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The Beacon-Chain

Table of Contents

The Beacon-Chain stores and manages the registry of validators as well as coordinates the shard chains of Ethereum 2.0. It became operational on Dec. 1, 2020.

This is a brand-new blockchain, which is based on a proof-of-stake system. It can be described poetically as the spine that supports the new Ethereum 2.0 system, the heartbeat that keeps it going, and the conductor that coordinates all its players. A good metaphor for the Beacon Chain is a lighthouse rising above a sea of transaction data. This system constantly scans, validates, collects votes, and awards rewards to those validators who correctly verify blocks, deducting rewards from those who aren’t online, and slashing ETH rewards from malicious actors. 

Beacon Chain’s main role is to manage all shard chains and the proof-of-stake protocol. There are multiple aspects to this. The company manages validators and their stakes; chooses the block proposer for each shard; organizes validators into committees to vote on the proposed blocks; applies consensus rules; rewards and penalties to validators; and, is an anchor point where shards register their state to facilitate cross-shard transactions. The Beacon chain cannot run smart contracts, but shard chains will.

The Beacon Chain is the coordination mechanism of the new network, responsible for creating new blocks, validating new blocks and rewarding validators with ETH. Ethereum has long promoted proof-of-stake as a solution to some of the problems in proof-of-work blockchains, including accessibility, centralization, and scalability. A process in which randomly selected validators (each with their stake of 32 ETH) proposes blocks, which are then voted on by other validators, instead of miners expending energy to validate blocks. 

beaconchain schematic

With the Beacon Chain and proof-of-stake system now in place, Ethereum 2.0 will introduce shard chains, which will increase Ethereum’s data capacity, making the network faster and more scalable. One Beacon Chain will run all 64 shards of Ethereum 2.0.

Conclusion #

The ETH Community are celebrating the first anniversary of the Ethereum 2.0 Beacon Chain, which set the network’s roadmap towards Eth2. 

As the coordination mechanism of the network, the Beacon Chain creates new blocks, ensures those blocks are valid, and rewards validators with ETH for keeping the network safe.

Updated on January 22, 2022
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