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Ethereum's Merge is now complete

Friday 16 September 2022 14:03 CET | News

Cryptocurrency blockchain Ethereum has completed its switch to the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, finalising The Merge, and reducing energy consumption by 99.95%.

 

The upgrade process has been years in the making. Previously, the Ethereum blockchain relied on proof-of-work, a consensus mechanism that requires a lot of computational effort from all the decentralized nodes participating in the blockchain. The proof-of-stake mechanism changes how the Ethereum blockchain works. It eliminates the need for mining new blocks as the network is now secured using staked ETH and validators.

Ethereum originally launched a separate proof-of-stake Beacon Chain on December 1, 2020. It was running in parallel with the main Ethereum blockchain. On 6 September 2022, the Ethereum community released the Bellatrix upgrade to start The Merge process. With this first upgrade, the community decided to swap the proof-of-work chain with this proof-of-stake chain upon hitting a certain Total Terminal Difficulty (TTD) value on the original Ethereum blockchain.

Cryptocurrency blockchain Ethereum has completed its switch to the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, finalising The Merge, and reducing energy consumption by 99.95%.

 

And that specific event happened on 15 September at 06:42 AM UTC, triggering the second part of the transition called the Paris upgrade. What does it mean for Ethereum users? Things aren’t going to change drastically as it’s an infrastructure upgrade. Addresses, wallets, and transactions still work like before.

But the fact that the Ethereum blockchain consumes a lot less electricity is good news already. Many developers will now focus on rollup contracts to reduce transaction costs and enable scalability.

What comes next

As we saw in August, the move might cause a fork, a split between blockchain participants. Following The Merge, miners will be swapped for so-called validators in which users stake 32 Ethereum to validate transactions on the network. However, if a fork is to happen, there could still be ‘rebellious’ participants that want to remain miners and want to keep the old mining-intensive PoW consensus mechanism alive and well.

The Merge, the first of five planned upgrades for the network, may increase transaction speeds by only 10% by reducing block times. The rest of the upgrades, baring similar names, will come soon. The Surge is planned for 2023. It will implement sharding, an important step in increasing the scalability of the blockchain’s ability to store and access data.

The Verge, Purge and Splurge will come after that, over the next few years. These will optimise data storage and node size and remove spare historical data to alleviate network congestion, as Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin explains.


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Keywords: cryptocurrency, blockchain, digital assets, Ethereum
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
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Countries: World
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