On Wednesday July the 8th, Ethereum took the biggest step towards bringing itself closer to activating the proof-of-stake (PoS) network by successfully deploying the Merge on the Ropsten testnet. The Merge is one of the crucial components of the consensus layer upgrade, known previously as “Ethereum 2.0.” The Merge is going to allow Ethereum’s PoW (proof-of-work) to combine with the PoS beacon chain. With this successfully done on Ropsten, Ethereum is well on its way to launching the Merge on the mainnet.
As things stand, Ethereum runs on the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism like bitcoin. PoW works in a way so that you continually spend your resources and energy solving cryptographically-hard puzzles. Solving these puzzles allows you to add your block to the blockchain and earn block rewards and transaction fees. Although PoW is very secure, it can be environmentally harmful.
PoS on the other hand, uses another solution by making the mining process completely virtual. Here, you must lock up a certain amount of ETH (around 32 ETH in Ethereum’s case) and bet on the bets that are likely to be added next. Successful validators get a portion of the block reward if their prediction is true. PoS is important because it will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by 99.95%. Ethereum has endured a series of social media scorn due to the slow transition to this much-anticipated upgrade.
However, Ethereum devs maintained that the slow pace of the transition was due to the sheer complexity and multiple changes that need to be effected in Ethereum’s source code before the upgrade can be finalized. Recently, Vitalik Buterin in a conference, said that August is the target month where the Merge will be deployed on the mainnet, although there might be a “risk of delay.”
Before the debut on Ropsten, the core devs had already successfully deployed the Merge on Ethereum’s shadow fork, a private mainnet staging area where developers can test various features. Now that the Merge has been successfully trialed on Ropsten, Goerli and Seoplia testnets are next before it is finally deployed on the mainnet.
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Ray Schuetz received a Masters Degree in computer science from The University of Texas (Austin). Ray has been working as a full-time blockchain consultant for the past 3 years. In his spare time, Ray enjoys writing for EthereumCryptocurrency.com and other crypto news publications.