Participation is low once again, but that does not seem to matter.
The latest in a series of Ethereum 2.0 testnets called Spadina was released on Tuesday with mixed results.
Spadina was proposed as a short term „dress rehearsal“ for the mainnet launch process, signaling that Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 is getting closer and closer. The network was launched on 29 September at 12:00 UTC, and was expected to last only 72 hours.The developers said that this is probably the last chance for potential Ether (ETH) stakers to test the deposit and release tools before the genesis phase 0.
From this perspective, the test seems to have been largely successful. No major problems were found in the depot process and customers successfully handled the blocks.
However, as with the initial launch of the testnet Medalla, participation rates were far below expectations. The first validation rounds were below 34% of the participation in the consensus process, while the target percentage was 80%.
These low participation rates suggest that many community members who signed up to be validators were unable to get their customers online in time for the launch. The developers highlighted during the launch party that this is a manifestation of the „nothing at stake“ problem. Since testnet Ether has no value, the stakers don’t care if their capital is cut off while they are offline.
A future mainnet launch with real Bitcoin Rejoin will probably involve more serious and dedicated participants, who would be heavily penalized for running away from their obligations.
Danny Ryan, Eth 2.0’s lead coordinator at the Ethereum Foundation, said: „I think we got 90% of what we wanted with that.
As testnet was specifically targeted in the launch process, low participation is not a major concern. However, some users have reported problems with Teku, one of the newest customers to enter the preparation stage. Others highlighted a possible problem with port forwarding, as most customers appear not to be using Universal Plug & Play. This technology dynamically opens the router’s ports to allow incoming connections to be accepted by the local network, which is crucial for the peer-to-peer network. Its absence may create problems for some less experienced users of the technology, who may not know how to open network ports manually.
Although no indication has been given, testnets released so far appear to be relatively stable and successful. With three months to go, these results seem to bode well for a phase 0 launch in 2020.
Phase 0 will not immediately impact Ethereum’s wider ecosystem, however. The blockchain proof-of-work will continue to operate exactly as it has so far, except for the presence of a smart Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract. Afri Schoedon, who was deeply involved with the Eth 2.0 test networks, referred to Phase 0 as „an encouraged test phase“, suggesting that it is primarily a way of testing the behaviour of stakers in realistic scenarios.
Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, was optimistic that the raw reference chain of Phase 0 could still be useful for lightweight customers in Ethereum 1.0. He also said that his launch signals a change in the approach focused on sending and iteration of resources, rather than on less efficient theoretical work.
„The Eth 2.0 network will gradually add functionality and become more important to the ecosystem over time,“ he added.