Proof of stake: Ethereum delays the biggest update in its history

The event, expected by Ethereum users, but also by investors and developers, was supposed to take place in June. “The Merge”, the name given to a revolutionary network update, will finally be launched this fall.

Not in June, but certainly in the following months “. These few words, from from a tweet from Tim Beiko, one of the leading developers of Ethereum, has caught the attention of many cryptocurrency fans. And for good reason: they’re talking about The Merge, one of the most important steps the blockchain has to go through – and the event date has just been postponed.

If this Ethereum update is delayed, Tim Beiko guarantees: ” there is no precise date yet, but this is the last chapter of the PoW (proof of work, or proof of work, ed) on Ethereum.

Ethereum developers have been talking about it for years: “The Merge”, or La Fusion in French, is scheduled for 2022. What is called The Merge refers to the passage of a so-called “proof of work” system. , to a “proof of stake” protocol, or proof of stake. This change is a change that the cryptocurrency community has been waiting for for years and is of fundamental importance for the future of Ethereum.

But its arrival requires a lot of work and even more control networks (mesh of knots, which allow you to check every transaction entered in the blocks) to make sure that everything is going well. And, as Tim Beiko announced, Fusion is expected to be delayed for a few months and arrive at the earliest this fall.

The union is a very important moment for Ethereum

If The Merge is so important, it is because the move from proof of work to proof of stake will redefine the future of Ethereum.

The system currently used by the blockchain for mining, that is to create new blocks and create units of ether, its cryptocurrency, is that of the proof of work. A proof-of-work ecosystem asks computers to answer extremely difficult equations to add a new block to the chain – it is this work that ensures the inviolability of the chain. Today it is the most used protocol by blockchains, including bitcoin.

But proof of work is increasingly criticized for its environmental cost. Equations have become so complex that they require the work of huge fleets of computers to solve. It is necessary to employ a very significant computing power and, consequently, the energy consumption is very high to make everything work.

Proof of Stake is another protocol that validates blocks, but unlike Proof of work, it doesn’t require as much power consumption. With Proof of Stake, miners must stake a portion of their cryptocurrency holdings to qualify to mine a new block, eliminating the need to mobilize huge parks of computers.

The merger is delayed, but is still expected to take place in 2022 // Source: Choong Deng Xiang / Unsplash

There are already blockchains based on proof of stake, in particular that of Cardano. But Ethereum was originally created to work with proof of work. The Merge is therefore a huge transition project towards proof of stake: we need to move an extremely developed network, without altering its content, without creating security problems and without impeding its functioning.

Ethereum delays the arrival of the transition to proof of stake

It’s because the stakes are high that Tim Beiko’s tweet got a lot of attention, and the developer had to post an explanation the next day, April 13, 2022. in a new tweet. For the moment, and despite the delay of a few months, there is nothing to worry about: the tests are going well. ” As of this month, all teams are preparing for The Merge and the nets have been tested numerous times “, Specifies Tim Beiko in his publication.

This is one of those test procedures, a shadow fork, which revealed some problems with the implementation of The Merge at customer networks. Ethereum’s developer teams are now doing repairs and trying out solutions. ” Once these problems are resolved in customer networks “, Continues Tim Beiko, Ethereum developers will be able to communicate a more precise date for The Merge.

Proof of stake: Ethereum delays the biggest update in its history
The merger will profoundly change the way the Ethereum blockchain works / Source: Shubham Dhage / Unsplash

However, the exact date of the transaction will remain difficult to pin down. ” Unlike previous updates, The Fusion will not proceed from a specific block, but will be triggered by an increase in the difficulty of calculations. As these types of transactions are more difficult to estimate, the delay between the announcement of the Merger and the time the Merger actually takes place may be shorter than in previous updates. “.

It is normal for The Merge to arrive late

Aside from Tim Beiko’s estimate, there is no definite timeline for The Merge yet, and there certainly never will be. Many tests will continue to unfold and may, once again, postpone the arrival of the proof of stake.

But these delays are not necessarily bad signs: switching from one system to another is an extremely complex operation, requiring the work of a large team, and very careful controls. The slightest problem during The Merger could weaken the entire ecosystem, and it is therefore essential to ensure the viability of the operation.

In the meantime, while the transition to proof of stake is slow, it is not necessarily profitable to buy computers and mining equipment. When asked on Twitter by a user worried about the delay, Tim Beiko replied that ” strongly not recommended invest in equipment at this point in the project. A sign that, despite the delays, the project should soon come to an end.

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