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I am trying to wrap my head around how the POS ethereum will work and have so many questions.

First one is basically about the beacon chain. What exactly would the blocks in the beacon chain contain?

I read that validators will propose and attests to blocks that would be added in the proof of stake version of ethereum, but what exactly would be the content of the blocks? Will it be the everyday balance transaction that you have in the current ethereum pow blocks? or something else?

My feeling is if validators are replacing miners, and miners add blocks that contain transaction, then perhaps the blocks validators would also be adding will be transactions (given they are replacing miners) - but from what I am reading I have a feeling this is not correct. Thing is I can't also find an exact explanation of the content of blocks the validators will be proposing.

Anyone knows more about this that can help?

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Yes, beacon blocks after The Merge (when Proof of Stake replaces Proof of Work) will contain transactions.

Beacon blocks, up to and including Altair, have the following per https://eth2book.info/altair/annotated-spec#beaconblockbody

class BeaconBlockBody(Container):
    randao_reveal: BLSSignature
    eth1_data: Eth1Data  # Eth1 data vote
    graffiti: Bytes32  # Arbitrary data
    # Operations
    proposer_slashings: List[ProposerSlashing, MAX_PROPOSER_SLASHINGS]
    attester_slashings: List[AttesterSlashing, MAX_ATTESTER_SLASHINGS]
    attestations: List[Attestation, MAX_ATTESTATIONS]
    deposits: List[Deposit, MAX_DEPOSITS]
    voluntary_exits: List[SignedVoluntaryExit, MAX_VOLUNTARY_EXITS]
    sync_aggregate: SyncAggregate  # [New in Altair]

With The Merge, an ExecutionPayload will be added per https://github.com/ethereum/annotated-spec/blob/master/merge/beacon-chain.md#beaconblockbody

class BeaconBlockBody(Container):
    randao_reveal: BLSSignature
    eth1_data: Eth1Data  # Eth1 data vote
    graffiti: Bytes32  # Arbitrary data
    # Operations
    proposer_slashings: List[ProposerSlashing, MAX_PROPOSER_SLASHINGS]
    attester_slashings: List[AttesterSlashing, MAX_ATTESTER_SLASHINGS]
    attestations: List[Attestation, MAX_ATTESTATIONS]
    deposits: List[Deposit, MAX_DEPOSITS]
    voluntary_exits: List[SignedVoluntaryExit, MAX_VOLUNTARY_EXITS]
    sync_aggregate: SyncAggregate
    # Execution
    execution_payload: ExecutionPayload  # [New in Merge]

Yes, beacon blocks after The Merge will contain transactions. An ExecutionPayload per https://github.com/ethereum/annotated-spec/blob/master/merge/beacon-chain.md#executionpayload has:

class ExecutionPayload(Container):
    # Execution block header fields
    parent_hash: Hash32
    coinbase: ExecutionAddress  # 'beneficiary' in the yellow paper
    state_root: Bytes32
    receipt_root: Bytes32  # 'receipts root' in the yellow paper
    logs_bloom: ByteVector[BYTES_PER_LOGS_BLOOM]
    random: Bytes32  # 'difficulty' in the yellow paper
    block_number: uint64  # 'number' in the yellow paper
    gas_limit: uint64
    gas_used: uint64
    timestamp: uint64
    extra_data: ByteList[MAX_EXTRA_DATA_BYTES]
    base_fee_per_gas: Bytes32  # base fee introduced in EIP-1559, little-endian serialized
    # Extra payload fields
    block_hash: Hash32  # Hash of execution block
    transactions: List[Transaction, MAX_TRANSACTIONS_PER_PAYLOAD]

Other helpful references:

The first reference contains this overview of how blocks look before and after The Merge:

enter image description here

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  • Thanks for this. I also read stuff about crosschain and shard which I do not understand yet but I also do not see how these also fit to the content of the blocks. If you do know, an explanation will be appereciated Dec 15, 2021 at 6:53
  • Also does this mean after the merge, there won't be the need to also run Eth1 clients like Geth etc? Dec 15, 2021 at 6:54
  • @FinlayWeber I missed a helpful article and added it and a diagram. Will still need to run eth1 clients as you appropriately asked separately.
    – eth
    Dec 15, 2021 at 21:54
  • @FinlayWeber To your first comment, many of the plans with sharding have been changing so should probably be ignored. My guess is some of those parts will be removed.
    – eth
    Oct 13, 2022 at 6:09

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