In brief

  • A testnet running the Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 mainnet configuration has launched.
  • The genesis block was mined and validated over the weekend.
  • Ethereum 2.0 will introduce a proof-of-stake model and roll out in phases.

Ethereum 2.0 took another step closer to release on Friday with the first successful mining and validation of a block on a testnet.

Ethereum 2.0 swaps out the current, computationally-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism for a proof-of-stake one. People who hold a large number of tokens will be rewarded with fees for verifying transactions under this model, rather than for creating blocks by using massive amounts of computing power.

The hope is that the new version of Ethereum will be faster and more scalable upon its launch, which is tentatively scheduled for July. Part of that improved scalability will come via the implementation of sharding, a process that breaks up the Ethereum network into smaller nodes to handle many times more transactions than it can now.

Prysmatic Labs, an engineering team working on the Ethereum 2.0 technical infrastructure, launched the Ethereum 2.0 Topaz testnet on April 16. This replaced the previous testnet, which was called Sapphire. A testnet allows developers to test the stability and functionality of a blockchain before the mainnet, or public launch. 

The Topaz testnet uses the same mainnet configuration planned for Ethereum 2.0’s initial launch, and requires validators to stake the full 32 ETH that will be required with the 2.0 mainnet. Eventually, the Topaz testnet will give way to a final testnet, called Diamond, that represents the launch version of Prysmatic’s Ethereum consensus client.

“Note that this is likely not quite yet ‘THE Multiclient Testnet™,’ as we are likely going to do one or two restarts soon to have more chances to test the genesis mechanism. But still, huge progress and excellent work by @prylabs,” tweeted Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, describing additional testing plans ahead.

The initial mainnet launch of Ethereum 2.0 is tentatively targeted for July, and will gradually roll out over the course of six staggered phases that introduce the myriad changes seen in the overhaul.

This latest testnet launch comes one month after security consultant Least Authority completed an audit of Ethereum 2.0 and praised its “well thought out” specifications. However, the review of the specifications did note a couple of potential attack vectors that may need to be addressed either now in the run-up to the mainnet launch, or gradually as the six phases roll out.

Ethereum 2.0 isn’t quite ready for mainnet launch, but each new testing development will hopefully help ensure that it’s up to snuff once it finally goes live.