What you need to know about Medalla - the final testnet for ETH 2.0?

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On July 28, the Ethereum Foundation, in collaboration with ConsenSys and Deep Work Studio,   launched a   test version of the Launch P...

On July 28, the Ethereum Foundation, in collaboration with ConsenSys and Deep Work Studio,  launched a  test version of the Launch Pad, a front-end launcher for preparing future validators in Ethereum 2.0. On August 4, trials of Medalla, the final Ethereum 2.0 multi-client testnet ,  began . This is the final step and the final testnet before the highly anticipated network update. If Medalla has been working without interruptions for at least three months, then in early November, the developers will finally move on to the launch of the zero phase of Ethereum 2.0. Who can become a validator, how the final testnet differs from the previous ones and what else needs to be done to launch the main Ethereum 2.0 network, we understand the material.

Launch Pad - training future validators

Launch Pad  is an educational test interface designed for those planning to become a validator for the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet. Its task:
  • Help users set up their own validator node in preparation for ETH 2.0,
  • Train and prepare validators for all the features of the process, demonstrate to them all the risks and the degree of responsibility that they will take on.
“We want to make sure the validators know what they are doing and why they are doing it,” the press release said.
Launch Pad start page. Source .
Since Medalla is a testnet, it does not use real value ETH tokens. Instead, the network uses ETH in the  testnet Göerli  (GöETH). These tokens can be freely obtained through various faucets, but the reward bets will have no real value. Any user who has 32 GöETH can become a test participant - this is the minimum steak. There are penalties for validators who are not actively involved in the work of the testnet  .
The developers emphasize that being a validator in Ethereum 2.0 is not only an opportunity to earn money from staking. These are, first of all, responsibility and duties. Users must be constantly connected to the network, all responsibility for the safety of private keys will fall only on them. Without them, you will not be able to withdraw funds.
To ensure that validators are aware of the risks, before registering, they will have to undergo a briefing and confirm that they understand what they will be working with. Source .
Launch Pad functionality will be included in the Medalla testnet. It is currently limited by the ability to contribute steaks, but after the testnet launch, developers will continue to customize the interface until the mainnet release. The Ethereum Foundation team hopes to see more interfaces from client operators and lead developers over time.

Medalla is the final step before the launch of Ethereum 2.0

Medalla  is a multi-client testnet, an alternative blockchain designed to validate the network's validity.
This is not the first Ethereum 2.0 multi-client testnet. The developers have already launched several ETH 2.0 testnets on various client implementations: Sapphire, Topaz, Nimbus, Lighthouse with single client support, multi-client Schlesi, Onyx, Witti, Altona. Each of them was designed to solve one of the specific problems of the current Ethereum network. Medalla will focus on improving the experience of moving ETH to the new network. Despite some difficulties, the testnets are now stable and have over 20,000 validators.
Medalla is a big step forward from previous testnets. This is the first testnet created and maintained by the community. All previous testnets were "DevNet" - that is, networks run by client teams and members of the Ethereum Foundation.
Recall that the ability to work with multiple Ethereum clients is one of the fundamental innovations of the ETH 2.0 network. The original ETH 1.0 network operated with several clients, but as it grew ,  only the Geth client became  dominant .
Medalla's launch will be coordinated by four clients:
  • Lighthouse (Sigma Prime)
  • Nimbus (Status)
  • Prysm (Prysmatic Labs)
  • Teku (PegaSys)
They will be responsible for the smooth functioning of the testnet. Four more clients are under active development, the first of which is likely to be Lodestar. Validators can now choose which client they will run on after the ETH 2.0 mainnet is launched.
Medalla will simulate as closely as possible the zero phase of the Ethereum 2.0 mainnet launch. To launch the testnet, 16,384 validators were required to deposit and freeze 524,288 GöETH for staking. All funds have already been deposited. If that hadn't happened two days before Medalla's launch, it would have had to be rescheduled.
By August 4, Medalla had over 722,000 GöETH frozen. Source .
While there will be no "real" ETHs on the testnet, it completely mimics the mainnet staking system and demonstrates staking economics in action. Recall that in Ethereum 2.0, the network is moving from the current PoW algorithm to PoS. This means that there will be no mining in it, and validation will occur due to the fact that users will delegate their ETH to masternodes. These funds are frozen, and users receive a portion of new coins as a reward. Thus, staking is a crypto analogue of a bank deposit with interest for keeping funds. The more coins are frozen on the network, the higher the income.
The developers have published a calculator to help calculate the future profitability for steaks. The economic model of the network keeps the inflation rate below 1% and dynamically adjusts the scale of the validators' remuneration. The profitability is calculated dynamically on the number and size of their stakes, as well as on other parameters. Therefore, it will be variable. The fewer the number of frozen ETH and validators, the higher the profitability, and vice versa. It is assumed that with the minimum required 524,288 ETH, the yield will be 21.6%, and with 10 million coins frozen, only 4.9%.
Let's add that this is not net profitability. It does not include equipment and electricity costs. The cost of maintaining a validator node can  be about 4.75% of the amount of reward at the start, and as the number of blocked coins grows, it will grow to 14-20% and more. 
The mechanism for generating rewards in Ethereum 2.0. Source .
In addition to Medalla's full testnet, the Ethereum Foundation has also launched three specially simplified networks to test scenarios for possible hacker attacks. Each of them has only four nodes and one client: Lighthouse, Prysm and Teku, so it should be easy to hack them. On July 20, Ethereum 2.0 lead developer Danny Ryan  invited  "white hackers" to hack these networks, promising a reward of $ 5,000 for the vulnerabilities found. Successful attacks will help refine the specification of all clients written in different programming languages. Later, the developers will complicate the task for "white hackers" and offer to hack networks that are closer to real ones.

