Today Ethereum 2.0 finally launched “Phase 0,” with the first block of the new proof-of-stake blockchain already mined.
The Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain saw its first block be mined on Dec. 1, 2020, at 12:00:23 PM +UTC, according to dedicated block explorer BeaconScan.
While congratulating the community, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin took the opportunity to poke a little fun at it.
The launch is a major step forward in the development of the Ethereum network, and one that was delayed many times in the past.
Ethereum has dominated DApps for years, but the old proof-of-work Ethereum blockchain suffers from significant scalability limitations that, paired with the ongoing decentralized finance craze, resulted in slow transaction processing as well as high—and sometimes ludicrous—fees for the users of the network. This has pushed more than a few smart contract developers to choose competing blockchains, sidechains, or second-layer scalability solutions.
Beyond that, Ethereum’s current proof-of-work consensus mechanism’s carbon footprint has been growing steadily, especially as ether prices have continued to rise. It is currently swallowing as much electricity as the nation of Georgia.
“Eth2 will reduce energy consumption, allow the network to process more transactions, and increase security,” according to the ETH 2.0 official website. “Technically speaking, Ethereum will become a proof-of-stake blockchain and introduce shard chains. This is a huge change to how Ethereum works and it should bring equally huge benefits.”
As Modern Consensus reported about a week ago, the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain was expected to finally launch after the minimum of 524,288 ETH staked needed for block confirmation was reached—in the bare nick of time for the Dec. 1 launch date.
While it’s been in the works for several years, the launch of the Ethereum 2.0 beacon chain was formally called for by the Ethereum Foundation’s lead developer, Danny Ryan, in mid-September, when he requested a merger of Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) number 2982 into the main Ethereum code branch on GitHub.
Support for the new chain is already growing, with China’s top cryptocurrency exchange Huobi and leading U.S. exchange Coinbase both announcing ETH 2.0 staking support on Nov. 30. Huobi unveiled a feature that will allow its users to stake ether with a single click, while Coinbase announced support for both ETH 2.0 staking and trading. Others, like infrastructure-as-a-service provider Bison Trails, ramped up support months ago.