Since its inception, the Ethereum blockchain has been backed by the Proof-of-Work algorithm, similarly to Bitcoin. Yet, Ethereum’s founder, Vitalik Buterin, has often talked about his plans of ditching PoW, in favour of Proof-of-Stake (PoS), which he believes to be better suited for Ethereum’s purposes.
Now, recent reports indicate that the PoS blockchain code will be finalized sometime in June. The news comes from Justin Drake, a researcher for the Ethereum Foundation, who stated: “I’ve been continuing to fine comb Phase Zero in preparation for the spec freeze which we’re targeting for the 30th of June (…) we’re still very much on track. Still, code simplifications are coming through which is great and the process of fine combing is also for finding final bugs.”
To put things better into perspective, Ethereum 2.0 will come along with two major updates, as explained by Vitalik Buterin. Firstly, the Casper proof-of-stake algorithm will replace mining, and hence improve the scalability of the network. As such, instead of relying on miners and their hardware to crack the PoW problem, with PoS, transactions will be verified by staking an amount of coins to vouch for a transaction’s authenticity. The process is bound to be more efficient, while also saving up on electricity consumption. The second update to the network will be the sharding protocol, which will further increase scalability, since the network will no longer have to rely on every node to process all the transactions. Buterin’s estimates showcase that a 1,000 increase in scalability can be achieved with the second version of the Ethereum blockchain.
Solving the scalability issue has been a problem that numerous cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are attempting to solve. We cannot have a crypto-based financial market if transactions cannot be processed instantly. It’s worth pointing out that Ethereum isn’t only a cryptocurrency, granted that its blockchain also processes token-based payments alongside smart contracts.
At this moment in time, it is not yet clear when Ethereum 2.0 will launch. However, if the code is ready in June, beta-testing will commence shortly after. If everything goes according to plan, the long-awaited update could happen this year.
Based on everything that has been outlined so far, it is likely that the Ethereum 2.0 release will also play an important influence on the price of Ether, since the market will likely appreciate the improved functionalities of the network.