--- tags: newineth2 description: The latest update on Ethereum 2.0 development image: https://benjaminion.xyz/f/favicon-96x96.png --- <style> a {text-decoration: underline;} a {color: #0000ee;} a:visited {color: #551a8b;} </style> # What's New in Eth2 - 13 March 2021 ![My avatar](https://benjaminion.xyz/f/ms-icon-144x144.png =32x32) Ben Edgington (Eth2 at [ConsenSys](https://consensys.net/) — all views expressed are my own) Edition 64 at [eth2.news](https://eth2.news/) ## Top Picks Gitcoin grants [matching round 9](https://gitcoin.co/grants/) is running! If you don't know about this, even very small donations are important as they signal support for projects when it comes to receiving funds from the matching pool. Receiving many small donations is more beneficial than receiving a small number of larger donations. For convenience, I made a [collection](https://gitcoin.co/grants/explorer/collections?collection_id=1746) of what I've signalled support for in this round. There's a bias to smaller Eth2 ecosystem projects, but also some other things I value. Not included is [my own grant](https://gitcoin.co/grants/551/the-ethereum-20-annotated-specification) :wink: In addition, as part of this round, the Ethereum Foundation has [a 10k DAI bounty](https://gitcoin.co/funding/details/?url=https://github.com/gitcoinco/skunkworks/issues/200) up to "Build something that improves Eth2". Go buidl! ## Editorial It's interesting how streams sometimes converge to become a river then a torrent. This week's movement is all about getting Ethereum to Proof of Stake as soon as humanly possible. In early Eth2 roadmaps, merging Eth1 into Eth2 came fairly late in the plan, as part of, or after a "Phase 2". Over time, this transition to Proof of Stake gradually moved forward as new ideas emerged and the landscape evolved. Four streams are now converging into what is looking like an unstoppable deluge. The first is miners' opposition to EIP-1559. It's more-or-less expected that miners will oppose a reduction in mining rewards, but the manner of the opposition from some of them has [been perceived](https://twitter.com/econoar/status/1370717171945414665) to be overly hostile. Solution? Accelerate the move to Proof of Stake and solve the issue once and for all. The second is more recent: the ([somewhat justified](https://everestpipkin.medium.com/but-the-environmental-issues-with-cryptoart-1128ef72e6a3)) backlash from some in the arts community against the the power burned by networks supporting NFTs. The criticism is [not entirely](https://twitter.com/protolambda/status/1370544743726391298) on target. But, honestly, Proof of Work _is_ an embarrassment. Third, this week, a solid and practical proposal for implementing the Eth1/Eth2 merge was [published to the Eth2 specs repo](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2229). It's getting real; it's getting close. And finally, shortly afterwards, Vitalik published his own, [stripped to the minimum](https://notes.ethereum.org/m9IX3OkkTveXCCOSzGkUiw) version that could be executed very swiftly if desired. It's quick and dirty (polluting the Beacon Chain with [RLP](https://eth.wiki/fundamentals/rlp), shudder), but follow-on upgrades could tidy things up. Amidst all this, the Ethereum Foundation researchers are [busy signalling](https://www.reddit.com/r/ethereum/comments/lyj8on/why_the_merge_should_be_prioritized_over_data/gpt6gsp/?context=3) that they want to [get this done](https://twitter.com/drakefjustin/status/1370697825416327170). I have no love for Proof of Work. The concept of Proof of Stake first gripped me five years ago, and I've been tremendously privileged to have spent the last three years working full time to deliver it. I am totally on board with getting Ethereum onto Proof of Stake as soon as reasonably practical. However, if I can make myself heard over the stampede, I feel a need to sound a note of caution. Until now, the Ethereum 2.0 effort has been mercifully unhampered by governance concerns. We have been able to iterate and innovate rapidly, and have made astonishing progress as a result. That ends the moment that all the value on Eth1---$200b of Ether, plus who knows what in DeFi---gets ported over to the Beacon Chain. It's not a secret that very few Eth2 devs have ever participated in Eth1 governance. I fear that hitting the Ethereum governance brick wall is going to be an immense shock[^fn1]. Consider how long it's taken to get EIP-1559 formally accepted (which happened last week), never mind implemented. The idea for 1559 was first proposed in [mid 2018](https://ethresear.ch/t/first-and-second-price-auctions-and-improved-transaction-fee-markets/2410). The _entire Eth2 Beacon Chain_ was conceived, designed, built and deployed in the time it has taken to get EIP-1559 approved. And 1559 is not even that big of a technical change. Fun fact for the unconvinced: there was not a single upgrade to the Ethereum protocol during the entirety of 2018. Personally speaking, that's not what I signed up for. If we are genuinely ok with this---with data sharding, with most of [the roadmap](https://twitter.com/vitalikbuterin/status/1333922620857745408) potentially