When will the zero phase of Ethereum 2.0 start

As a reminder, the full rollout of Ethereum 2.0 updates will involve several phases. This will make sure that the developers have taken into account all aspects and the network works smoothly.
Phase 0. Beacon chain.  It will use new ETH coins, there will be validators and the possibility of staking, but there will be no full-fledged economic activity. In fact, this is another testnet, but with real ETH.
Phase 1.  Sharding  (Sharding)  - refusal of full node in favor of load distribution among all members of the network (shards). This should increase the network bandwidth and solve the scalability issue.
It is because of sharding that the network's transition to state 2.0 has become so difficult and time-consuming - existing smart contracts cannot be simply taken and transferred to a new network. Initially, it was assumed that ETH 1.0 would function separately until the full deployment of ETH 2.0. But the current vision for the future of Ethereum provides for the integration of the current blockchain as a separate shard, the performance of which will be supported by a new consensus algorithm.
Phase 2. State execution. In this phase, dApps and smart contracts will become available, it will already be a full-fledged working Ethereum 2.0 network.
In July, Ethereum developer Justin Drake  told  users that the phase 0 launch might not take place until the end of the year. Before that, the multi-client network must work without interruptions for 2-3 months. Vitalik Buterin  did not agree  with him and spoke in favor of launching the zero phase earlier, "regardless of the degree of readiness." He recalled that the current Ethereum network launched four months after the first multi-client testnet. Now the situation is even simpler, so he does not consider it expedient to delay the launch of the zero phase. On July 23, Danny Ryan  confirmed that it will take several months of Medalla testing - at least three - to launch Ethereum 2.0. The earliest launch date for the update is November 4th.
It is hoped that the community will not have to wait long to launch the first phase of Ethereum 2.0. At the end of July, Vitalik Buterin  said that no research is required to start the first phase - all that remains is to optimize and refine the code, and most of the specifications have already been implemented in preparation for phase zero. Therefore, Buterin urges developers to speed up  The main risk in the transition to the first phase, in his opinion, is the introduction of peer-to-peer sharding.
"The work on 'merging ETH1 -> ETH2' is already underway," Buterin commented on Danny Ryan's post with a screenshot of a code snippet for merging two blockchains.

Finally

The long-awaited launch of Ethereum 2.0 comes in handy. The network is already close to reaching its technical limits. The surge in stablecoin issuance and the DeFi boom are loading it and pushing the price of gas. Without solving the problem of scaling, Ethereum simply cannot develop.
In addition, the advances made by competing blockchains are pushing for updates as soon as possible. If the update is still delayed, then the second cryptocurrency risks losing its leadership as a platform for issuing tokens and launching dApps and smart contracts. Major upgrades that will increase the scalability of Ethereum will take up to two years to implement.
But, judging by the growth of the ETH rate (the coin has been getting more expensive since March and reached an annual maximum of $ 394), users believe that the ETH will cope with all the problems.

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Crypto Currency, Business Creation & Development Magazine: What you need to know about Medalla - the final testnet for ETH 2.0?
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