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The Zcash Privacy Tech Underlying Ethereum’s Transition to Eth 2.0

Ethereum’s consensus algorithm is not the only thing changing with the launch of Eth 2.0. The underlying cryptography itself is getting an overhaul based on leading research out of the Electric Coin Company.

Called BLS12-381, the new elliptic pairing curve will securely coordinate transactions on the proof-of-stake (PoS) Eth 2.0 network, while opening up opportunities for data savings and privacy-tech solutions. 

Currently, the ins and outs of that curve are being baked into the network with Ethereum Improvement Proposal 2537. That EIP is slated for delivery with the protocol’s 10th hard fork, Berlin, tentatively scheduled for July.

As a hard fork, Berlin will add up to four backwards-incompatible upgrades, two of which continue to be vetted and may ultimately not be included (all though that remains unlikely given all four EIPs are being implemented on various levels by each Ethereum client). 

A test net, Yolo, conducting dry runs without applications, is currently underway for EIP 2537 and one other proposal, EIP 2315, which will add “simple subroutines” to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). 

For Eth 2.0, EIP 2537 is an introduction into the interesting cryptography work underpinning the new network while answering a question Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has been pondering since the network’s early days.

From 1.x to 2.0

In order to launch Eth 2.0, a technical bridge must exist between Ethereum’s existing Eth 1.x and Eth 2.0. 

BLS12-381 undergirds one such option by building an Eth 2.0 “lite client” inside the current Ethereum network, according to an April Medium article by Ethereum developer Alex Stokes.

In short, Eth 2.0 will roll out in steps, beginning with Phase 0 in Q3 2020. Phase 0 will begin with the beacon chain, a coordination mechanism for investors staking funds. In PoS networks like Tron or EOS, staked funds operate as a voting mechanism and incentive to partake in ver...

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