The Merge: Ethereum’s Core Developers Met In Person To Assess Proof-of-Stake Transition

First Phase: Beacon Chain Launched As Etherum 2.0 Goes Live
  • Ethereum developers are making significant progress for the transition to proof-of-Stake.
  • In a meeting in Greece, the Ethereum 2.0 merge Interop devnet was confirmed.
  • The first upgrade for Ethereum 2.0 is scheduled for the end of this month.

Ethereum is taking the first big leap towards its second iteration that will see it transition to the sustainable proof-of-stake consensus mechanism. Core developers converged from every corner of the globe to lay the building blocks.

The Merge In Greece

Over the last week, around 40 developers from Eth1 and Eth2 met at an undisclosed location in Greece to create a multi-client merge devnet. Those in attendance included individuals from the Ethereum Foundation and ConsenSys, all working in unison.

The task was accomplished as “three execution clients and four consensus clients nicely transitioned together from proof of work to proof of stake,” according to Ben Edgington, a top Ethereum developer. He noted that although it was a big win for the community and the beginning of the end for Proof-of-Work, “things are expected to go awry in the short term”.

Aside from the confirmation of the Ethereum 2.0 merge Interop devnet, the team also racked up other successes and worked on the MergeMock, Ansible playbooks, and the consensus monitor. The team, including Vitalik Buterin, discussed pertinent issues around the Merge like fuzzing and continuous integration, error standardization amongst others.

On the flipside, Rocket Pool staking was canceled following the discovery of a “potential critical exploit”. Rocket Pool is a decentralized Ethereum PoS pool that is designed to be compatible with Eth 2.0 and the Beacon Chain and so far, they are rectifying the issue and are planning a relaunch.


Altair – The Fork

The first upgrade in the transition towards Proof-of-Stake is the Altair upgrade that is scheduled for October 27, 2021. Ben Edgington warns that the Altair fork is not the Merge but will improve the functionalities of the beacon chain. Edgington advises users that are staking Eth2 to upgrade their clients before the date and adds that if the upgrade doesn’t go as planned it could “push back the merge date”.

The exodus from proof-of-work is to reduce the network’s power consumption as the environmental impact of mining activities takes center stage. The switch will also improve Ethereum’s scalability and offer a way out of rising gas costs on the network. The transition comes at a crucial point for Ethereum as it faces increasing competition from other Proof-of-Stake protocols like Solana, Cardano, and Polkadot.

Why It Matters

The initial successes recorded by the dev team can be construed as an indicator of a smooth transition by the network. Ethereum is the second-largest network with a market capitalization of around $415 billion and such a switch would make a strong statement that Proof-of-Stake is the future.