When's it shipping?
This upgrade will follow the arrival of shard chains. But it’s the moment where the Eth2 vision becomes fully realised – more scalability, security, and sustainability with staking supporting the whole network.
It's important to remember that initially, the other Eth2 upgrades are being shipped separately from mainnet - the chain we use today. Ethereum mainnet will continue to be secured by proof-of-work, even while the Beacon Chain and its shard chains run in parallel using proof of stake. The docking is when these two systems are merged together.
Imagine Ethereum is a space ship that isn’t quite ready for an interstellar voyage. With the Beacon Chain and the shard chains the community has built a new engine and a hardened hull. When it’s time, the current ship will dock with this new system so it can become one ship, ready to put in some serious lightyears and take on the universe.
When ready, Ethereum mainnet will "dock" with the Beacon Chain, becoming its own shard which uses proof-of-stake instead of proof of work.
Mainnet will bring the ability to run smart contracts into the proof-of-stake system, plus the full history and current state of Ethereum, to ensure that the transition is smooth for all ETH holders and users.
This will signal the end of proof-of-work for Ethereum and start the era of a more sustainable, eco-friendly Ethereum. At this point Ethereum will have the scale, security and sustainability outlined in its Eth2 vision.
The Eth2 upgrades are all somewhat interrelated. So let’s recap how the docking relates to the other upgrades.
Once the docking happens, stakers will be assigned to validate the Ethereum mainnet. Just like with the shard chains. Mining will no longer be required so miners will likely invest their earnings into staking in the new proof-of-stake system.The Beacon Chain
With mainnet becoming a shard, the successful implementation of the shard chains is critical to this upgrade. It’s likely that the transition will play an important role in helping the community to decide whether to roll out a second upgrade to sharding. This upgrade will make the other shards like mainnet: they’ll be able to handle transactions and smart contracts and not just provide more data.Shard chains