being delayed for years, with technical debt that could linger forever---then, yes, let's rush to get Eth1 onto Proof of Stake. I am not against this. But let's do it with eyes open and aware of the downside. Alternatively, we could finish our work on the Eth2 infrastructure, including sharding, unhindered, and plan for a nice orderly merge, at the cost of a few more months of Proof of Work. [^fn1]: Actual footage of Eth2 devs running into Ethereum governance: [YouTube](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waG8YYTwpAQ). Serious warning: this is gruesome. ## The Beacon Chain :::info **PSA** Stakers! Update your Eth1 nodes!!! The Ethereum network is set to execute the [Berlin upgrade](https://blog.ethereum.org/2021/03/08/ethereum-berlin-upgrade-announcement/). For those on the Pyrmont testnet, update your Eth1 Goerli node before March 17th. For those on the Mainnet Beacon Chain, be sure to update your Eth1 node by April 14th. ::: The main recent news is the publishing of a draft spec for the [Executable Beacon Chain](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2229) aka The Merge. My colleague Mikhail Kalinin is doing a terrific work leading this: expect discussion and activity around The Merge to accelerate over the weeks to come. The Merge in itself is _not_---repeat, _is not_---a scaling solution for Ethereum. However, Dankrad Feist has suggested an approach that could deliver [a useful scale up](https://ethresear.ch/t/commit-to-pre-state-instead-of-post-state-on-the-executable-beacon-chain/8802?u=benjaminion) (5-10x), by increasing block sizes in combination with The Merge. The other big news is that we finally drained the queue for new validators! This queue has been full since the Beacon Chain started, meaning that new stakers needed to wait for their validators to become active, sometimes for as long as three weeks. Validators are activated at the rate of 900 per day, and it has taken around 100 days to get through the backlog. As of writing, there are [108,944 active validators](https://beaconcha.in/), and the queue is _empty_. ### Testnets The client devs will be putting up a new testnet in addition to the existing Pyrmont testnet. This is called [Prater](https://github.com/eth2-clients/eth2-testnets/pull/40) and is due to go live at 1400 UTC on Tuesday the 23rd of March. The idea is to be about twice as large as Mainnet so that we can push the limits on client performance: we will begin with 210 thousand validators at genesis, mostly run by the client teams and the Ethereum Foundation. For the time being, [Pyrmont](https://pyrmont.beaconcha.in/) remains the best place to test your staking set up. ### Tooling The [Mousse emulator](https://ethereum-mousse.medium.com/mousse-an-ethereum-2-0-emulator-for-local-testing-of-eth2-applications-19af727519ce) aims to do for Eth2 what Ganache does for Eth1. It can simulate and interact with Eth2 data shards, which is useful for developing rollups, for example. The [Eth2 Rekt bot](https://twitter.com/eth2REKT/status/1366719553380765697) on Twitter keeps track of slashing events. No slashings for [36 days](https://twitter.com/eth2REKT/status/1370781784028315650)! I need to take a closer look at this, but [valid8r](https://github.com/pondron/valid8r) is "An open-source command line interface for linting your Ethereum 2.0 validator set up, maintained by Pondron LLC." It is designed to check things like clock sync, network ports, Eth1 client connection and so on. Could be a useful diagnostic tool for stakers. ## Altair Altair is the [community-chosen name](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/issues/2218) for our first Beacon Chain protocol upgrade! This is still due mid-year (June-ish, all being well). A good chunk of this week's devs' call was devoted to [discussing Altair](https://hackmd.io/@benjaminion/HkIXJsDmd#Altair). Basically, we're taking some stuff out. The [plan](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2192) to modify validator records only every 64 epochs was deemed unnecessary and keeping things simple is preferred. The part that modifies the inactivity leak to be calculated individually per validator [survives](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2222). Also, there have been various attempts to find a defence against the [balancing attack](https://ethresear.ch/t/a-balancing-attack-on-gasper-the-current-candidate-for-eth2s-beacon-chain/8079?u=benjaminion) (this is the one I call the [consider a spherical cow](https://hackmd.io/@benjaminion/wnie2_201018#Balancing-attack) attack). The [latest](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2197) version has been removed from Altair on the grounds that it may introduce issues [worse than the problem](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-specs/pull/2197#issuecomment-783109619) it is trying to fix. Work continues to find an effective defence, but it is not the highest priority. ## The Great Explainers Danny's "eth2 quick update" is now rebranded [Finalized no. 23](https://blog.ethereum.org/2021/03/11/finalized-no-23/). We'll talk about [rebranding Eth2](https://twitter.com/dannyryan/status/1370071947107651585) another