Yes, July 2020 was the target as the likely launch for phase 0 of ETH 2.0, but it is still “in the final testing stages with large multiclient testnets,” and client teams are putting on the final touches.
They could be ready for a relaunch of a larger public testnet in a matter of weeks.
However, during the Reddit AMA today, Justin Drake, a researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, shared that the “earliest practical date for genesis” is January 3, 2021, that would be Bitcoin’s 12th anniversary.
This delay is caused by several things that need to happen before genesis, including a public testnet with over three clients running smoothly for two-three months and an incentivized “attack net” running for the same duration.
Adding a bug bounty program running for 2-3 months and serious differential fuzzing across clients, and all of this can’t happen in Q3 2020, and Q4 has Thanksgiving and December holidays.
Some developers are still optimistic about the launch date by a handful of weeks and “putting money on 2020.”
The good thing is Phase 1 is “looking like the extension of Phase 0” the real heavy lifting on the engineering side won't start until later this year because, for now, most eth2 client resources are dedicated fulltime to shipping Phase 0.
Also, Drake believes, even the late launch comes with “goodies which may get you excited.”
In conclusion, they are expecting 3-4 production validator clients for genesis, BLS12-381 hardware wallet integrations are happening, and a new deposit contract is written in Solidity with lower gas consumption.
The ETH Lock-Up Issue
The Ethereum community is extremely excited about staking, a hot trend in the crypto market. The number of addresses holding 32 ETH, the requisite for staking has been fast-growing, and just last month, ConsenSys announced six crypto heavyweights — Binance, Huobi Wallet, Crypto.com, DARMA Capital, and Trustlogy, and Matrixport that will join its Staking Pilot Program.
During the AMA, Drake also shared that resolving the issue of not having staked ETH lock-up until Phase 1.5, which could take years, is a priority.
“It is also a thorny issue without a fully satisfactory way forward as of now,” said Drake. There are various possible outcomes, including ETH1 being fully merged into ETH2 being the cleanest but hardest to pull off.
Despite the issue of ETH being locked up for a long time, Drake believes they will “easily reach the 0.5m ETH threshold to trigger genesis” because staking rewards will be high during the early days and also because “many enthusiasts are keen to jump in.”
Phase 1 Much Simpler to Implement
Currently, more than 100 people are contributing to the ETH 2.0, which the researcher believes they have made hard for themselves.
Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin feels the same way as he shared his biggest regret today is “not launching” ETH 1.0 about a year later with all the deficiencies fixed.
For now, they are working on launching the testnet for Phase 0, which has apparently higher implementation complexity.
Phase 1 has two components, one being data only shard chains, which is “much simpler” than the beacon chain, and Phase 0 will already lay all the groundwork for it. The other one is a custody game and a crypto-economic game where complexity arises from challenge-response type interactions that have continually been refined and simplified.