Ethereum announces new updates aimed at bettering the network
Ethereum has announced new changes to its network to make it more secure, scalable, and sustainable. The network unveiled this news on its official website, noting that these changes seek to make Ethereum mainstream so that it serves all of humanity. According to the network, these upgrades are built by multiple teams from the Ethereum ecosystem and they make Eth2.
These changes are necessary as the Ethereum network needs to have the ability to process thousands of transactions per second to make its applications faster and cheaper. The website added that security against all forms of attacks is paramount as the network grows. On top of this, Ethereum noted that it needs to be environmentally-friendly, seeing as technology today demands a lot of computing power and energy.
Outlining which changes will be made on the network, and when, the website noted that there are three updates in total. These are the beacon chain, shard chains, and the docking. While developers are working on the above changes in parallel, they have dependencies that determine when they will go live.
The beacon chain and how it affects other network upgrades
According to the website, the beacon chain (Phase 0) is the first Eth2 integration to the Ethereum. The update launched on December 1st. Reportedly, this update will introduce proof-of-stake to the network and lay the groundwork for future upgrades. Eventually, this update will help co-ordinate the new system, which comprises shards and stakers. However, it will differ from the current Ethereum mainnet, since it will not support accounts or smart contracts. Allegedly, the Beacon Chain will not change anything about the current Ethereum network.
Explaining how the beacon chain will affect shard chains, the website noted that shard chains can only enter the Ethereum network safely after a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism is implemented. Seeing as the beacon chain will introduce staking, it will play a significant role in paving the way for the shard chain upgrade to follow.
The beacon chain will also affect the docking upgrade in that, it will first exist separately from the Ethereum mainnet that is currently in place. However, both chains will eventually merge, and developers seek to dock the mainnet into the proof-of-stake system, which the beacon chain controls and coordinates.
According to the website, the shard chains upgrade is a multi-phase upgrade that will boost Ethereum’s scalability and capacity. To achieve this, this upgrade will spread the network’s load across 64 chains, making it easier to run a node by keeping hardware requirements low. By lowering hardware requirements, the system will let more people run Ethereum on personal phones or laptops in the future. In so doing the network will become more decentralized and secure by minimizing the attack surface area.
Shard chains are expected to ship in 2021 and they will provide extra data to the network. While they will not handle smart contracts or transactions, they will offer substantial improvements to transactions per second when combined with rollups, a layer 2 technology that allows dApps to bundle transactions into a single off-chain transaction, create cryptographic proof then submit it to the chain.
Shard chains will affect docking in that the Ethereum mainnet will have to become a shard before transitioning to staking. However, it remains to be seen whether the mainnet will remain exists as the only smart shard that can handle code execution.
The docking upgrade will mark the end of proof-of-work on Ethereum, signifying the full transition to proof-of-stake. This upgrade will merge the current Eth1 mainnet with the Eth2 beacon chain and sharding system. It is expected to ship between 2021 and 2022.