The horizon is materializing for Ethereum.

The public blockchain’s developers are currently hard at work on actualizing the project’s “ETH 2.0” Serenity upgrade, which will ultimately see the scaling triumvirate of Plasma, Casper, and sharding activated on Ethereum. Now, a tentative date has been set for when the ETH 2.0 genesis block may launch: January 3rd, 2020.

Nothing is definite for now, but Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake said on Thursday during the 19th ETH 2.0 Implementers Call that date was a reasonable target and could end up being selected for the activation of the Beacon Chain of Serenity’s “Phase Zero,” the first of several development stages planned for the ETH 2.0 transition.

Ethereum 2.0

That initial phase will finalize Ethereum’s shift from proof-of-work (PoW) consensus via miners to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus via validators. The Beacon Chain, once activated upon its genesis block, will facilitate PoS block validation via Casper tech and will serve as a foundation for later layerings, like Phase Two that will see a fuller rollout of sharding’s functionalities.

In the Implementers Call, Drake said with the code specification of Phase Zero being frozen later this month, the Ethereum community could conduct a “deposit contract ceremony” at this year’s Devcon5 conference, which will take place in Osaka, Japan, in October.

Activating the deposit contract in October should give the Ethereum community plenty of time to get things right ahead of a January 2020 Beacon Chain launch, Drake added:

“So the idea here is try and launch the deposit contract ahead of the target genesis [block], so that we allow time for validators to make deposits. And then one idea here is to basically do a deposit contract ceremony at Devcon. One of the reasons to have this very public ceremony is so that we can all agree on the exact address of the deposit contract and avoid scam deposit contracts.”

At one point during the call, the Ethereum Foundation researcher explained how activating the ETH 2.0 genesis block on January 3rd, 2020, could avoid December’s holiday bustle and could be honorifically timed with the 11th anniversary of the Bitcoin network’s genesis block.

Again, Drake was speaking in tentative terms during these remarks, but the chatter is a clear indication that Ethereum is indeed nearing the verge of its most critical evolutionary period to date.

The stabs toward solidifying a roadmap for the next few months come on the heels of Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin noting on Twitter last month that developers “already had all the research breakthroughs we need” for implementing ETH 2.0.

“This has been the case for about a year now,” Buterin added.

No Shortage of Hustle and Bustle for Ethereum Lately

Activity around Ethereum has been teeming so far this year.

Already this month, tech giant Microsoft has released VeriSol, an open-source smart contract verification tool for Ethereum, and added support for the Truffle suite of Ethereum tools to its cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure.

Other major enterprises have also released their own Ethereum tools in recent weeks, like JP Morgan’s Anonymous Zether system and EY’s Nightfall protocol.

On-chain activity is increasing too, as Ethereum saw its daily gas usage record broken at the end of May. Transactions will likely increase as marketplaces like OpenBazaar move toward Ethereum support.

The public blockchain has also just welcomed decentralized oracles, as the Chainlink mainnet activated on Ethereum days ago. The Google Cloud team notably highlighted this week how Chainlink’s oracle tech can be used to ping data from Google’s BigQuery database onto Ethereum for the purposes of creating hybrid “blockchain-cloud” apps.

Moreover, more ETH 2.0 testnets are starting to materialize, which is giving builders the opportunity to familiarize themselves with Ethereum’s future. Tomorrow is today, right.


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Posted by William M. Peaster

William M. Peaster is an editor and cryptocurrency writer. He is not a financial adviser. He enjoys covering both the promise and warts of the emerging cryptoeconomy. Follow him on Twitter: @WPeaster


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