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With 2022 rapidly approaching, the community is growing increasingly excited about the release of Ethereum 2.0. It will be one of the most significant updates to any blockchain, as the Ethereum network will transition from the energy-intensive proof of work process to the proof of stake mechanism. This will also provide other benefits to the blockchain, such as increased scalability and lower transaction costs.

Ethereum already has a path in place to get to this stage, and it has reached important milestones along the way, with the exception of occasional upgrade delays. However, there have always been minor updates to the roadmap along the way, the most recent one being from the creator himself, Vitalik Buterin. Buterin explains the features that would make a “large blockchain” totally trestle-free and censorship-resistant in his feasible roadmap, dubbed “Endgame.”

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The enormous block sizes of these ‘mega blockchains,’ as Buterin describes it, are one of the key bottlenecks. As a result, the blockchain can only support a limited number of fully engaged nodes that generate blocks at any given moment. To counteract this, the creator suggests four actions.

The first step is to introduce a second tier of staking. This second tier would need fewer resources to carry out distributed block validations. In this manner, transactions are divided into 100-item buckets, with a Merkle or Verkle tree state root after each bucket, and a second-tier stakeholder is allocated a random bucket each time. Finally, a block will be approved if two-thirds of all validators allocated sign off on a bucket to which they are assigned.

The next step is to introduce fraud proofs, sometimes known as ZK-SNARKs. Users will be able to confirm the authenticity of blocks for a minimal cost. ZK-SNARKs cryptographically show block validity directly, whereas fraud proofs allow anybody to broadcast an invalid fraud-proof of a bucker if it is faulty.

Ethereum price chart from TradingView.com

The third recommendation is to provide data availability sampling, which would allow users to assess block availability quickly. This is accomplished through the use of DAS checks, which allow light clients to validate a published block by downloading a few randomly picked parts.

Finally, Buterin advises adding alternative transaction channels. These will assist in avoiding blockchain censorship by requiring each main block to include a list of transactions previously provided by secondary stakers.

There are two key steps left to complete the transition to Ethereum 2.0. The two steps are the Merge and the deployment of Shard Chains onto the network. The Merge occurs when the Ethereum mainnet “merges” with the Beacon Chain, which is already operational, indicating the end of the proof of work on the network.

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With the addition of Shard chains to the network, Ethereum will be able to grow more effectively by increasing its capacity to execute transactions and store data. This last section will be released in parts, with additional features being added as time goes on.

Both the Merge and the inclusion of Shard chains are anticipated for 2022.

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