Since Vitalik Buterin and other co-founders launched Ethereum in 2014, the scalability problem has always been part of the conversation, with the developers of Ethereum all agreeing that a period of solving the theoretical problems leads to the challenge to develop an "Ethereum 2.0", "which solves the problem of downsizing and offers the promise of creating a vast and distributed" computer world ".
Currently, Ethereum still operates using a Proof of Work (PoW) mining protocol on it mainnet. However, Ethereum 2.0 will be supported primarily by a Proof of Stake (PoS) structure in which the beacon chain will be central to everything that happens on the network. The Beacon chain, which is expected to be the first component of the Ethereum 2.0 framework to be delivered, will act effectively as the backbone of the new system, linking together the fragments that offer much desired scalability.
The developers of Ethereum hope to solve the problem of the excessive use of energy caused by the extraction of PoW and by the congestion of the network that strangles the dApp with high tariffs for gas. Initially, Shard's chains will reach the scale on Ethereum 2.0 by aggregating transactions and reaching consensus on their order leaving effective hashing to the main chain. The final layer of the Ethereum 2.0 system is the VM layer, which will provide a framework for the execution of smart contracts and transactions in the current Ethereum network.
The importance of the lighting chain can be explained by describing it as a pulsating heart that provides sustenance to the whole system. Its main function is to supervise and manage the implementation of the PoS protocol for itself and the plethora of shard chains that ensure scalability on Ethereum 2.0.
Its functions include the appointment of those proposing the block, the approval and management of the validators, the supervision of the validator committees that regularly vote on the proposed blocks, the application of the network rules through sanctions and awards and providing a central anchor point for the fragments to be reported regularly so as to facilitate cross-shard fast execution of the transaction.
Beacon chain functions
Among the many functions of a beacon chain is the work of maintaining a set of nodes as block validators. These nodes point each to the required sum of 32 ETHs and are essentially central to the operation of the entire Ethereum 2.0 system. When a node sends ETH 32 mail to a smart contract on the existing main PoW network, it is then blocked after some validity checks and the information is transmitted to Beacon Chain clients. The beacon chain then integrates the node in the validator set on the beacon chain, where it plays a key role in the PoS protocol by proposing blocks on the beacon chain and the shard chains.
The Chain Beacon manages the process of withdrawing a validator that makes its exit from the system. According to the PoS protocol, the initial fee plus its accumulated premiums and penalties is returned in a shard chain after a period of 97 days in a process managed by one leader from the Beacon chain.
The chain of beacons, as mentioned previously, manages the PoS framework both on itself and on the major shard chains. Unlike PoW, there is no block extraction competition and therefore the blocking proponents are randomly selected from the Beacon chain to perform hashing. This is perhaps central to the entire PoS system because, without real randomness, there is the risk of malfunctions or centralization.
Something else that makes the Beacon Chain is that it produces blocks at regular intervals of 16 seconds instead of the irregular intervals seen on a PoW system. During each 16-second slot, the randomly selected block proposer receives all the information about the previous blocks from the Beacon Chain validator and organizes them into a block that is then published in the chain.
When the sharing framework of Ethereum 2.0 is fully active and working, it is said that each fragment will have a randomly chosen proposer by gathering transaction information for that particular fragment into a microcosm of the Beacon Chain process. This information will then be formed into a block to be voted by the shard committee.
Another fundamental part of the Beacon Chain functionality is the maintenance of the rules of the PoS system by assigning rewards and penalties as appropriate. It constantly tracks and updates the validators' deposits and assigns them the prizes to maintain their behavior within the rules of the system, which serves as an incentive for good behavior.
If they break the rules, the Chain Beacon removes part of their 32 ETH deposit and expels them from the system. It also implies small penalties for validators who do not show up for voting. In the event that the deposit of a validator falls below 16 ETH, the Beacon Chain will also automatically expel them from the set of validators.
The final function of Beacon Chain is to process cross-links: threads that gather a thicker network by linking each fragment to the central column of the Beacon Chain. Occasionally, the current status of each fragment is recorded as a cross link on a Beacon chain block. When the block is completed, the shard block is automatically considered finalized, which makes it recognized as a support for other fragments in cross-shard transactions.
Currently, the development framework behind the Beacon Chain has reached about 60% completion and the development time forecast within the cryptosphere is a notoriously difficult effort. However, the word on the road is that the development of Beacon Chain should be done by the end of the year, and a multi-client Beacon Chain testnet could be up and running as soon as the first quarter of 2019.
For anyone with an interest in developing Ethereum 2.0, this means that the vision could potentially be updated as soon as next year. If this actually happens in the indicated time, however, only time will tell.