ETH 2.0 Validator Says Medalla Testnet Incident Was a “Learning Experience”


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One of the validators testing on ETH 2.0, Ethereum’s upcoming platform upgrade to a proof of stake consensus design, said the recent Medalla testnet incident was a “learning experience.”

Validator Says ETH 2.0 on Track

Prsymatic Labs, the validator in question, said the ETH 2.0 network will release as planned and that any rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated. Prysmatic Labs’ editor Raul Jordan, in a release, said the launch timetable for ETH 2.0 remains on track.

For the uninitiated, the Medalla testnet, the final multi-client testnet before ETH 2.0’s phase 0 launch,  was halted halt on August 14 when a bug took most of the testnet’s validators offline.

One of the six Medalla servers was affected at the time, with the service stating the time of the day as one ahead into the future. This caused the system to average out the mishap by recording the time on all of the servers ahead by four hours.

“Validators incorrectly proposed blocks and attestations for future slots,” said Prysmatic’s official incident in a statement. It added that the bug affected everyone using the Prysm client, meaning a majority of users.

However, the risk has since passed. Jordan said the bug led to an eventual “carnage,” with over 3000 slashing events and all our internal validators slashed.” He then called the failure as “the best thing to happen to a testnet” as the incident on a mainnet would have meant dire consequences for Ethereum and loads of bad PR for the network.

Jordan said: 

“It’s the greatest learning experience to prevent this from happening again, especially on mainnet.”

He also explained the problem came from Prysmatic using a rough time cloud servers to give users feedback that their system time might be off:

“Dynamically adjusting their time based on the responses of these servers was a nice thing to do, but this was not necessary at all and instead was problematic.”

ETH 2.0 Not Dead

Jordan said claims the testnet was “dead” were incorrect and said as long as enough validators get back on board the testnet could go back to being full operation. On Aug. 19 he said that participation on the network has now climbed from 0–5% to 40%. The chain needs > 66% to finalize.”

Jordan concluded that Prysmatic Labs believes the incident “does not inherently affect the launch date” of ETH 2.0 and that the phase 0 launch can proceed as planned.

He said the expected launch target of 2 to 3 months from Medalla genesis is still an ideal timeline, and in addition, there will be a public checklist of requirements for an ETH2 launch, and this Medalla incident will definitely add a lot of new items to the list regarding client resilience, security, and proper release.

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