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Eth2 and your DApps: What you need to know

easeev profile image Eugene Aseev Originally published at chainstack.com ・4 min read

Do I as a DApp developer need to change my DApps and my DApp building routine and/or architecture?

No. Your DApps are safe for at least a couple of years.

A longer explanation

The complete Ethereum 2.0—officially referred to as Eth2—implementation and mainnet is rolled out in phases:

  • Phase 0 — launched on December 1, 2020 with the Beacon Chain.
  • Phase 1 — tentative for 2021 with the introduction of shard chains.
  • Phase 1.5 — tentative for 2021 or 2022 with the docking of Eth1 to Eth2.
  • Phase 2 — no defined plans.

Each of the phases introduces changes to Eth2 and how it interacts with Eth1 where your DApps are.

Let's have a look at each of the phases and if they can potentially make you change the way you work with your DApps.

Will anything change for me after Phase 0 is initiated?

No.

A longer explanation

On December 1, 2020, the Beacon Chain launched and marked the official start of Phase 0.

Whereas the Beacon Chain is the foundational component of Eth2, it's not the full Eth2 implementation.

With the launch of Phase 1, the Beacon Chain will start validating shard chains. Until then, the Beacon Chain is a network of stakers validating blocks on the chain.

The Beacon Chain itself cannot handle Ethereum accounts and smart contracts. Accounts and smart contracts can only be done on shard chains, and even that won't be immediately available in Phase 1.

The Beacon Chain consists of Beacon nodes and Validator clients.

To just keep an up-to-date copy of blocks on the Beacon Chain, you need a Beacon node.

To be a validator on the Beacon Chain, you need both a Beacon node, a validator client, and an Eth1 node. The Beacon node connects to the Eth1 node to monitor the Eth2 staking deposit address on Eth1 for new validators on the Beacon Chain.

The Eth1 mainnet itself is completely "unaware" of the existence of Eth2 in the form of Beacon Chain.

Architecturally, your existing DApps or your DApp building routine won't see changes during Phase 0.

Will anything change for me after Phase 1 is initiated?

No.

A longer explanation

At some point in 2021, Eth2 will see the introduction of shard chains—the proof-of-stake chains running in parallel and coordinated by the Beacon Chain.

The Beacon Chain will be assigning validators to the shard chains and will also keep the shards up-to-date with each other.

The shard chains will first be introduced as version 1. In version 1, the shards will not be capable of executing smart contracts; they will only store the data necessary to execute smart contracts—for example, time stamps, oracle data, byte information required to interact with other shards.

Version 2—when or if introduced—will see the execution of smart contracts on the shards.

Architecturally, your existing DApps or your DApp building routine won't see changes during Phase 1.

Will anything change for me after Phase 1.5 is initiated?

No, but your DApps will start responding faster, since this is when Eth2 will presumably be locked to 12 second blocks.

You won't have to change in your smart contracts, but the centralized parts of your DApps—e.g., a web app—will be fetching a quicker response to your users.

A longer explanation

In 2021 or 2022, the Eth1 mainnet will switch from the current proof-of-work to the proof-of-stake consensus algorithm and will be "docked" into Eth2. The process of docking, in this case, means that the Eth1 mainnet will become one of the shards of Eth2 coordinated by the Beacon Chain.

Architecturally, your existing DApps or your DApp building routine won't see changes during Phase 1.5.

Will anything change for me after Phase 2 is initiated?

Yes, but what exactly will change is uncertain at this point.

A longer explanation

As of today, Phase 2 is not clearly defined, however this is when you might see the most changes affecting you as a DApp developer as it may have the introduction of a new Ethereum Virtual Machine.

Your existing DApps and your DApp building routine will see significant changes during Phase 2. However, at this point, there is no defined strategy on how you can be prepared for the changes other than staying up-to-date with the Eth2 developments and being a Chainstack user.

With Chainstack, you will be prepared for Phase 2 with as little effort from you as possible---the infrastructure migration will be as seamless as viable, you will be notified of the necessary changes on your end well in advance and be supported by our extensive documentation.

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See also Connecting your Chainstack Eth1 node to a Prysm Beacon node.

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