- Ethereum has pulled out all the stops this year to deliver Ethereum 2.0 and cap a memorable year
- The platform was in danger of being frozen out after delays to its much needed upgrade
- The launch of Phase 0 had helped the token price rise almost 5x this year
2020 has been the biggest year in Ethereum’s history since the DAO collapse in 2016. Ethereum 2.0, the long awaited and much needed upgrade to the network, went live after months of delays, giving Ethereum the performance boost it needs to stay relevant and save dApp builders moving elsewhere. In a year when many faster and slicker smart contract platforms had been waiting to pick over the Ethereum corpse, the one that started it all has reinvented itself, and just in time.
An Inauspicious Start to 2020
Few could have predicted that when Ethereum 2.0 missed its January 2020 testnet deadline that the long-awaited upgrade would see the light of day this year. The following month saw Buterin saying that a July launch was on the cards, but he later clarified this by saying that he “did not hear the word July in the question”, throwing the launch date into further confusion.
July came and went with no upgrade, although Buterin and his team were still “putting money on 2020”. Someone who wasn’t as confident was Ethereum 2.0 developer Justin Drake who said in a Reddit AMA that the launch “cannot happen in Q3 of 2020” and that January 2021 was a more likely start date.
DeFi Mania Illustrates Need for Upgrade
If Ethereum developers needed any further incentive to launch the new network, which can run up to 64 parallel chains, then the emergence of the DeFi movement around this time would have provided it. For the first time since the CryptoKitties debacle of 2017, the Ethereum network was becoming so clogged that extortionate fees were being charged to conduct simple transactions, with many failing to go through, yet still costing traders money.
Confidence must have been high somewhere however, as the Ethereum price began to rocket from mid-July, doubling to $460 within six weeks alongside the number of wallets holding 32 ETH, the minimum amount needed to be a node on the network.
The clearest confirmation of a 2020 launch came on November 4 when the Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract was launched, allowing wallets holding 32 ETH to deposit their tokens ready for staking. The deposit contract wallet was filled on November 24 with hours to spare, and finally, on December 1, Phase 0 of Ethereum 2.0 was launched.
2021 Looking Rosy for Ethereum
While Ethereum 2.0 will take months to fully integrate, the arrival of Phase 0 caps an exceptional year for the project. It has maintained its position as the second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, the token price has gone almost 5x, and the imminent rolling out of Ethereum 2.0 allows it to remain the premiere smart contract platform, finally with the technology to back it up.