They’re currently finishing standardization of what is called the Boneh–Lynn–Shacham (BLS) signature scheme.
This is the actual cryptography that makes ownership authentication possible with apparently quite a few new blockchain projects using it, so “it makes sense to adopt a common approach to facilitate interoperability in the future” says Ben Edgington of ConsenSys’ eth 2.0 client PegaSys.
To meet that standard, they had to make what looks like a small change to comply with the new hash to curve standard.
Edgington said last month he himself already implemented the new scheme in Java, while Kirk Baird of another eth2.0 client, Lighthouse by Sigma Prime, implemented it in Python.
However, “although the BLS Standardisation effort is nearing completion, we can’t deploy the contract until that signature scheme is deemed stable,” says Ryan.
Everything else seems to have been finished, with the deposit smart contract – which uses BLS for part of the validator registration process – written in Vyper.
Vyper as you may know is a smart contract programming language similar to Solidity, but more pythonic. Ryan says:
“After identifying and fixing a Vyper compiler bug, the deposit contract has finished formal verification and is ready to go when the standardisation effort is completed.”
Last month Edgington said the BLS changes should take a few weeks to complete, but the deposit contract will now launch presumably shortly after Devcon which begins on Tuesday.
“This shouldn’t delay the planned start of the beacon chain in Q1 next year,” Edgington said.
These BLS changes are unlikely to affect the time estimates for launch presumably because it depends more on just how quickly the eth is deposited to the contract, with 3 million eth needed to start off.
This eth is one-way transferred to the Beacon Chain where they can’t really move much further until storage sharding goes out in phase 1 sometime next year.
This eth on the Beacon Chain is instead to Proof of Stake (PoS) with Vitalik Buterin, ethereum’s co-founder, putting up some numbers last month to estimate earnings based on all sorts of conditions.
It’s a completely new chain which kind of has no relation to the Proof of Work (PoW) chain except that it can “read” it and next year might even be able to “write” to it by finalizing blocks.
Meaning there will be a new genesis block for the brand new blockchain. Its launch is first awaiting the multi-client testnet which too is expected to launch very soon.
That testnet is basically the new blockchain, but in lab conditions to find bugs and refine everything with crossed t-s and dotted i-s.
Presuming everything goes fine, then about three months of this public testnet which anyone can join, should be sufficient.
So if the testnet goes out this month, they should be able to make it for January or around that time during winter.
This year’s Devcon may well better be remembered as the Devcon Ethereum 2.0 as there will be much focus on it ahead of its launch.
We are therefore likely to learn quite a lot more about both beacon and stake as well as sharding and much else.
The numbers given by Buterin go some way towards giving a much better idea of what one can expect, but once the testnet launches, people will probably start building their staking “equipment” or maybe even template set-ups.
Some of them may have already begun because those that go first get more reward. Like if it’s just 500,000 eth, they can get as much as 37%.
That’s 37% of 500,000. In regards to total supply, new issuance from staking is minuscule at about 0.2%.
In addition the first eth doesn’t have a privilege. All eth are equal, whether first or last, but if in total it’s 2.5 million eth, they get 13% a year in eth. Even at 4.5 million eth it’s at 9.2%.
Since stakers’ interest is that no other stakers join, the social dynamics can be interesting because one can expect current stakers to dissuade potential new stakers by exaggerating potential risks so that they don’t “dilute” their earnings.
In regards to pools too, they may face DDoS or other attacks, although that could be risky as punishment is based on how many stakers misbehave at the same time.
Yet one can clearly see the need for some “altruistic” or “official” easy step by step tutorial on how to set-up staking because those who stake obviously have stake, so from a network wide social perspective, the more of them, you’d think the better.
Staking at the beginning however can be quite risky because it’s all new, although there would have been the testnet period where everyone can experiment and learn.
In addition any protocol level bugs are unlikely to lead to losses because changes would be made, but user level “bugs” can lead to losses.
Just what sort, in what circumstances, and much else, may be detailed further at Devcon where a lot more clarity might be reached as the entire ecosystem descends on Osaka ahead of the Proof of Stake launch.