Early Eth1<->Eth2 switch is official!

Early Eth1<->Eth2 switch is official. The goal is getting rid of the PoW chain and moving everything onto the beacon chain on an accelerated schedule.

Early Eth1<->Eth2 switch is official!

An alternative proposal for early eth1 <-> eth2 merge which was shared by Vitalik in December 2019, is now accepted. It has been approved by the core developers in Eth2.0 Implementers call 31, today. The decision making was not on the agenda but the discussion started towards the end of the call when Vitalik tried to seek opinion about the latest proposal on the switch.

Early Eth1-Eth2 switch

According to the Eth research paper, Early Eth1-Eth2 switch proposes the goal of getting rid of the PoW chain and moving everything onto the beacon chain on an accelerated schedule. It specifically requires stateless clients, but NOT stateless miners and NOT webassembly, and so requires much less rearchitecting to accomplish.

Having stateless client is very important for this switch to stop the malicious actions. In a reddit discussion, Vitalik said, "Requiring every validator to run the full eth1 node would be a significant burden. Right now we've worked hard to make the total eth2 state size under 1 GB so that you can do everything in RAM and so that the requirements can be lower than the eth1 system today; completely coupling the two would reverse those gains, and hence lower the accessibility of eth2 staking considerably.
And I don't think stateless clients need to be that far away! Just need to get people proactively involved in preparing for the main hard-but-necessary protocol change, which is gas cost increases for operations that have large witness sizes, particularly calling contracts."

Most of the developers agreed to the idea but the main concern was around the community consensus.

Mikhail Kalinin said, “I like it from a technical point of view but not sure if it will be accepted by the community. This is the change to consensus and security. It depends on the point of time when we are going to do the switch.”

Danny Ryan, the Eth2.0 lead, added that he thinks it only depends on a successful and stable phase 0 and Phase 1 release, which may be demonstrating the security instability. However, he wanted some clarity around the finality gadget integration. To which, Vitalik told that finality gadget could be implemented voluntarily earlier than a full switch but can also be merged together with the fork choice rule. He further added that, from the community side, "we get a vibe of approval of the proposal but that could also be a particular subset".

The core developers agreed that there is a decent amount of work to be done on the Eth1.x statelessness and is going to be a huge priority this year. But this approach is a much cleaner way for Eth1 to utilize the scalable data layer of Phase 1. There's a lot to learn and figure out before it actually comes into action but most of them seem positive about it. So, it was made official that the 'Alternative proposal for early eth1 <-> eth2 merge' model will be followed for the switch and the transition would still be done using a procedure similar to the eth1 -> eth2 transition.


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