Eth2 deposit contract passes threshold needed for Phase 0 to launch on December 1

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It's official: the initial phase of Eth2's multi-stage launch will begin on December 1.

That's because the deposit contract address, in which ETH is deposited for staking on the yet-to-launch network, passed the threshold — some 524,288 ETH — needed to initiate the beacon chain launch. The beacon chain can be thought of as a kind of backbone for the Eth2, also known as Ethereum 2.0, network.

The contract passed the threshold around 2:30 UTC on November 24, according to progress updates from Ethereum.org.

As the chart below demonstrates, the contract began to see accelerated growth on November 20, which then quicked on November 23, the final day before the November 24, 12:00 UTC deadline.

The launch of Eth2 has been long in the making, and work on multi-client testnets designed to root out bugs shifted expected launch windows further into 2020. A key component of Eth2 is the shift from proof-of-work mining to proof-of-stake, which will fundamentally alter the economic underpinnings of the network.

The aforementioned beacon chain forms a key part of the integration of sharding, which refers to what is essentially the splitting of the Ethereum network into pieces or "shards" as a transaction scaling measure. 

The price of ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, has surged in recent days, crossing the $600 mark on Monday.

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