As cryptocurrency technology advances, old blockchains get updated. This week Ethereum officially begins the transition to Eth 2.0. This was a multi-year long effort. The first part of that involved gathering a huge amount of people to become Network operators by staking 32 Eth a piece. All this totaled 524,288 Eth into a special contract.
Since Ethereum is moving to Proof of Stake consensus, this would be the new form on “mining” (and it’s said to be quite profitable at over 15% returns currently). Here’s an excerpt on what it’s was like to participate in the now completed Genesis:
In preparation for the launch I joined the Medalla, Zinken and Pyrmont testnets and used an old mac book pro 2013 model with a 256 SSD to get up to scratch with validating.
The process of setting up an ETH1 node
For this I used Go Ethereum (Geth), this was ran on a fast sync mode and took roughly 5GB of space on the SSD to sync to the goerli ETH tesnet. My ETH2 validator of choice was Prysm however I did go through the process of setting up Lighthouse as insurance in case I had any issues with my ETH1 or ETH2 validator then I could use Infura ( 3rd party node service ) to cover my ETH1 and Lighthouse to cover my ETH2 to avoid any negative effects on my balance if something went wrong.
Preparing validator clients and hardware for mainnet launch
I didn’t want to make my 32 ETH deposit mainnet deposit too soon as I was afraid the minimum threshold for deposits might not be reached in time to have the genesis date at 1/12/2020 12:00:00 GMT. One week and one day before I was happy enough with about 70% of deposits having already been made to the contract that I could be fairly sure ETH2 would launch at the expected time and not be delayed. I used the ETH2 launchpad to set up my deposit which ran smoothly but then quickly hit a hurdle when I tried to sync Geth to mainnet. Ethereum mainnet is a lot bigger than testnet so after a few days of downloading, my 256 SSD drive had completely filled up and Geth was throwing an error.
If I was going to run my validator in a truly decentralized fashion (not use a 3rd party Infura node or other service) I would need to upgrade my machine. Some quick digging revealed that I would need at least 500GB but preferably 1TB of SSD space. So, I got to work on eBay hunting for a machine that would be express delivery (1-2 days max) with a good CPU and 1TB SSD. I found a 2018 mac book pro that fit perfectly and bought it for £1250. I then proceeded to beg the seller to send it next day delivery and made sure he knew I would pay whatever it took to get it asap. My wish was granted, and I received the machine quickly. The Geth sync took around 315 GB of SSD and I had it running a few days before the launch deadline... phew!
Further preparations I made were to install Ubuntu onto another PC I had with the lighthouse client so that if my main validator ever had issues, I could hopefully make a quick switch and get it back up online.
Mainnet - all systems start!
On the day I joined the YouTube Ethstaker livestream and Bankless livestream to listen in on all the developers and enthusiasts nervously awaiting the launch. I made sure the staker was online and ready to take part from genesis. Then it was just a case of waiting.... I remember seeing the Prysm client count down in the seconds to the first genesis block. That was the most nervous I had been the whole time, would it work? Had I made a mistake?
Luckily it started validating and I could visibly see on beaconchain that it was working. One by one, my slots were proposed and eventually we finalized the epoch. It was a truly wonderful to experience the next milestone in Ethereum come to life before my eyes. Time to crack open a beer and celebrate something special.
Being a part of the history of brand new, unreleased technology is incredible. It’s definitely not for the easily frustrated or the technically challenged, but it’s exciting nonetheless. There’s a ton more opportunities for the rest of us that we intend to write about. Most notably how Eth 2.0 benefits you!
We’ve also got a tutorial coming up about how to stake your Ethereum using a pool. If you’d like to purchase some beforehand check out the main site, CardxCoin 😉
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