Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum core developer gives updates on the Merge

The Merge is set to take place in August but risks further delays.
May 24, 2022 - Cynthia Chung

Over the past months, Ethereum’s final transition from operating on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) one has been long anticipated and met with several delays. In recent days, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko shed new light on the timeline of the Merge. 


During the Web3.0 ETH Shanghai Web3.0 Developer Summit on May 20, Buterin revealed that he believes the Merge is likely to occur by August 2022, and that the Ropsten testnet will mark a key milestone for the altcoin. However, he also conceded that the event could be delayed once again to Q4, 2022.  


‘This will be a major test, larger than any of the tests that we have done before,’ Buterin said. ‘Taking a large existing test network with many applications with proof-of-work, moving into proof-of-stake.’


‘If there are no problems then the merge will happen in August,’ Buterin further stated. ‘But of course, there’s always a risk of problems. There’s also a risk of delays. And so September is possible and October is possible as well.’


Today, core Ethereum developer Tim Beiko posted a series of suggestions and expectations about the Merge for application and protocol developers of the Blockchain on Twitter. 


He addressed the average users of the applications and protocols, calling on them to test the Blockchain to see that it is running smoothly and without impairments. ‘Run stuff, if something is unclear or broken, leave a comment.’ he wrote in a Twitter post today. 



Stress-testing multiple testnets have been the point of focus to ensure there are no cross-client issues and that existing Ethereum applications do not break down after the Merge. Beiko wrote that the likelihood of these issues are rare as ‘99% of changes affect the protocol layer,’ while ‘there are almost no changes done to the application layer.’ 



He further added that there will be two significant updates to how smart contracts interact with the Blockchain post-Merge. First, the method for beacon randomness that is responsible for running applications will change to accommodate the transition to PoS, according to an Ethereum Foundation blogpost announcement in November 2021.


The second update is that the block times will be truncated from 13 seconds per block to 12 seconds per block. Smart contracts that use block production speed to measure time will be 1 second faster post-Merge. 


He concluded by reassuring that if any issues should arise during the testing and shadow forks, the Merge will be delayed again to fix the Blockchain’s security. ‘At any point, if we find issues, we’ll obviously take the time to fix + address them before moving forward. Only then will we think about moving mainnet to proof of stake.’ he wrote. 


Photo: Twitter @TimBeiko


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