- Ethereum 2.0 is a much needed upgrade to the Ethereum network
- Implementation has already been heavily delayed, with Buterin admitting to have “underestimated” the difficulties involved
- Buterin and other member are now disagreeing about when the upgrade can be achieved
Ethereum 2.0 is the long-awaited upgrade that will usher in a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, sharding, and a greatly reduced coin issuance. But delays to the new protocol have now been thrown into further confusion with Ethereum creator Vitalk Buterin and others publicly disagreeing over the potential launch date. So when are we likely to see Ethereum 2.0?
Ethereum 2.0 Was Supposed to Launch in 2018
In many ways, Ethereum 2.0 has been in the works since 2014 when Vitalik Buterin posted about the benefits of PoS, just a few months after he had first conceived the idea for Ethereum. Initially he is said to have planned a transition to PoS by 2018, but since then the idea of transitioning away from a proof-of-work system has seen a number of delays, not least because it has morphed into a much fuller system upgrade due to the need to scale the ageing protocol to meet today’s needs, and challengers.
The result is Ethereum 2.0, and, six years after Buterin’s first public consideration of changing to a PoS system, there is still no firm date in mind for the implementation.
Disagreement Over Timetable
This is not to say that lots of work hasn’t gone into shifting Ethereum into its new state. It has, with various smaller upgrades in recent months ushering in aspects of what will be included in Ethereum 2.0. The 2.0 testnet was supposed to go live in January 2020 but this was delayed to June, then July, and now remains somewhat open ended.
There is now disagreement within the Ethereum camp as to what is achievable regarding the rollout of 2.0. Ethereum 2.0 developer Justin Drake claimed last week in a Reddit AMA that the various upgrades and tests “cannot happen in Q3 2020” and set a more realistic phase 0 target of “something like January 3, 2021” for the launch.
However, Buterin disagreed with this and has said that he “would favor launching phase 0 significantly before that date regardless of level of readiness”. It seems there is a client-provider relationship at play here where the client, Buterin, is demanding more from the service provider, who does not want to launch a product that is too far from a state of readiness for testing.
However, Ethereum 2.0 coordinator Danny Ryan seems to be on Buterin’s side, stating that “I and others are still putting money on 2020”. This confidence needs to be backed up with results, in particular a concrete phase 0 test date that can be adhered to.
2021 Looking More Likely
We are well into the second half of 2020, and given that Buterin recently admitted to have “underestimated” the amount of work that Ethereum 2.0 requires, could it be possible that he is still suffering from this delusion? In order to get a 2020 launch we will need to see a testnet and bug bounty program launched by August, or September at a pinch, otherwise Buterin is going to miss his own deadline, pushing Ethereum 2.0 back to 2021.
At this rate, Ethereum 2.0 is looking like a much more feasible launch year than 2020, and it would be better for the project to delay again and launch properly than go in half cocked just to say they did it.