Ethereum merger should happen overnight; see what “The Merge” will be like
The long-awaited Ethereum Merge has finally arrived, the update in which the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency switches the network’s consensus mechanism to an option that reduces blockchain energy usage by 99% and paves the way for faster transactions. and cockroaches in the future.
The estimate is that the merger will take place in the early hours of this Thursday (15), around 01:55 am (Brasilia time). The time, however, is subject to change over the next few hours due to variations in the computing power, or hashrate, of the Ethereum network.
On the Bitcoin Portal home page, you can view the Fusion countdown. The clock is updated in real time to keep up with the Ethereum network speed.
Read too: Ethereum Merger: Everything You Need to Know About Cryptocurrency’s Biggest Transformation
For those who want to follow the cryptocurrency update in real time at night, the Ethereum Foundation will be doing a live stream on YouTube. The live can be followed here from 11:30 pm this Wednesday (14):
Viewers who join the stream approximately two hours before the Fusion can participate in a “POAP art canvas,” according to YouTube’s description. This suggests that early viewers will be able to claim a collectible POAP, which is an NFT that proves participation in an event.
The Ethereum Foundation live stream will feature well-known members of the community, including Ethereum Cat Herders who provide project management support for developers, as well as content creators such as Bankless and The Daily Gwei.
What will happen this morning?
This morning, the Ethereum Merge will finally take place, that is, the fusion of the Ethereum execution layer (the main network we used until then) with the Beacon Chain consensus layer, which is based on the proof-of-stake (PoS) system. ).
With the union of these two different layers, the way network participants validate blocks will be based solely on the PoS model, and no longer current on proof-of-work (PoW), the consensus mechanism that emerged – and continues to be used – with Bitcoin.
The merger takes place when the execution layer looks to the consensus layer to add new blocks to the network, in practice adopting the proof-of-stake model.
This happens in the “Paris” update, which materializes the network consensus exchange. The trigger for this update to be activated happens when the variable called Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) is hit.
TTD represents the sum of the mining difficulty of all blocks in the Ethereum proof-of-work network. The number established for this variable to be executed is 58,750,000,000,000,000,000,000. When that mark is hit this morning, Ethereum will officially switch consensus mechanism.
Once the execution layer reaches the TTD, the subsequent block will be produced by a validator of the consensus layer, the Beacon Chain. The merge is considered complete when this first block is complete, a process that should take about 12 minutes. At this time, around 150 developers will be on high alert to resolve any issues that may arise.
This entire process must happen without the end user noticing, since under normal conditions, the network should not be paused at any time.
After the Merger, all applications running on the Ethereum ecosystem will continue to function in the same way as on the pre-merger network, with the entire transaction history of the blockchain unchanged.
What happens after the Merger?
When the Merger is complete, the community will be watching to see how the blockchain reacts. Attention will be focused on the network participation rate, that is, the number of active validators after the update, with their updated software being able to validate blocks.
This number cannot be too low. Ideally, after the Merger, the participation rate is above 66% — or ⅔ of operational validators.
The production of new blocks in the upgraded network will also be closely analyzed. With the PoS system, the Ethereum blockchain is now divided into “slots”. Each slot arrives every 12 seconds and represents the chance of a block being added to the blockchain.
Another important point to be analyzed after the Merger will be the functioning of the network’s clients. Client is the Ethereum implementation software that communicates over the peer-to-peer network, verifying that transactions follow the protocol rules and keeping the ecosystem secure.
If something goes wrong in Fusion, the problem is probably related to a bug in some client.
Ethereum clients can be created by different developers, with different programming languages, as long as they follow the same rules.
With the Merger of the layers, an Ethereum full node (a complete copy of the blockchain) is formed by the combination of a client from the execution layer (such as Geth, Erigon and Nethermind) and one from the consensus layer (such as Prysm, Lighthouse and Teku).
Currently, there are about five different clients for each tier, which can be combined however the validator prefers. After the Merger, it will be of paramount importance that different clients are used by a balanced number of validators.
That’s because, if a customer has a bug that prevents the creation of blocks, validators will have other software options to keep the network up and running.
To illustrate this, imagine the worst case scenario: for example, that 70% of validators on the network use Prysm as the main client of the consensus layer. If there is a bug in the Prysm code that prevents the production of new blocks, more than ⅔ of the validators on the network would be affected, bringing the blockchain to a halt and opening loopholes for unplanned attacks and forks.
Now, if Prysm is used by 20% of validators and a bug is found, the Ethereum network continues to operate, despite the drop in participation rate, until the bug is fixed or validators migrate to another client.
But even in the worst case scenario, where a serious error is encountered after the Ethereum Merger and prevents the network from continuing, it is always possible to go back.
Ethereum developers can intervene to return the network to a pre-Merger state, “erasing” the error. By returning the network to a state prior to the update, it will be possible to resolve the issue, perform new tests and try the Fusion again.
What changes for Ethereum users with the Fusion?
While the end user will not initially see practical changes in the way they interact with Ethereum ecosystem-based projects and tokens after the Merger, this does not mean that the network consensus exchange will not bring major changes for investors.
The first of these will be a drop in the issuance of new ether on the market. Without miners, only validators will be paid in the new proof-of-stake model.
“This will cause a big reduction in ether emission. If we consider that the staking reward will increase, but not at the same rate as before, and the burn [tirada de moedas em circulação] will continue at the same rate or greater, deflationary blocks will start to emerge, and this is the biggest impact of the merger”, says Rony Szuster, Bitcoin Market Research analyst, to the Bitcoin Portal.
In addition, Fusion also sets the stage for so-called sharding to be implemented on the blockchain next year. Sharding is a multi-step upgrade designed to improve Ethereum’s capacity by more effectively distributing the database among network participants. Sharding will therefore reduce network congestion and increase the number of transactions per second.
After the Merger, users should also be on the lookout for new versions of Ethereum that will appear on the market.
Chinese miners, for example, dissatisfied with the end of mining and its expressive profits, will make a hard fork to keep a proof-of-work version of Ethereum alive after the merger brings the PoS system to the official network.
This fork called EthereumPOW is scheduled to take place within 24 hours of the update. The EthereumPOW network will start 2,048 empty blocks after the Merger (including the Merger block), which can happen between Thursday and Friday (16th).
Read too: Ethereum Fusion: Will Miner Rebellion a Threat? Analysts respond
But even if a replicated version of Ethereum created by miners emerges, this network should not be a competitor of the main network, mainly because most applications and investors that bring value to the ecosystem will favor the official version.
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