Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain Launches Promising The Start To A Multi-phased Network Upgrade

Ethereum has officially begun the transition to a to proof-of-stake consensus mechanism with the launch of the first phase of Ethereum 2.0 on Tuesday, December 1 at 12:00 UTC, according to Beaconcha.in.

The Ethereum network first launched in 2015 to create a multipurpose blockchain to decentralize computer-based applications. Today, the chain’s native currency, Ether, has a market cap nearing $70 billion and the network is used by a host of developers to build dapps or decentralized applications. Shortly after the launch of the Ethereum mainnet, developers began working on upgrades for Ethereum 2.0.

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At 12:00 UTC on Tuesday, the Beacon Chain was launched. This chain marks the end of the first phase of Etheruem 2.0 and will run parallel to the exisiting Ethereum chain. Currently, the Beacon Chain has limited functionality, but it does introduce a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism to the ecosystem. In later phases of Ethereum 2.0, the current chain and the Beacon chain will be connected to switch the entire network over to proof-of-stake from the current proof-of-work system.

“Ethereum 2.0 boils down to launching a new blockchain from scratch with a completely new consensus mechanism and architecture, all without disrupting Ethereum’s existing $100B+ cryptoeconomy,” Messari research wrote in a tweet.

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The improved upon network is aiming to improve transparency, lower costs and increase transaction speed as a host of institutional players including PayPal and Visa wade into the crypto space. The next step in the roadmap to scalability is introducing sharding, which will break up the PoS blockchain into smaller and more manageable datasets. After that developers plan to go live with rollups to improve throughput for decentralized applications on the network.

The deposit contract for the Beacon Chain was released earlier in November with a target launch of December 1. The contract needed 524,288 ETH seven days before the genesis date. The staking minimum was satisfied on November 23 and currently there is 880,992 ETH worth $540 million locked in the contract.

While there are still many developments ahead for the Ethereum community, for today the ecosystem is focusing on celebration. Founder of Etheruem Vitalik Buterin joked in a tweet that the graffiti attached to the first PoS block was a random user writing that they were there. The graffiti set off a hunt for the mysterious “Mr. F” who most of the community now agrees is a user who goes by Mr. Fahrenheit.

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By Emily Mason

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