Update: The threshold was crossed just after 2:20 am UTC on Nov. 24.
Ethereum 2.0’s Phase 0 launch looks all but certain for Dec. 1, with the number of Ether (ETH) transferred to the Eth2 deposit contract snowballing as today’s deadline approaches.
As of this writing, nearly 499,000 of the 524,288 Ether required to secure the Dec. 1 beacon chain genesis has been deposited into Eth2’s deposit contract, with 11 hours remaining for the deadline to be reached.
Less than 32,000 Ether is now required, and more than that has been deposited in the past six hours alone. Hourly deposits increased from approximately 10,000 Ether to more than 15,000 ETH every 60 minutes.
Pundits are now certain that Eth2’s beacon chain launch will come at the start of December:
lol at anyone who thinks the beacon chain deposit contract isn't going to hit its minimum.— Ryan Selkis (@twobitidiot) November 23, 2020
Ethereum’s co-creator Vitalik Buterin also took to Twitter to celebrate the influx of deposits and remind people they must deposit before the beacon chain’s activation if they wish to participate in the genesis cohort of stakers:
Deposit contract is at 460k ETH (~87.7% of target) with 12 hours left until the earliest possible launch activation time!— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) November 24, 2020
(Launch will happen at 7 days after activation; need to reach 524288 ETH to activate)https://t.co/yqy87eMafV
Last week, the crypto community was speculating that the deposit contract may not reach its target until well into 2021, with only 50,849 ETH deposited within the first week of the deposit contract’s launch.
Many were concerned that low staking participation would force further delays due to Ether holders’ unwillingness to lock their tokens up without knowing when they would be able to make withdrawals.
Currently, it is anticipated that stakers will be able to withdraw their tokens alongside the launch of “Phase 1.5” — which will see the current Ethereum mainnet merge with Eth2’s new beacon chain and sharding system. Phase 1.5 is expected to launch sometime around late 2021 or early 2022.
The surge in deposits has seen wild volatility on Polymarket’s prediction market for whether the Eth2 genesis event will occur on Dec. 1, with contracts in favor of such jumping from $0.36 12 hours ago to $0.95 as of this writing.
The imminent launch of Phase 0 has also driven bullish pressure in the ETH markets, with Ether rallying into new year-to-date highs above $600 over the past 12 hours. Since changing hands for $135 at the start of the year, ETH has gained nearly 350%.