The term is being retired once and for all — but ongoing work to scale the network will continue as planned.
Developers and users alike have been waiting very patiently for Ethereum 2.0 to be complete — exasperated by congestion on the blockchain that has led to eye-wateringly high gas fees.
The move to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism has been taking a lot longer than expected, not least because it's a huge technical undertaking. A fitting real-world comparison would be completely rebuilding your house while you continue to live in it.
And with no end in sight to the delays, we've had a rather unexpected update from the Ethereum Foundation: the term "Ethereum 2.0" is now being retired once and for all.
This doesn't mean that the ongoing work to scale the network is being abandoned. It simply means that, from now on, Ethereum 1.0 is being referred to as the "execution layer," while Ethereum 2.0 has been rebranded as the "consensus layer."
The blog post's authors went on to stress that the roadmap remains unaffected — and those involved in staking or the operation of validator nodes don't need to take any action.
Why the Change?
It's clear that the Ethereum Foundation's decision has been motivated by a number of external factors. The article explains:
"As work began on the Beacon Chain, it became clear that the phased Ethereum 2.0 roadmap would take several years to deliver fully."
Developers argue that the use of the phrase Ethereum 2.0 "creates a broken mental model for new users," explaining:
"They intuitively think that Eth1 comes first and Eth2 comes after. Or that Eth1 ceases to exist once Eth2 exists. Neither of these is true. By removing Eth2 terminology, we save all future users from navigating this confusing mental model."
The blog post went on to explain that Ethereum 2.0 has actually become "an inaccurate representation of Ethereum's roadmap," adding:
"Unfortunately, malicious actors have attempted to use the Eth2 misnomer to scam users by telling them to swap their ETH for 'ETH2' tokens or that they must somehow migrate their ETH before the Eth2 upgrade. We hope this updated terminology will bring clarity to eliminate this scam vector and help make the ecosystem safer."
All of this ultimately means that Ethereum's Proof-of-Work blockchain will merge with the shiny, new Proof-of-Stake network at some point in the future — and at the moment, this milestone is due to be complete in 2022. Shard chains, which aim to enhance the blockchain's capacity, are subsequently scheduled to arrive in 2023.
Overall, it's hoped these improvements will futureproof the Ethereum blockchain — ensuring it can handle thousands of transactions per second, all while making transactions faster and cheaper to use. The foundation also expects the upgrade to ramp up security and dramatically reduce the levels of computing power and energy currently used — making the project more sustainable and "better for the environment."