Buterin Announces the First Hard Fork for the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain

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This Monday, the Ethereum network’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, announces the initial plans for the recently launched Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain’s first hard fork ever. Buterin’s published plan calls the incoming hard fork the “HF1” but notes that the name is still subject to change.

According to the announcement, the HF1 hard fork targets to revamp the slashing and inactivity leakage functionality mechanics. As it currently stands, active ETH2 stakers can potentially lose a chunk of their capital by trying to aid an on-chain minority fork or by being inactive.

That being said, not all inactivity leakage is done intentionally, as the current mechanics state that unscheduled blackouts or periods of patchy internet connection will also be penalized. While the present system state may seem very lenient to some, such instances can be especially deterrent to home stakers.

The ETH2 team is now trying to make the mechanics friendlier to those with unsteady internet connections – setting the leak to be quadratic. Once finalized, there will now be a stark difference between continuous and intermittent inactivity, thus rendering the system more favorable to home staking.

All in all, the team aims to discontinue inactivity leaks in a gradual manner rather than trying to swoop them all in one go.

Like any other upgrade, ETH2 Beacon Chain’s first-ever hard fork intends to clear up system inconsistencies and stability issues. However, the most glaring change seems to be the added support for nodes that can run on mobile devices and has minimal resource requirements, called “light clients.” This new development also means that “trust-minimized wallets” would now be allowed to verify blockchains on their own without having to depend on other external services.

The introduction of light client support is supposedly thanks to the special-purpose “sync committees.” They are validator groups assigned randomly to establish special signatures that make correct chain version identification much more manageable.

Buterin’s published plan notes that the hard fork is still in the development and review process, and thus, has no definite launch date as of yet.

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