Erik Weijers, a year ago

Ethereum's merge will go live on testnet

In early June, Ethereum's public testnet called Ropsten will take the lead on the merge. Depending on how much information (bugs) this test version of the merge will give developers, the Ethereum mainnet is projected go live sometime in the third quarter of 2022.

The estimated date of the merge on testnet is June 8. This is according to activity on Github, the communication platform for software developers. Ethereum developers have offered rewards of up to half a million dollars for developers who expose weaknesses on testnet or mainnet. At the recent Permissionless conference, Ethereum developer Preston van Loon gave August 2022 as his target for the actual merge.

What is the merge?

Ethereum's merge has been on the agenda for years and has been pushed forward many times. The term refers to the merging of the current Ethereum blockchain with the future one (Ethereum 2.0), which is based on proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work. After the merge, transactions on the Ethereum blockchain will be processed and validated by stakers rather than miners. This fits in with the ideal of low energy consumption.

The merge is just one step toward a future of Ethereum that is proof-of-stake and can handle more transactions. If the merge succeeds, we still have to wait for the implementation of sharding before Ethereum's transaction capacity is greatly increased. That transaction capacity is currently a major problem: it leads to periodic congestion and high transaction costs. The shard chains are 64 parallel blockchains that are going to help relieve the main chain (the Beacon Chain). Sharding going live depends on the success of the merge and is expected in 2023 - but such expected dates are quite often pushed forward.

The huge importance of a successful merge

It is no wonder that the developers of Ethereum are proceeding with such caution. The stakes (pun intended) are high. If the merge succeeds, it will be a milestone in the crypto world: a major blockchain successfully switching from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake is a major success. Compare it to replacing an airplane's propeller engine with a jet engine, in full flight!

Should the merge fail, however, it would make a big dent in the confidence of blockchain as a technology. Not a pleasant event, especially now that we are in a bear market. In the years working on the merge, Ethereum has become so huge that millions of people have started to depend on a functioning Ethereum blockchain for their investments and their jobs.

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