The Ethereum blockchain is preparing to transition to its new state. The creators foresaw this transition at the very beginning of the journey — at the dawn of the industry. When Ether officially launched in 2015, pushing the horizons of the crypto world, a roadmap to state 2.0 had already been defined.
Currently, the platform uses the Proof-of-Work consensus protocol and is a single blockchain. This means that the nodes that ensure its functioning must store information about the entire blockchain, and each change is verified by all nodes. Hence the slow speed and high cost of transactions, which can cost users $15 or even $50.
At the same time, Ethereum, a pioneer in implementing smart contracts and the adaptation of decentralized applications, complacently allows other blockchains and cryptocurrency projects to use its capacity, which often leads to their well-being, while the Ether network only grows, which increases the listed costs.
The step-by-step way out of this situation is called Serenity, and consists of the following phases:
“phase 0” — the implementation of the new Beacon Chain blockchain, which took place in December 2020. The existence of the Beacon Chain changes nothing in the current network, but it is needed for the future transition and works with a new consensus protocol;
“phase 1” — blockchain division into 64 shards with Proof-of-Stake protocol. It will increase blockchain speed and reduce the cost of transactions. Smart contracts and transaction processing will not work at this stage;
“phase 1,5” — the created workchains will inherit the main Ethereum network and bring it into the 2.0 era, after which smart contracts and transaction processing will become available. The specific configuration for the current mainnet to enter a new state is still being discussed in the blockchain user community.
The last two phases are vaguely planned for 2021, and in some fundamental transformations, they differ in the new consensus protocol. This transition was planned back in 2015, as you can read about in research work by Vitalik Buterin.
The blockchain staking algorithm does not differ from those used in other projects, including Free TON staking. Cryptocurrency is locked in stakes for a certain time, which gives the validator the right to take part in block creation and validation.
The validator needs to deposit 32 ETH to activate the software, which at the market rate at the time of writing, is about 110,000 USD. Those who do not have such an amount can invest in staking pools and earn with them.
Two implementation scenarios have been prepared for Casper, Correct-by-Construction (Casper CBC) proposed by researcher Vlad Zamfir and Friendly Finality Gadget (Casper FFG) by Vitalik Buterin, who proposed a hybrid coexistence of PoW and PoS protocols at the first transition stage. As a working scenario, the second scenario was adopted, but the possibility of a clean switch to PoS was not excluded.
The removal of mining that will occur because of this phase transition is viewed by users through different prisms. Someone notes the unconditional advantages of speed, environmental friendliness, and security. Some question the security of the PoS blockchain, recalling the danger of a 51% attack. Proponents of the transition, however, instead see security as an advantage of Ethereum 2.0 running on the PoS algorithm, because at the current scale of the blockchain, for an attacker the task of hacking it becomes the task of finding at least two hundred billion dollars that could simply be blocked by the security system.