2022 is the year Ethereum completes its largest consensus merge in history. Ethereum’s long-awaited shift from the environmentally unfriendly Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a much more eco-friendly Proof of Stake (PoS) mechanism is likely to occur sometime in August. According to a report by ConsenSys, Ben Edington (Product Manager at Teku), Mikhail Kalinin (Researcher at ConsenSys R&D), and Sajida Zouarhi (Product Manager at Hyperledger Besu) are the three members working closely on the migration.
Ethereum core developer Preston Van Loon told attendees at the Permissionless conference that The Merge would happen sometime in August “if everything goes as per the plan.” He told the 5000 attendees that the company was looking forward to making The Merge happen before the network suffered any catastrophe.
“As far as we know, if everything goes according to the plan, August will be the month — it just makes sense. If we don’t have to move [the difficulty bomb], let’s make it happen as soon as possible,”
Van Loon said.
Supporting Van Loon’s statement, Ethereum researcher Justin Drake said that guaranteeing the transition would be the topmost priority for Ethereum. The “difficulty bomb” refers to a part coded into the Ethereum blockchain that slows down the network. It was programmed to initiate the merge to PoS by making it more complicated for miners to stay behind on the Proof of Work protocol after the transition.
On April 11, Tim Beiko released a statement that said that The Merge had once been delayed. Irrespective of a successful “shadow fork test,” Beiko announced that the transition wouldn’t happen in June. He further stated that Ethereum devs need to act promptly to avoid the difficulty bomb; they’d need to come up with yet another update to slow down the bomb.
“If client developers cannot execute The Merge to mainnet before the difficulty bomb freezes the network, the transition needs to be delayed again.”
The Ropsten Testnet Merge Set to be Conducted on June 8
Ropsten — one of the Ethereum network’s key test networks — will participate in the transition in June, Ethereum devs say. If the Ropsten merge happens according to the plan, the Ethereum network will shift from the PoW protocol to the PoS consensus mechanism.
Testing Ropsten is a huge milestone for Ethereum devs to carry out the actual merge estimated this August.
This is supposedly a big change as much money is at stake. If anything goes wrong, it will lead to a disaster as Ethereum is arguably one of the most used blockchains, and its network has heavy traffic.
If The Merge is successfully deployed in August, the ultimate landmark on the roadmap for Ethereum is the upgrade estimated to go live early next year. Until then, the network will continue to leverage layer-2 networks such as Polygon and Optimism to manage scalability and high exchange volumes.
While layer-2 networks have their own advantages and disadvantages, they tend to be much more affordable and faster than the base layer.
The native token of Ethereum, ether (ETH), is currently the second-largest cryptocurrency in the market. As of now, it has a market capitalization of $365 billion and is trading at a little over $1,900, down from $3,000 earlier this month.