Ethereum 2.0 is an upgrade of the Ethereum Blockchain that will allow the network to process more transactions, while being faster and more efficient. It introduces new concepts such as sharding and proof-of-stake (PoS).
What is this countdown about?
Ethereum 2.0 will be fully rolled-out through at least 4 phases, where each step in the process focuses on a different aspect.
For the genesis of Ethereum 2.0 (phase 0) to happen, there must be at least 16,384 validators at the start, that all deposited 32 ETH 7 days prior to the 1st of December, 2020. If the goal has not been reached, genesis will occur 7 days after the thresholds for deposits and validators are met.
Why is it required to stake 524,288 ETH?
Validators reach consensus on the state of Ethereum 2.0 through a process of proposing new blocks and voting on them.
Each validator makes a deposit (stake), and the voting power of a validator is weighed by the amount at stake. Validators have to make an ETH deposit, so they can be penalized for behaving dishonestly, or when they are offline and not able to participate in reaching consensus.