Ethereum devs gave Sept. 19 as the perpetual date for the merger of the current PoW chain to the PoS chain. The Merge is expected to be deployed on the Goerli testnet in the second week of August. After the successful integration of the Goerli testnet, the blockchain will initiate the Bellatrix update in early August and roll out the Merge two weeks later.
The discussion around the transition began with a focus on scalability, so Ethereum developers proposed a three-phase transformation process. The transition itself is nearly two years in the making, starting on December 1, 2020, with the launch of Beacon Chain, initiating Phase 0 of the three-phase process.
The Beacon Chain began the shift to PoS, enabling users to stake their Ether (ETH) and become validators. However, Phase 0 did not affect the main Ethereum blockchain: The Beacon Chain exists alongside Ethereum’s mainnet. However, both the Beacon chain and mainnet will eventually be linked with the Merge.
Phase 1 was meant to launch in mid-2021 but was delayed to early 2022, with developers citing unfinished work and code auditing as major reasons. From Phase 1 onward, Eth2 will house Ethereum’s entire history of transactions and support smart contracts on the PoS network. Stakers and validators will officially step into action, as Eth2 will take mining out of the network.
Phase 2, the final phase of the transition, will see the introduction of Ethereum WebAssembly, or eWASM, over the current Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). WebAssembly was created by the World Wide Web Consortium and is designed to make Ethereum significantly more efficient than it currently stands. Ethereum WebAssembly is a proposed deterministic subset of WebAssembly for the Ethereum smart contract execution layer. The eWASM was specifically designed to replace the EVM, which would see implementation in Phase 2.
Marius Ciubotariu, co-founder of Hubble Protocol — a decentralized finance (DeFi) lending platform — told Cointelegraph that he is not really worried about the delays, as any new technology with such vast implications on the ecosystem would take time:
“PoS is not live yet; however, I do not see this as a concern. I understand the Merge has taken longer than some would expect. But, with new technology and the opportunity for critical issues, a non-rushed approach is the best one. As this Merge goes live, I’m confident more protocols will show up. We’ll continue innovation within the Ethereum community; something I have and continue to enjoy seeing/experiencing.”
Merge’s impact on the Ethereum ecosystem
Barney Chambers, co-founder and co-lead developer at cross-chain DeFi platform Umbria Network, told Cointelegraph that the Merge will be challenging:
The upcoming Merge will see the current PoW mainnet merge with the Beacon Chain, transferring the whole Ethereum history to the new chain. A complete change of consensus for an ecosystem as large as Ethereum will have a dramatic impact from both a technical and political perspective.
“The accumulation of Ethereum will centralize in the hands of validators who already hold the majority of the tokens. The Ethereum Foundation claims that the merge will not impact the price of Ethereum, but the Merge will cause a fundamental shift in the way that new tokens are distributed and this will have a dramatic effect on the price of both Ethereum and the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem.”
The proof-of-work mining difficulty level will skyrocket due to the difficulty bomb, making it unable to conduct mining at economically viable scales. The difficulty bomb is a code ingrained in the Ethereum protocol since 2015. It is set to execute every time a specific number of blocks have been mined and added to the blockchain. It makes the mining activity on the…
Read More: cointelegraph.com