The next major milestone for the Ethereum network, dubbed Ethereum 2.0, has been in development for several months now, with no clear indication on when it will be ready to roll out.

While members of the Ethereum Foundation suggested that the end of 2019 or January 2020 would most likely be when the update would be deployed, an Ethereum researcher has now confirmed that a release date has not been finalized internally and could change depending on a variety of external factors.

Ethereum Phase 0 to Launch in Early 2020?

Given that Ethereum 2.0 is a radical departure from the current iteration of the network, the migration process is expected to take place in a series of ‘phases,’ starting with Phase 0. Thanks to a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session hosted by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and group of researchers on July 16, 2019, we now know more about the timeline and development efforts dedicated to the Ethereum 2.0 undertaking.

According to researcher Carl Beekhuizen, former reports suggesting a release date of January 3, 2020, for Phase 0 were misinformed since the Foundation has yet to determine one officially. While the date was explicitly mentioned during a bi-weekly coordination call between developers, it was simply meant to signal a willingness to launch after the 2019 holiday season.

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Beekhuizen continued to state a long list of requirements that need to be taken care of before Phase 0’s launch date can be settled on. He said,

“We need: long-running test nets (however that is defined), formal verification of the deposit contract, and clients to be ready for prime time, but right now it looks like everything will come together in time. We also don’t want to rush clients into developing buggy software just to be ready by an arbitrary date.”

Furthermore, Beekhuizen noted that standardization efforts may also end up slowing the launch process since the Foundation is committed to developing a highly standardized signature system for future blockchain interoperability projects. That said, the researchers unanimously stated that Ethereum 2.0 will likely launch sometime in the first quarter of 2020.

Unsolved Challenges for Phases 1 and 2

Besides the launch timeline, the researchers acknowledged that a few technical challenges still need to be addressed before subsequent phases are deployed. Danny Ryan, another researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, explained what one of those challenges might look like, stating,

“Better understanding the incentives and various actors that might arise in a stateless and highly abstracted execution model.”

Ryan went on to say that the Consensys Quilt team and the Ethereum Foundation’s eWASM team are both building prototypes to vet potential solutions. Justin Drake, meanwhile, noted a few other research challenges in a Reddit comment, including the design of a fee market and default execution engine, as well as finding a way to incentivize light clients.

Do you think the Ethereum 2.0 initiative will successfully achieve its goals of improved performance and greater scalability? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.