Ethereum Merge No Longer Expected in June
The merge is a process of combining the proof-of-work (PoW) main Ethereum network with the proof-of-stake (PoS) sidechain called Eth2. The goal is to phase out PoW and eventually move Ethereum over to PoS. This will make the network more scalable and energy-efficient.
There’s been much anticipation for the update as it’s been in development for years now. The original plan was to complete the merge by 2020 but that didn’t happen. Then, there was talk about getting it done by 2021. Now, it seems like 2023 could be a more realistic timeline.
This news comes as a bit of a disappointment for many after a few weeks of speculation, Ethereum core developer Tim Beiko confirmed in a tweet last Tuesday that the much-awaited Ethereum Merge will not arrive in June. Instead of June, Beiko said that the network’s transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake is more likely to come “in the few months after.”
The update comes after Ethereum completed an important milestone with the first shadow fork of the Ethereum mainnet. The fork is a key step in upgrading to ETH 2.0 and will help the network transition from proof-of-work to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake consensus mechanism.
The Ethereum Merge signifies Ethereum’s shift to a proof-of-stake (PoS) mechanism for securing itself. Today, the network relies on a proof-of-work (PoW) system which is similar to that used by Bitcoin.
Ethereum’s move to PoS, where users reserve the ability to secure the network by “staking” ether, is expected to cut the network’s energy costs by 99% and make it easier for Ethereum to scale.
Even after the Ethereum Merge, high gas fees are likely to remain. The Ethereum network is at the center of decentralized finance (DeFi), GameFi, and NFTs, but a large number of new PoS chain networks are competing for Ethereum’s market share by offering users faster and cheaper transactions.
The Merge has supplanted Ethereum’s original plans for “Ethereum 2.0,” which included the addition of sharding to improve network throughput by chopping up activity into pieces that can be processed simultaneously. Sharding is still on the Ethereum roadmap, but it was pushed back to 2023 in order to expedite the shift to PoS.
Ethereum’s native token, ether (ETH) is the second-largest cryptocurrency. The ETH token is used to pay transaction fees and gas prices.
The Merge has raised other questions about Ethereum 2.0. Many speculate that the transition might be delayed for more than just a few months. This pessimism lies in the past promises about the switch.
The original goal was to have PoS by the end of 2020. But that didn’t happen.
When asked about a timeline for the merge, Vitalik replied: “I am not going to give a date because I have been burned too many times in the past by over-promising and under-delivering.”