The Long Awaited Ethereum Merge Is Coming. Are You Ready?
Recently, Ethereum announced the launch of the Eth2 beacon chain, which will be merged with the public testnet Ropsten in preparation for a final merger planned for later this year. This is designed to merge the Eth2 beacon chain with the Ethereum mainnet, ultimately converting the network from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). In addition, Ethereum developers have been working hard to upgrade Ethereum 2.0, transitioning the network to proof-of-stake. This will allow more users to participate, further decentralization, and to resist attacks. In addition, the upgrade is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99% and issuance by 90%.
Ethereum recently announced the launch of the Eth2 beacon chain, which will be merged with the public testnet Ropsten. For a long time, many people had been anticipating this event, known as the merge. And with Ethereum’s announcement that the merge is about to begin, the hope is that it will finally happen. The Ropsten testnet merge will start on June 8 in preparation for a final merger later this year. The merger will fuse the Eth2 beacon chain with the Ethereum mainnet, ultimately transforming the network from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS). Ethereum developer Tim Beiko made an official announcement on Twitter, saying, “Ethereum’s longest-lived PoW testnet is moving to Proof of Stake! A new beacon chain has been launched today, and The Merge is expected around June 8th on the network,” which was also dubbed by some as the “first rehearsal” of the Ethereum merge.
The transition from proof-of-work
Currently, Ethereum operates through a proof-of-work or PoW network. This proof-of-work network can prevent attacks by requiring miners to solve puzzles to guarantee the completion of each transaction block and verify whether the transaction is correct. Originally built into Bitcoin’s design, many other blockchain networks, including Ethereum, have now replicated PoW.
Ethereum developers have been working hard to upgrade Ethereum 2.0, transitioning the network to proof-of-stake. Proof-of-stake can save the use of hardware resources while ensuring transaction security, allowing more users to participate in it, further achieving decentralization, and resisting attacks. The upgrade is expected to reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99% and issuance by 90%. Another exciting point of the merger is predicting the deflationary value of cryptocurrencies. Some analysts believe that the merger could consume more ETH than created through validator rewards, as its transaction base fees are burned, leading to deflation.
The beacon chain requires two conditions when it merges with the Ropsten testnet. First, the beacon chain needs to activate the Bellatrix upgrade. Then, a total PoW difficulty value, Total Terminal Difficulty (TTD), will be chosen. Beiko added this would take place by June 2/3, allowing for a seamless transition. Beiko also added more comments to his recent Twitter post, providing relevant information for validators, node operators, and developers. “ If you run a node, are a validator, or an infra/tooling provider, this is the time to familiarize yourself with the transition and (better late than never!) what a post-merge node is like,” he said. In short, the merge is about to begin. So, no matter what kind of participant you are in the Ethereum network, ask yourself, are you ready for the change to PoS?
Tweet confirming Ethereum has completed the merge on Ropsten
While most developers are still thinking sometime in September or October this year, the final proof-of-work-to-proof-of-stake transition is expected to begin as early as August. While the mainnet beacon chain has had some minor setbacks recently due to outdated client software and bugs, its reported that developers are not worried as these minor issues can be fixed. What we have to do now to wait patiently for the stunning transformation of Ethereum and the brand-new, convenient, and fast experience that it will deliver after the long awaited merge.
However, not everyone in the wider crypto community is impressed. As reported in Forbes on June 8, it is only a consensus layer change, not an execution layer change, notes Chris McCann, Partner at Race Capital. “What this means is transaction time will not change, gas fees will not change, and there will likely be no cost reduction or bandwidth improvements either,” McCann said. That said, the merge should increase network capacity and lower fees for users over time, resulting in the number of transactions increasing. If that happens and the transaction processing speed (TPS) increases and becomes cheaper to use, Ethereum potentially could take back market share from competing smart networks.