The Ethereum Merge, a major upgrade of the community-run technology that powers the cryptocurrency ether (ETH), is slated to take place in two phases, starting September 6, the Ethereum Foundation said.
The upgrade involves moving the network to a more efficient proof-of-stake validation process from its current proof-of-work consensus. This will eliminate the need to secure the network with energy-intensive mining and instead use staked ETH.
Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin use the proof-of-work consensus to confirm transactions and produce new blocks. However, the proof-of-stake process reduces the amount of computational work needed to verify blocks and transactions that keep the blockchain and a cryptocurrency secure.
The Ethereum network introduced the concept of staking through a new consensus engine called the Beacon Chain. This proof-of-stake chain currently coexists with the Ethereum Mainnet, which is a proof-of-work network, and was released by Ethereum in 2020.
The Beacon Chain has not handled any transactions for the past two years and it will start doing so in September, when it merges with the Ethereum Mainnet.
“Following years of hard work, Ethereum’s proof-of-stake upgrade is finally here! The successful upgrade of all public testnets is now complete and The Merge has been scheduled for the Ethereum Mainnet,” the Ethereum Foundation said in a blog post.
The first upgrade, called Bellatrix, is due to take place at 11:34 AM on September 6. The second phase, called Paris, is scheduled between September 10 and September 20 and will complete the switchover.
The Ethereum Foundation also discussed a bug bounty incentive programme for people who find serious network flaws as well as client updates in the blog.
The Merge, as it is known, will enable the network to handle the daily growth in transaction volumes. There are already over 3 million transactions each day on the Ethereum network and as more people and businesses use the system, this number is only expected to increase, requiring more processing power to complete each transaction.
However, due to the current architectural constraints of the existing network, it is difficult to scale up to meet this growth in transactions.
After the upgrade, developers will also be able to add new architecture without having to start from scratch, increasing performance and scalability. The network will be able to grow steadily as the user base increases.
Efficiency and security
The planned upgrade will make it easier for software developers to embrace new changes with less risk of unexpected side-effects, helping to make the system more secure. It will hasten transaction processing and provide customers with more assurances regarding the security of their digital assets.
The network will have more possibilities as a result of the integrated code to handle more users and transactions.Because the system's core design will be more effective with the unified code, transactions will be speedier and cheaper. For simple transactions like buying and selling cryptocurrencies, users won't have to pay exorbitant fees anymore.