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With release of deposit address, Ethereum 2.0's Phase 0 launch date is in sight

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The next-generation version of the Ethereum blockchain moved closer to fruition on Wednesday with the launch of the Eth2 deposit address.

This address, as outlined in a blog post from the Ethereum Foundation, lets would-be staking participants ready their funds for the eventual launch of the so-called beacon chain, which constitutes the "Phase 0" launch of Eth. The beacon chain is a key component of Eth2, serving as a foundational layer to keep network participants in sync with one another while the network employs shards (which are essentially multiple blockchains) to enable greater transaction scalability. 

Per the blog post, the soonest Eth2's genesis time -- that is, official kick-off -- is December 1 at 12:00 UTC. But that would require there to be some 524,288 ETH, provided by 16,384 staking participants, to be deposited ahead of that date.

Deposits are already taking place, according to the official Launchpad site for Eth2. At the time of writing, 1,893 ETH has been deposited. 

Today's development has been years in the making, dating back to early ambitions for Ethereum's long-planned shift from its current proof-of-work-based system to proof-of-stake. 

In recent months, developers and stakeholders have conducted a series of testnets that served as dress rehearsals for the launch and operation of Eth2. There was also a fair degree of variance in when, precisely, the launch date would be set, with some predicting that it wouldn't occur until early 2021.

Developers involved with Eth2 stressed throughout that the launch's timing would be contingent on the results of the final testnet, Medalla, and the resolution of bugs discovered along the way.

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