time; enough contrary opinions already for one edition. But, for the record, I am offended by that "z" :grimacing: Another bite-sized Twitter gem from Jacek Sieka: [an analysis](https://twitter.com/jcksie/status/1367443478976823299) of the Beacon Chain's state at block 601183. Why that block? Check [the tweet](https://twitter.com/jcksie/status/1367443478976823299)! A very common question I see popping up is, my validator made an attestation but I still got penalised! How can this happen? Beaconcha.in's knowledgebase has a concise explainer on [rewards and penalties](https://kb.beaconcha.in/rewards-and-penalties). Rocket Pool is coming soon. Tonight's EthStaker [Rocket Pool quiz game](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YdBslzHGec) was a fun way to quickly learn about the protocol. And LogicBeach is making a series of [Rocket Pool video explainers](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uytfJlMfdyc). A big part of the plans for sharding in Eth2 revolve around data availability, and core to the approach we are working on is the ability to do data recovery. It took me a while to grasp the techniques being used, so I ended up writing [an explainer](https://hackmd.io/@benjaminion/data_recovery) with a simple toy example. Enjoy! ## Media and Stuff Elias Simos from Bison Trails has started a wonderful series talking in depth to some of the characters from the Ethereum&nbsp;2.0 client teams. His first is a great profile of [Raul Jordan](https://bisontrails.co/eth2/raul-jordan/) of Prysmatic Labs. The second is [some imposter](https://bisontrails.co/eth2/ben-edgington/) from the Teku team. It was really fun talking to Elias about all this, and he's done a terrific job of pulling it all together into a nice narrative. Looking forward to future editions! EthStaker's [February in review](https://ethstaker.cc/ethstaker-community-february-in-review/) - lots has happened, and lots more planned! Raul Jordan and Paul Hauner did an [Eth2.0 and Staking AMA](https://twitter.com/EthereumCN/status/1369645203934515203) with the estimable EthereumCN. Questions and answers [here](https://forum.weeth.org/t/topic/81). The latest [Valid Points](https://www.coindesk.com/newsletter/valid-points) newsletters from Coindesk. [Last week](https://www.coindesk.com/coinbases-public-listing-means-eth-2-0), Coinbase's public listing and Eth2, plus performance tips for your validator. [This week](https://www.coindesk.com/ether-supply-hedge-against-inflation), mostly EIP-1559 with some discussion of its place in Eth2. And... I am now officially a co-host on Coindesk's weekly [Mapping Out Eth 2.0](https://www.coindesk.com/podcasts/mapping-out-eth-2-0) podcast :slightly_smiling_face: [March 4th](https://www.coindesk.com/podcasts/mapping-out-eth-2-0/rabbit-hole-eth-2-ben-edgington) is a bit of an intro to me, and on [March 11th](https://www.coindesk.com/podcasts/mapping-out-eth-2-0/ethereum-staking-code) we talk about the withdrawal key update among other things. Hopefully it's going ok - bear with me while I find my feet, this is all very new. Christine and Will and team are such professionals. To use a quaint English expression, I am gobsmacked at how far Coindesk has come in its treatment of Ethereum. Not sure where to put this one, but here will do: "Buterin's Rollup-Centric Roadmap considered dangerous", a [Tweet thread](https://twitter.com/aliatiia_/status/1369369197923475469) by Ali Atiia. It's interesting reading. The outcomes described there could be possible outcomes, I suppose, but I don't think they are likely outcomes. The scariest outcomes are definitely more likely, though, if we end up totally paralysed by governance and unable to adapt and survive (see above). ## Implementers Call Call #59 took place on the 11th of March. * [Agenda](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-pm/issues/208) * [Video](https://youtu.be/s017DQlsCCw?t=320) * My [quick notes](https://hackmd.io/@benjaminion/HkIXJsDmd), Mamy's [notes](https://github.com/ethereum/eth2.0-pm/issues/208#issuecomment-796783191), and Alex Stokes' [live Tweet](https://twitter.com/ralexstokes/status/1370027668960284677). Lots on the Altair upgrade and the Prater testnet, mostly already discussed above. ## Upcoming events - Saturday, March 20th, 1400 UTC: EthStaker [Community Call #17](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tL8l7GGCpw0): The ETH1/ETH2 Merge Client: Catalyst - Saturday, March 27th, 1600 UTC: EthStaker [Validator Workshop](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66-j84WTcoA), how to setup a validator. - April 9th to May 14th, a four week [Scaling Ethereum](https://scaling.ethglobal.co/) hackathon, run by ETHGlobal. * * * [![[Twitter]](https://benjaminion.xyz/newineth2/img/twitter.svg =40x40)](https://twitter.com/benjaminion_xyz) Follow me on [Twitter](https://twitter.com/benjaminion_xyz) to hear when the next edition is out 🙌. [![[RSS]](https://benjaminion.xyz/newineth2/img/rss.svg =32x32)](https://benjaminion.xyz/newineth2/rss_feed.xml) We also have an [RSS feed](https://benjaminion.xyz/newineth2/rss_feed.xml). 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