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ETH 2 Researcher: 2021 The “Earliest Practical Date” For Phase 0

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A recent Reddit “ask me anything” (AMA) with the Ethereum Foundation’s ETH 2.0 research team has created confusion among stakeholders.

The first phase (Phase 0) of Ethereum’s version 2 was originally expected to have its launch ceremony at Devcon 5 in Osaka last October, an event that never took place after issues were raised during development. The date was subsequently expected in “Q1 2020” but it quickly became apparent that this target too, would be missed.

As a result, ETH 2 researcher Justin Drake provided an updated target in February 2020 to state that he now had 95% confidence that Phase 0 would launch by the end of the year. When asked whether ETH 2 would be considered a failure if it didn’t launch by the end of 2020, the response from Drake was, “yes, it would be a failure. I have 95% confidence we will launch in 2020”.

In today’s AMA, Drake cast doubt over whether this target was indeed possible, citing a number of outstanding tasks that would require multiple months of running without issue before Phase 0 could be deemed safe for deployment on mainnet.

In a surprising turn of events however, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin responded to Drake’s comments with his opinion that he favored “launching phase 0 significantly before that date regardless of level of readiness”.

Buterin justified his comments by suggesting that the practical risks of breakage were lower in ETH 2 than in ETH 1 due to the fact that no applications are yet built upon the former. Going further, he also made the argument that June’s launch of the multi-client testnet, Altona, should have already started the clock ticking for mainnet; as opposed to Drake’s preference to wait until the public multi-client testnet that is expected later this month.

The launch of Phase 0 is a hugely anticipated moment in Ethereum’s history but it is also one that has eluded stakeholders time and again. The confusion caused by today’s AMA will only serve to leave investors despondent, regardless of the additional safety and security that these delays intend to provide.

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Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon Founder