The smart contract required for triggering the first phase of Ethereum 2.0 has enough funds to begin activation of Ethereum’s most ambitious upgrade yet, which will radically shift Ethereum’s economic model, resource usage and governance.
The Ethereum 2.0 deposit contract, which was released in early November, has accrued more than 540,000 ETH (worth over $325 million) late Monday night, ensuring that the beacon chain for Ethereum 2.0 will launch next week, formally beginning the second-largest cryptocurrency’s shift from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake one in hopes of solving a number of issues, including scalability.
The Ethereum Foundation had previously set a soft launch date for Dec. 1, assuming the deposit contract saw 524,288 ETH staked by Nov. 24. It hit the target with hours to spare, after more than 150,000 ETH were deposited in a 24-hour period.
The last 25% of the ETH needed to trigger the contract was deposited in four hours. The contract held just 385,440 ETH as of 22:45 UTC on Monday.
Ethereum saw its price rise nearly 10% over a 24-hour period Monday, surpassing $600 for the first time in two years.
To be clear, the network itself isn’t launching just yet. The launch of Ethereum 2.0 will activate a parallel proof-of-stake blockchain dubbed “the beacon chain” to run in parallel alongside the existing Ethereum network. The initial phases of its development will not impact existing users and decentralized applications on Ethereum.
The primary stakeholders of the beacon chain at Ethereum 2.0 launch will be validators, the equivalent to miners on a proof-of-stake network. Like miners, validators earn rewards on the network in exchange for processing transactions and creating new blocks. In order to become an Ethereum 2.0 validator, a user must stake a minimum of 32 ETH through the deposit contract.
At the outset of the network, validators are expected to earn roughly a 20% annualized reward on their staked ETH. More than…