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The Ethereum upgrades

Upgrading Ethereum to radical new heights

The Ethereum we know and love, just more scalable, more secure, and more sustainable...
Illustration of a doge using a computer

What are Ethereum upgrades?

The Ethereum roadmap involves interconnected protocol upgrades that will make the network more scalable, more secure, and more sustainable. These upgrades are being built by multiple teams from across the Ethereum ecosystem.
Learn about previous Ethereum upgrades

What do you need to do?

If you're a dapp user or ETH holder, you don't need to do anything. If you're a developer or want to start staking, there are ways you can get involved today.
Get involved in upgrading Ethereum

The vision✨

To bring Ethereum into the mainstream and serve all of humanity, we have to make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable.

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More scalable

Ethereum needs to support 1000s of transactions per second, to make applications faster and cheaper to use.

🛡️

More secure

Ethereum needs to be more secure. As the adoption of Ethereum grows, the protocol needs to become more secure against all forms of attack.

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More sustainable

Ethereum needs to be better for the environment. The technology today requires too much computing power and energy.

Illustration of a group of people marvelling at an ether (ETH) glyph in awe

Dive into the vision

How are we going to make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable? All while keeping Ethereum's core ethos of decentralization.

The Ethereum upgrades

Ethereum consists of a set of upgrades that improve the scalability, security, and sustainability of the network. Although each is being worked on in parallel, they have certain dependencies that determine when they will be deployed.

The Beacon Chain

The Beacon Chain brought staking to Ethereum, laid the groundwork for future upgrades, and will soon coordinate the new system.

The Beacon Chain is live

The Merge

Mainnet Ethereum will soon 'merge' with the proof-of-stake Beacon Chain, marking the end of energy-intensive mining.

Estimate: 2022

Sharding

Sharding will expand Ethereum's capacity to store data, and work harmoniously with L2s to scale throughput and reduce network fees. Sharding will be rolled out in multiple stages.

Estimate: 2023-2024

What happened to 'Eth2'?

The term 'Eth2' is being phased out in preparation for The Merge. More on The Merge.

After merging 'Eth1' and 'Eth2' into a single chain, there will no longer be two distinct Ethereum networks; there will only be Ethereum.

To limit confusion, the community has updated these terms:

  • 'Eth1' is now the 'execution layer', which handles transactions and execution.
  • 'Eth2' is now the 'consensus layer', which handles proof-of-stake consensus.

These terminology updates only change naming conventions; this does not alter Ethereum's goals or roadmap.

Learn more about the 'Eth2' renaming

Why can't we just use Eth2?

Mental models

One major problem with the Eth2 branding is that it creates a broken mental model for new users of Ethereum. They intuitively think that Eth1 comes first and Eth2 comes after. Or that Eth1 ceases to exist once Eth2 exists. Neither of these is true. By removing Eth2 terminology, we save all future users from navigating this confusing mental model.

Inclusivity

As the roadmap for Ethereum has evolved, Ethereum 2.0 has become an inaccurate representation of Ethereum’s roadmap. Being careful and accurate in our word choice allows content on Ethereum to be understood by the broadest audience possible.

Scam prevention

Unfortunately, malicious actors have attempted to use the Eth2 misnomer to scam users by telling them to swap their ETH for ‘ETH2’ tokens or that they must somehow migrate their ETH before the Eth2 upgrade. We hope this updated terminology will bring clarity to eliminate this scam vector and help make the ecosystem safer.

Staking clarity

Some staking operators have also represented ETH staked on the Beacon Chain with the ‘ETH2’ ticker. This creates potential confusion, given that users of these services are not actually receiving an ‘ETH2’ token. No ‘ETH2’ token exists; it simply represents their share in that specific providers’ stake.

Want to help with the Ethereum upgrades?

There are plenty of opportunities to weigh in on the Ethereum upgrades, help with testing, and even earn rewards.
Get involved
This is not the official roadmap. This is how we view what's happening based on the information out there. But this is technology, things can change in an instant. So please don't read this as a commitment.

Staking is here

Key to the Ethereum upgrades is the introduction of staking. If you want to use your ETH to help secure the Ethereum network, make sure you follow these steps.

1. Set up with the launchpad

To stake on Ethereum you'll need to use the launchpad - this will walk you through the process.

Visit staking launchpad

2. Confirm staking address

Before you stake your ETH, be sure to check you've got the right address. You must have gone through the launchpad before doing this.

Confirm deposit contract address
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Learn about staking

The Beacon Chain brought staking to Ethereum. If you have ETH, you can do a public good by securing the network and earn more ETH in the process.

More on staking

Frequently asked questions

When will the upgrades ship?

Ethereum is being upgraded progressively; the upgrades are distinct with different ship dates.

The Beacon Chain

The Beacon Chain went live on December 1, 2020.

The Merge

The Merge is when Mainnet begins using the Beacon Chain for consensus, and proof-of-work is turned off, coming soon.

Sharding

Sharding will follow The Merge in multiple phases, sometime in 2023-2024.

Is the Beacon Chain a separate blockchain?

It's not accurate to think of this upgrade as a separate blockchain.

Think of the changes being rolled out as a set of upgrades being added to improve the Ethereum we use today. These upgrades included the creation of a new chain called the Beacon Chain, which will soon act as the consensus engine for the entire network.

