CMC News & Updates

Ethereum 2.0’s Beacon Chain Just Launched — in a Very Low-key Way

When Bitcoin’s genesis block first launched, a profound message was included within. It quoted a headline from The Times of London from Jan. 3, 2009: “Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks.”

It was a nod to Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision to transform the financial system as we know it — and usher in a new era where the dominance of centralized institutions would diminish.

Standing on the shoulders of giants, Ethereum achieved a significant milestone of its own on Dec. 1 when the first block of its Proof-of-Stake chain finally made its debut.

And in keeping with the proud tradition of writing something historic, momentous and special, the message inside read: “Mr F was here.”

The understated approach certainly amused Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin. He tweeted:

But here at CoinMarketCap, our main question is this: who is Mr F?!

A big moment

One of Buterin’s followers, who goes by the name “Gargantuan,” actually thought Mr F’s contribution was a perfect way to put Ethereum’s ambitious upgrade in motion.

He wrote: “Wait! This actually shows how profound Ethereum is. Instead of a well-planned and prepared speech from some well-known person, what we have here is literally some normal unknown dude making some personal reference — this is real decentralization not theatre not a show but profound.”

Why this news matters

Here’s a reminder of why this genesis block, and Mr F’s achievement, is so significant.

Today marks the beginning of Phase 0, where Ethereum officially begins the transition from an energy-intensive Proof-of-Work consensus algorithm to the more eco-friendly Proof-of-Stake. All told, the upgrade is expected to take a couple of years to complete.

The launch of the beacon chain comes one week after thousands of people contributed 32 ETH to a deposit contract, giving them the right to run their own validator nodes.

Nothing is going to change immediately — there’s no new cryptocurrency or shiny features for crypto enthusiasts to play with yet. But behind the scenes, work is now beginning to introduce technology known as sharding, which will increase the number of transactions per second that the blockchain can handle.

On the morning of the launch, ETH had hit highs of about $635 before suffering a sharp pullback of about 10% to $574. This happened around the time of Bitcoin’s sudden crash as it neared record highs of $20,089. It has since mounted an impressive recovery — and at the time of writing, it’s trading at about $615.

Learn more about Ethereum 2.0!

CoinMarketCap Alexandria has loads of deep dives into the technology that drives cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Check out our in-depth look at what Eth2 is all about here.

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