The Ethereum 2.0 upgrade is expected to launch later this year, starting with Phase 0. Included in that release is the Beacon Chain which is responsible for managing the Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol. In order to interact with the Beacon Chain, a client that implements the Ethereum 2.0 specification is required.
In this article I take a high-level look at the seven Ethereum 2.0 clients currently under active development, pulling into a single resource information about each client including links for the reader to dive deeper.
Why So Many Clients?
Before I get started, you might be wondering — why so many clients? Why not concentrate on building one ‘super client’, make that amazing, and the job is done?
Well, there are quite a few reasons why having more than one client is a good thing. Here are two that stand out for me:
- Having multiple clients means independent developers are in friendly competition, inspiring each other with different solutions and features. Competition drives innovation.
- Having multiple clients means robustness, giving options if an issue arises with a client. For example, what if we introduce a bug or an exploit is discovered in our hypothetical ‘super client’? It could bring down the Eth2 network.
For these reasons (and more) it is important support a balanced multi-client ecosystem for Ethereum 2.0. From Ethereum core developer Danny Ryan:
“I ask you during this period before launch, to get out of your comfort zone and try multiple clients. There are many trade-offs between them and you’re going to have to get your hands dirty to find out which works best for you. …Ethereum operates in a multi-client paradigm. To gain the benefits of this paradigm, we need users to run a diverse set of clients (to create a healthy distribution across all the types of clients).”
The Seven Clients
Without any further delay, let’s dive in. The seven clients listed in alphabetical order by name are:
- Cortex (Nethermind)
- Lighthouse (Sigma Prime)
- Lodestar (ChainSafe Systems)
- Nimbus (Status)