Ethereum developer says the Merge is coming in August ‘if everything goes to plan’

The difficulty bomb is ticking while developers runs final tests for the Merge.
May 20, 2022 - Cynthia Chung

Ethereum’s long-anticipated shift to a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism has been pushed back yet again and appears to be set in August.

 

Ethereum core developer Preston Van Loon announced he expects that the Merge would take place sometime in August if everything goes according to plan at the Permissionless conference today. Van Loon told the 5000 attendees that the team is trying to make the transition before the ‘difficulty bomb’ would start slowing down the Ethereum network as scheduled. 



Ethereum core developer Preston Van Loon announced he expects that the Merge would take place sometime in August if everything goes according to plan. Van Loon told the 5000 attendees that the team is trying to make the transition before the ‘difficulty bomb’ would start slowing down the Ethereum network as scheduled. 

 

‘As far as we know, if everything goes to plan, August—it just makes sense,’ said Van Loon. ‘If we don't have to move [the difficulty bomb], let's do it as soon as we can.’

 

Adding to the sentiment, Ethereum Foundation researcher Justin Drake said that ensuring the Merge went ahead quickly was a top priority, that he has a ‘strong desire to make this happen before difficulty bomb in August.’

 

The difficulty bomb was created in 2016 with the Merge (aka the final stage of the Ethereum Blockchain’s transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism) in mind. The code’s difficulty will be increased while lower rewards are distributed to discourage miners from staying on the PoW chain post-Merge, causing the network to degrade at the same time.

 

Back in April, Ethereum developer Tim Beiko announced the Merge has been delayed again despite a successful ‘shadow fork’ test. The Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet Merge will be scheduled to deploy on June 8 which will combine the PoW testnet with the new PoS layer testnet. Ropsten is the closest development to the transition to PoS.  

 

The Merge will not cause gas fees to lower, it will only happen when the last major scaling upgrades like sharding are implemented. A scaling upgrade called ‘EIP-4844’ is currently underway, which will introduce a new type of transaction ‘Proto-Danksharding’ to improve throughput on the Blockchain. When shard chains are implemented, ‘validators only need to store/run data for the shard they're validating, not the entire network (like what happens today). This speeds things up and drastically reduces hardware requirements.’ the Ethereum Foundation explained. 

 

On the other hand, the Merge marks a significant milestone in reducing Ethereum’s current energy consumption levels by more than 99%. The Merge will also introduce a reduction in ETH issuance by about 90%. Less ETH in circulation or supply means there will be a higher demand, which would drive ETH prices up.

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