Ethereum is a protocol that is undergoing significant changes. Client teams are upgrading the protocol to scale to meet global demand while improving security and decentralization. In addition to protocol development, a critical shift in Ethereum was the move away from ‘Eth1’ and ‘Eth2’ terminology. By late 2021, core developers had stopped using the terminology and preferred ‘output layer’ and ‘consensus layer’ respectively. Today, as highlighted in our Q1 roadmap, ethereum.org is making the same shift.
- Eth1 → low performance
- Eth2 → consensus layer
- Execution layer + consensus layer = Ethereum
Let’s investigate why.
- The terms Eth1 and Eth2 (Ethereum 2.0) are being phased out
- Execution layer (Eth1) and consensus layer (Eth2) are the new terminologies
- The roadmap to scale Ethereum in a decentralized way remains the same
- You do not have to do anything
Where does Ethereum 2.0 come from?
Ethereum has always, as part of its roadmap, had plans to scale the network in a decentralized way and to switch to proof-of-stake. Researchers worked on these efforts separately early on, but around 2018, they were combined into a single roadmap under the “Ethereum 2.0” umbrella.
As part of that roadmap, the existing proof-of-work chain (Eth1) would eventually be rejected by the trouble bomb. Users and applications will migrate to a new, proof-of-game Ethereum chain, known as Eth2.
The article The Roadmap to Serenity by ConsenSys explains how things stood in early 2019.
What has changed?
As work began on the Beacon Chain, it became clear that the phased Ethereum 2.0 roadmap would take several years to fully deliver. This has led to a revival of research-on-work-chain research initiatives such as Stateless Ethereum, a paradigm that would remove the untouched state of the network to tie its growth rate.
The increased focus on making the proof-of-work chain sustainable in the long run, 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 Merger” – proposal. This proposal will introduce the existing EVM chain as “Shard 0” of the Ethereum 2.0 system. Not only will this speed up the move to proof-of-play, but it will also make a much smoother transition for applications, as the move to proof-of-play can take place without any migration at the end.
Shortly after this proposal, Danny Ryan explored how we can achieve this by leveraging existing Eth1 customers in his Eth1 + Eth2 customer relationship position. This will significantly reduce the development work required to deliver a post-merger system and leverage existing customers, which have been tested on Mainnet for years. Around the same time, research on rollups as a viable and secure way to scale Ethereum proved promising. Instead of waiting years away for a complex, uncertain scale solution, we can shift the focus to scale via scrolling instead of torn execution.
Do you want to dive deeper? Check out Danny Ryan’s “Eth1 + Eth2 = Ethereum” ETHGlobal presentation.
Why can we not just use Eth2?
One major problem with the Eth2 brand is that it creates a broken mental model for new Ethereum users. They intuitively think that Eth1 comes first and Eth2 comes next. Or that Eth1 ceases to exist as soon as Eth2 exists. None of this is true. By removing Eth2 terminology, we save all future users from navigating this confusing mental model.
As the roadmap for Ethereum evolved, Ethereum 2.0 became an inaccurate representation of Ethereum’s roadmap. By being careful and accurate in our word choice, content on Ethereum can be understood by the widest possible audience.
Unfortunately, malicious actors tried to use the Eth2 misnomer to deceive users by telling them to exchange their ETH for ‘ETH2’ tokens or that they had to somehow migrate their ETH before the Eth2 upgrade.
We hope this updated terminology will bring clarity to eliminate this fraud vector and help make the ecosystem safer.
Some strike operators also represented ETH on the Beacon Chain with the ‘ETH2’ ticker. This creates potential confusion as users of these services do not actually receive an ‘ETH2’ token. No ‘ETH2’ sign exists; it merely represents their share in the interest of those particular suppliers.
How does this update change the Ethereum roadmap?
It does not! It is important to understand that this renaming only represents a change in naming. The features on Ethereum’s current roadmap (ie merging, sharding) and future features will still be on the same timeline. More about the Ethereum upgrades.
- Our ‘Eth2’ resources (ethereum.org/en/eth2) are now our ‘Ethereum Upgrades’ section
- Individual features are now referred to as ‘upgrades’
- All pages previously discussed by Eth2 have been updated, with explanations included where applicable
The trademark was a massive task with many content changes. There are probably cases we have missed and improvements still need to be made. Notice something that needs fixing? Compose an issue or create a PR on the ethereum.org GitHub.
If you are able to translate content, we can use your help! We’ve updated this content in English, but our 40+ additional languages are now outdated and still refer to Eth2 terminology. Please consider getting involved.
We’ve updated our content bins to include an Ethereum upgrade bucket. This will empower our hundreds of active contributors to the Translation Program to target these changes directly to publish the new accurate information on languages faster.
Are you interested in helping to translate ethereum.org? Check out our translation program.
A final note
To many, ethereum.org is seen as a credible source of information maintained by our community. It is understandable that many did not want to move away from Eth2 terminology until ethereum.org did so. We hope our changes will encourage others to move away from outdated Eth2 terminology. Doing so will help create consistency and clarity across the ecosystem, enabling more accurate spiritual models and making Ethereum more accessible.