On June 24th, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, developers of the popular and inexpensive single-board computer series, announced their fourth edition: the Raspberry Pi 4.
The declaration immediately caused waves in the cryptoverse, as the Raspberry Pi 3 and previous models have become popular with decentralization-minded cryptocurrency users, who have used the computers to cheaply facilitate blockchain full nodes and staking activities, e.g. in Monero (XMR) and Tezos (XTZ) respectively.
Accordingly, the Pi 4 has cryptocurrency diehards’ attention, as its new structure provides a considerable performance upgrade over the Pi 3, while still being offered for the affordable price of 35$ USD.
In an announcement post by Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd. chief executive officer Eben Upton, the CEO explained how the computer’s capabilities have advanced extensively from the last generation to the latest one, writing:
“This is a comprehensive upgrade, touching almost every element of the platform. For the first time we provide a PC-like level of performance for most users, while retaining the interfacing capabilities and hackability of the classic Raspberry Pi line.”
The technical advancement caused nothing short of buzz in the cryptoeconomy, where various communities saw the unfurling as yet another positive step toward decentralization, i.e. the ability for average users to verify a blockchain’s ledger for themselves.
The Ethereum Community Is Particularly Excited
At least to start, the Raspberry Pi 4 announcement seemed to resonate the most with the Ethereum community, whose stakeholders viewed the release as a good sign for future Ethereum validators.
I expect the new Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB RAM option, external SSD) to handle an Eth2 validator node without breaking a sweat. That's $100 of hardware running at 10 Watts to support a 32 ETH node (currently ~$10K stake).
— Justin Ðrake (@drakefjustin) June 24, 2019
That’s because it’s set to take staking 32 ether (ETH) to become a validator on the Ethereum 2.0 chain. And opting for the souped up 4GB RAM Pi 4 means users should have all the computer might they need to inexpensively run an ETH 2.0 validator node, Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake commented on the news, arguing that a Pi 4 could power an ETH 2.0 validator node “without breaking a sweat.”
Notably, it would currently cost approximately $10,000 to purchase 32 ETH. So buying a Pi 4, which could put that ETH to use in validating the forthcoming Beacon Chain in ETH 2.0, would be trivial in price compared to buying the actual amount of ether needed to become a validator.
Let’s run ETH 2.0 on raspberry pi! https://t.co/tY8rXDMGJz
— Preston Van Loon (@preston_vanloon) June 24, 2019
Zooming out, the aforementioned Drake has been at the community’s vanguard when it comes to outlining Ethereum’s pivotal transition to ETH 2.0 via the multi-phase Serenity upgrade.
Back in May, Drake targeted June 30th as the date for when the code specification of the first phase of Serenity — “Phase Zero,” which will see Ethereum shift from proof-of-work mining to proof-of-stake validating — will be finalized.
Fast forwarding to June 15th, the Ethereum Foundation researched noted on the 19th ETH 2.0 Implementers Call that the spec freeze was still on and that the blockchain’s builders were eyeing the Devcon5 conference to start the Beacon Chain “deposit contract ceremony, ” wherein prospective validators could send their ether to a given address in order to position themselves to become validators.
During that call, Drake added that the tentative target date for launching the Beacon Chain would be January 3rd, 2020 — the 11th year anniversary of the launch of the Bitcoin blockchain.
Pre-Synced Nodes Boosted
Another sector to consider amid the release of the Raspberry Pi 4? The plug-and-play blockchain node industry.
For example, one of the most popular pre-synced node products in the entire space, the Casa Node, relies on Raspberry Pi computer boards. Now that the Pi 4 has been released, more advanced pre-synced nodes should start materializing in the coming months as companies and users steadily progress toward better technology.
Of course, Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin with the little guy in mind. The new Pi 4 makes it that much easier for everyday users to interact directly with blockchain tech.