Ethereum’s Medalla Beacon Chain testnet has been running since early August but participation is waning. The lead developers are eager to get beyond testing and launch the real thing, which could be around six weeks away.
Ethereum 2.0 developer Ben Edgington recently posted an update to highlight the latest news from Beacon Chain testing and development.
Last week, Edgington stated that the Zinken testnet was the final launch rehearsal. Zinken ran smoothly as planned, but as with the larger Medalla testnet, participation has been low. He feels that it is time to move on, adding;
“Not many days after that I expect the deposit contract to be deployed, with a target beacon chain genesis within about six weeks.”
Ethereum Medalla Lethargy
According to Etherchain, the Austrian firm building Ethereum blockchain explorers, Medalla has failed to achieve finality for the past 1,500 epochs. It added that testing has become very resource hungry and 8Gb of memory may not be enough any longer.
Users with 8gb RAM will have a hard time staying in sync. We should start recommending 16gb RAM for the Mainnet.
— Bitfly (@etherchain_org) October 19, 2020
Edgington replied that he doesn’t expect this to be the case on a network with real value at stake which cannot be simulated on testnets;
“People will be working hard to keep the network finalising. It’s exactly why we need to move on from the testnets now.”
At the time of press, there was only 52% network participation on Medalla according to beaconcha.in. The system needs to reach 66% to achieve finality. There are still over 2.2 million simulated ETH (GöETH) staked but it needs a further 9,750 validators to function.
Client Dominance Woes
Another issue was the dominance of the Prysm Ethereum 2.0 client for testing purposes, which had over 90% of the network share. This made it difficult to effectively test other clients such as Lighthouse, Nimbus, and Teku.
Prysm Labs has been hard at work developing its client and recently announced a web-based graphical user interface with a dedicated staking portal. Lighthouse has also just upgraded to version 0.3.0 which introduces a raft of improvements as the final launch nears.
The next stage in the process will be the deployment of the official deposit contract which the developers have already said had been formally verified and was ‘good to go.’ They added that everything else has been audited, tested, and tested again, so the target for Beacon Chain genesis is within six weeks.
Anticipation for ETH 2.0 has been slowly building for the past few months which have kept ETH prices at two-year highs.