Ethereum is finally closing in on its path to migrating to Proof of Stake.
The Merge is Nearing
As someone who has been a long time supporter of Ethereum, since about the $6 price per ETH range... I can finally say with confidence that the long-awaited upgrade to the Ethereum blockchain is near. I remember saying back in 2017 that it was just around the corner lol. Over the past few months, the devs have been launching new test nets for the Proof of Work version and they have been working amazingly well.
I have even personally tested the Kintsugi testnet for funsies not too long ago when it first launched. It has since been deprecated, and the Kiln testnet has been running for a while. These Proof of Stake Ethereum testnets have been running alongside the Proof of Work mainnet for a while now.
There have been about 10 successful shadow forks as well which are the final stages of testing before any of the original testnets merged. Without getting too overly technical in describing what this means, basically they are making sure it's possible to even do the merge without breaking everything.
Yesterday, the Ropsten testnet, which is one of the longest running ones activated Proof of Stake. This means that theoretically, it's possible to disable Proof of Work and enable Proof of Stake on the main net without breaking it.
The Ropsten testnet's consensus layer merged with its beacon chain, and there were little to no errors. As Vitalik stated, though, this does not mean that there will be no errors or major issues on the mainnet. There is still a nearly unlimited amount of things that could go wrong when the actual merge happens. This is why there need to be a ton of different test scenarios.
Likely the next steps will be the migration of the merge of the Rinkeby, Goerli, and Kovan testnets. Hopefully by the time that these test environments are all migrated to Proof of Stake, there will be enough evidence that it's ready to go live on the mainnet there will be no catastrophic failures.
The sunset of the proof of work consensus algorithm on Ethereum is going to mark a major milestone in history. It's going to introduce some amazing scalability capabilities that could lead to the death of a lot of layer 2 solutions. There's no guarantee that gas fees will reduce, but they should. The amount of transactions the network will be able to process should be insanely scalable though.
I'd love to see this full upgrade go live in August as projected, but I highly doubt that it will happen then. I do have confidence that the merge will happen by the end of the year, but there's no reason to rush this thing. We don't want to break Ethereum. If Ethereum breaks, we're all fucked. We're NGMI. But that's just me being funny, if something catastrophic happens... There's always rolling back the chain, or patching it.
I'm no dev, but I know what they are working on is insanely complex. Kudos to them for making this thing happen. The merge is finally actually near and it's almost time to have a beer or 2.
Thanks for reading! Much love.
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