The long-awaited launch of Ethereum 2.0's Phase 0 has just happened.
The event marks the roll-out of the beacon chain — a kind of backbone for the Ethereum 2.0 network, or Eth2, with the genesis block produced at 12:00 UTC on December 1.
The beacon chain has enabled ether (ETH) staking rewards for initial depositors, who had locked in more than $500 million worth of ETH in the Eth2 staking deposit contract.
"Today is the day rubber hits the road," Justin Drake, Eth2 researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, told The Block. "It is pretty crazy we have four production-grade Eth2 clients — Lighthouse, Nimbus, Prysm, and Teku — from day one."
A great deal of work went into Phase 0, including several testnets and audits. There's still a lot of work left to do for the full Eth2 upgrade, as The Block reported recently.
Of the remaining Eth2 phases, Phase 1.5 is the most crucial phase, as this is the step during which Eth1 will merge with Eth2 and move from a proof-of-work model to a proof-of-stake system.
Overall, the Eth2 upgrade, combined with Layer-2 scaling techniques, is intended to solve Ethereum's problems for the long run. "Once there is sufficient base layer functionality, scalability, and security, ideally the protocol can largely become stable," Danny Ryan, Eth2 researcher at the Ethereum Foundation, told The Block.