A complete introduction about the beacon chain can be found in the Ethereum 2.0 blog series.
In short, the beacon chain is a new type of blockchain to help the Ethereum blockchain to smoothly transfer its consensus algorithm from PoW (Proof of Work) to PoS (Proof of Stake), aka Ethereum 2.0.
In traditional PoW, those that propose new blocks are called miners, whereas in PoS, they are called validators. In essence, miners rely on actual hardware (such as some specifically manufactured mining machines), while validators rely on just software and a good network connection.
It is obvious that you must have enough computing power or dedicated hardware in order to be a miner, but how about being a validator? Here is a brief overview:
- A special smart contract named deposit contract is deployed on the original Ethereum blockchain. Note that in this case, the new beacon chain and the original blockchain co-exists.
- To "register" as a validator, you have to first deposit 32 Ether from your account to this smart contract.
- Run the beacon node and wait for the network to sync before your validator is activated.
- That's all! Remember to stay connected to the network, or you may lose some of your deposit, as punishment, depending on how long you're offline. :P
In a sentence, Nimbus is an Ethereum 1.0 & 2.0 Client for Resource-Restricted Devices.
Metrics are currently implemented using a HTTP server that hasn't been hardened sufficiently that it can be exposed as a public endpoint - it must thus be enabled specifically during build:
make NIMFLAGS="-d:insecure" beacon_node --metrics ...