Robert Steinadler, 9 months ago

Bellatrix activated: The Merge has been started

The Merge is the event in 2022 and the Ethereum community is more than excited for it to commence. Many hopes and dreams as well as fears are attached to the Merge. While some believe that proof of stake will put Ethereum into a pole position others fear that anything could go wrong from a technical perspective and threaten the Ethereum blockchain.

Just a few hours ago the Bellatrix upgrade was shipped to the beacon chain. What is Bellatrix and when are we going to witness the full transition?

Bellatrix is the first step

The Merge is effectively changing two blockchains but not at the same time. The beacon is already running the proof of stake consensus layer and the actual Ethereum blockchain will become the execution layer.

Bellatrix is named after the Harry Potter character Bellatrix Lestrange and was carried out on the beacon chain in order to get it prepared for the Merge.

Somewhere between September 13 – 15 the second upgrade called Paris will unfold on the execution layer. If everything is going according to plan, the Merge will activate just a few minutes after the second upgrade has been done.

Are we out of the woods yet?

Most likely, yes. There is only a very little chance that the Merge will cause problems on the Ethereum blockchain. Another concern that is discussed mostly between Ethereum developers and Bitcoiners is the impact of leaving proof of work.

Some believe that only by using energy the network, its transactions and the whole ledger can be protected. Their fear is that proof of stake could open a door for rich and individuals to take over the network and in a worst-case scenario overthrow network consensus.

On the other hand, that would require burning a large chunk of money. Only if such an individual would put up their own ETH on the line it is possible to try an attack. Why would anybody willingly devalue his own investment? It seems that both arguing parties have a point and can also underline their view by providing solid examples that entertain thoughts that involve game theory. With many other cryptocurrencies already available on the market running proof of stake as their network consensus, it might be safer to switch to proof of stake than many people believe. Still, the Merge is an event that effects the second largest blockchain in terms of market cap and the largest blockchain in terms of smart contract usage. Next week we are going to witness how this transition will play out.

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