$ETH: Ethereum’s “Merge” Upgrade Could Come As Early as September 10

Until today (August 24), it was widely believed that The Merge upgrade, which marks the Ethereum network’s transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS), would be completed on September 15 or September 16.

Here is how Ethereum Foundation explains The Merge:

The Merge represents the joining of the existing execution layer of Ethereum (the Mainnet we use today) with its new proof-of-stake consensus layer, the Beacon Chain. It eliminates the need for energy-intensive mining and instead secures the network using staked ETH. A truly exciting step in realizing the Ethereum vision – more scalability, security, and sustainability.

It’s important to remember that initially, the Beacon Chain shipped separately from Mainnet. Ethereum Mainnet – with all it’s accounts, balances, smart contracts, and blockchain state – continues to be secured by proof-of-work, even while the Beacon Chain runs in parallel using proof-of-stake. The approaching Merge is when these two systems finally come together, and proof-of-work is replaced permanently by proof-of-stake.

Let’s consider an analogy. Imagine Ethereum is a spaceship that isn’t quite ready for an interstellar voyage. With the Beacon Chain, the community has built a new engine and a hardened hull. After significant testing, it’s almost time to hot-swap the new engine for the old mid-flight. This will merge the new, more efficient engine into the existing ship, ready to put in some serious lightyears and take on the universe.

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However, earlier today, Ethereum Foundation made an interesting announcement on its blog regarding the date for The Merge.

Ethereum Foundation first explained how The Merge differs from previous Ethereum protocol upgrades (or hard forks):

The Merge is different from previous network upgrades in two ways. First, node operators need to update both their consensus layer (CL) and execution layer (EL) clients in tandem, rather than just one of the two. Second, the upgrade activates in two phases: the first, named Bellatrix, at an epoch height on the Beacon Chain, and the second, named Paris, upon hitting a Total Difficulty value on the execution layer.

The Merge “must first be activated on the Beacon Chain with the Bellatrix upgrade,” which is scheduled for epoch 144896 on the Beacon Chain, i.e. 11:34:47am UTC on 6 September 2022. Then, “the proof-of-work chain will migrate to proof-of-stake upon hitting a specific Total Difficulty value,” which is 58750000000000000000000, and expected to happen between September 10 and September 20.

On Monday (August 22), blockchain technology company ConsenSys took to Twitter to highlight the five most common misconceptions about The Merge upgrade:

  • The Merge will create another Blockchain, called ETH2. The Merge will not create a new blockchain, but will make the current ETH network more energy efficient, secure, and in the future, more scalable.
  • The Merge will create a new ETH token, ETH2. There is no ETH2 token. Avoid sending ETH to anyone in attempts to upgrade to ETH2.
  • ETH Transactions Will Cost Less Post Merge. The Merge does not target gas fees, it is aimed at making the network more secure and easier to scale.
  • Validators Will Be Able to Immediately Withdraw their staked ETH. It is estimated,that validatiors will be able to take out their staked ETH in 6-12 months post Merge.
  • The Merge Will Hamper the Security of the ETH Network. The Merge will enhance the security of ETH by democratizing network participation.

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