Ethereum accelerates the transition to Proof of Stake – The Merge successfully deployed on Ropsten

Another victory for Ethereum – Since its launch in 2015, the network Ethereum needs to transition from its consensus mechanism. Thus, the proof of work must be abandoned in favor of the proof of stake. This shift in consensus will occur through a process called The Merge. The first step, namely the deployment of The Merge on the Ropsten testnet, went off without a hitch, paving the way for its deployment on the mainnet.

The Merge: a change not to be taken lightly

As we have just seen, the Ethereum network is about to change your consensus method. Indeed, the blockchain goes from proof of work to proof of stake. This change of consensus, in full flight, is a first and the maneuver is not to be taken lightly.

This transition began in December 2020, with the launch of the beacon chain, a proof of stake chain running alongside Ethereum. Subsequently, Vitalik Buterin imagined the transition from the current proof of work to proof of stake. This transition is called The Merge.

In practice, The Merge aims to connect the beacon chain (called consensus layer) to the application ecosystem that we currently know on Ethereum (called execution layer). As explained in a article published by Joseph Cook:

Current mainnet clients (execution clients) will continue to host the Ethereum virtual machine (EVM), validate and broadcast transactions, but will stop participating in proof of work mining. Instead, consensus will become the responsibility of “consensus clients” who bundle execution client transactions with the information required for consensus into “beacon blocks” that form the beacon chain. »

Obviously, this transition must first be extensively tested to ensure that the transition takes place under the best possible conditions.

To do this, developers experience the transition through various processes. Among them we find the shadow forks. These temporary networks are intended to test the transition. To do this, they use exact copies of the state of the Ethereum network and the beacon chain.

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The Merge successfully deployed on Ropsten

Faced with the success of these shadow forks, the developers decided to take the next step. So they have deployed The Merge on the various Ethereum testnets. Ropstenthe network’s oldest testnet, is the first to have undertaken this transition.

Thus, on May 30, the developers deployed a new beacon chain, exclusive to the Ropsten network. This was put in place to ensure the proof of stake consensus of the testnet.

Unlike many updates, The Merge did not roll out at a set block. This is activated when a mining difficulty threshold, called Terminal Total Difficulty (TTD) is reached. In particular, this makes it possible to limit the potential for attack.

So the testnet Ropsten reached TTD on June 8 at 16:00 UTC. Once this threshold is reached, the clients of the execution layer pass the relay of block production to those of the consensus layer, namely the beacon chain. In practice, the transition went without major problems.

Announcing the successful deployment of The Merge on Ropsten.

Some bugs were still found though, as explained by @parithosh_j on Twitter :

While we have proposals (vital for consensus), some clients failed to build a block and offered 0 transactions. This affects the throughput of the channel. This situation has already been encountered during shadow forks! A fix is ​​in progress! »

Despite this minor issue, the Ropsten network made the transition to proof of stake successfully. We can therefore say that the deployment of The Merge on Ropsten was a success.

Therefore, Ropsten is the first Ethereum network to have successfully made the transition from proof of work to proof of stake.

Ropsten: the first testnet to integrate The Merge, but not the last

Now, other testnets will undergo the same transition via the deployment of The Merge. Thus, the Sepolia then Goerli testnets will be the next to integrate The Merge and move on to proof of stake.

If their transition goes well, the developers can consider a date for the deployment of The Merge on the Ethereum mainnet.

For its part, the Ethereum mainnet continues to approach the sacrosanct scalability via second-layer networks. Recently,Vitalik Buterin announced his support for layer 2 Optimism regarding its governance choices.

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Ethereum accelerates the transition to Proof of Stake – The Merge successfully deployed on Ropsten


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