ETH 2.0’s Phase 0 launch looks all but certain for Dec. 1, with the number of Ether transferred to the ETH 2.0 deposit contract snowballing as today’s deadline approaches.

As of this writing, nearly 499,000 of the 524,288 Ether required to secure the Dec. 1 beacon chain genesis has been deposited into ETH 2.0’s deposit contract, with 11 hours remaining for the deadline to be reached.

Less than 32,000 Ether is now required and more than that was deposited in the past six hours alone. Hourly deposits increased from approximately 10,000 Ether to more than 15,000 ETH every 60 minutes.

Pundits are now certain that ETH 2.0’s beacon chain launch will come at the start of December:

Ethereum’s co-creator Vitalik Buterin also took to Twitter to celebrate the influx of deposits and remind people they must deposit before the beacon chain’s activation if they wish to participate in the genesis cohort of stakers:

Last week, the crypto community was speculating the deposit contract may not reach its target until well into 2021, with only 50,849 ETH having been deposited within the first week of the deposit contract’s launch.

Many were concerned that low staking participation would force further delays due to Ether holders being unwilling to lock their tokens up without knowing when they would be able to make withdrawals.

Currently, it is anticipated that stakers will be able to withdraw their tokens alongside the launch of “Phase 1.5” — which will see the current Ethereum mainnet merge with ETH 2.0’s new beacon chain and sharding system. Phase 1.5 is expected to launch sometime around late 2021 or early 2022.

The surge in deposits has seen wild volatility on Polymarket’s prediction market for whether the ETH 2.0 genesis event will occur on Dec. 1, with contracts in favor of such jumping from $0.36 12 hours ago to $0.95 as of this writing.

Price chart for prediction market for ETH 2.0’s expected Dec. 1 genesis: Polymarket

The imminent launch of Phase 0 has also driven bullish pressure in the ETH markets, with Ether rallying into new year-to-date highs above $600 over the past 12 hours. Since changing hands for $135 at the start of the year, ETH has gained nearly 350%.