Participation in Ethereum 2.0’s Medalla Testnet Wobbly

The Ethereum community rejoiced after the first block of the Medalla test net was finalized. But the transition to ETH 2.0 isn’t turning out to be all that smooth.

Despite the important updates, network participation on the test net remains wobbly. This is happening amid Medalla’s gnawing debacle last week.

Medalla Testnet’s First Block

As per the latest update on Ethereum 2.0, the Medalla test net finalized its first block.

This comes amidst a supposedly catastrophic series of failures that the test net encountered last week. Validators lost up to 25 percent of their goerliETH holdings, and network participation dropped from around 80 percent to 0 as per this diagram posted six days ago.

Ethereum’s Medalla Testnet Failure, Source: u/VinL0r, Reddit

But Preston Van Loon of Prysmatic Labs released a fix (Alpha.22) 5 days ago, targeting the lingering issues on Medalla. The last update from his Twitter handle came as a breath of fresh air for the Ethereum community.

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But Why The Poor and Wobbly Validator Participation?

Even though Medalla seems to have been ‘saved,’ the Eth2 test net is still struggling to maintain validator participation. Participation is wavering and according to the latest statistics from Beaconscan, trending around 59 percent with a drastic drop to 53 percent a few hours back.

Node users seemed to face a variety of issues. Most of them talked about their nodes going offline and failing to synchronize with the latest version of Medalla (after Prysmatic’s bugfix release). According to a comment chain on the Reddit post “Help save Medalla ETH2.0 Testnet”:

Hmm – on lighthouse I am just getting endless loops of:

Aug 19 16:49:38.005 INFO Syncing  est_time: --, distance: 2637 slots (8 hrs 47 mins), peers: 55, service: slot_notifier
Aug 19 16:49:50.009 INFO Syncing  est_time: --, distance: 2638 slots (8 hrs 47 mins), peers: 54, service: slot_notifier
Aug 19 16:50:02.006 INFO Syncing  est_time: --, distance: 2639 slots (8 hrs 47 mins), peers: 54, service: slot_notifier
Aug 19 16:50:06.627 WARN Batch failed to download. Dropping chain scoring peers, batch_epoch: 2289, score_adjustment: Low Tolerance Error, service: sync
Aug 19 16:50:14.006 INFO Syncing  est_time: --, distance: 2640 slots (8 hrs 48 mins), peers: 51, service: slot_notifier
Aug 19 16:50:26.006 INFO Syncing  est_time: --, distance: 2641 slots (8 hrs 48 mins), peers: 53, service: slot_notifier

Doesn’t seem to be able to make any progress…

I’m trying but it’s taking forever. Been about 2 or 3 days now. Here is the latest message from
Waiting for Deposit Inclusion (1676 validators in queue ~ 20.95 hrs)

My sync keeps failing! The beacon crashes my nodes.

Apparently, it seems like a case of node users trying to validate while being in the wrong fork. In the process, maybe kicking out everyone else who they think is using the wrong fork. Will the issue get resolved at the earlier with Medalla achieving chain finalization? That remains to be seen.

Raul Jordan of Prysmatic Labs has said that despite the Medalla goof-up, Ethereum 2.0 will not be delayed no matter what:

We believe the expected launch target of 2 to 3 months from Medalla genesis is still an ideal timeline. 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.

ETH prices in response have fallen below the $400 level after surging above the $420 mark last week.

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