# Motivation

# Why this book exists

Kelvin's Ethereum Book is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an attempt to solidify the state of written educational content regarding Eth2. Knowledge of Eth2 has, until now, been largely stored in the collective brain bank of researchers and developers focused on the project. Deep understanding of Eth2 is unlikely to come under these circumstances without access to key individuals. Existing published content additionally tends to fall too far on the extremes of simplicity or complexity.

This reality is unfortunate given the current timeline and importance of Eth2. A transition to a better Ethereum -- one that addresses many of the shortcomings of Eth1 -- is clearly necessary for the project's long-term prospects. Further given that development of Eth2 has accelerated quickly within the past several years and The Merge (opens new window) is now on the horizon, it's time for an approachable resource that can help readers understand and prepare for the changes to come.

# Why you should care about Eth2

Whether you're an application developer, researcher, or simply somehow invested in the Ethereum ecosystem, it's extremely valuable to build a comprehensive understanding of Eth2. Eth2 shares many similarities with its predecessor, but simultaneously introduces new quirks that impact the structure and operation of Ethereum-based applications. Developers may need to rework certain aspects of their applications. Researchers may discover new tools that allow them to design novel constructions. End-users may wish to understand how these changes will impact functionality and user experiences. No matter who you are, there's something valuable to learn within these pages.

Eth2 also provides a unique opportunity for you (yes you!) to have an impact on the future of Ethereum. Although much of the project's initial direction is well defined, many design decisions, particularly on the application layer, are still open for debate. Eth2 research and development is community-driven, and therefore accessible to anyone seeking to provide input. This book aims, in part, to connect readers to projects or research efforts they may find interesting. We include pipelines that help readers become familiar with the process of entering and contributing to these projects. We strongly encourage interested readers to explore these pipelines and the possibilities they may hold.

# What you can learn from Eth2

Eth2 additionally presents an opportunity for motivated readers to become deeply acquainted with the fundamental elements of any blockchain system. The Eth2 consensus mechanism has largely been designed from the ground up in response to lessons learned throughout the lifespan of Eth1. Its transition from "Proof-of-Work" to "Proof-of-Stake" brings Eth2 closer to older, more established constructions in the field of computer science. Through the lens of Eth2, readers can understand what really makes a blockchain tick and to relate the novel components of Eth2 back to the inner workings of more established designs. Readers will, as a result, not only comprehend Eth2, but also build an intuitive understanding of blockchain principles that can be applied in countless other contexts.

In line with the method by which Eth2 has been developed, this book revisits subjects with which readers may already be familiar. We kick off our study with an examination of the roots of the modern blockchain in the field of distributed systems. We then take a look at how these elements give rise to the blockchain in the face of a shifting problem space. Core blockchain components -- Proof-of-Work, transactions, and even the concept of blocks themselves -- are reconstructed not as inevitabilities but as potential solutions to concrete problems. In this manner the reader may begin to imagine alternative approaches to these same problems. We are all capable of exploring novel solutions once we've developed a complete picture of our constraints.

# What you need to know

Kelvin's Ethereum Book generally attempts to avoid assumptions of existing background knowledge. Of course, this expands the potential audience for the work but, perhaps more importantly, this methodology is also intended to deconstruct common misconceptions. Blockchain systems are the emergent result of relatively self-contained building blocks. We systematically develop bases of knowledge that aim to provide readers with all of the tools necessary to fully grasp subsequent topics. Certain subjects not necessary to understand in order to continue our study are left to external resources for interested readers. All other key information can be found contained entirely within this work.

This book intends to be approachable by readers with any level of relevant background knowledge. We attempt to detail basic concepts in clear, complete language without trending too far towards unnecessary simplicity or complexity. The subjects covered in this text are undeniably cut from a "technical" cloth. Still, we aim to make technical topics accessible to any potential reader. The linear layout of the book, based on our system of building blocks, allows those with background knowledge to enter the work at whichever point they deem most valuable. That said, even weathered blockchain researchers may find a new perspective from content covered in early chapters.

# How this book is structured

To the end of maximal utility, Kelvin's Ethereum Book is structured as something between a traditional printed book and a more modern digital wiki. Content is laid out as to be consumable both in isolation or in series with other sections. Readers will find sidebars within each section that point to topics previously covered that serve as required background knowledge for the subject at hand. Those interested in specific topics may derive value from revisiting linked background sections. We additionally provide frequent links and references to earlier sections as one might expect from the wiki format. Readers on the web will also find a search bar at the top of each page and have the option to view certain figures in an interactive or animated form.

# How to get the most out of this book

Kelvin's Ethereum Book is meant to be something like a "choose your own adventure" book. Although it contains all of the relevant information necessary to understand Ethereum from the ground up, you should feel free to skip any sections that you already feel comfortable with. For instance, if you're intimately familiar with Ethereum you may wish to skip directly to the Eth2 Overview chapter of this book.

There's no need to approach this book linearly but it can still be beneficial to do so. We've tried to take a fresh look at many of the core blockchain concepts that you may take for granted. Even if you're an expert in everything crypto, you might still find something brand new or unexpected. Of course, the ultimate path of your journey is up to you!

# One last note

As we come to the close of this introduction, we'll briefly restate the primary goals of this work. Kelvin's Ethereum Book, at its core, aims to help readers build a strong understanding of block Eth2 and blockchain systems in general. We tackle this task by developing bases of knowledge and revisiting certain subjects that some may take for granted. We simultaneously provide readers with relevant links to external reference material and clear pathways to become involved with various projects.

At the end of the day, Kelvin's Ethereum Book looks to help readers gather the tools necessary to become independent and well-equipped thinkers within the Ethereum space. It's through the free exchange of information that we can construct a better and stronger Ethereum community. We hope that you enjoy your journey!