The Ethereum Altair upgrade was completed on October 28, 2021. This is part of the transition to ETH 2.0, as PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism merges with the Beacon Chain.
The upgrade implements the following:
- light-client support to the core consensus.
- Setup of beacon state incentive accounting.
- Fixes validator incentives issue.
- Penalties for offline or inactive validator nodes per EIP 2982.
Over 95% of the network participated at the time of the upgrade’s first epoch. This is the first upgrade to the Beacon Chain since going online in December 2020 and could also be the last before the merge with PoS on the Ethereum mainnet.
According to IntoTheBlock researcher Lucas Outumuro:
“Through the Altair upgrade, Ethereum sets the base for this vision, enabling the upcoming merge of the proof-of-work chain and the Beacon Chain. Finally, these are expected to benefit Ether holders and stakers by making it deflationary while offering higher returns to validators.”
The recent London Hard Fork had introduced a base fee as part of EIP 1559 with a coin burning mechanism that adds a deflationary feature to Ethereum. During the first 48 hours of that upgrade, $30 million in ETH were burned from the network’s circulation. As of 10/30/21, 681,030 ETH have been burned that is valued at $3,013,073,269. This puts pressure on supply as it decreases and drives the price of ETH higher due to market demand.
With ETH 2.0 set for deployment in 2022, Altair is part of the preparation. Altair is a hard fork, which means that the 250,000+ validator nodes who didn’t upgrade are now considered offline. Their ETH will then slowly diminish at about 10% per year. This was included in Altair as a sort of way to push for moving towards the upgrade. This not only benefits the validators, but the network as a whole as it comes to an agreement to pave the way for Ethereum’s next phase.