After the $435 million options expiry on Oct. 22 soured the mood, the price of Ethereum (ETH) nearly set a new all-time high on Oct. 21 before dipping below: $4,000. The Altair upgrade to Beacon Chain will push the Ethereum network one step closer to Ethereum 2.0 on Oct. 27 at epoch 74240. Eth2 will be a completely proof-of-stake (PoS) network, which has been in the works for almost a year.
Altair is a version of the Beacon Chain that adds support for light clients, pre-validator inactivity leak accounting, a boost in cutting severity, and clean-ups to validator incentives, according to an Ethereum Foundation blog post outlining the work. This is the Beacon Chain’s first scheduled upgrade.
According to the blog article, this update is a “warm-up upgrade” for the Beacon Chain and its clients. The update will essentially bring numerous major improvements to the Ethereum 2.0 network.
First, light client functions can now use sync committees to easily sync up the header chain at low computational and data costs.
The incentive accounting reforms, on the other hand, bring three major changes: The storage actions employ a more efficient bit field format that decreases complexity, the “inactivity leak” quadratic is calculated per validator rather than worldwide, which is insignificant for validators that engage more than 80% of the time, and the reward accounting has several bug improvements.
“Pre-Altair, if a chain stops finalizing for two weeks, entirely inactive validators lose 11.8 percent of their balance, and validators active 75 percent of the time lose -3,1 percent,” Du Jun, co-founder of crypto exchange Huobi Global told. The loss of the entirely inactive validator after Altair would be 15.4 percent, however, the loss of the 75 percent active validator would be only 0.3 percent.
While the Altair upgrade may not have much impact on Ethereum network end users, it is extremely important for developers and other community members who are looking forward to the Merge in 2022. Earlier this month, 40 officials from the Eth1 and Eth2 projects, the Ethereum Foundation, and ConsenSys convened for a week and successfully established a testnet running PoS with several Eth1 and Eth2 clients.
This breakthrough gives Ethereum a big boost in confidence that it will be able to completely switch to PoS and turn off the Eth1 proof-of-work network.