first public testnet, the team has been working hard! Lighthouse principal Paul Hauner has just released an exciting tweet storm filled with interesting details of recent optimizations and improvements to their Ethereum 2.0 client.

Obviously, in the past 4 weeks, they have been quietly running a public testnet. From BLS signing to block processing to DB read / write, they have made impressive progress in many aspects. You can also try it yourself !

Oh, if you have some front-end skills and want to participate, Sigma Prime has just proposed a RFP (Requirement Proposal) for the Lighthouse user interface , and this kind of work is very important for user participation.

Prysmatic's testnet restarts with mainnet configuration and aggregator

Prysmatic Labs recently restarted their public testnet and now it has a mainnet configuration and authentication aggregation strategy! As mentioned in previous articles, the mainnet configuration has larger caches, longer storage cycles, and is usually heavier than the smallest configuration initially used. Using this configuration and running a stable testnet (tens of thousands of validators) is an important milestone that Prysmatic is currently working to complete.

If you also want to participate in such experiments, you can become a validator or join the discord discussion.

Phase 1.5 (Phase 1.5)

During the holidays, Vitalik released a new proposal on how to speed up the Ethereum 1.0 + Ethereum 2.0 merger in order to enjoy the benefits of the new Ethereum 2.0 infrastructure faster. This proposal was implemented after the Ethereum 2.0 phase 1 infrastructure (sharded data chain) was completed, but before the complete phase 2 it will migrate Ethereum 1.0 to a shard of Ethereum 2.0, so we call It's Phase 1.5!

Phase 1.5 has many potential benefits for the Ethereum protocol and its developers and users:

  1. Ethereum 1.0 is implemented internally in Ethereum 2.0, allowing the machine to access the scalable shard data layer. Some of the most exciting structures currently being built on Ethereum are Layer 2 protocols, which change with the amount of data available on Layer 1. Even if there is only one chain of native computing (that is, eth1 as a shard), they can be perfectly matched with Ethereum 2.0. Generally, these structures are called "rollups". They have many styles, and I hope that this overall design space can continue to expand and achieve fruitful results;
  2. The migration of Eth1 to a shard of Eth2 also means that PoW will be deleted, thereby greatly reducing the energy consumed by mining work on the Ethereum platform;
  3. Finally, integrating Eth1 into Eth2 on an earlier schedule can unify the development of systems, communities, and core protocols. Although initially, the Ethereum 2.0 infrastructure will be developed in parallel with the Ethereum 1.0 chain, the earlier integration of ETH1 into ET2 (not just technical success) will help ensure that protocol developers, application developers, The community of random contributors and end users remains unified in a single, cohesive environment;

Based on initial discussions and reactions, developers and community members are excited about this proposal. Currently, Phase 1.5 relies on the success of two independent components: the completion of Phase 1 of Ethereum 2.0, and the stateless client implementation of Ethereum 1.0. The relative timeline of each component will explain how and when this proposal may be implemented. In the coming months, we will conduct due diligence on how to better regulate and understand current technical challenges to prepare for implementation when the time comes.