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ETH · 26w

Phase 0 launch might safely reduce ETH 1 issuance on day 1

This parameter is not enshrined in the beacon chain consensus but is provided as a guideline for an honest validator to follow. This constant helps validators coordinate around increasingly higher Ethereum 1.0 blocks (making progress on the deposit mechanism) and has the side effect of fixing a maximum height (at a given point in time) at which the Ethereum 1.0 chain could become finalized.

Aren’t we skipping a lot of blocks?

Realize that given the “chain” nature of the 1.0 blockchain, finalizing a block at height N implicitly finalizes every block in that chain below height N all the way back to the genesis block. This means that the set of finalized blocks on the 1.0 chain will suddenly jump some number of blocks according to a periodic cycle determined by the previous two parameters and the time to finality on the beacon chain. Given the existing constants for the beacon chain, this period of time works out to about every 2 hours in the optimal case. As we will see below, progress can be slowed or even stopped under adversarial conditions.

Coming full circle

As described so far, the existing 1.0 chain doesn’t have to know anything about the new system. To fully implement the finality gadget, we have to go one step further. This last step involves a fork in which the Ethereum 1.0 fork choice is altered to respect finality. Concretely, Ethereum 1.0 would still use GHOST to find the canonical chain, but it would start this search from the most recent finalized block (as determined by the beacon chain validators), not the genesis block as happens today. The fork to enable the finality gadget is where most of the work (from the 1.0 perspective) comes into play, as 1.0 clients now have to be aware of the 2.0 consensus. However, modification of the fork choice rule lets the security of finality extend to the proof-of-work chain, allowing the realization of all of the benefits allotted by this extra security.

Improving the finality gadget with ...
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