Despite the Beacon Chain starting as a separate chain, the existing Mainnet will be 'merged' with this new proof-of-stake consensus layer. More on The Merge

In other words the Ethereum we use today will eventually embody all the features that we're aiming towards in the Ethereum vision. More on the Ethereum vision

How do I prepare for the upgrades?

You don't have to do anything right now to prepare for the upgrades.

ETH holders don't need to do anything. Your ETH will not need changing or upgrading. There's almost certain to be scams telling you otherwise, so be careful. More on security and scam prevention

The Merge specifications have been finalized, and is designed to have minimal impact on dapp developers.

Sharding plans are still being developed, but will be designed with layer 2 rollups in mind.

What is the execution layer?

The Ethereum Mainnet you transact on today has previously been referred to as 'Eth1.' This term is being phased out in favor of the 'execution layer'.

Whenever you send a transaction or use a dapp today, you're using the execution layer, also known as Mainnet. What's Mainnet?

Mainnet will continue to run as normal until The Merge. More on The Merge

After The Merge, validators will secure the entire network via proof-of-stake. More on proof of stake

Anyone can become a validator by staking their ETH. More on staking

The Beacon Chain and sharding upgrades will not disrupt the execution layer (Mainnet) as they are being built out separately.

How do I stake?

You'll need to use the staking launchpad or join a staking pool.

To become a full validator on the network, you'll need to stake 32 ETH. If you don't have that much, or aren't willing to stake that much, you can join staking pools. These pools will let you stake less and earn fractions of the total rewards.

More on staking

Can I buy Eth2?

No. There is no Eth2 token and your ETH will not change after The Merge.

One of the driving forces behind the Eth2 rebrand was the common misconception that ETH holders would have to migrate their ETH after 'Ethereum 2.0'. This has never been true. It is a common technique used scammers.

What do I need to do with my dapp?

The Merge has been designed with the goal of minimizing impact on dapp developers, though there are a couple things work noting.

A few changes with The Merge can impact certain types of applications. These changes include block structure and timing, a few opcode changes, sources of on-chain randomness and the concept of epoch finalization.

How The Merge Impacts Ethereum's Application Layer

Most applications will be unaffected, but we recommend that developers stay up to date on the latest with The Merge.

More on The Merge

Who's building the Ethereum upgrades?

Many different teams from all over the community are working on the various Ethereum upgrades.

The Ethereum consensus client teams:

Learn more about Ethereum clients

Why are upgrades needed?

The Ethereum we use today needs to offer a better experience to end users and network participants.

The Ethereum upgrades will help Ethereum scale in a decentralized way, while maintaining security, and increasing sustainability.

Perhaps the most obvious problem is that Ethereum needs to be able to handle more than 15-45 transactions per second. But the upgrades also address some other problems with Ethereum today.

The network is in such high demand that it's making Ethereum expensive to use. Nodes in the network are struggling under the size of Ethereum and the amount of data their computers are having to process. The original algorithm that underlies Ethereum security and decentralization is energy intensive and needs to be greener. More on Ethereum energy consumption

A lot of what's changing has always been on the Ethereum roadmap, even since 2015. But current conditions are making the need for the upgrades even greater.

Explore the Ethereum vision

How can I contribute to Ethereum upgrades?

You don't have to be technical to contribute. The community is looking for contributions from all kinds of skill sets.

The most active role you can play is to stake your ETH. Stake ETH

You may also want to run a second client to help improve client diversity. Check out the consensus clients (previously known as 'Eth2' clients)

If you're more technical, you can help catch bugs in the new clients. View the bug bounty program

You can also weigh in on the technical discussions with Ethereum researchers at ethresear.ch. Visit ethresear.ch

Find more general ways to get involved with Ethereum

What are the 'Eth2 phases?'

Some things have changed here.

The term 'Eth2' itself is being phased out, as it does not represent a single upgrade or new network. It is more accurately a set of multiple upgrades that all do their part to make Ethereum more scalable, secure, and sustainable. The network you know and love will simply be referred to as Ethereum.

We're reluctant to talk too much in terms of a technical roadmap because this is software: things can change. We think it's easier to understand what's happening when you read about the outcomes. View the upgrades

But if you've followed the discussions, here's how the upgrades fit into technical roadmaps, and a bit on how they're changing.

Phase 0 described the work to get the Beacon Chain live.

Phase 1 originally focused on implementing the shard chains, but prioritization has shifted to 'The Merge' which is the next planned upgrade.

Phase 1.5 was originally planned to follow shard implementations when Mainnet would be added as the last shard to the Beacon Chain. However, as rollup technology progressed, the Ethereum community expedited the transition away from proof-of-work. Mainnet will instead be 'merged' into the Beacon Chain and remain as the execution layer of Ethereum. This will be a significant step towards a greener Ethereum. More on proof of stake

The plans around Phase 2 have been a point of intense research and discussion. With The Merge planned before sharding, and the advancements in layer 2 solutions, goals have shifted to provide a more simplified form of data sharding to maximize rollup efficiency. Current layer 2s enable the ability to scale transaction execution, and sharding will allow for storage of proofs for this data on layer 1 in a cheap and scalable manner. More on a rollup-centric roadmap

Stay up to date

Get the latest from the researchers and developers working on the Ethereum upgrades.

Take part in the research

Ethereum researchers and enthusiasts alike meet here to discuss research efforts, including everything related to Ethereum upgrades.

Head to ethresear.ch

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