What is a beacon chain?
The Beacon Chain is one of the key upgrades at the heart of Ethereum’s Consensus Layer and is responsible for managing the new proof of stake protocol. The brain of the operation, the Beacon Chain manages all of the activity on the network, responsible for creating new blocks and making sure those new blocks are valid and rewarding validators with ether for keeping the network secure.
The Beacon Chain went live on December 1, 2020, introducing proof of stake to the Ethereum ecosystem. With this system now in place, the next phase of the upgrade is focused on improving the capacity of the network and making it faster and more scalable with shard chains.