Tim Beiko, Support Engineer at the Ethereum Foundation, said this week that “Merge” – Ethereum’s long-awaited upgrade to a new design – could take place the week of September 19.
The “Merge” will cause Ethereum (ETH) to change its current proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which uses a lot of electricity and is used by Bitcoin. (BTC), for the proof-of-stake (PoS) system, touted as more efficient.
In addition to reducing grid energy usage by 99.95%, some proof-of-stake advocates believe the change should bring more security and scalability (greater processing power) to the project.
Beiko made his prediction at a meeting on PoS deployment. In addition to offering a potential date for the merger, the engineer gave a timeline for the project’s other major blockchain development milestones.
While he offered a date for the merger, Beiko has cited several times – on Discord, on Twitter and in a Zoom call from the Ethereum community – that the timeline is very likely to change.
What is Fusion?
Today’s PoW mechanism, by which miners compete to secure the network by solving complex computational puzzles, is the consensus algorithm that secures the Bitcoin blockchain. The system, however, has been criticized for its high energy costs.
PoS – whose versions have already been adopted by networks such as Solana (SOL) and Tezos (XTZ) – replaces miners with validators. To be a validator, the user must hold at least 32 ETH on Ethereum. That way it has a chance to be randomly selected to add blocks (packages of transactions) to the chain. As a consequence, just like in PoW, he can earn rewards.
Upgrading from PoW to PoS has been on Ethereum’s roadmap since its launch in 2015, but engineering complexities meant that the change – originally dubbed “Ethereum 2.0” – dragged on for several years.
The merger is not expected to reduce the project’s relatively high fees and increase transaction speed, but the upgrade will have a significant immediate impact on grid energy usage.
Before merging its blockchain, Ethereum has been testing on three parallel public networks. Each trial takes developers one step closer to upgrading the mainnet to PoS.
In June, the Ropsten testnet completed the update of its consensus mechanism. Last week, it was Sepolia’s turn to successfully switch to proof of participation. Goerli, the third and final of the three networks, will undergo the merger process on August 11.
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