The problem of congestion has been known in blockchain circles for some time. However, with the recent explosion of interest in both Ethereum and cryptocurrencies in general, the challenge of scaling has become imminent. Ethereum is one of the biggest cryptocurrencies on the market today, but its popularity means that transactions on its network are especially burdened. Congestion is so bad that users looking to conduct transactions have to compete with each other to get them processed by miners—and they'll have to compete harder as time goes on since every transaction eats into available block space and therefore becomes more expensive.
If you are in the crypto space for quite some time you have heard people talking about Ethereum 2.0 and how it will be bigger, better, and faster and it is this only which we are calling the Ethereum upgrade but now it is no longer being called Ethereum 2.0.
In late 2021 Ethereum community decided to stop the Eth2 and Eth1 terminology to avoid scams and confusion and now Eth1 is called the execution layer and the upcoming eth2 is called the consensus layer.
Ethereum has been using Proof of Work (PoW) to verify transactions since day one. But while this system works well to keep a distributed public ledger safe from manipulation by third parties or outside attackers , it doesn't accomplish much else other than slowing down the entire process and making it more expensive than necessary (those gas prices add up fast).
To fix these problems and make transactions faster and cheaper, Ethereum plans to switch to Proof of Stake (PoS) in what they're calling "Casper,"
The upgrade has three steps which ethereum will follow in order to get upgraded and those three steps are:
1. The Shard Chains
2. The beacon chain
3. The merge
In this, the shard chains will help to make ethereum scalable by expanding ethereum's capacity to process transactions and store data.
The beacon chain has introduced proof of stake in ethereum.
And,finally the merge will merge the ethereum mainnet with the consensus layer , means that it will merge the execution and consensus layer together .
Just how we get different versions of an app.Similarly Ethereum will roll out it's upgrade in phases over a span of 1-3 years in which Phase 0 The beacon chain was launched on December 2020.
We will go in detail to deeply understand the shard chains and the beacon chain with analogies and examples in the next article.
Till then, stay tuned.