Prysmatic Labs, the team developing the “Prysm” Ethereum sharding client, have released a testnet for the so-called Phase 0, or Beacon Chain, of Ethereum’s upcoming “ETH 2.0” Serenity upgrade. Serenity will see Ethereum embrace a trio of scaling solutions in sharding, Casper, and Plasma. Phase 0 of the upgrade will center around transitioning to PoS away from proof-of-work (PoW) mining.
The ETH 2.0 testnet is the second released so far this year. In March, the Status team released a testnet for Nimbus, an ETH 2.0 client that also focuses on sharding.
Prysmatic’s new testnet will allow users to experiment with validating through staking 3.2 test ether (ETH) from the Goerli testnet, a cross-client test network for the Ethereum blockchain that launched in January. The 3.2 figure is one tenth the amount of real ether that’s been proposed to be required of ETH 2.0 validators, i.e. 32.
In the announcement post, Prysmatic Labs’s team lead Preston Van Loon highlighted that Ethereum’s actual Beacon Chain, which will later anchor shard chains, will not be the result of a fork from the project’s ETH 1.0 PoW chain:
“It is a new blockchain, meaning it will not be upgraded as a hard fork on the existing chain. Instead, value will be transferred to it from the proof of work chain via a one-way deposit smart contract.”
The testnet release comes after Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake noted earlier this month during a dev call that the code specification for Phase 0 of Serenity was set to be completed in June 2019.
At the time, Drake said:
“I’ve been continuing to fine comb Phase Zero in preparation for the spec freeze which we’re targeting for the 30th of June. We’re still very much on track […].”
In Other ETH News: Microsoft Releases Ethereum Dev Kit for Azure
As Ethereum advances technically, the project’s also been at the center of several notable headlines as of late.
Another example of that dynamic came on May 6th, when tech giant Microsoft announced it was previewing a series of Ethereum development tools for use on its new enterprise-minded Azure Blockchain Service cloud platform, which was launched on May 2nd to help institutions leverage blockchain tech.
The tools, dubbed the Azure Blockchain Development Kit for Ethereum, will give clients the ability to easily build using Ethereum-centric resources, like the Solidity programming language.
Notably, Microsoft Azure maestro Chris Pietschmann hailed the tools as a sign of Microsoft’s commitment to public blockchains:
“Sure, there have been Solidity and other Blockchain technology extensions […] published by others in the community, however now there is also an official set of tools published by Microsoft. This proves even further the investment and dedication that Microsoft is putting forth towards the use of Blockchain ledger technologies in the Enterprise, or even on the public blockchain networks.
Days prior, Microsoft had welcomed Quorum — banking titan JP Morgan’s private fork of Ethereum — as the inaugural blockchain platform implemented into the Azure Blockchain Service.
Via Azure’s support of Ethereum and Quorum, many more companies may be on the verge of experimenting with their technologies.
On May 6th, Microsoft also announced that popular coffeehouse franchise Starbucks was going to be leveraging the Azure Blockchain Service to allow its customers to track where the brand’s coffee has been sourced from.
There’s no word for now whether the mesh will involve Ethereum, but just having an ETH toolkit in the same stable that large companies like Microsoft and Starbucks are working in bodes for a future where Ethereum makes further adoption inroads.
In the meantime, that reality has seemingly led to a spike of optimism in the cryptoverse.