The massive renaming: what occurred to Eth2?

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Ethereum is a protocol undergoing significant changes. Client teams are updating the protocol to scale with global demand while improving security and decentralization. Beyond protocol evolution, a key shift in Ethereum was the move away from “Eth1” and “Eth2” terminology. At the end of 2021, core developers stopped using the terminology, preferring “execution layer” and “consensus layer” respectively. Today, as highlighted in our Q1 roadmap, ethereum.org is making the same shift.

  • Eth1 → execution layer
  • Eth2 → consensus layer
  • Execution Layer + Consensus Layer = Ethereum

Let’s examine why.

Tl;dr;

  • The terms Eth1 and Eth2 (Ethereum 2.0) are being phased out
  • Execution layer (Eth1) and consensus layer (Eth2) are the new terminologies
  • Ethereum’s decentralized scaling roadmap remains unchanged
  • You don’t have to do anything

Where does Ethereum 2.0 come from?

Ethereum has always had plans as part of its roadmap to scale the network decentralized and move to proof-of-stake. Early on, researchers worked separately on these efforts, but around 2018 they were merged into a single roadmap under the “Ethereum 2.0” umbrella.

As part of this roadmap, the existing proof-of-work chain (Eth1) would eventually be deprecated via the difficulty bomb. Users and applications would migrate to a new proof-of-stake Ethereum chain known as Eth2.

The ConsenSys article The Roadmap to Serenity explains the status in early 2019.

What has changed?

As work on the Beacon Chain began, it became clear that it would take several years for the phased Ethereum 2.0 roadmap to be fully delivered. This led to a resurgence of proof-of-work chain research initiatives such as Stateless Ethereum, a paradigm that would remove the pristine state from the network to limit its growth rate.

The increased focus on making the proof-of-work chain sustainable over the long term, coupled with the realization that the beacon chain would be ready much sooner than other components of the Ethereum 2.0 roadmap, led to an “early merge” proposal . This proposal would start the existing EVM chain as “Shard 0” of the Ethereum 2.0 system. Not only would this speed up the move to proof-of-stake, but it would also allow for a much smoother transition for applications since the move to proof-of-stake could happen without migration on their end.

Shortly after this proposal, Danny Ryan explored how we could achieve this by leveraging the existing Eth1 customers in his Eth1+Eth2 customer relationship post. This would massively reduce the development work required to deploy a post-merge system and leverage existing clients that have proven themselves on mainnet for years. Around the same time, research on rollups was showing promise as a viable and safe way to scale Ethereum. Instead of waiting years for a complex, uncertain scaling solution, we could shift the focus to scaling via rollups rather than sharded execution.

Would you like to dive deeper? Check out Danny Ryan’s ETHGlobal presentation “Eth1 + Eth2 = Ethereum”.

Why can’t we just use Eth2?

mental models

A major problem with Eth2 branding is that it creates a broken mental model for new Ethereum users. They intuitively think that Eth1 comes first and Eth2 after. Or that Eth1 ceases to exist as soon as Eth2 exists. None of this is true. By removing the Eth2 terminology, we save all future users from navigating this confusing mental model.

inclusivity

As the Ethereum roadmap has evolved, Ethereum 2.0 has become an inaccurate representation of Ethereum’s roadmap. Careful and accurate wording allows content on Ethereum to be understood by as wide an audience as possible.

fraud prevention

Unfortunately, malicious actors have tried to use the fake Eth2 designation to scam users by telling them to exchange their ETH for “ETH2” tokens or that they need to somehow migrate their ETH before Eth2 upgrade.

We hope this updated terminology will bring clarity to eliminate this vector of fraud and help make the ecosystem safer.

stake out clarity

Some staking operators have also represented the ETH staked on the beacon chain with the ticker “ETH2”. This creates potential confusion as users of these services do not actually receive an “ETH2” token. There is no ‘ETH2’ token; it simply represents their stake in the participation of that particular vendor.

How does this update change the Ethereum roadmap?

It doesn’t! It is important to understand that this renaming is just a name change. Features on Ethereum’s current roadmap (i.e. merge, sharding) and future features will continue to occur on the same timeline. More on Ethereum upgrades.

ethereum.org

Content Changes

  • Our “Eth2” resources (ethereum.org/en/eth2) are now our “Ethereum Upgrades” section.
  • Individual features are now referred to as “upgrades”.
  • All pages that previously discussed Eth2 have been updated with explanations where appropriate

The rebranding was a daunting task with many substantive changes. There are likely instances that we have missed and improvements still need to be made. Notice something that needs fixing? Report an issue or open a PR on the ethereum.org GitHub.

Content translations

If you are able to translate content, we could use your help! We’ve updated this content in English, but our 40+ additional languages ​​are now deprecated and still refer to Eth2 terminology. Please consider getting involved.

We’ve updated our content buckets to include a bucket for Ethereum upgrades. This will enable our hundreds of active contributors to the translation program to tackle these changes head-on, in order to more quickly release the new accurate information in all languages.

Interested in helping translate ethereum.org? Check out our translation program.

One last note

For many, ethereum.org is seen as a credible source of information maintained by our community. Understandably, many didn’t want to move away from Eth2 terminology until ethereum.org did. We hope our changes will encourage others to move away from the outdated Eth2 terminology. In doing so, you help create consistency and clarity across the ecosystem, enable more accurate mental models, and make Ethereum more accessible.

Two bears merge into a panda representing the upgraded Ethereum

Special thanks to Tim Beiko and Trent Van Epps, whose writings are heavily referenced in this article.


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